Bamidbar • May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 • Shavuot begins Saturday night • Torah columns pages 16–17 • Luach page 16 • Vol 17, No 19
The Newspaper of our Orthodox communities
Eternal Jerusalem By Jeff Dunetz Jewish Star columnist Who says the age of miracles is over? Seventy years to the day after President Harry Truman ignored the warnings of the State Department and some of America’s European allies and recognized the creation of the first Jewish nation in 2,000 years, we are witness to another miracle. Again over the objections of some in the State Department and of our allies in Europe, a United States president has become the first world leader to move a nation’s embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state. The May 14th gathering was more than a building dedication; for Jews it was an incredibly emotional experience. Just as a compass always points to the north, the heart of a Jew always looks to Jerusalem. As it is said, Israel is the
America’s back in town: At the opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem (from left), Rabbi Zalman Wolowik of Cedarhurst delivered an invocation, Ambassador David Friedman of Woodsburgh was MC, and PM Netanyahu spoke.
heart of the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, and Mount Moriah is the heart of Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Long Islander David Friedman, MC’d the 90-minute event that featured speeches by presidential adviser Jared Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and two songs by Israeli singer Hagit Yaso including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” “On this exact day 70 years ago, at almost this exact time, David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence,” Freedman began. President Trump addressed the crowd of about a 1,000 via video. He said that he saw the embassy move as a first step toward peace. “Our greatest hope is for peace,” Trump said. “The United States remains fully comSee Eternal Jerusalem on page 7
History lesson, applause for Trump as Touro marks J’Day in Five Towns Rabbis Aryeh Lebowitz (left) and Tzvi Flaum spoke about Jersualem at the Young Israel of Woodmere. The Jewish Star / Ed Weintrob
By Ed Weintrob A motzei Shabbat history lesson that tracked the Jewish connection to Jerusalem over the millennia was capped with a “thank you” to President Trump on the eve of the opening of the new U.S. embassy. The Yom Yerushalayim event, at the Young Israel of Woodmere, was sponsored by Touro College. “No matter what you want to say about
him, this is the first president to say that Yerushalayim is the eternal capital of eretz Yisroel,” said Rabbi Tzvi Flaum, mashgiach ruchani at the Lander College for Women. Rabbi Flaum referenced the views of leading rebbeim over the centuries on the propriety of Jews resettling in eretz Yisroel and of a Jewish government being established there. The Six-Day War, which returned the
Gaza bloodshed buys time for failing Hamas By Yaakov Lappin, JNS Four years after the end of its last armed conflict with Israel, Hamas once again finds itself in the corner, strategically isolated from the region, ruling over a sinking ship. Hamas’s efforts to find a “big brother” in the area—a state power that could back it—have all ended in failure. The Sunni Arab world, which is busy dealing with Iran and its own domestic crises, has no patience for Hamas’s hardline Islamist
5T rabbi gives invocation at new embassy
analysis ideology, and its recipe for never-ending conflict with Israel. Still, Hamas needs a backer if it is to maintain its regime in Gaza; it’s looking for a power that can promote its interests in the international arena. Hamas’s failure to find such an entity has driven it into the hands of Iran and Hezbollah—into the arms of Shi’ite actors
holiest sites to Jewish hands, and Israel’s ability to fight wars and protect Jews “on levels we never had in 2,000 years,” are signs that we are moving from a state of galus to one of geullah. “This can only be the yad of Hakadosh Baruch Hu,” he said. The evening’s second speaker, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, rav of Beis HaKnesses of North Woodmere, reminded that it’s a mitzvah to live in eretz Yisroel. “We should move to Israel, or at the very least, be proud of those who do,” he said.
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces at the Gaza strip border on May 11.
who are by no means natural friends of Sunni Islamist Hamas. Hamas has moved closer to Iran simply because there’s no one else. Even Turkey, a Sunni Islamist state that is sympathetic to Hamas, is too distant to
make a significant difference, or alleviate the pressure on it. Egypt vehemently rejects the idea of partnering with Hamas, correctly viewing it as a member of the same Muslim Brotherhood movement that the Egyptian
leadership has waged war on for years. From the perspective of Egypt’s current leadership, Hamas will always be a part of the enemy. The Persian Gulf economic powerhouse, Qatar, does provide some funds to See Gaza on page 8
Monday’s dedication of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem began with an invocation by Rabbi Zalman Wolowik of Five Towns Chabad, a longtime Torah-study partner of U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, a resident of Woodsburgh. Emphasizing Jerusalem’s place as the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Rabbi Wolowik noted that “truth is not determined by popular opinion—it is eternal not ephemeral, unchanging not relative. Truth stands the test of time. While empires, ideologies and philosophies rise and fall, the Jewish people’s attachment to this holy city has never waned or faltered—it is truth.”
Fact Sheet: Embassy relocation to J’salem
University: Making an Impact
By The Israel Project via JNS Key Facts 1. The embassy move reflects the law. It is a bipartisan effort that has enjoyed cross-party political support in the United States and Israel for decades. 2. Jerusalem is the legitimate, undivided capital of Israel. Non-recognition was an aberration; Israel was the only country with no capital recognized by the United States. 3. Israel, like any other nation, has the right to choose its capital. Israel’s historic ties to Jerusalem, which date back more than 3,000 years, cannot be rewritten by international institutions. 4. Notwithstanding the embassy relocation, the U.S. does not take a position on the final status of Jerusalem. The United States supports two states for two people. 5. The new embassy is located at an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood, reflecting continuity of U.S. policy on Jerusalem. 6. The U.S. government in its decision to relocate the embassy cannot be held hostage by Palestinian incitement. 7. Recognition reinforces Israel’s role in guaranteeing religious freedom in Jerusalem for all faiths. The Embassy Act: A Bipartisan Effort The announcement implements bipartisan congressional requirements first passed into law more than 20 years ago in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which were subsequently reinforced in multiple bipartisan motions—most recently in summer of 2017. Republicans and Democrats in the House, the Senate and the White House have long supported the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The president is simply enacting the law. The Law •In 1990, Congress overwhelmingly adopted bipartisan resolutions (H.Con.Res. 290 and S.Con.Res. 106), which acknowledged that Jerusalem “is and should remain the capital of the State of Israel.” •Jerusalem Embassy Act, November 1995: “Statement of the Policy of the United States: (1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected. (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” •Congress overwhelmingly adopted the FY 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 2002, which requires all government-funded documents that list countries and their capitals to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. •Res. 176: A resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, June 2017: “The Senate … reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 as United States law, and calls upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions.”
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Bipartisan Political Support President Donald Trump, December 2017: “We finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. … I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” •Sen. Charles Schumer, Senate Democratic leader, October 2017: “Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and show the world that the U.S. definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” •Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, senior member of the senate Foreign Relations Committee, December 2017: “I welcome the announcement from the President affirming established U.S. law that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the Embassy of the United States should reside in the capital. I have always supported moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, and have always said it is not a matter of “if” but “when.” Jerusalem: The Legitimate, Undivided Capital of Israel For more than 3,000 years, Jerusalem has played a central role in the history and identity of the Jewish people. Numerous archaeological excavations have established an undeniable physical, historical and symbolic link between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The long-overdue decision to relocate the embassy reflects the reality on the ground by recognizing that Jerusalem is where Israel’s capital is located, as indeed it has been since 1950. It is the location of parliament, the High Court and Prime Minister’s Office, as well as most major ministries and national institutions. Fighting the International Delegitimization Campaign Israel, like all other nations in the world, has the right to choose its own capital. Israel was the only country with no capital recognized by the United States, an aberration unless you apply double-standards to the only Jew among nations. In December 2016, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution severing Israel’s right to Jerusalem. The resolution fueled even more aggressive anti-Israel efforts, including by UNESCO, which promotes anti-Semitic positions, denying any Jewish connections to Jerusalem. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital lays the groundwork for fighting these and similar measures across international forums. •Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni ahead of UNESCO’s vote on a resolution calling to recognize Hebron’s Old City—and with it the Cave of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, June 2017: “I lead the opposition in Israel, but not an opposition to the history of my people nor an opposition to the truth (…) These resolutions won’t harm my people’s ties to these sites, See Embassy to J’salem on page 3
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THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
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By Jeffrey Bessen, Nassau Herald Four-hundred-fifty people came out to support the work of Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) on May 9. The seventh annual Five Towns and Greater South Shore dinner at the Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst raised about $300,000. There are 205 active-duty IDF “Lone Soldiers” — personnel who do not have immediate family in Israel — from New York state, many of from Long Island. “These funds go to the soldiers,” said event emcee and Lawrence resident Benjamin Brafman. “Without the soldiers we don’t have eretz Yisroel,” he added. Four Lawrence residents were honored for their support of the FIDF. The man who piloted the lead airplane involved in the 1976 rescue at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport spoke on behalf of the IDF. Ariel and Baruch Glaubach received the FIDF’s Keepers of the Flame Award. The Spirit of Israel Award went to Perri and Daniel Moskovic, the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and lifelong Five Towners. Noting the yellow symbol that Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, Daniel Moskovic said, “The yellow star of David was replaced with the blue and white of Israel.”
FIDF raises 300K in 5T
power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.” New Embassy: Relocated in a Historic Place The new embassy is located at an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem, an area which has been in the hands of Israel since 1948. The building crosses the “1967 lines,” but without touching territory that would be reserved for a Palestinian state; it crosses into what used to be called “no-man’s land,” in between the territory Israelis and Jordanians respectively held 1948-1967. Today, Arnona is situated between the neighborhoods of Talpiot and Ramat Rachel. •Daniel B. Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, wrote in Foreign Policy in January 2017: The presence of a U.S. Embassy in parts of Jerusalem no one disputes are Israeli territory is one way of acknowledging the centuries of history that link the Jewish people to the city, the questioning of which is closely linked to the denial of Israel’s very legitimacy. Palestinian Incitement: No Obstacle to Relocation The decision to relocate the embassy has for too long been held-off by misplaced concerns over Palestinian rejectionism and incitement. The Palestinian leadership’s denial of the Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem, as well as their encouragement and reward for terror, constitute the greatest obstacle to peace. •Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, December 2017: “Policies should not be dictated by threats and intimidation. If violence is the only argument against moving the embassy to Jerusalem, then it only proves it is the right thing to do.” •Joshua S. Block, CEO and president of The Israel Project, wrote in The Algemeiner in October 2017: “Moving the embassy isn’t the reason that Palestinian leaders continue to spew out a constant barrage of poison against the Jews. The resentment is far more deep-rooted than that, propagated by central political institutions and celebrated on Palestinian streets. When you name public squares and women centers after terrorists, you are encouraging a culture of hatred. When you celebrate suicide bombers as “martyrs” and role models for Palestinians, you are glorifying violence. When you deny Israel’s right to exist, you are preaching a genocidal ideology.” Israel’s guarantees religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem Israel reunified Jerusalem in 1967, and removed barriers and divisions within Jerusalem, reunited the city and allowed free movement and worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians. That reversed previous policies in which Jerusalem was closed to all Israelis and Jews, and in which Jewish holy sites were desecrated and destroyed. In a gesture of peace, Israel allowed the Waqf (Muslim religious authorities) to retain its authority over the Temple Mount under the aegis of Jordan.
