TIMES One must live with the times
I Candle Lighting 8:28 pm I Pirkei Avot 3 I
I July 31, 2009 I 10 Av, 5769 I
Y E A R S
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1 1 C OV E R S TO RY
114 Years: Celebrating the History of Zemach Zedek Congregation Zemach Zedek was founded in 1895 in Cleveland by Menachem Mendel Madorsky soon after his arrival from Russia. The humble beginnings were in the rear of a store on East 22nd street and Orange Avenue, near downtown Cleveland. Today this area is the site of Cleveland’s main post office.
E A 3 PARSHAH IN AY NUTSHELL
Moses tells the people of Israel how he implored G-d to allow him to enter the land of Israel, but G-d refused, instructing him instead to ascend a mountain and see the Promised Land.
4 PARSHAH COLUMNISTS
Knowledge Tuvia Bolton To Study Our Children David Hazdan Being Alive to the Full Tali Lowenthal The Never Ending Voice Yossy Goldman
9 JEWISH HISTORY
Both the first and second Holy Temples which stood in Jerusalem were destroyed on Av 9: the First Temple by the Babylonians in the year 3338 from creation (423 BCE), and the second by the Romans in 3829 (69 CE).
10 LAWS & CUSTOMS
Shabbat Nachamu the Shabbat following the fast of Tishah B’Av, so called because of the passage “Nachamu” (Yeshayahu 40:1) read for the Haftorah
17 EXPERIENCE ISRAEL
More than 8,500 Jewish residents were forcefully expelled from their homes in 25 towns and settlements in the Gaza Strip (including 16 settlements in the flourishing “Gush Katif” belt) and Northern Shomron in the summer of 2005, as part of the Israeli government’s ill-fated “Disengagement Plan.”
19 FROM THE CHASSIDIC MASTERS
Three Divine Echoes: Singularity, Plurality and Oneness How does one restore the Divine unity to our fragmented world? By delving even further into its plurality. An essay based on the famed Chassidic discourse Heichaltzu 5659 by Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch, which explores the significance of what may well be the most important word in Judaism -- Echad (“one”)
22 FAMILY PARSHAH
If louder voices echo longer, why didn’t G-d’s voice echo at all when He said the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai?
This magazine is dedicated in loving memory of
Daniel C. Levey
September 23, 1983 - July 25, 2003 25 Tammuz of blessed memory by his loving parents Drs. Norman Levey and Joyce Cassen and his sister Sara Levey
P A R S H A H I N VAETCHANAN NUTSHELL
P A R S H A T Vaetchanan
oses tells the people of Israel how he implored G-d to allow him to enter the land of Israel, but G-d refused, instructing him instead to ascend a mountain and see the Promised Land. Continuing his “review of the Torah,” Moses describes the Exodus from
Egypt and the Giving of the Torah, declaring them unprecedented events in human history. “Has there ever occurred this great thing, or has the likes of it ever been heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of G-d speaking out of the midst of the fire... and live? ... You were shown, to know, that the L-rd is G-d... there is none else beside Him.” Moses predicts that, in future generations, the people will turn away from G-d, worship idols, and be exiled from their land
and scattered amongst the nations; but from there they will seek G-d, and return to obey His commandments. Our Parshah also includes a repetition of the Ten Commandments, and the verses of the Shema which declare the fundamentals of the Jewish faith: the unity of G-d (“Hear O Israel: the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one”); the mitzvot to love G-d, study His Torah, and bind “these words” as tefillin on our arms and heads, and inscribe them in the mezuzot affixed on the doorposts of our homes.■
This week’s haftorah is the first of a series of seven “Haftarot of Consolation.” These seven haftarot commence on the Shabbat following Tisha b’Av and continue until Rosh Hashanah. This section of Isaiah begins with G-d’s exhortation to the prophets: “Console, oh console My people... Announce to Jerusalem that her period of exile has been fulfilled and that her sins have been forgiven.” Isaiah’s prophecy describes some of the miraculous events that will unfold with the onset of the Messianic era, such as the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, the revelation of G d’s glory, and the rewards and retribution that will then be meted out. The prophet then goes on to comfort the people, describing G-d’s power and might, and reassuring them of His care for His people.■
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TO S T U DY
written by Dovid Hazdan
One of the sacred tasks of parents and teachers is to educate the next generation and to impart to our children the knowledge and values of our Torah. We cannot be content with our own study – we have to teach the young.
of a developed, adult, mature mind is magnified by life’s experiences. The theoretical insights that are gleaned are enhanced and embellished by the wealth amassed through the challenges and circumstances of one’s past.
accepting such Truths? We fit teachings into lifestyles rather than confront the challenge of change. We quote and emphasize to subjectively endorse and support, rather then to aspire and strive for uncharted new heights.