Continued from previous page but they will harm UNESCO and the ability to advance shared efforts. This is not the way. It prevents cooperation, the kind we are trying to do here today.” U.S. Support for Two States for Two People Under the Oslo Accords, Jerusalem is a finalstatus issue which can and will be negotiated between the parties. The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate its embassy is not a position on the final status of Jerusalem; neither is it a recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim for their future capital. The Trump administration has repeatedly stressed its support for the two-state-solution and its hopes that the decision will inject new momentum into the stalled peace process. The White House is currently working on a widereaching peace plan. •President Donald Trump, December 2017: “The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my
May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem sits on a traffic circle recently named for President Donald Trump. The compound is in the middle of Arnona, a quiet residential neighborhood in the city’s south. Ben Sales
Oy, the traffic! Not in my backyard?
removed from the city center, accessible by only By Ben Sales, JTA JERUSALEM — As he strolled on his leafy, a couple of bus lines. Founded about a century narrow street overlooking what is now the Unit- ago, it’s home to about 12,000 people, mostly ed States Embassy in Israel, Ben Katz stepped families, kids and senior citizens, both religious back to dodge the side-view mirror of an oncom- and secular Jews. The embassy building opened here as a consulate in 2010, supplementing the ing truck, which had jutted onto the sidewalk. A few hundred feet past Katz’s garden apart- older U.S. consulate in central Jerusalem. On the hilltops next to Arnona, and farther from ment, four security guards lounged under a tent. Below them, adjacent to a walking path leading the embassy, are the Arab neighborhoods of Sur Bato a small park, was the U.S. diplomatic com- her and Jabel Mukaber. Residents say one-on-one relations between Arabs and Jews are good — and pound that, on Monday, became the embassy. “For practical purposes, it’s a question of just unlikely to be damaged by the embassy’s move. Dehow the entire neighborhood is going to adjust spite the headlines, they feel that Arabs and Jews in SILHOUETTE WINDOW SHADINGS AND ® Jerusalem are interacting more and more. to more people passing throughSHADINGS and that much SILHOUETTE WINDOW AND LUMINETTE PRIVACY SHEERS ® SILHOUETTE WINDOW SHADINGS AND PRIVACY SHEERS LUMINETTE “Eighty percent of my customers are Palestinmore going on,” said Katz, 29, an American imLUMINETTE PRIVACY SHEERS ians,” said Naomi Elook, 64, migrant who has lived in who owns a health clinic overJerusalem since 2012 and looking the embassy and who moved to the neighborSave now on Hunter Douglas window fashions. learned Arabic to communihood last year. “It’s much Save nowwindow on Hunter Douglas window Light-diffusing fashions from Hunter Douglas let youfashions. design with soft light. cate better with her clientele. less of an issue of politics Enjoy generouswindow rebatesfashions on qualifying April 14–June 25, 2018. 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A few days Sun: Closed President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize before the embassy’s opening, streets were empty as workers hung Israeli flags from lampposts and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 516-594-6010 But in Arnona, the neighborhood surround- cleared the sidewalks of dirt. Distinctive Window Fashions 516-594-6010 www.distinctivewindowfashions. “The residents of Arnona didn’t bring the eming the embassy, residents sounded unconcerned 3233 Oceanside Rd www.distinctivewindowfashions. by the embassy’s historical significance, and un- bassy here, they didn’t ask for it, and the resiOceanside, NY ruffled about its potential to spark riots. Most dents of Sur Baher understand that,” said Alon, of them supported the move, as do the majority 62, a journalist who has lived in the neighbor*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 4/14/18–6/25/18 from participating dealers in the U.S. only. Offer excludes of Israelis. 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Additional limitations may apply. forofdetails and reward rebate form. would disturb their quiet surroundings — bring- so the politicians won’t succeed in disturbing us and mailed within 4 weeks of rebate claim receipt. Funds do not expire. Subject to applicable law, a $2.00 monthly fee will be assessed against card ©2018 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners. 18Q2NPS&LC3 Closed ing more cars and higher rents — but also bring and messing up our lives.” • andValances •Sun: Wood Blinds Roman balance Draperies 6 months after card issuance each month thereafter. Additional limitations may apply. Ask•participating dealer for Shades details and rebate form. ©2018 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners. 18Q2NPS&LC3 The move will concretely disturb the lives of in more customers to shops and restaurants. Roller Shades • Zebra Shades “It will affect the roads — that’s what we’re at least some Arnona locals. Several hundred el516-594-6010 worried about, the residents,” said Yehezkel Bal- derly immigrants from the former Soviet Union www.distinctivewindowfashions. as, 67, a building contractor who lives in Arnona live in public housing in the Diplomat Hotel, a Lenny Koegel • Daniel Simon • 516-594-6010 and whose son owns a bakery here. “There will property next to the embassy that the U.S. govSince 1988 • DistinctiveWindowFashions.com be more traffic on the road. And for business it ernment purchased in 2014. As the embassy exwill only do good. There will be more people, pands, the immigrants will have to move out. But naturally, and more demand for apartments for even so, at least one of them sounded as noncha*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 4/14/18–6/25/18 from participating dealers in the U.S. only. 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tugal, Australia, Poland, and Sweden. Only four U.S. senators (Ted Cruz, Dean Heller, Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee) and ten congressmen attended (they were all Republicans). Per Senator Graham no one, Republican or Democrat, had been specifically invited to the ceremony, they simply chose to come or they did not. Monday’s ceremony was not an end, it was the beginning of a new period in eretz Yisroel. Whether or not it brings peace as the president contends won’t be known for a very long time. But with enough prayer, the words of the song “Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu, Od Yavo Saalam Aleinu,” performed by Hagit Yaso during the ceremony, will indeed come true: Peace will soon be upon us. Peace will soon be upon us. Peace will soon be upon us.
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THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
Continued from page 1 mitted to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, and we continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.” “This city and its entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people,” Trump continued. “The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace.” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, special assistant and designated Middle East peace negotiator, said that “we believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give — so that all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams.” “Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” Kushner said. “Israel proves every day the boundless power of freedom,” he continued. “This land is the only land in the Middle East in which Jews, Muslims and Christians, and people of all faiths, participate and worship freely according to their beliefs. Israel protects women’s rights, freedom of speech, and the right of every individual to reach their G-d-given potential.” Kushner got a standing ovation when he mentione Trump’s withdrawal one week earlier from the Iran nuclear deal, calling that agreement “flawed” and “one-sided.” Sadly, while the celebration was going on, a long-promised violent Hamas protest at the Gaza border was also underway. Israeli warnings for the protesters not to rush the border fence were ignored, and IDF soldiers were forced to protect their country. Reportedly, more than four dozen people were killed, and over 2,000 were injured. A common narrative in U.S. mainstream media blamed the violence on the embassy move even though, long before the opening was scheduled, Hamas was planning weeks of violent protests leading up “Nabka Day” on May 15. On that day, Palestinians commemorate the “catastrophe” of the creation of the modern state of Israel on that day on the secular calendar in 1948. “Those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Kushner said. Netanyahu began with praise for the U.S. States. “We have no better friends in the world,” he said. “You stand for Israel, and you stand for Jerusalem. Thank you. Your presence here today is a testament to the importance of this occasion, not only for the Trump administration but in a very personal way for you. For you, each of you, for the pursuit of peace, and for President Trump himself. Thank you.” He told the story of growing up near where the new embassy is located, but then it was empty land. His mother would warn not to go near that area. “This was near the border. It was exposed to sniper fire. That was then. This is now, today. Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.” Netanyahu spoke of the history of Jerusalem leading up to that historic day during the SixDay-War when an Israeli soldier spoke those three beautiful Hebrew words, “Har ha’bayit be’yadeinu,” (“The Temple Mount is in our hands”), words that lifted the spirit of the entire nation and Jews around the world. As he wrapped up he quoted the Prophet Zachariah, “So said the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.’ May the opening of this embassy in this city spread the truth far and wide, and may the truth advance a lasting peace between Israel and all our neighbors. He finished by asking for heavenly blessings for Israel, and the U.S., and with the Shehecheyanu prayer. Of the 86 national diplomatic corps who received an invitation to the embassy opening, 40 attended, including the ambassadors from Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, and Romania. Among the countries that said no were Russia, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Mexico, Por-
May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
Gaza mayhem… Continued from page 1 Gaza, but not enough to change the status quo. Hamas knows it remains utterly isolated. In recent months, the head of its political bureau, Yayha Sinwar, launched a genuine effort to end this deep freeze. He initiated a reconciliation process with the Palestinian Authority, which Hamas violently ousted from Gaza in 2007. Contrary to initial impressions, this effort at reconciliation was not a show; it was a real strategy designed to get Hamas out of its corner. Yet this effort failed to overcome the intrinsic enmity that exists between the P.A. and Hamas. The hatred runs deep enough for P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas to refuse sick Gazans treatment in West Bank hospitals, and to try and choke off Gaza’s electricity needs. In addition to these mammoth challenges, Hamas is broke. It is struggling to fund its extensive armed wing. It is struggling to fund its government programs. And a growing percentage of the Gazan people are finding it hard to avoid the conclusion that they have no real future under Hamas rule. Out of Gaza’s estimated 2 million inhabitants, a fraction has taken part in the border incidents—a reflection of the clear understanding held by the majority of Gazans that Hamas is cynically seeking to use them to achieve its goals. Most Gazans have simply stayed away, preferring to avoid the risk. After almost a decade of rule, Hamas has finally learned that being a government is a complex business. It has people to take care of, a 43 percent unemployment rate to deal with, and Islamic State-affiliated armed groups to police. This was not the vision it had when it overthrew the Fatah-controlled P.A. to take over Gaza in 2007. Sinwar, alongside senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh, understands that Hamas is in trouble, and that the time has come to do something.
Thousands of protesters mass at the Gaza border fence, as seen from the Israeli side of the border on May 14.