This mitzvah is featured in this week’s Torah portion in the words of the Shema which we recite thrice daily: “… teach them to your children, to discuss them, while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise…”
But there is a deficiency and handicap in an adult’s approach to absorbing the words of Torah. So often, objectivity, humility and serenity of spirit are casualties of preconceived ideas. Our entrenched frames of reference capture data into existing files predetermined and predefined. Our life’s experiences have formed calluses on our attitudes and philosophies. We cling to familiar paths formed by habitual past journeys. We evaluate with prejudices and perspectives already firmly formed. We begin to judge by our decisions rather than decide by our judgments.
So often, objectivity, humility and serenity of spirit are casualties of preconceived ideas The laws of studying Torah are preceded by the laws of teaching a child, to remind us how to absorb the words of G-d. The learning of a young child – so eager, so fresh, so open, so inspired and so unencumbered by baggage – is like “ink written on fresh paper,” – teaching us the art of true Torah study.
What is intriguing is that the great codifier Maimonides, as well as R. Schneur Zalman’s of Liadi in his Code of Jewish Law, present the laws relating to teaching Torah to our children before presenting the laws of studying Torah. It seems quite obvious that one cannot teach before studying. Why would the laws pertaining to teaching a child precede the adult’s requirement to learn? The power and advantage
How often are we left unmoved by a Truth because we are self-consciously aware of the ramifications of
May our spiritual and intellectual journeys always retain the effervescence, passion and innocence of a child. May we, this Shabbat, find comfort, optimism and belief in a world about to be redeemed, by allowing ourselves to peer through the eyes and hope of a child.■ 4
P A R S H A H VAETCHANAN COLUMNISTS
B E I N Gt o t hAe L I V E
written by Tali Lowenthal
ust before the first person is called up to the Torah a beautiful verse is sung in the Synagogue: “And you who cleave to G-d, are all alive today” (Deuteronomy 4:4). This verse is from our Parshah, Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11). It focuses on an important Jewish concept: cleaving to G-d. Through this, says the verse, we “live” to the full.
How then can we cleave to G-d? To “cleave” means to join together, to be one. How can this word apply to the relationship of a tiny human being and boundless, eternal G-d?
G-d, the Creator of the Universe, is infinite. He is the source of all being, and is beyond all being.
G-d puts Himself in the Torah: when we study Torah we are joining with Him. From this stems the special love that the
The Baal Shem Tov and other Chassidic leaders taught people about this concept. Although we are tiny, physically, we have within us a spark of the Divine. This inner flame yearns to join with G-d. How can it do so? Through Torah, Prayer, and mitzvot (the divine commandments).
Jewish people have for the teachings of the Torah, expressed in the sacred Torah Scroll and in the thousands of books which explain its meaning. Prayer is another way of connecting with G-d. The simple meaning of prayer is that we are speaking to G-d, intimately from the depths of our heart, in any language. Further, the Baal Shem Tov taught that divine radiance is present in the Hebrew words of the prayers. When we pray with devotion, giving ourselves over to G-d, our souls join with that radiance. This makes prayer potentially a deeply inspiring experience: very private and intimate, a coming close with G-d. The third level of connection, which in some
Although we are t i n y, p h y s i c a l l y, we have within us a spark of the Divine
ways is the most powerful, is that of the mitzvot, the
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ZEDEK Carrying out a mitzvah means that we are connected to and bonded with G-d.
plays the piano or bakes a cake. Through the mitzvah we are joined to G-d, so to speak, as a hand is joined to the inner will and desire of a person. The mitzvah might be a practical action: lighting candles for Shabbat, fixing a mezuzah on a doorpost, putting on tefilin, giving charity, making sure one’s kitchen is kosher. Or it might be a law involving feeling, such as love of one’s fellow. Yet this too is generally expressed in practical terms, such as doing something to help the person. laws of Judaism. The word mitzvah is usually translated as “command”; but it also means “connection” (relating to an Aramaic word tzavta, meaning “connection”). Carrying out a mitzvah means that we are connected to and bonded with G-d.
Why is this? Because the mitzvah is the will of G-d. When we do the mitzvah, at that moment we became an expression of G-d’s will. We can compare this to the way the will of a person is expressed though his or her own hand which writes,
At that moment, through the action of the mitzvah, the person and G-d are joined together. So we come back to the verse in the Torah portion. Through cleaving to G-d by means of Torah, prayer and mitzvot, every aspect of our being is transformed: we really live!■ 6
P A R S H A H VAETCHANAN COLUMNISTS
the never ending
hen the T e n Commandments are repeated in the To r a h as part of Mos e s ’ review of the Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness, Moses describes how G-d spoke those words in “a mighty voice that did not end” (Deuteronomy 5:19). One of the explanations offered by Rashi is that Moses is contrasting G-d’s voice with human voices. The finite voice of a human being, even a Pavarotti, will fade and falter. It cannot go on forever. But the voice of the Almighty did not end, did not weaken. It remained strong throughout. Is this all the great prophet had to teach us about the voice of G-d? That it was a powerful baritone? That it resonated? Is the greatness of the Infinite
written by Yossy Goldman
Or, maybe it was during the Russian Revolution that faith and religion were positively primitive. Perhaps Moses saw our own generation with its satellites and space shuttles, television and technology. And he saw young people
One that he didn’t suffer from shortness of breath, that He didn’t need a few puffs of Ventolin? Is this a meaningful motivation for the Jews to accept the Torah? Moses was the greatest of all prophets. He foresaw what no other prophet could see. Perhaps he saw his people becoming caught up in the civilization of ancient Greece, in the beauty, culture, philosophy and art of the day. And they might question, is Torah still relevant? Perhaps he foresaw Jews empowered by the Industrial Revolution, where they might have thought Torah to be somewhat backward.
questioning whether Torah still speaks to them. And so Moses tells us that the voice that thundered from Sinai was no ordinary voice. The voice that proclaimed the Ten Commandments was a voice that was not only powerful at the time, but one that “did not end.” It still
rings out, it still resonates, it still speaks to each of us in every generation and in every part of the world. Revolutions may come and go but revelation is eternal. The voice of Sinai continues to proclaim eternal truths that never become passé or irrelevant. Honor Your Parents, revere them, look after them in their old age instead of abandoning them to some decrepit old age home. Live moral lives; do not tamper with the sacred fiber of
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It still speaks to each of us in every generation
family life, be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Dedicate one day every week and keep that day holy. Turn your back on the rat race and rediscover your humanity and your children. Don’t be guilty of greed, envy, dishonesty or corruption. Are
values dated? Are these commandments tired, stale or irrelevant? On the contrary. They speak to us now as perhaps never before. The G-dly voice has lost none of its strength, none of its majesty. The mortal voice of man declines and fades into oblivion. Politicians and spin-doctors come and go, but the heavenly sound reverberates down the ages. Torah is truth and truth is forever. The voice of G-d shall never be stilled.■
KNOWLEDGE The story is told about a young man, a budding Talmudic genius, who heard that great and wondrous things were being revealed in Mezeritch by the “Maggid,” Rabbi DovBer, successor to the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Chassidim were not very popular in those days (circa 1770), and were even suspected of heresy by the Jewish establishment; but this young man found in Mezeritch what his soul thirsted for, and became a disciple of the Maggid.
When he returned home after his first year, he was greeted by his irate father-in-law. “What have you been doing for the last year? What have you accomplished wasting your time with those wild men?”
written by Tuvia Bolton
father-in-law. “That is what you learned in Mezeritch?! Why, even our washer-woman knows that, and she never studied a page of Talmud in her life... Zelda! Come here!”
The washer-woman appeared from the next room, drying her hands, saying, “Yes sir, what do you want, sir?” “Tell us, please, Zelda,” he was trying to be as calm as possible, “Who created the world?” “Why...the Almighty, sir!”
“I learned that G-d creates the world,” answered the young man.
“You see!” He turned to his son-in-law and shouted with rage, “Even she says so!”
“That’s what you learned?!” yelled his
“She says it,” said the Chassid. “But I know it.”■ 8
H I S T O RY
oth the first and second Holy Temples which stood in Jerusalem were destroyed on Av 9: the First Temple by the Babylonians in the year 3338 from creation (423 BCE), and the second by the Romans in 3829 (69 CE). The Temples’ destruction represents the greatest tragedy in Jewish history, for it marks our descent into Galut--the state of physical exile and spiritual displacement in which we still find ourselves today. Thus the Destruction is mourned as a tragedy that affects our lives today, 2,000 years later, no less than the very generation that experienced it first hand.
Mourning the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel, we abstain from eating and drinking, bathing, the wearing of leather footwear,
a n d marit a l relations-for the night a n d day of Av 9 (i.e., from sundown on Av 8 to nightfall on Av 9). It is customary to sit on the floor or a low seat until after mid-day. Torah study is restricted to laws of mourning, passages describing the destruction of the Temple, and the like. The tefillin are worn only during the afternoon Minchah prayers. As part of our mourning for the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel, we abstain from many pleasurable activities on the night and day of Av 9— starting with sundown on the eve of the day before, and concluding with the following nightfall.
Yet the Ninth of Av is also a day of hope. The Talmud relates that Moshiach (“anointed one”--the Messiah), was born at the very moment that the Temple was set aflame and the Galut began. [This is in keeping with the teachings of our sages that, “In every generation is born a descendent of Judah who is worthy to become Israel’s Moshiach” (Bartinoro on Ruth); “When the time will come, G-d will reveal Himself to him and send him, and then the spirit of Moshiach, which is hidden and secreted on high, will be manifested in him” (Chattam Sofer).]■
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L AW S & C U S T O M S
he Shabbat after the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Nachamu (“Shabbat of Consolation”) after the opening words of the day’s reading from the prophets ” (Yeshayahu 40:1) read for the haftorah. It begins with the words Nachamu, nachamu ami - “Console, console my people, says your G-d.” This is the first of the series of readings known as
“The Seven of Consolation” read in the seven weeks from the Ninth of Av to Rosh Hashanah. Shabbat Nachamu is the Shabbat of joy over our anticipated consolation. Usually, the haftorah reading on Shabbat pertains to a theme in the respective Torah portion, which is read. However, when a given Shabbat has a different character - e.g., on a Festival or Rosh Chodesh - the haftarah reading reflects the specific theme of the day instead.