Three options to ward off collapse The problem, from Hamas’s perspective, is that its options are extremely limited. When its leadership looks inside of the tool kit, it finds a mostly empty case. Hamas has roughly three available options going forward. The first is to agree to the P.A.’s demands to disband its armed wing in Gaza. Abbas will not agree to any reconciliation arrangement that leaves Hamas’s armed wing intact and independent of P.A. command. The idea of the P.A. receiving political, but no security control, of Gaza—an offer known as the “Hezbollah model,” based on Hezbollah’s monopoly of military power in Lebanon—has been completely rejected by the P.A. The second option is the most radical: war with Israel. This is always a possibility. Since 2014, Hamas has been involved in a highly organized build-up of its forces, investing in the armed
wing and preparing for combat with Israel. Yet it is safe to assume, when Sinwar sits in his office pondering war, that he is bound to ask himself what can come out of it. After dragging Gaza through another period of deadly destruction and engaging in battle against a militarily superior foe, what will he have to show for it? It is obvious to him that the answer is nothing. That is why Hamas has chosen the third option: protest and violent rioting. This is what is currently unfolding along the Israeli-Gaza border—also known as ‘popular’ protest. By mobilizing masses of Gazans to the fence and ordering them to attempt mass infiltrations of the Israeli border, Hamas thinks it can gain goals, without risking much. It is fully aware that Israel cannot take chances, and that it must defend its villages and fields located just hundreds of yards from the border. A violent mob of thousands potentially breaching the fence would include a mixture of unarmed rioters and attackers with knives, grenades and even guns, and they would waste little time in seeking to overrun a nearby Israeli kibbutz. The proximity of Israel’s villages to the border means that the Israel Defense Forces cannot take the risk of allowing this to happen. The highly disturbing results of Hamas’s maneuvers are visible to all. But from Hamas’s perspective, this is the way to achieve a number of key goals. The first of these goals is to try and retain its government in Gaza and spread its political control further, to include Judea and Samaria [the territories], and Palestinians abroad. Hamas’s vision of representing all Palestinians in place of the P.A. has never vanished. It is prepared to accept that this can take a decade or 15 years to achieve. Additionally, Hamas is seeking legitimacy among the Palestinian public. The terror group’s Among those representing the Five Towns at the embassy opening (from greatest fear is that its own people in Gaza will turn left): Cindy Grosz, Shalom Jacobs, Gidon Shema and Chabad Rabbi Zalon it. The “popular” protest model is Hamas’s way man Wolowik, who delivered the opening invocation. of maneuvering out of this threat by diverting civilian distress outwards, rather than inwards. Israel and the P.A. make prime targets for the frustrated energy building up in Gaza. The international attention these incidents garner is also seen as a plus by Hamas. Still, the organization is aware of the fact that these protests will not solve any of its basic problems. Ultimately, therefore, Hamas is playing for time. It needs time for something else to take place, which it believes will take it out of its predicament. Dedicated to armed conflict Ultimately, Hamas’s distress stems from a paradox of its own making. On the one hand, it is a government in charge of a territorial area, and a movement that is deeply entrenched in Palestinian civil society. On the other, at the ideological level, Hamas’s current modus Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of only 10 congressmembers reported operandi keeps it dedicated to armed conflict, and to have gone to the embassy opening, is pictured there with PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Sarah Netanyahu, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner. to investing huge sums, at the expense of Gaza’s civilian population, into the heavily armed terroristguerilla army it has built in Gaza. Managing this dissonance on a daily basis is what Hamas does. It continues to dig combat tunnels, manufacture rockets, train its battalions and threaten war, while also managing Gaza’s daily affairs. One of Hamas’s goals in initiating this border violence is for the unrest to spread to the Judea and Samaria. The IDF has reinforced its units there in preparation for such possibilities. Yet Israeli forces are also intent on allowing Palestinians their right to protest as long as these events do not turn into clashes. So far, it appears as if Palestinians outside of Gaza have not played along with Hamas’s intifada script. While this may yet change, so far, at least, it is welcome news.
Five Towners in Jerusalem
Enemy at the gate IDF posted this to illustrate how close the violence-plaugued Gaza border fence is to life inside Israel. “These violent riots are happening just outside of Israeli communities. How would you feel if this was in your backyard?”
Long Island rep at opening
Next up for J: Guatemala The movement of embassies won’t stop with America’s. As Guatemala prepared to return its embassy to Jerusalem on Wednesday, the Old City walls were illuminated with flags of Guatemala, Israel, and the U.S. Sasson Tiram
Photo by Flash90
U.S. embassy’s first minyan
From des Moines
david jay kauFMan
Anti-Semitism test: 1. Does the person commenting on the Israeli-Gaza situation insist that only if enough Israelis die first, can Israel justify using force to stop Palestinians trying to kill Israelis. 2. Does the person commenting insist that these are non-violent protests even though militants using explosives and, on multiple occasions, gunfire, have approached the border fence to try to breach it while others throw Molotov cocktails to set people on fire and launch burning kites to set fields on fire? 3. Does the person commenting argue that Israel does not need to stop people pledging to kill any Israelis that they encounter, once they cross the border into Israel, from crossing the border into Israel? 4. Does the person argue that because Israel has fighter jets that it is not allowed to defend its citizens against people who want to blow them up with homemade bombs? 5. Does the person cite the ages of those killed by Israel but offer no criticism of Hamas for involving them in a dangerous violent protest or even encouraging them to endanger their lives by trying to breach the border?
6. Does the person totally ignore the meaning of “March of Return,” which is so named to indicate a desire to invade en masse what organizers claim as Palestinian territory — all of Israel — overwhelming Israeli defenses and destroying the Jewish state? ••• Israel has two options — use whatever means is necessary to stop those who want to kill Israeli civilians, or allow them to do so. Israel can either stop them from breaching the border, resulting in deaths only of those involved in the attempt, or, failing that, Israeli soldiers and civilians will face hostile mobs including terrorists charging into their communities and will need to consider all of them an immediate threat. The result would be far more bloodshed and involve far more civilians on both sides. This is an awful situation, friends, it is. It is horrible that so many people are dying and so many of them too young. But if you simply blame Israel for all of this, you are engaging in unfairly blaming Israel and almost certainly in promoting Jew hatred. And if you are doing so because your news network or media source has portrayed the situation much as I described above, it says quite a lot about your media sources. David Jay Kaufman is spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Jeshurun (Reform) in Des Moines, and co-founder of We Are Israel (Centrist Advocates for Realistic Peace). Published at Facebook.com/DavidJayKaufman
‘Optics will reverberate well beyond today’ is unnecessarily inflammatory and plays By Israel Policy Forum Today is a significant, historic day in Israel into the hands of those seeking to stoke tenand throughout the Jewish world. It is 70 years sions. This move, which was always guarto the day since Israel declared its indepen- anteed to ratchet up tensions and make the dence. The United States has formally moved resumption of productive Israeli-Palestinian its embassy to Jerusalem, thereby recogniz- negotiations far more difficult, could have ing Israel’s true capital and the country’s right been done in a way that would have mini— like any sovereign nation — to determine mized the damage rather than exacerbate it. As Israel’s leaderwhere that capital should be ship and top American located. Yet, today is also a officials celebrate in missed opportunity to afJerusalem, dozens of firm that American policy Palestinians have been remains that Jerusalem killed in Gaza, and the will eventually be a shared optics of this juxtapocapital of both Israel and sition will reverberate a future Palestinian state. well beyond today. Doing so would demonWhile we applaud strate the US commitment the decision to recogto a two-state solution and nize Jerusalem as the turn today from solely an capital of Israel, we Israeli celebration into one urge the Trump Adthat can be shared by both ministration — as we sides. did when the embassy Today is also a cause for relocation was angreat concern, as we witnounced last Decemness the growing number ber — to clearly and of casualties on the Gaza unreservedly establish Tuesday’s Daily News cover mocked border with Israel. Israel Monday’s optics in Israel, but an that the US position on has the absolute right and editorial in the same edition blamed Jerusalem is that it will obligation to protect its citi- “Hamas and its Palestinian Authority eventually be the capizens, and clearly it cannot enablers” for the tragedy in Gaza. tal of two states. Doing allow Palestinians, armed so will send a message or otherwise, to cross the border and invade that the U.S. stands by Israel as a vital ally Israeli communities adjacent to the border. and that it is also committed to a two-state The riots at the Gaza border fence today solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as cannot be excused by the embassy move, the only viable and sustainable outcome for but there is no question that the conjunction both sides. of dedicating the embassy in Jerusalem the IsraelPolicyForum.org. envision[s] a Jewday before the Palestinians mark Naqba Day ish, democratic, secure Israel.”
From Beit Shemesh
raBBi dr. natan SliFkin 1) People have a right to peacefully protest! (Indeed they do. But there are plenty of people here who are taking butcher knives and firebombs and guns to storm the border and kill and kidnap Israeli civilians.) 2) There is no evidence of that! (Yes there is. There are Arabic Facebook pages and interviews and photos.) 3) But it’s not all the Gazans who are doing that! (Right. And it’s not all the Gazans who are being shot!) 4) Israel is just trying to kill as many Gazans as possible! (If it was, there would be carnage like in Syria. Israel is trying to avoid killing Gazans — aside from anything else, it is politically very damaging.) 5) Israel should just use tear gas! (They have, but it often doesn’t work, such as when it’s windy, or when the Gazans have gas
masks and bury the canisters.) 6) Israel should only use rubber bullets! (They often can’t, because these only work at short range.) 7) Israel should just arrest them! (If soldiers went up to the crowds to do that, there would be a bloodbath.) 8) Israel is so technologically advanced, there must be a way to stop them without shooting them! (No army in the world has yet found a way to repel armed attackers without ever using bullets) 9) It’s so disproportionate — so many Gazans wounded or killed, and no Israelis! (So what? When you are repelling an armed invasion, there is no reason to let them kill more of you before continuing to stop them!) And the Top Stupidest Argument is… 10) The Palestinians have legitimate grievances! (Even if this were true — are you claiming that Israel should therefore just let them storm the border and butcher its civilians?) Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin is director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh. Published at Facebook.com/natan.slifkin
Haaretz: Stop bloodshed Editorial from Tuesday’s English and Hebrew editions: The black smoke that rose above Gaza yesterday and the number of casualties that climbed by the hour did not interfere with the celebratory opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, highlighting the wanton Israeli treatment of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular. In the atmosphere of arrogance that has gripped the political system, bolstered by a sympathetic American president who has responded to all the whims of an Israeli prime minister who refuses to consider peace, it remains to be hoped that at least today, Nakba Day, the culmination of the Palestinian “March of Return,” Israel Defense Forces soldiers will do their best to prevent more mass killings. It is their duty to stop the tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators who will descend on the Gazan border fence with means as nonlethal as possible, and with as few casualties as possible. A month and a half of demonstrations by people who were mostly unarmed has resulted in dozens of deaths and thousands of wounded Palestinians. During these weeks of protest, Hamas and the other resistance movements in Gaza refrained from launching rockets into Israel. No Israeli soldier or resident was injured. Israel, on the other hand, acted against the unarmed demonstrators with sniper fire, live fire that killed and maimed. In the furthest place possible from the embassy opening in Jerusalem and the crowds celebrating Netta Barzilai’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest, tens of thousands of des-
perate people without a present or future tried to cry for help. A series of broadcasts this week by Israel Television News shows the extent of the disaster that faces the two million besieged and trapped people in Gaza. The pictures are heartbreaking and horrific, and they are the real reason for the protest at the fence. Lethal weapons won’t deter young people who have nothing left to lose. There is no dispute over Israel’s right to defend its border, but this does not mean it has the right to do whatever it pleases to those who try to cross it. Israel bears responsibility, although not exclusively, for the Gazan disaster. The 2005 withdrawal did not absolve Israel of its responsibility, certainly so long as it suffocates Gaza with a blockade. The people on both sides of the fence are the same age. On one side are armed Israeli soldiers – whose lives are not in danger most of the time and none of whom have been injured – who are free people, citizens of their country, with their future ahead of them. Facing them are young Gazans, in general unarmed, unprotected, the vast majority unemployed, and hopeless as long as the siege continues. Most of them go to the fence demonstrations simply to cry out and express their despair The IDF is responsible for preventing and deterring infiltration into Israeli territory, but the solution really lies in the Prime Minister’s Office. He must seriously examine the readiness of Hamas to negotiate a cease-fire with Israel, and announce steps to reduce the blockade considerably and allow those seriously wounded to be treated in Israel.