A Double Consolation
“Console, console my people” - the word nachamu - “console” - is repeated, and thus it is said: Let those above console her and those below console her; let the living console her and let the dead console her; console her in this world and console her in the World to Come; console her for the ten tribes and console her for the tribes of Binyamin and Yehudah. The verse (Lamentations 1:2) uses the Hebrew root meaning “to weep,” in two forms, for emphasis (bacho tivkeh) - thus we should weep twice: over the destruction of the first Temple and over the destruction of the second. For all these reasons, the consolation nachamu, nachamu – is mentioned twice. ■
Thus, on the three Sabbaths between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and The Ninth of Av, the haftarot reflect the sense of calamity that characterizes the period. The first two are drawn from Jeremiah, while the third is from Isaiah. The haftarah of Shabbat Nachamu is the first of the “seven consolations” - the seven haftarot which are read on the seven Sabbaths following The Ninth of Av. These haftarot are taken from Isaiah and record the prophetic messages of consolation which Isaiah offered Israel. There are 144 verses altogether in the seven haftarot of consolation, and 143 verses contained in the portions of admonition in the Torah recorded in Bechukotai, Ki Tavo, Nitzavim, and Ha’azinu - and we see that the consolation exceeds the admonition.■
114 YEARS: Celebrating the History
Congregation Zemach Zedek was founded in 1895 in Cleveland by Menachem Mendel Madorsky soon after his arrival from Russia. The humble beginnings were in the rear of a store on East 22nd street and Orange Avenue, near downtown Cleveland. Today this area is the site of Clevelandâ€™s main post office. 11
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Rabbi Elly Jacobs (center) and Rabbi Zalman Kazen (right) gathher in Zemach Zedek sanctuary for a life-cycle event.
many synagogues served the Jewish residents around Coventry, Mayfield, and Lee Roads. Today, Zemach Zedek is proud to be carrying on this tradition of service as the last synagogue west of Lee Road for the remaining Jewish residents in Cleveland Heights.
s the Jewish community migrated further e a s t , Zemach Z e d e k moved as well. At this time in Clevel a n d , many orthodox synagogues were located in converted residential houses. Zemach Zedek moved to just such a house at East 57th and Outhwaite. Later, the synagogue relocated to Parkwood Drive in Cleveland. Major renovations of these houses often took place to accommodate the special needs of 13
As the Jewish community continued moving further eastward in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it appeared Russian immigrants gather at Zemach Zedek that the for a special program. Road The congregation Lee feeds immigrants daily neighborhood and on Shabbat, and soon also distributes food might packages to the needy. be unable to support any an orthodox synagogue. orthodox synagogues. In its various locations However, in the 1970’s, Zemach Zedek was noted a dramatic reversal on for its construction of a the part of the Soviet special balcony section Union permitted the above that surrounded unprecedented release the main synagogue floor of thousands of Russian where the women’s secJewish families. With tion was located. Beautithe help of the Jewish ful chandeliers were also commonly found in the synagogue’s décor.
In 1957, Menachem Mendel’s sons, Jake and Dr. Louis Madorsky, purchased a small group of storefronts on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights where the synagogue has remained to this day to serve the then expanding Jewish community in this neighborhood. During this period,
The Soviet Union had tried to erase Jewish heritage and traditions
Community Federation and other Jewish social service agencies, a number of these families
were to Cleveland.
For many of these families, the Coventry-Mayfield area was their first home in their new country. Zemach Zedek quickly became their first synagogue and Zemach Zedek’s Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen (who both spoke Russian) became their spiritual parents and teachers, offering around the clock counseling and aid and most importantly, a key to understanding the Jewish heritage and traditions that the Soviet Union had tried to erase from their lives. The synagogue’s founder, first President and Cantor, Menachem Mendel Madorsky, came from a small Russian village before the turn of the century. He left Russia, as did many immigrants of this era, to escape serving in the czarist army. Leaving his wife and children in Russia, he came to Cleveland where members of his family had preceded him and took up his life’s occupation as a carpenter. His family followed 1½ years later. The synagogue became his treasured legacy, as he virtually lived there. The love for the Zemach Zedek, also known as, Nusach Ari Shul, was nurtured in all his
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ZEDEK children. Their active interest in maintaining its existence is evident today by the participation of his grand children and great-grand children.
After the passing of Menachem Mendel Madorsky in 1947, the legacy of the synagogue was passed on to his son Jake Madorsky who worked diligently as its president, with the help of his brothers, to uphold the tradition begun 52 years earlier. For many years, Dr. Miller served as vice president. Later, Dr. Louis Madorsky, on the passing of his brother Jake, assumed the family tradition as the synagogue’s president. His brother Dr. Sam Madorsky served as treasurer. After Dr. Sam Madorsky’s passing, Howard Madorsky, a member of the next generation, assumed the duties. Today these duties are shared by Howard and his cousin, Jay Madorsky.
In 1981, the shul at Lee Road experienced its first major expansion when the Russian Immigrant Aid Society rented the adjacent store and converted it to a social hall and library. Many synagogue functions including a weekly Kiddush, Bar Mitzvahs, Bris Milahs and other family simchas have been enjoyed there.
In 1983, Dr. Louis Madorsky and the Board of Directors made
The synagogue b e c a m e Menachem Mendel Madorsky’s t r e a s u r e d l e g a c y, as he virtually lived there
arrangements to pass the legacy and traditions of the synagogue to the younger generation of congregants. Michael Hoen assumed the Presidency, Dr. Reuven Rosenstein became Vice President and Dovid Koplan zt”l became treasurer. Later Dr. Lawrence Porter assumed the duties of treasurer. Dr. Louis Madorsky retained the honored position of President Emeritus. In December of 1983, the main sanctuary of the synagogue w a s dedicated t h e “Menachem M e n d e l Madorsky” sanctuary by his Zemach Zedek was dedicated as the Madorsky building pictured (from left) are Morris and Dr. James Madorsky, sons of Menachem Mendel Madorsky, and grandsons Howard and Larry Madorsky.
children, grand children, and great-grand children; many of whom were present for the occasion. Also in 1983, major interior renovations under the direction of Mr. Leo Bialo and his son Shlomo took place. Complete reconstruction of the mechitza, new flooring and carpeting and the services of a professional artist to restore the woodwork, Aron Kodesh, walls and ceiling were undertaken. Thanks to a grant from the original Zemach Zedek congregation, major repairs were conducted to all the sifrei torah to ensure their continued use. The synagogue gratefully owes its physical existence to the sustained efforts of the Madorsky family, and the membership of the original Zemach Zedek congregation—a lifetime
commitment. However, any synagogue also owes its existence to the many men, women, and children who participate in its daily services and activities over the years. The spiritual existence of a synagogue —the chayus—has been provided by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen who directly overseen all the religious aspects for the past 56 years. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen arrived in Cleveland in 1953. In Russia, Rabbi Kazen was a teacher in the underground Yeshiva movement of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Both of Rabbi Kazen’s parents were imprisoned and died in Soviet prisons for spreading Torah Judaism, as was Rebbetzin Kazen’s father. On their arrival in New York City after fleeing Russia at the end of World War II and living in Poland, Germany,
Celebrating ZEMACH ZEDEK
Czechoslovakia, and France for several years, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (H.I.A.S.) suggested that they and their growing family should settle in Cleveland, Ohio. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen, unfamiliar with Cleveland, sought consultation and advice from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson in Brooklyn, New York. The Rebbe assured them that Cleveland was indeed the place for them to settle. In Cleveland, Rabbi Kazen was directed to the Nusach Ari Shul where he met Jake Madorsky and requested permission to apply for a position as cantor for the upcoming High Holiday season. The synagogue, at this time, was located on Parkwood Drive, a three hour round trip walk for the Rabbi. It was then he discovered that he and the Madorsky family were “landsleit” (kinsman) from Ragackov, Russia.
Rabbi Kazen’s father’s mother was Herschel Madorsky’s daughter. It was also in Cleveland that Rabbi Kazen began to learn the trade of shechita (ritual slaughter). In his first apartment on Kinsman Road, Rabbi Kazen was approached by a committee of men and informed that “America was different” and that it was necessary to shave one’s beard and “fit in” for the sake of his family. He adamantly refused. Menachem Mendel Madorsky proudly wore a full beard his entire life as well. Shortly after Zemach Zedek moved to Cleveland Heights, Rabbi Kazen purchased his current home on Glenmont Road. And Rabbi Kazen has proudly continued to serve the synagogue for the past 56 years. Community service work and love for the
entire Jewish community are the hallmarks of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen’s life’s work. While their seven children were young, Sabbath groups and community outreach work was conducted from their home on Glenmont and from the synagogue on Lee Road.
Then, in the aftermath of the devastating wars in Israel, the Lubavitcher Rebbe called upon all Jews to help care for the physical and spiritual needs of the orphans of these wars. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen formed a committee for the widows and orphans of Israel in Cleveland and they began raising the much-needed funds to carry out this task.
“ ” No one was turned away
Many Jewish families received their first assistance in Cleveland in their home-quietly and with dignity. No one was turned away and no task was too difficult for the Kazens to undertake on behalf of another Jew.
While their children were young, Rebbetzin Kazen was active in raising money for the Kfar Chabad trade schools in Israel. The yearly banquets on their behalf were a fixture in the Jewish life in Cleveland in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Refugees from religious oppression in Russia themselves, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen formed the Russian Immigrant Aid Society in the early 1970’s with Dr. Henry Romberg zt”l as its first president, to assist with the spiritual and physical needs of the enormous influx of Jews from the Soviet Union. At the urging of Rebbetzin Kazen, Dr. Henry Romberg zt”l studied to become a mohel Rabbi Zalman Kazen and he was (left) serves as sandak at a recent i n s t r u m e n t a l (godfather) brit milah at Zemach Zedek. in performing Rebbetzin Shula Kazen hundreds of (right) and her helpers
set up for a Shabbat dinner.