J’salem Post: Gaza storm Excerpt from Tuesday’s editorial: The large death toll from Monday’s violent protests show that the situation in Gaza is far more complicated than simply Hamas leaders inciting rioters to attack the security barrier. Even though the IDF defended the legality of using live fire against protests at a High Court challenge in late April, the larger question goes beyond what may be legal, to what may be in Israel’s best interests. That involves taking into account the international impact. … The juxtaposition of the violence with the gala celebrations held the same day in Jeru-
salem for the U.S. Embassy move and in Tel Aviv for the return of Netta Barzilai from her Eurovision Song Contest victory only magnified the loss of lives in the global coverage and was manipulated by critics to portray Israel as callous and uncaring.… The best response now is outreach to Gazans, not to Hamas but to Gazans who are not being served by the prison that Hamas has created for them. … Only Palestinians can decide the future of the Gaza Strip. They should want a future without Hamas and with a functioning government that would receive widespread support. …
THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
6-point test for those 10 stupidest criticisms who blame only Israel of Israel’s Gaza defense
May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
The JEWISH STAR
Wine & Dine
Making our Shavuot both beautiful and sweet Kosher Kitchen
Joni SChoCKett Jewish Star columnist
ne of my favorite Shavuot customs dictates that we bring flowers and natural beauty into our homes. And spring flowers are blooming everywhere now. Another favorite custom is that of eating dairy foods for the main meal in contrast to the meat we eat on most of the other holidays. But within that custom are lots of others — some people eat a dairy meal on the first day and then celebrate with meat for the rest of the holiday; others eat dairy and then, after waiting an appropriate interval, follow right after with a hearty meat meal. The many customs surrounding the meals on Shavuot could trap a cook in the kitchen for days preceding the holiday. But that does not have to be the case. Many dairy foods, like cheesecakes, can be made a day or more ahead. Magnificent cheesecakes are often the crowning glory of any Shavuot dairy meal. In addition, there are also delicious cheese blintzes, cheese bourekas and other cheese dishes. These sweet and creamy dishes are meant to remind us of the land of milk and honey and also to let us know that there is sweetness in our lives. So why dairy and not meat on this holiday? The explanation I was given as a child — it’s imprinted in my memory — is that once the Jewish people had the Torah, they realized that none of their cooking vessels were kosher according to the new laws. Therefore, the people had no choice but to eat dairy products until they could kasher their pots or make new ones. We eat dairy to remind ourselves of our time before and after we received the Torah. Shavuot means beautiful flowers throughout the house, delicious cheesecake and homemade blintzes. It is also a time to reflect on how we integrate Torah into our lives in the 21st century. We study all night to reflect on the meaning of the Torah and the ancient words that have connected our people for over five thousand years and still have great meaning for us today. I hope you have a sweet holiday filled with milk and honey and, of course, cheesecake. Montreal Cheese Bagels I first had these in my future mother-in-law’s house in New York. I was in heaven. They were a bit like a cheese Danish, a bit like blintz and nothing like a bagel! They were absolutely delicious. They are not very hard to make and are delightful for breakfast, with a dairy lunch or as a snack. Filling: 1 pound Farmer’s cheese 4 to 5 Tbsp. sugar, to taste 1 extra-large egg 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice Pinch salt 2 Tbsp. flour Dough: 2 tsp. baking powder 2 cups unbleached flour 2 Tbsp. sugar 1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream 1 extra-large egg OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon TOPPING: 3 to 4 Tbsp. butter melted 3 to 4 Tbsp. sugar, Demarara sugar, or cinnamon sugar mix FILLING: Place the cheese and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy. Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate. DOUGH. Place the baking powder, flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse
once to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has mostly pea-sized pieces. Add the sour cream and the egg and pulse until a smooth dough forms. You may need to scrape the bowl a few times. Scrape the dough into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. ASSEMBLY: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into four equal pieces. Flour your work surface and roll out one piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/4” thin and about 8 to 10 inches long, and 7 to 8 inches wide. Place some of the filling along the long edge of the rectangle and carefully roll until the dough just overlaps. The dough should be one thickness with a small overlap at the seam. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough along the seam line. Place the filled log seam side down on the prepared pan. Pinch the ends closed and gently coax the log into a horseshoe shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. You should have about 6 to 8 “bagels.” Brush the pastries with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm with sour cream. Makes 6 to 8. Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake (Dairy) Every Shavuot I make a cheesecake and this is one of the best I have ever tasted. The raspberries are fresh and tart and go wonderfully with the sweet creamy and lemony cheesecake. CRUST: 2 packages graham crackers or 2 cups crumbs 2 Tbsp. sugar 6-7 Tbsp. melted butter FILLING: 2-1/2 pounds block cream cheese 1-1/2 cups sugar 5 extra-large eggs 2 extra-large egg yolks 1/2 cup sour cream 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/2 Tbsp. very finely grated lemon zest 1 tsp. pure lemon extract 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract TOPPING: 1-1/2 cups excellent quality seedless raspberry jam 1-1/2 pints fresh raspberries 1/4 cup sugar Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Melt the jelly in a pan and add the sugar, heating until the jelly and sugar are melted and bubbling. Let cool completely for 30 to 60 minutes, until cool to the touch. Process the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until the crust holds together just a bit. Press into a 9-inch spring-form pan, pressing one–inch up the sides. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool. NOTE: While you are making the cheese filling, boil a large saucepan of water. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce
the speed and add the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides often. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, zest and extracts. Mix completely and pour half the batter into the cooled graham crust. Place several small dollops of the cooled raspberry jelly and then swirl with a knife. Gently pour the rest of the filling over the raspberry swirl and smooth the top. Place a roasting pan filled with 2 inches of the boiled water in the bottom rack of the oven. Place the cheesecake in the center rack. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225 and bake for an additional 75 minutes. The top should jiggle, but not be liquid. IF not set, bake a few minutes longer. Turn off the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Open the door and let the cake sit for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 hours. Wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. Remove the sides of the pan by running a knife around the edges. Leave the cake on the bottom. Gently brush the top with the jelly and then arrange the raspberries over that. Spoon the rest of the jelly over the berries and refrigerate until cold and set, several hours or overnight. Serves 10 to 12. Cheddar Polenta with Jalapeno or Red Peppers (Dairy)
1-1/2 cups water 2 cups milk 1 to 2 tsp. finely minced garlic 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 cup polenta 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Finely chopped jalapeno peppers, to taste if you like some heat. If not, use chopped, roasted red peppers. When making polenta it is most important to constantly stir the corn and liquid until thick. This creates a creamy polenta that is not gritty. Place the milk, water garlic, salt and pepper in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often with a large wooden spoon, until the polenta thickens, about 25 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the cheddar and Parmesan, and stir well. Add the chopped jalapeno peppers. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Generously grease a Pyrex- like casserole dish and press the polenta into the dish. Bake at 375 until just a bit golden, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool a bit and cut into squares. Serves 6 to 8.
over Jerusalem’s status. Further, strengthening diplomatic ties with the Jewish state advances the cause of peace and facilitates access to Israel’s extraordinary technological and life-saving innovations benefiting people throughout the world. American Jewish Congress The AJC applauds the U.S. administration for courageously enacting its historic commitment to relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s rightful capital of Jerusalem. In the space of one week, America has twice reiterated its faith in Israel’s legitimacy, in words and deeds, and in doing so, it has set an important precedent for other states to follow. American Jewry is proud to have a government that is committed to standing with Israel and in defense of its rights like all sovereign nations.” Israel President Rivlin The Israeli people thank you (President Trump) for keeping your word, for your courage and determination, and for your firm, unwavering stand alongside the State of Israel. We hope and expect that other nations will follow your path.” We will continue to safeguard Jerusalem, as the city of peace, as a city home to all those of faith. A city of all its residents and citizens, of all religions and communities, who share together, one city, which is so greatly loved. American Zionist Movement Today, the work and aspirations of American Zionists are fulfilled with the official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and its manifestation embodied in the opening of the American Embassy in the eternal capital city of the Jewish People. As American Zionists, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a foundational issue we have long worked toward and sought to achieve by a United States administration. … As we applaud this long delayed step by our country we call on all other nations that have
diplomatic relations with Israel to now recognize and relocate their embassies to Jerusalem, which is the duly designated capital of the State of Israel. The name of Jerusalem, in Hebrew, means “city of peace.” As Jerusalem is home to, and holy to, people of many faiths, the city must now become the “crossroads of peace.” This can be achieved when all the nations of the world gather in Jerusalem for peace and diplomacy. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful. … For me this spot brings back personal memories, but for our people, it evokes profound collective memories of the greatest moments we have known on this City on a Hill. In Jerusalem, Abraham passed the greatest test of faith and the right to be the father of our nation. In Jerusalem, King David established our capital three thousand years ago. In Jerusalem, King Solomon built our Temple, which stood for many centuries. In Jerusalem, Jewish exiles from Babylon rebuilt the Temple, which stood for many more centuries. In Jerusalem, the Maccabees rededicated that Temple and restored Jewish sovereignty in this land. And it was here in Jerusalem some 2,000 years later, that the soldiers of Israel spoke three immortal words, “Har ha’bayit be’yadeinu,” — “the Temple Mount is in our hands” — words that lifted the spirit of the entire nation. We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay. … Over a century ago, the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in this land. And exactly 70 years ago today, President Truman became the first
world leader to recognize the newborn Jewish state. Last December, President Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital. And today, the United States of America is opening its embassy right here in Jerusalem. … Truth and peace are interconnected. A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality. You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state. … The prophet, Zechariah, declared over 2,500 years ago, “So said the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.” World Jewish Congress The World Jewish Congress is proud to witness this critical moment in history, and deeply appreciates the strong message that the United States is sending to the international community of the indisputable truth of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. This is a precedent worthy of emulation, and we hope to see more of Israel’s allies follow suit. Thank you, President Trump.