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ZEDEK ritual circumcisions on arriving Russian Jewish men and boys who were not permitted to enter the covenant of Abraham as infants due to the harsh oppression of Jewish practices in the Soviet Union. The center of these activities was always Zemach Zedek. R.I.A.S. continues to provide a multitude of services, from a kosher food bank, ritual circumcisions, w e d d i n g s , bar mitzvahs, Hebrew Academy enrollment, employment counseling, family milestones, and funerals. Every year at Pesach, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen and their assistants, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kravitsky, host Passover seders at Zemach Zedek for the Russian immigrants and the students on various college campuses, many of whom have never been to one before. Classes at Zemach Zedek conducted by Rabbi Kazen offer a unique mixture of English, Yiddish, and Russian Language— virtually simultaneously! Zemach Zedek takes pride in providing daily services three times per dayfor the past 114 years.
Classes in Chassidic Philosophy, Mishneh Torah, Tanya, Bible, Ethics of the Fathers, and Gemorah are offered.
opportunities Jewish children.
For the past three years Zemach Zedek has
Rabbi’s Elly Jacobs and Avrohom Leib Greenberg have been leading the congregation in prayer for the past 15 years. In recent years, Zemach Zedek has attracted a number of students and families to its warm Yiddish atmosphere, many of whom have purchased or rented homes in the area. After 56 years, Zemach Zedek has continued to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen have served Zemach Zedek for the past 56 years.
In the past few years, Zemach Zedek has expanded once again to host the Joseph Weiner Jewish Children’s Learning Center for the Jewish community in the last storefront on Lee Road. Thanks to a generous series of grants by Dr. Robert Weiner and family, Zemach Zedek has begun offering creative learning opportunities for Jewish children, under the inspired direction of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Elly Jacobs. In conjunction with the Tzivos HaShem organization of Cleveland, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Jacobs offer specialized Sabbath and weekday learning
been privileged to be chosen be Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland to construct and light the Giant Chanukah Menorah on Public Square for each of the eight nights of Chanukah under the direction of Rabbi Osher Kravitsky. The light supplied by the menorah truly “lights the darkness” in today’s society and is an inspiration to all who see it. The High Holy Days at Zemach Zedek are truly a unique spiritual experience. Continuing the tradition of cantorial excellence begun by Menachem Mendel Madorsky and continued by Rabbi Zalman Kazen,
grow and become a vital community institution in Cleveland Heights and the congregation looks forward to sharing our future with this community. Congregation Zemach Zedek is justifiably proud of being one of the oldest continually operating Lubavitch nusach ari synagogues in North America, and the membership looks forward to continuing the traditions that have made our small congregation one of the most dynamic and revered synagogues in Cleveland.■ 16
ore than 8 , 5 0 0 Jewish residents w e r e forcefully expelled from their homes in 25 towns and settlements in the
Gaza Strip (including 16 settlements in the flourishing “Gush Katif” belt) and Northern Shomron in the summer of 2005, as part of the Israeli government’s ill-fated “Disengagement Plan.” Av 10 was the deadline set by the governments for all Jews to leave their homes in these areas. Two days
later, tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers began the forceful removal of the thousands who refused to leave willingly. The removal of all Jewish residents from Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip was completed by Av 17, and from Northern Samaria a day later. The army completed its withdrawal from these areas on the
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ZEDEK 8th of Elul, after bulldozing all the hundreds of homes and civic buildings in the settlements. The Jewish dead were disinterred and removed from the cemeteries. Only the synagogues were left standing. The government’s hopes that the “disengagement” would open “new opportunities” in relations with the Palestinian Arabs were bitterly disappointed. No sooner had the last Israeli soldiers departed from the Gaza Strip that Arab mobs began looting, desecrating and torching the synagogues. The vacated settlements became the staging grounds for terrorist attacks against Israel, including the unremitting rocket fire on the nearby Israeli town of Sderot and the cities and settlements of the Western Negev.■
Galut,2005 Post Tish’ah B’Av Thoughts
written by Mendy Hecht What exile?
Where are the bad guys? Where’s the persecution? Where’s the suffering? Those thoughts went through my 10-year-old head that day in yeshivah elementary school when our teacher told us that we Jews are “still in galut (exile).” I didn’t get it. What exile? Growing up in 70’s and 80’s California didn’t seem too bad. Not bad at all. Years later, as an adult, the thought entered my mind that “exile” can be eliminated in the time it takes to buy an El Al plane ticket. Today I understand: Our exile is spiritual. We don’t know who we are. A society Jew invites his day’s movers and shakers to a ball. Tells his shlimazel of a servant to invite his buddy Kamtza. Servant gets the name wrong. Invites Bar Kamtza. Problem. Our society Jew hates Bar Kamtza. Sees him at his party. Raises a stink. Bar Kamtza tries to reason, offers to pay for his food, for the whole party, just to avoid the humiliation. Bar Kamtza gets bodily bounced out. The rabbis present don’t protest. Bar Kamtza gets angry. Slanders Jews to the Romans. Romans destroy Jerusalem. Exile begins. That’s the story as they teach it straight from the Talmud. “The Temple was destroyed by sinat chinam [“baseless hatred”--as epitomized by the host’s hatred of Bar Kamtza].” But it wasn’t just hatred. There’s another element here--resentment. Bar Kamtza was the host’s enemy, but the host was not Bar Kamtza’s enemy. The host hated Bar Kamtza--just hated him. But Bar Kamtza did not hate the host.
So for Bar Kamtza, who very well may have been a wonderful person, it’s too much. “I offer to pay for the entire party, and he still just hates so much that he just wants me out? And the big rabbis just sit there and do nothing?” The dark fire of resentment was kindled in Bar Kamtza’s heart--corrosive, all-destroying resentment. And it took him. And took his people down. But he didn’t care. All because of resentment. The real “baseless hatred.” Beware its volcanic power. Its effects span millennia. That’s why we’re here. We’re still resenting. Those who lived through the Holocaust era, whether on American or European soil, have lived through persecution. But many of my generation have been spoiled. I certainly have been. Throughout every era of Jewish history, bad things happened on Tish’ah B’Av. For those Holocaust-era Jews, this truism is ever immediate. For us young ones, though, not necessarily. But today, Jewish soldiers shatter Jewish hearts (both others’ and their own) while Arabs dance in a CNN Special Report from the Gaza Strip, right on my computer screen. It’s Tish’ah B’Av, alright. For real.■
THREE DIVINE ECHOES:
Singularity, Plurality & Oneness Based on the Chassidic discourse Heichaltzu 5659 by Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch; adaptation by Yanki Tauber.
ear O Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one (â€œechadâ€? Deuteronomy 6:4
We usually think of the cosmic struggle in terms of good versus evil. But according to the Kabbalists, good and evil are but spin-offs of unity and divisiveness. G-d is the ultimate oneness, and everything G-dly in our world bears the stamp of His unity. Evil, simply stated, is the distortion of
this oneness by the veil of divisiveness in which G-d shrouds His creation. Creation, as described in the teachings of Kabbalah, is an evolution from the utterly singular to the plural and dichotomous. The entirety of existence originates as the divine yen to create -- a desire as singular as its Conceiver. But latent in this desire is also another face of the divine -- the infinite possibilities implicit in G-dâ€™s unlimited potential. Thus, the singular desire for creation gives birth to our plural world, a world whose immense detail and complexity bespeak the infinite potential of its Creator.
None of this, in and of itself, is the negative phenomenon we call evil. Yet the seeds for evil are here. Plurality begets divisiveness, and divisiveness begets conflict. As long as a plural reality still echoes its singular source, divisiveness will not take root and spawn strife; but with the development of each particular entity in the diversity of creation into a self that is distinct of the cosmic whole, divisiveness/ strife/evil rears its head. How does one restore the divine unity to a fragmented world? By delving even further into its plurality.
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ZEDEK For such is the paradox of life: the more something is broken down to its particulars, the more we uncover opportunities for unity. Take, for example, two physical substances. Your five senses perceive them as different and unconnected; but place them under a microscope and you will discover that they are comprised of similar components -- they might even share an element or two. The deeper you delve, descending to the molecular, atomic, and sub-atomic levels, the more unanimity you will find -- and the more ways you will discover to harness these diverse substances toward a singular end. Or take two nations: on the surface, their goals and aspirations run counter to each other, giving rise to conflict and strife. But dissect these goals item by item, and you will inevitably find areas in which they overlap and complement each other. This common ground may cover but five percent of each nationâ€™s collective will, but a beachhead of harmony has been achieved. Delve deeper yet, and this beachhead can be expanded. Explore the inner workings of each individual of each nationâ€™s millions,
and the countless particulars of each individualâ€™s will, and additional areas of common interest and mutual dependency will come to light. The differences will remain, but instead of fueling strife, they will serve as the building blocks of harmonious coexistence. Thus we introduce a new factor into the cosmic equation: harmony. We evolve from the ultimate singularity to plurality to diversity, but diversity need not disintegrate into strife. Instead, the diversity can be further dissected into the ingredients of harmony -a harmony t h a t mirrors the singularity out of w h i c h the entire process was born.