Agudath Israel of America Today, with the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, we witnessed a promise kept. This historic event was a reflection of the will of the American people, as strongly expressed by a bipartisan Congress. And, the decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem was the result of President Trump’s bold leadership and his clear understanding, as was so often emphasized today, that it was the right thing to do — that it was the “truth.” Indeed, the quest for peace can only be based on a foundation of truth. Proposals that ignore or deny the realities of today’s Middle East are doomed to failure and will never provide a productive path forward. One such undeniable reality is that Jerusalem is — and always will be — Israel’s capital. Nations that refuse to acknowledge that fact are simply perpetuating an illusion and providing an excuse for Israel’s adversaries not to make peace and to continue warfare and terror. Moreover, by not recognizing that Israel has the right that all nations enjoy in selecting its capital city, they are projecting the image that Israel is something “less than sovereign,” something “less than a nation.” Peace can never be built on that foundation. AIPAC It is particularly fitting that this historic event occurs as Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding. America was the first nation to recognize the independence of the Jewish state, and it is particularly appropriate that our country is once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and its standing in the world. We urge other nations to follow the Unites States’ lead and also locate their embassies in Israel’s capital. Israelis and Palestinians agreed in the Oslo Accords that Jerusalem is a final status issue, and such actions do not preclude future negotiations
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The JEWISH STAR School News Send news and hi-res photos to Schools@TheJewishStar.com
Darchei Torah alumnus is named valedictorian of Touro College’s Flatbush men’s class At an early age, Betzalel Krasnow of Lawrence learned that he would need extensive--and expensive--dental work. After a full regimen of orthodontics, bone grafts and implants, he flashes a million dollar smile and is on his way to a career as a dentist. Although his personal experience inspired his career choice, Krasnow took the advice he got on the first day at Touro’s Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush, which was to treat his undergraduate experience like a smorgasbord — take classes in a number of different subjects, decide what he liked and then go back for doubles in his chosen field.He sampled accounting and finance before settling on biology on his path to dentistry. “The courses I took outside my major prepared me for life. I’m president of the board in my coop building and I can examine financial statements and understand them. I helped renegotiate the building’s mortgage because I have an understanding of how financing works,” said Krasnow. When it came to his career track, the small class size and biology professors’ ability to make the subject come alive provided him with the knowledge and skills needed to excel and compete with students from top schools. He maintained a 3.94 GPA, scored in the 98th percentile on the Dental Admissions Test, and was accepted to three dental schools. Krasnow also served as editor-in-chief of the school’s Science Journal and president of the Pre-Dental Society in Flatbush where he created a forum for students to network, learn about the field and gain real-world experience. Krasnow attended Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway for elementary, high school and Beis Medrash. He studied for two years in Eretz Yisrael at Yeshivas Brisk and then in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. He is married to Leah (Biegeleisen) Krasnow, a graduate of Touro’s Physical Therapy program, and is the father of two daughters. “When I was ready to start college, I chose Touro in Flatbush because it enabled me to pursue my pro-
fession while maintaining my schedule of learning Torah. It’s an environment where students can thrive both as Bnei Torah and seekers of academic scholarship. I love that it’s not at all uncommon to walk into a classroom at Touro and see students discussing a passage of Gemara with a professor,” said Krasnow. Krasnow’s comfort level with the values at Touro helped him choose Touro College of Dental Medicine to continue his education. “Although I was accepted to NYU and also to University of Maryland, which is the oldest dental school in the country, I’m confident in my decision to attend Touro’s new dental school,” he said. “Visiting the campus, I saw the commitment to excellence with cutting-edge technology to train students to deliver the best patient care. Equally as impressive were the many top professionals proudly walking around with yarmulkas on their heads.” Being successful professionally while living life as a Ben Torah is second nature to Krasnow. His father, Yoel, a tax attorney at Milbank, who graduated Columbia Law School and served as Touro’s valedictorian in 1984, is his role model. “I learned from my father and grandfathers that the two can coexist,” he said. “They showed me that setting aside time to learn Torah regularly and being top in your field is possible and that is my goal.” Dr. Robert Goldschmidt, dean of Touro’s Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush, echoed Krasnow’s sentiments. “Betzalel was selected as the valedictorian of the Touro Flatbush men’s class based on his stellar academic record, his leadership as editor-in-chief of the Science Journal, and for the values he exemplifies as a Ben Torah who will create a kiddush Hashem in the professional world. He represents the ideals that Touro seeks to inculcate in students.” Krasnow will smile broadly when he is recognized among 700 degree candidates at the 44th commencement ceremonies of Touro’s Lander Colleges to be held at David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center on May 27. Source: Touro College
From left: Valedictorian Caylie Tuerack, Salutatorian Jason Kurlander, Speaker Shirin Benjaminpour.
North Shore graduation honors North Shore Hebrew Academy High School has announced the following Class of 2018 honors. Valedictorian Caylie Tuerack. Caylie is vice president of National Honor Society, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, captain of debate and model congress, president of AntiBias Task Force and captain of the varsity softball team. She will be attending Johns Hopkins University. Salutatorian Jason Kurlander. Jason is a Siemens Competition Semifinalist, co-captain
of the traveling math team, plays clarinet in jazz and concert band and is a volunteer magician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. He will be attending Johns Hopkins University. Speaker of the Class Shirin Benyaminpour. Shirin is a member of the choir, traveling math team, and Anti-Bias Task Force. She is a Yearbook section editor, peer tutor, and plays on the varsity softball and volleyball teams. She will be attending Macaulay Honors at Queens College.
YOSSers at yeshiva science congress Yeshiva of South Shore Mechina students were selected to represent the school at the annual InterYeshiva Science Congress. Top photo (from left): Eitan Kaplowitz, Yitzchak Losev, Coby Pollack, Avraham Borochov, and General Studies Principal Daniel Winkler. Bottom photo (from left): Mr. Daniel Winkler, Ari Zelefsky, Ephraim Boczko, Eliezer Graber, Moshe Rosenthal.
Celebrating Yom Yerushalayim Many Long Island schools celebrated Yom Yerushalayim, with SKA alumna taking their party to the source, posing at the Kotel (bottom right). Flag-bearing HAFTR early childhood students made do with a mock-Kotel at their school (left). At HAFTR High School, students gathered in the auditorium on Monday to hear Rabbi Gedaliah Oppen, principal of Judaic Studies, describe the momentous events that marked the day. The opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital, was especially meaningful to the HAFTR community; the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a long-time HAFTR parent, grandparent and leader of the yeshiva.
15 THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
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May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
כוכב של שבת
After pausing in anger, building a better world From heart of Jerusalem
Rabbi biNNY FReeDMaN
Jewish Star columnist
ears ago, after a very month in Lebanon, someone higher up decided our unit needed a break. Every unit maintains a daily events log (yoman iruim). Every patrol, ambush, search and seize, and oversight mission gets logged, and when a unit accrues too many stressful events, they are, if circumstances allow, pulled off the line for a little rest. After transferring the line to a reserve company, we found ourselves in Netanya, in a heavenly place called Beit Goldmintz, along the Netanya coast. Our mouths fell open when we walked into the room we had been assigned: carpeted, four to a room, each with its own bathroom and shower and a balcony with a view of the sea; we were in heaven! With the exception of morning runs (madasim) along the beach, for an entire week we were meant to relax and catch our breaths. We were not given leave to go home, which for many of us would have meant a quick bus ride to Tel Aviv or Haifa, perhaps because they wanted us to bond and come together as a unit. At nights we were free to roam Netanya, go to the movies and chill; during the day we were broken up into our platoons and attended sessions with army psychologists and social workers and reviewed many of the events of the previous month. A number of years ago (perhaps because
of this story) my wife took me to see a movie with Tom Hanks, “Saving Private Ryan,” which depicts an WWII unit’s mission to find a young GI named Ryan. Hanks plays the officer and team leader who has obviously been through a lot of combat-induced trauma, and he begins to notice his hand is trembling, and in one scene we see him looking at his hand and then hiding it from his men. This is a real phenomenon that I actually experienced. After a particularly challenging day in Lebanon, I noticed my hand seemed to have developed a tremor and would involuntarily begin to shake. It came and went, and I wasn’t sure what it was, but chalked it up to stress, or maybe firing the gun too much, or something of the like. I was careful to hide it both because I did not want to get pulled out of my unit and sent for some sort of evaluation and also, to be honest, I was a little embarrassed in front of my men. Which was why, a couple of weeks later, I did not bring it up in any of the sessions we had at Beit Goldmintz. The social worker asked if anyone had any difficulties or feelings they wanted to share about the mission, and of course no one responded. And at one point she looked directly at me and asked me if I had anything to add, so I just shrugged my shoulders, but she would not let it go. “Are you sure? Perhaps you want to share
any struggles you might still be having from that day?” But the last thing in the world I was going to do, especially in front of my men was to start sharing feelings which I knew I would never live down. So I just kept shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head, at which point she leaned forward and pointedly asked, in a low voice: “So why are you sitting on your hands?” ometimes, to move forward, you first need to take a step back. This week we begin to read the book of Bamidbar, which literally means “in the desert.” Indeed, the first parsha, which we read this week, is also named Bamidbar. This parsha is always read the Shabbat before Shavuot, which among other things, commemorates the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai 3,000 years ago. Why do we receive the Torah in the desert? In fact, why do the Jewish people need to travel through the desert for what amounts to 40 years? Why could G-d not simply transplant us from Egypt directly to the land of Israel which was and has always been our destination? Truth be told, the desert is not really a place. Even the peoples that wandered the desert and lived there were known as nomadic tribes precisely because they had no one place they could call home. Perhaps the Jewish people, after 200 years of slavery and suffering in
No one ever regretted waiting to speak or act until after they were no longer angry.
ancient Egypt, needed some time before they could re-enter the world as a healthy people. Imagine the collective psyche of a people who for generations had watched their baby boys thrown into the Nile, or used as bricks for the pyramids. How much anger and hate must they have had in their hearts for their former masters? So first they needed some time in the desert, because before you can build a world of love you have to let go of hate; before you can spread tolerance, you need to let go of the rage. n this same parsha of Bamidbar, in a place that represents vast open spaces and expanses, the Jewish people are taught how to encamp separately, as tribes, each according to his flag, surrounding the ohel moed (the tent of meeting), because while the Torah needs to be received in unity, that does not mean uniformity; we had to learn to become one, while nonetheless respecting others’ differences and seeing the value of the “other.” Indeed this perhaps is what prepared us to be a light unto the Nations as the prophet Isaiah suggests: You can be a model for others if your respect their “other-ness.” It is worth noting that this transition process is not only a national phenomenon but an individual one as well. When Maimonides (Rambam Hilchot Deot 2:3) describes anger as “an extremely bad character trait worthy of distancing oneself from,” he follows it in the very next halacha with a description of the value of silence — “a person should always practice much silence and listening” — perhaps because the smartest thing to do when a person is angry is to experience silence, to take a step back, to pause. See Jerusalem on page 20
‘Shomer mitzvot’ is good, ‘shomrei Torah’ is better Parsha of the week
Rabbi avi biLLet Jewish Star columnist
hen I was in ninth grade, our teacher, Rabbi Cohen, trained our class to respond to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with the answer, “an eved Hashem” (servant of G-d). Once, I was hired to serve as a mohel in an Orthodox shul in Manhattan. That week, I got a call from someone at the shul doing due diligence in maintaining the synagogue’s standards. He asked, “Are you a shomer Torah u’mitzvos?” My response, in a nod to the human imperfection we all share, was “I do my best.” I thought of these two anecdotes this past weekend when I came across a comment of Or Hachaim in parshat Bechukotai giving 42 explanations for the opening words of the segment of rebuke: “If you go in my laws.” The fourth interpretation utilizes the words of Mishlei 3:6, “In all your ways you should know Him.” The Ohr Hachaim describes how every behavior a person undertakes can be channeled through the lens of serving Hashem, with concrete examples for eating, drinking, speaking, and more. My thoughts jumped to a verse from later in that chapter of Mishlei, a verse that we say often upon replacing the Torah in the Ark: “Its ways are ways of pleasantness” (Mishlei 3:17). s we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavuot, and as the last chapter of Pirkei Avot is studied this week in synagogues
and Jewish homes, perhaps I can offer a new idea of what it means to be a servant of G-d, and what it means to follow a Torah whose “ways are pleasantness.” There are different ways to classify mitzvot: bein adam lamakom (concerning man’s relationship with G-d), and bein adam lachaveiro (concerning man’s relationship with his fellow man). We can certainly argue over which are easier. But I would argue that it is relatively easy to fulfill the commandments that are between us and G-d. They don’t impact anyone else, in most cases they don’t cost very much, and G-d is forgiving if we make a commitment to do better. Shaking a lulav, eating matzah, putting up a mezuzah — they are all important mitzvot, but while they may demonstrate a reverence for G-d, they do little to advance character refinement. The commandments between man and man, on the other hand, are somewhat more difficult. It’s hard to pay damages, it’s hard to love someone as we love ourselves, it’s hard to not carry a grudge, and it’s hard to not hate some people in our hearts. The commandments related to caring for others are supposed to refine our characters. The Torah, in its totality, is meant to be a guide towards pleasantness. The sixth chapter in Pirkei Avot demonstrates this idea in many ways: “Rabbi Meir would say: Whoever studies Torah for Torah’s sake alone, merits many things; not only that, but [the creation of] the
entire world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called friend, beloved, lover of G-d, lover of humanity, rejoicer of G-d, rejoicer of humanity. The Torah clothes him with humility and awe; makes him fit to be righteous, pious, correct and faithful; distances him from sin and brings him close to merit. … He becomes modest, patient and forgiving of insults. The Torah uplifts him and makes him greater than all creations. uch is the way of Torah: Bread with salt you shall eat, water in small measure you shall drink, and upon the ground you shall sleep; live a life of deprivation and toil in Torah… “Do not seek greatness for yourself, and do not lust for honor. More than you study, do. Desire not the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs. … “Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities…[which include] slowness to anger, goodheartedness, faith in the Sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one’s place, satisfaction with one’s lot, qualifying one’s words, not taking credit for oneself, likableness, love of G-d, love of humanity, love of charity, love of justice, love of rebuke, fleeing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, reluctance to hand down rulings, sharing the burden of one’s fellow, judging others favorably.” It would be dishonest to ignore some of the passages in the Torah that promote violence. However, at worst, they were a one-time commandment of G-d pursuant to a goal that is today beyond our comprehension. It would
What does it means to follow Torah’s ways of pleasantness?