A harmonious world, however, does more than reflect the tranquil singularity of its origins; it reaches beyond it to uncover a new, hitherto unexpressed, face of the divine reality. Life on earth is more than the endeavor to come full circle, to undo creation by restoring its primordial unity. The descent from singularity into diversity is an investment, and (like any self-respecting investor) G-d expects to realize a profit from His outlay. The profit is harmony, which is
CHASSIDIC MASTERS a deeper, truer expression of the divine unity than the pre-creation singularity. If there is one phrase that encapsulates the Jewish faith, it is the Shema, the verse recited by the Jew every morning and evening of his life, and the last words to issue from his dying lips: “Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one.” But why, ask our sages, does the verse employ the Hebrew word echad (“one”) to connote G-d’s unity? The word “one” can also be used to refer to something that is one of a series (as in “one, two, three...”), or to something composed of several components (as in “one loaf of bread,” “one human being,” “one community”). G-d’s unity transcends such “oneness”, as Maimonides states in the opening chapter of his Mishneh Torah. Would not the Hebrew word yachid (“singular,” “only one”) have been more appropriate? But singularity is a challengeable oneness, a oneness that may be obscured by the emergence of plurality. As we have seen, when G-d’s infinite potential is expressed in the countless particulars of a diverse creation, this results in a concealment of His 21
oneness. The life-endeavor of the Jew is to effect a truer expression of G-d’s oneness -- the oneness of echad. Echad is the oneness of harmony: not a oneness which negates plurality (and which plurality therefore
If there is one phrase that encapsulates the Jewish faith, it is the Shema
obscures), but a oneness that employs plurality as the implement of unity.
Ultimately, the unknowable, indefinable essence of G-d transcends and embraces both singularity and plurality. Neither description -- by virtue of its being a description -- can be attributed to Him; nor can either be dis-attributed to Him, since, ultimately, a dis-attribution would be as much a definition (that is, the identification of areas to which His reality does or does not extend) as an attribution. So our reality cannot -- indeed, no reality can -express His quintessential truth. But it can express certain elements of it, elements His truth includes
by virtue of its non-definitive all-inclusiveness. Three such elements find expression in the various stages of creation: a) G-d’s singularity -expressed in the featureless, objectless reality that precedes, transcends and pervades creation. b) His infinite potential -- expressed in the vastly particular world He created. c) The divine harmony we manifest by effecting a synthesis and unanimity of purpose in G-d’s diverse creation. Of the three, harmony is the deepest expression of G-d’s truth. For its echad-oneness embraces the polar phenomena of singularity and plurality, expressing the truth that the divine reality cannot be confined to either mode of being. When man, confronted with a fragmented and strife-torn world, responds by extracting the potential for harmony implicit therein, he elevates creation beyond its surface plurality, beyond even its singular origins, fashioning it into a model of the quintessential unity of its Creator.■
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FAMILY PA R S H A H written by Malka Touger
throwing a ball against the wall; the harder you throw, the harder the ball bounces back. So, the louder you call out, the more powerful are the sound waves and the more powerfully they will bounce back when they meet something hard which they cannot penetrate. When the sound waves bounce back, they create an echo.
The boys from Bunk Twelve were hiking down a mountain trail. After a while, they came to a clearing with cliffs on either side. “Hello,” shouted out Mia. “Hello, Hello,” came the answer as Mia’s voice bounced back and forth from cliff to cliff. Soon the entire bunk was doing it. The valley became filled with the echoing of the campers’ voices as each one tried out his vocal chords. “Why do some echoes last longer than others?” Leah asked his counselor, Rachel. “It depends on how loudly you shout,” Rachel explained. “Creating an echo is like
“Calling out in the mountains is liking throwing a ball in a ball court where you have one wall in front of you and one wall behind you. The ball will continue bouncing back and forth until its strength ebbs away. Here too, the voices continue to bounce from one cliff to another until they lose their strength. The stronger the voice, the longer it will continue to echo.” “Wait a minute,” Leah said. “I remember, you said that when G-d gave the Ten Commandments, He spoke and there was no echo. G-d surely spoke very loudly. According to what you just explained, His voice should still be echoing throughout the world.” “Now,
LESSON question,” Rachel replied, smiling. “But you forgot one thing. I said that sound waves bounce back when they meet something they cannot penetrate. Our sages explain that there was a miracle and G-d’s voice did not have an echo. It did not bounce away from the world. Instead, it sounded from one end of the world to the other, and the world absorbed G-d’s voice. “When G-d gave the Ten Commandments, He intentionally changed the rules of nature. His voice changed the world, making it ready to receive holiness. Ever since then, doing a good deed blends in with the nature of the world; it helps the world follow the voice of G-d which it accepted at the time of the giving of the Torah.” “The same is true when we study the Torah. We are not just learning laws and ideas. We want the Torah to seep into us and be absorbed in our innermost selves, changing the way we think and feel. The Torah should not bounce back, away from us. It should become part of our nature.”■ 22
A Ta s t e o f Shabbat CRANBERRY KUGEL
Crust: 1 cup flour 1 cup Quaker oats, not instant 1 stick margarine 2/3 cup brown sugar 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon Filling: 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce 2 peeled apples, sliced thin Mix crust ingredients by hand until crumbly. Grease 9 x 9-inch pan and line bottom with half of mixture. Save other half. Pour filling on top of crust. Add remaining crust on top of crust. Bake at 350Â° for 1 hour.
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