certainly be exceedingly difficult to find a Jewish leader today who advocates any kind of violence against any group of people, except in self-defense. With all of this, I posit that a person who is observant of the laws of the Torah can certainly claim to be a shomer mitzvot. But until Torah has achieved the goal of refining a person’s character, until all of us are pleasant, as per the Torah’s teachings which are meant to refine character, we cannot truly classify ourselves as shomrei Torah. If our goal in life is to be ovdei Hashem and shomrei Torah umitzvot, then a pleasant demeanor towards all is essential in fulfilling that goal.
Fri May 18 • 4 Sivan Fri is 48th day of the Omer Bamidbar Candlelighting: 7:49 pm
Sat May 19 • 5 Sivan Shavuot begins tonight Candlelighting: 8:51 pm
Sun May 20 • 6 Sivan
Tonight is second night of Shavuot Candlelighting: 8:51 pm Yizkor Monday morning Havdalah: 9:01 pm Monday Five Towns times from White Shul
AlAn JAY GeRBeR
Jewish Star columnist
ecently a new translation of the ‘’Ben Ish Chai on Megillas Rus’’ by Rabbi Yerachmiel Bratt was published in Israel. The hallmark of this commentary on Ruth, according to the translator, is that this book cannot be understood in a superficial manner. The commentator brings out in his writing this megilla’s beautiful themes of modesty, tzni’ut, loyalty, and kindness and chesed, all of which clearly defines the ethos of the Jewish people. In the introduction, Rabbi Bratt informs us of the following: “I have chosen to name this sefer, ‘The Light of the Ben Ish Chai on Megillas Rus,’ because light is one of the defining motifs of Judaism. And it is the secret to our survival after existing in the dark during so many periods of our history. As Rav Mordechai Schwab, zt’’l, writes in his monumental opus, ‘Maamar Mordechai,” during so many periods of darkness in one’s life, one must look back and connect it to a time in the past when there was light. Thus, the darkness of present when connected to the light of the past also offers hope and even optimism.’’
In this volume we have the honor to read a special introduction themed to this work by one of America’s leading interpreters of our religious tradition, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman of Brooklyn, New York. I have chosen to include this entire essay as my presentment of review this week dedicating this to the upcoming festival of Shavu’ot commemorating the giving of the Aseret Hadibrot, the Ten Commandments, and the public reading of the Book of Ruth. I trust that after reading Rabbi Reisman’s essay you will come to further appreciate the multiple themes associated with this special holiday observance.
By Rabbi Yisroel Reisman It was a particularly stormy day, and a couple was scheduled to be married. The Chasan, Kallah and Mesader Kiddushin (officiating Rabbi) waited for a minyan of men to assemble, so that the Chupah ceremony could take place. The Mesader Kiddushin explained, Ein davar sh’bkdushah b’pachus m’asara — Holy actions cannot take place without the quorum of ten Later, after the wedding, one of the guests returned to his home in Yerushalayim and related this incident to the Pnei Menachem (the previous Gerrer Rebbe). He became irate. A Rabbi such as this should not be allowed to officiate at weddings! He explained that there is indeed a rule in the Gemara, that Ein davar sh’bkdushah b’pachus
m’asara – Holy actions cannot take place without the quorum of ten . However, that rule applies to certain specific acts and not to the Chupah ceremony. Kesuvos 7b learns the requirement for a minyan of ten men at a Chupah, but does not base it on this rule. Rather, it is derived from Megillas Rus, in Chapter four, where Boaz prepares for his own Chupah. We read, And he (Boaz) took ten men, the elders of the city The son of the Rebbe was puzzled. He asked his father why this was so severe an error, so as to invalidate the Mesader Kiddu shin. After all, his ruling was correct. Is his error in explaining the source, such a serious mistake? The Pnei Menachem explained that it was a serious error. The rule that Ein davar sh’bkdushah b’pachus m’asara is derived in the Gemara in Meseches.Megillah from the ten meraglim (spies) and the Adas Korach (assembly of Korach). A Yiddisheh Chasanah cannot have its roots in such sinister events. It is significant that the source for the Jewish Chupah is the marriage of Boaz and Rus, a Holy Union from which came the Kingdom of David and the seeds of Mashiach.
Indeed, Chazal teach that the Book of Rus was written and transmitted, specifically to teach the roots of the royal dynasty and how intertwined it is, with actions of chesed (kindness). The selflessness of Naomi and Rus, their loyalty to each other and the kindness and generosity of Boaz to an immigrant woman and her elderly motherin-law, are the roots of royalty. There is so much to be learned from the Book of Rus. Bava Basra 14a teaches that the book was authored by the prophet Shmuel. The Bach, in his introduction to Rus, questions this. Shmuel was the prophet who anointed Shaul and, later, Dovid as Kings of Israel. But Dovid was the great grandson of Boaz and Rus. Thus, the Book of Rus was not written until the fourth generation after it took place, during Dovid s lifetime. Why the delay in writing this Holy Book? Bach answers that we find in Navi that after Dovid slew Goliath, King Saul inquired as to Dovid’s ancestry. Specifically, he asked whether Dovid was a candidate to succeed him as king. The Torah permits only Jews with a complete See Bookworm on page 20
Shavuot 5778: The festival with no date Torah
RABBI dAvId eTenGoff
Jewish Star columnist
he shalosh regalim are the crown jewels of the Jewish year. Pesach commemorates the Exodus, Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah, and Sukkot is the festival that memorializes Hashem’s unlimited chesed to our people who dwelt in sukkot following the Exodus. There is a singular difference that obtains, however, between Pesach and Sukkot, and Shavuot: The Torah associates the first two with specific calendrical dates, whereas Shavuot has none: “In the first month [Nissan], on the fourteenth of the month, in the afternoon, [you shall sacrifice] the Passover offering to the L-rd. And on the fifteenth day of that month is the Festival
of Unleavened Cakes to the L-rd; you shall eat unleavened cakes for a seven-day period (Vayikra 23:5-6). Speak to the children of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month [Tishrei], is the Festival of Sukkot, a seven-day period to the L-rd. (Vayikra: 23:34). You shall count seven weeks for yourself; from [the time] the sickle is first put to the standing crop, you shall begin to count seven weeks. And you shall perform chag Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks) to the L-rd, your G-d, the donation you can afford to give, according to how the L-rd, your G-d, shall bless you (Devarim 16:9-10).” How can we understand this fundamental difference between Shavuot and the other chagim? I believe we can find our answer by borrowing a concept from the discipline of Physics.
Since the time of Albert Einstein, modern physics has maintained that there are four dimensions: length, depth, height and time. Pesach and Sukkot are squarely anchored in each of these dimensions, since they deal with different aspects of our people’s physical salvation (hatzalat gufani) in the face of what appeared to be impossible odds. Moreover, the redemption that unfolded during these days was brought about through objects of nature, such as blood, frogs, lice and wild animals etc. (the Ten Plagues), and the sukkot themselves. The chagim of Pesach and Sukkot, therefore, were given their calendrical dates, i.e. clearly designated times, to indicate that the entire process of redemption took place within the physical universe, and within Physics’ four dimensions.
May we reexperience the spiritual heights of Mattan Torah.
havuot, however is inherently dissimilar to Pesach and Sukkot in one fundamental sense, namely, it represents spiritual salvation (hatzalat ruchani); for on this day our forebears encountered the Almighty on a lonely mountain in the wasteland of the Sinai Desert, accepted His holy Torah and forged an eternal relationship. As this was a purely miraculous spiritual event, it was outside of Physics’ four dimensions — including time itself. The Torah, therefore, did not assign Shavuot a fixed date, precisely to indicate that it was beyond time, and consequently, unique. When we celebrate the festival of Shavuot, therefore, we are confirming our spiritual connection to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, His holy Torah, and the future of the Jewish people. May this Shavuot be a joyous chag wherein we strengthen our connection to Hashem, and re-experience the spiritual heights of Mattan Torah once again. V’chane yihi ratzon. Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.
Halakhic system: Human dignity, not bureaucracy Torah
RABBI mARc d. AnGel Jewishideas.org
n his essay “The Community” (Tradition, 17:2), Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik underscored the dignity of each individual: “To recognize a person is not just to identify him physically. It is more than that: it is an act of identifying him existentially, as a person who has a job to do, that only he can do properly. To recognize a person means to affirm that he is irreplaceable. To hurt a person means to tell him that he is expendable, that there is no need for him. The halakha equated the act of publicly embarrassing a person with murder.” In our technological and bureaucratic world, it is easy to lose sight of the dignity of the individual. We are often reduced to ID numbers, or to long lists of clients/patients/customers where our particular personalities are of little account. We are shuffled through the system along with thousands of other faceless people.
The Rav pointed out that we need to stay alert to the humanity of those with whom we deal. This is true not only in general interpersonal relationships, but also in matters of halakha. Historically, when people had halakhic questions or issues, they brought them to their local synagogue rabbi. The rabbi knew them, knew their families, knew the context of their lives. Since there was a personal bond between the individual and the rabbi, there was also honest communication. In recent years, the halakhic world has undergone increasing bureaucratization. An Israeli rabbi recently told a group of American rabbis that Jews in Israel often lack a strong personal tie to their rabbi who is appointed by the Rabbanut and frequently doesn’t even live in the community he is supposed to serve. He is a religious functionary paid by the government. The centralization of the rabbinate — whether in Israel or the diaspora — ultimately depersonalizes the halakhic system. We have dayyanim
passing judgment in cases of conversion, Jewish status, agunah, etc., who have no personal connection with the people whose lives are radically affected by their decisions. We have posekim who argue the fine points of halakha based on their halakhic tomes, but who don’t look into the eyes and don’t hear the voices of the very people they are supposed to serve. abbis issue rulings on conversions even if they have seldom or never actually worked with a convert or experienced the spiritual or personal struggles of the convert. Rabbinic courts “process cases” of marriage and divorce, without knowing much about the inner lives of those whose lives are being powerfully transformed. Halakha works best when it is human and humane. It is most meaningful when the rabbis and the laymen know each other and understand each other. When local rabbis feel unable to solve the issues that are brought to them, they can turn to other rabbis for guidance. When
Halakha works best when it is human and humane.
technical matters such as gittin are required, the local rabbi should be there to help his congregants through the process. In an increasingly depersonalized world, the religious community needs to keep focused on the dignity of the individual. This week’s parsha describes a census that took place among the Israelites in the wilderness. A census can be the ultimate depersonalization process: it is interested in a head count, not on the nature of the people whose heads are being counted. Yet, the Torah goes out of its way to insist that those being counted should not be treated as numbers. They were to be counted “by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names.” Even in this bureaucratic procedure, each individual was to be seen as part of a family and was to be counted by name. Each was a real human being, and the Torah did not want the census takers to forget this essential fact. Religious life demands keen sensitivity to the uniqueness of each person. Halakha functions best when our full humanity is recognized and respected. The halakhic system must foster human dignity, not bureaucratic indignity.
THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
‘The Light of the Ben Ish Chai on Megillas Rus’
May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
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The significance of Jerusalem embassy move Opinion
JONatHaN S. tOBiN
Jewish News Service
or decades, it was a consensus issue. Israel’s supporters of all political stripes agreed that the refusal of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was an anachronistic outrage. That’s why both Democrats and Republicans included a promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv in their platforms every four years. But now that the moment has finally arrived, many of those who once agreed that a policy switch was both just and necessary aren’t happy. The reason is obvious: It’s because of the identity of the man who finally kept his word. That Donald Trump is the one who fulfilled his vow, and gave Israel and its people a memorable 70th birthday present, is a bitter pill for most American Jews to swallow. Several presidents from both political parties promised to move the embassy, yet once they were elected, they broke that vow. The quadren-
nial bipartisan charade over Jerusalem had gotten so old that even most of those who ardently believed in the idea have grown so cynical about it that the mere mention of the issue sent our eyes rolling. It caused us to subsequently believe that anyone who repeated the promise was either a transparent liar or a hopeless idealist who would never have a chance to implement it. The cynics were right to discount the promises made by some sincere friends of Israel, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, as well as some less than ardent admirers of the Jewish state, like Jimmy Carter and the elder President Bush. Indeed, the effort to pass the 1995 U.S. law to force the moving of the embassy (which included a presidential waiver that was regularly invoked by each president before Trump) was primarily the result of a transparently cynical and largely unsuccessful effort to boost the presidential candidacy of its chief sponsor Sen. Robert Dole, who
up until then hadn’t demonstrated much interest in Israel. But no matter who was doing the promising, the appetite of pro-Israel activists to hear the words about the necessity of recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish state never dimmed. Or at least it didn’t until it turned out that the only person who actually meant what he said about Jerusalem was someone that most of the overwhelmingly liberal American Jewish community despised. Had a Democrat done it, Jewish liberals would have celebrated along with conservatives and Israelis. But since it’s Trump, the impulse to downplay the significance of the decision has overridden any other emotion or reasoning. That’s why it’s necessary to remind everyone just why Jerusalem used to be a consensus issue. It’s equally important to explain that it’s not an accident of history that Trump was the one who kept the promise.
Not treating Jerusalem as Israel’s capital validated Palestinian intransigence.
‘Trump’s war’ is not coming Viewpoint
Jewish News Service
few hours after President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the United States had exited the Iran nuclear deal, the doyenne of progressive political-action committees, MoveOn.org, sent out a fundraising email to supporters warning that “Trump’s war is coming.” Among Americans, the world’s most generous nation when it comes to philanthropic and political causes, there’s a tacit understanding that funding appeals are given greater license to sound the alarm if doing so helps secure greater revenue. Still, one’s basic claims should be credible and sound; when they are not, as is the case here with MoveOn’s fanciful warnings about Iran, one has to wonder whether those who chip in aren’t being taken for a ride. This isn’t the first time that MoveOn has used Iran—and specifically, a defense of the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran—to boost its flagging fortunes among progressives. In the weeks after the deal was announced in July 2015, the PAC raised more than $11 million out of its
vindictive campaign against leading New York Sen. Charles Schumer over the latter’s temerity in opposing Obama and John Kerry’s deal. MoveOn depicted Trump as a warmongering Generalissimo itching for an excuse to go to war. To wit: “If you look at all of Trump’s actions and rhetoric together, you’ll see a man assembling a war Cabinet, laying the groundwork to roll out military action, and hungry to push our nation into combat.” t’s all a little 2003—suspiciously so, in fact, given how different the present Middle East is to the circumstances that prevailed in the region on the eve of the Iraq war. But that war and the movement that opposed it presses all the right buttons among anti-war progressives, who remain as unperturbed now as they were back then about being in the same camp as Saddam Hussein’s regime. In grafting the Iraq war onto the current Iranian theater, MoveOn believes the specter of renewed American military deployment will ignite the fervor of progressives as the midterm elections approach. But the underlying thinking is flawed enough to invite skepticism over whether anyone is actually going to be persuaded by this line of argument. It’s perfectly reasonable to contend that Trump’s announcement might accelerate a military confrontation with Iran. But that is not going to be a confrontation that will lead to the deploy-
ment of 178,000 U.S.-led troops in the region, as occurred in Iraq. Nor are American interests and assets going to be the direct targets of such a confrontation. A war may well be on the cards, but not necessarily our war. For progressives like MoveOn, foreign wars are only of political interest if they negatively implicate U.S. corporations and politicians. It helps even more if these wars are amenable to a grand, anti-imperial narrative—in the months before President George W. Bush went to war, millions of people in cities across the world marched to protest what was presented as an imminent, unjust onslaught on Iraq, the main purpose of which was to cement the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Nothing so convenient is available when it comes to Trump and Iran, however. Just as it’s not obvious that Trump is leading Americans into war, it’s not entirely clear which anti-imperial cause is at stake here. Iran—Persian and Shia— is certainly not a cause that animates the Arab street. Indeed, when Iranian protestors chant “Not Gaza, Not Palestine, My Life for Iran” during anti-regime rallies, it’s safe to assume that most Palestinians would return the compliment. More broadly, most Arab, Asian and European Muslims would not regard an attack on Iran as an attack on them; quite a few of them, including some Persians themselves, would welcome it.
t’s true that moving the embassy doesn’t magically transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still, the presence of a U.S. embassy in West Jerusalem doesn’t foreclose the possibility of a two-state solution, assuming that’s what the Palestinians actually wanted. Moving the embassy doesn’t mark the final triumph of Zionism. Nor will it compel the Palestinians to compromise and make peace if, as remains the case, they are still mired in a political culture committed to their futile century-old war on the Jews, which has left the peace process dead in the water since the second intifada. Nor will the United Nations or the scores of nations that still refuse to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of the holy city change their stance as a result of Trump’s decision. But the desire to discount the importance of what he’s done ignores the enormous symbolic importance of the world’s sole superpower dropping the legal fiction about Jerusalem that has prevailed in the international community since 1948. There may be a legal rationale rooted in the 1947 U.N. partition resolution that allowed nations to pretend that Jerusalem belonged to no one. But after 70 years, the double standard See Embassy on page 20
ronically, they would face in the same challenge in persuading Trump to go to war that MoveOn does when it insists the president wants nothing more: Trump has said and done very little that would slot him into the “warmonger” category. If he has a strategic doctrine, it’s one that leans on local allies to maintain their fundamental security and restricts U.S. military participation to short, demonstrative air strikes. Crucially, in his dealings with North Korea as with Iran, Trump has shown himself to be an advocate of regime reform, rather than regime change—another key difference with the Iraqwar era. Instead of going to war, the United States demonstrates its unrivaled power by persuading and cajoling rogue states to moderate their external behavior as the price of survival. That, at least, is the theory that is about to be tested in the case of North Korea. Iran similarly has the option to directly engage the U.S. president—something Trump made crystal-clear. Most irritating of all for those with fond memories of the anti-war activism of the 2000s, it can be argued that Trump’s Iran policy is hawkish enough to satisfy opponents of the Iran deal, yet cautious enough to allay fears of American troops being dragged into an imminent war. And if you talk to Israelis or read the Israeli press, you will realize that when they discuss what a war with Iran might entail, the universal assumption is that the Israel Defense Forces, and not the U.S. armed forces, will be doing the lion’s share of the fighting. That, perhaps, is the biggest difference of all.
Jewish News Service
erusalem. Tall and thin, like a ray of sun, and blonde as a fairy, Ivanka Trump descended from the plane that brought her to Israel along with her husband, Jared Kushner, and other prominent American dignitaries to realize the dream that for Israel becomes a reality: Jerusalem is now recognized by the United States as the capital of the state. However, she isn’t the celebrity that currently captivates Israeli youth. That prestige goes to Netta Barzilai, a heavyset young woman, who draped in a brightly colored corset and kimono, beat out competition from 42 other countries on Saturday night to win, yes, win, the annual Eurovision Song Contest that this year took place in Lisbon, Portugal. Her song, “Toy,” is the most feminist-inspired song you could imagine — an ultimate declaration of independence — “I am not your toy.” Here’s a little more information about Netta: She’s a 25-year-old Israeli from the town of Hod Hasharon, just north of Tel Aviv, who spent four years in the Israeli military. She has a mesmerizing, charismatic personality and a musicality beyond dispute, with a raucous and piercing voice similar to Janis Joplin, who undoubtedly inspired her. Her undeniable physical unusualness pokes fun and taunts those who embrace conventional stereotypes of beauty and attracts those who, like her, feel “different.” In fact, Netta’s victory was made possible first and foremost due to the votes of the public, plus
those on the jury who would have preferred the competitor from Crete (a girl who is classically attractive). Upon winning, Netta said: “Thank you so much for choosing difference! Thank you so much for accepting differences between us! Thank you for celebrating diversity.” iversity? No, she is simply an expression of the plurality that permeates Israeli society, which so many find difficult to understand and therefore prefer to assign to it stereotypes that have long become outdated. For the thousands of young fans who flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square waving Israeli flags and euphorically jumping into a public fountain, Netta isn’t different — she’s simply Israeli. She immediately said: “I love my country! I want to go home immediately, bring me a schnitzel because I want to eat my country’s food.” The little Israeli family was wholeheartedly with her, and when she arrived back to Israel at 3 in the morning the next day, youths waving Israeli flags again rushed out into the streets to celebrate. Netta’s win at Eurovision comes 20 years after that of Dana International, the beautiful woman who was actually a transsexual, who triumphed with “Diva”—an equally revolutionary song—that exalted a very seductive femininity. It was a national turning point; the religious rebelled, the politicians mumbled, but Israel chose its path. It is today the most liberal country in the world vis-à-vis the LGTB community. It sent a transsexual to an international song festival and won! And now, Netta, weighing more than 100 kilos, allows a freedom of expression that goes far beyond the usual protest found in pop music and that carries us into worlds of absolute freedom. his is no small feat for a country accused of apartheid; for a country constantly under attack by the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions
Netta isn’t different, she’s simply Israeli. ‘I love my country! Bring me a schnitzel because I want to eat my country’s food.”
Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, performing at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on May 14. Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
(BDS) movement; for a country that receives an endless onslaught of condemnations from Europe and the United Nations for alleged human-rights violations as it simply attempts to defend itself. Netta, with her exuberant “otherness,” led Israeli commentators to declare that Europe, at heart, doesn’t hate us; after all, it’s the public and not the jury of the singing competition who voted for Israel. In fact, the truth about Israeli democracy—namely, that it is a beacon of light and hope for the world— is something even Europe can’t repudiate. Perhaps one day, it will be able to grasp that Israel, which respects all religions, must defend itself. In Rabin Square, Israeli youths were shouting: “Iran, look at us, we’re here to stay!” What does that have to do with it? In essence, everything! There is no Netta without Israeli freedom. According to the rules, Jerusalem will host the next Eurovision competition. The grand final always takes place on a Saturday—Shabbat—and
general rehearsals are on Friday night, when Jews are forbidden by their religion to do anything apart from being quiet to reflect. Again, as with what happened with Dana International, the religious will fight the event. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was busy on Sunday preparing the festivities to celebrate the opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, said the following at his cabinet meeting: “These days, Jerusalem is being blessed with many gifts. We received another one last night with Netta’s thrilling and suspenseful victory.” And then he proceeded to lift his arms by imitating her signature chicken-like dance. Fiamma Nirenstein, fellow at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was a member of the Italian Parliament, served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism. She has written 13 books, including “Israel Is Us” (2009).
The Arab-Israeli conflict is not a mirror-image Yisrael medad
Jewish News Service
n an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on May 13, Yossi Klein Halevi expressed the following ruminations on the Arab conflict with Israel and Zionism: “Each side will need to honor the other’s narrative. … Israelis acknowledging the shattering of the Palestinian people and the destruction of their homeland … the Arab world acknowledging the shattering of ancient Jewish diasporas in the Middle East … each must acknowledge the sacrifice of the other.” As a follower of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, I would like to postulate a slightly different position even as I accept what is at the base of Yossi’s thoughts above. In his two-part essay in 1923, “The Iron Wall and the Ethics of the Iron Wall,” which I am sure Yossi is quite acquainted with, Jabotinsky dealt with these issues. Here are some extracts: I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true … it is quite another question whether it is always possible to realise a peaceful aim by peaceful means. For the answer to this question does not depend on our attitude to the Arabs, but entirely on the attitude of the Arabs to us and to Zionism … it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary
consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting “Palestine” from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority. he shattering that Yossi notes assuredly occurred but only because Arabs refused a partition plan in 1937 and another in 1947. The Zionist movement, admittedly excluding the Jabotinsky camp, accepted that compromise. Until the Arabs-called-Palestinians admit their diplomatic errors, there can be not parallelism, one which Yossi thinks can serve a palliative function. In fact, ignoring the proper demand for one side to admit to its mistakes, and we have many, too many, on our side who do that (Zochrot, Gush Shalom, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and the rest of the Haaretz crew), simply allows them to live in a fantasy historical dream. Even the concept of naqba (“catastrophe”) the Arabs have perverted, as it originally meant, by Qustantin Zurayq, who coined the term, the failure of Arabs to confront the Zionists successfully. It was Zurayq who accused the Arabs of “a primitive, static mentality,” not the Zionists. If Arabs did not affect “a fundamental transformation in their way of life,” he wrote, they would not “repel the Zionist danger.”
As a result of their impotence and internal structural and cultural weaknesses, it was what other Arabs did to the Arabs of Palestine that is the essence of his view of naqba. Today, it indicates a sort of Churban that Jews did to them and for which they disclaim all responsibility. That view has to be reversed. If their victimization role is not eliminated, there will be no diplomatic success. Jabotinsky continued and wrote: ur Peace-mongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools, whom we can deceive by masking our real aims, or that they are corrupt and can be bribed to abandon to us their claim to priority in Palestine, in return for cultural and economic advantages. … They feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico, and the Sioux for their rolling Prairies. To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realisation of Zionism, in return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people … Jabotinsky and his genuine followers do
‘Peacemongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools [or] corrupt.’ —Jabotinsky
grant respect to the Arab residents of the region of Palestine, that is, Eretz-Yisrael. There are very few Israelis who wish to do to them what they have done and wish to do to us. True, Jewish nationalists know that Arabs do have a longing for what they think of as their homeland. But if they cannot admit that the name “Palestine” is Roman; that it never existed as a state entity ever; that the League of Nations in 1922 when creating the British Mandate did not employ the term “Arabs,” but rather “nonJews,” and not because they were racist but because they knew that in one small corner of the former Ottoman Empire, the Jews would be entitled to a national home. We view as a danger, the Arabs physical threat whereas their concept of danger is existential and therefore, only a complete negation of Jewish national identity, our religion, culture, history and all that is Zionism, is what will satisfy “Palestinianism.” In the end, Jabotinsky concluded in a practical realization: We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. I would suggest the moderates and the leftwing progressives who dominate the Jewish conversation seeking compromise, acceptance and peace to admit their own contributions to the dismal state of the relationship the Arabs possess towards we Jews. Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and author.
THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
Israel’s Netta Barzilai, celebrating ‘otherness’
J’salem... Continued from page 16 No one ever regretted waiting to speak or act until after they were no longer angry. Looking back on words spoken or actions taken in anger, one will always realize they could have done so much better if they had simply waited, in silence, till the anger dissipated. One need look no further than the newspapers to understand how true this is. Just across the border in Gaza, thousands of Arabs full of anger and hatred are burning tires, throwing projectiles, sending burning kitefire-bombs into Israel and attempting to storm the borders, while Israelis celebrate their accomplishments in joy in Jerusalem. Could we have really built this state as an angry people? 973997
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Continued from page 17 yichus (genealogy) to serve as king of the Jewish people. Doeg, the head of the Sanhedrin replied that Dovid was not eligible because he descended from Rus, a Moabite convert, who was not even eligible to marry someone born Jewish. The Torah (in Parshas Ki Seitzei) forbids a Moabite convert from entering into the Jewish family. Certainly, then, Dovid’s lack of yichus invalidated him from royalty! Others disagreed. The Gemara relates that a Torah scholar named Amasah took strong exception and insisted, “So I have received from the Court of the Prophet Shmuel, a Moabite male convert (is ineligible) but not a Moabite woman!” Bach explains that messengers were immediately dispatched to the prophet Shmuel for a definitive ruling on the topic. His written response took the form of the Megillah which we know as Rus – the story of Boaz, the great man of his generation, who ruled that Rus was indeed eligible to enter into the Jewish People in the most complete manner. Thus, Shmuel ruled that Dovid is indeed eligible to serve as king. His descendants could follow him on the throne and ultimately the King Mashiach would come from Boaz and Rus. We wonder. Wouldn’t a short letter by Shmuel have sufficed to render his ruling. Why the long story? More importantly, why was it written in a form which would enter the canon of the Jewish Tanach? This is certainly a most unusual source for a Holy Book! The Gerrer Rebbe understood. Shmuel was not looking to render a simple ruling. He was looking to expand his ex-
Embassy... Continued from page 18 by which Israel is judged has more to do with lingering prejudice against the concept of a Jewish state than any desire to encourage peace talks. The idea that Israel was a permanent addition to the Middle East—rather than a crusader state with a short shelf life—was given a huge boost by the U.S. investment in its future. For all of the credit given to President Harry Truman for recognizing the newborn state of Israel in 1948, the United States didn’t begin to give it serious financial support until after it became a strategic asset—as opposed to a security basket case—as a result of its overwhelming victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. But now Trump has gone further and made it clear that the United States will no longer pay lip service to an international consensus that still refuses to treat the Jewish state like a normal nation, entitled to decide where its capital should be and to respect the 3,000-yearold Jewish ties to the city. ar from a technicality, the stubborn refusal of the world to treat Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was important precisely because it validated Palestinian intransigence, in which the Jewish state’s existence is a nakba or “disaster” that must never be treated as legitimate no matter where its borders are drawn. The embassy move is a necessary rebuke to a
May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778 THE JEWISH STAR
Who would have blamed us for being full of rage after the ovens of Auschwitz and Treblinka, Chelmno and Maidjanek? But G-d saw fit to allow us a pause, even a transition, as we wallowed for three more years in the DP camps all over Europe, and so when the State of Israel was declared no Jew went looting or shooting, we danced in the streets. Perhaps one day soon, all the enemies of peace too will take a pause, reflect on how much better the word could be, and seek a transition to build a better world, together. This week in Jerusalem, one nation, to whom the Jewish people owes a great debt of gratitude, chose to do just that by relocating its embassy to Jerusalem. Because to build a world of truth and light, you have to fist let go of the darkness. Shabbat shalom and chag sameach. Wishing all a wonderful shavuot, from Jerusalem. planation to a fuller understanding of the ancestors of the family of Dovid. They were not simply eligible to be royalty because they were of kosher stock. They were chosen for royalty because of the extraordinary deeds that led to the marriage of Boaz and Rus. Thus, Megillas Rus is not only a history of the roots of the Davidic family, it is a lesson in behavior which is worthy to give rise to the Davidic dynasty. It is a lesson in the greatness of a Jewish home. It is the source for all we hold dear, namely, the holy aura which should permeate the husband-wife relationship in the midst of the Jewish people. The origin of the Megillah you hold before you is perhaps the most extraordinary of any of the Books of Nach. The insights of the Holy Ben Ish Chai allow us to peek into the depth of the book, to reveal a small amount of the hidden messages that the prophet, Shmuel, sowed into his work. Some commentators explain pshat, the simple meaning of the text. Others expound drush, the deeper message. Others use kabbalistic teachings to find the hidden meaning of the book. The Ben Ish Chai was unique. His writings cover all the bases touching on all the nuances of the scripture. We thank our dear friend, Rabbi Yerachmiel Bratt, for making this sefer available to the English speaking public. Rav Yerachmiel is a true Torah scholar who knows that hasmadah is the key to Torah scholarship. I have had the privilege of watching his diligence and devotion to limud HaTorah. I have watched him and his dear wife and partner raise a beautiful family based on these values. And I am proud to call him a friend. Let us hope and pray that the life and teachings of the Ben Ish Chai will inspire us, as I know they have inspired him. supposed moderate like Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to deny Jewish ties to Jerusalem and spews antiSemitic inventive. Trump’s move is a message to the Palestinians that America is no longer prepared to join others in indulging their fantasies. Trump has broken the dam. Slowly, other nations will follow with the moving of their embassies, and the symbolism of these moves is another sign that their nightmare vision of Israel’s destruction must be discarded. There is one final point to be made about Trump’s role. Those who feel that his involvement detracts from what would otherwise be a glorious day in Jewish history need to understand that he is almost certainly the only person who would have made this decision. Virtually any other politician, including some with long histories as genuine friends of Israel, would have listened to the foreign-policy establishment and America’s European allies and gone back on their promise, as all of Trump’s predecessors did. Only someone like Trump, who distrusts the experts and disdains the established rules of politics, would have ignored the predictions that the world would end if the embassy were moved. Say what you will about the abnormal nature of his presidency (and there is much to be regretted about his personal behavior and style), but without a genuine outsider like Trump in the White House, this important victory for Israel and the Jews would have never happened.
By Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA A decade ago, relatively few people in Russia knew about Sobibor, the smallest-scale facility of the six killing centers that the Nazis built in occupied Poland. This relative obscurity persisted for decades in Russia, Israel and beyond despite the fact that the camp is tied to a dramatic story of heroism: In 1943, Russian inmates led a successful escape, one of only two such occurrences during the Holocaust (the other happened that same year in Treblinka). Following the Sobibor uprising, however, the Nazis razed the camp so that little more than a forest clearing remained in the remote area where SS guards and Ukrainians murdered 250,000 Jews. This is why Sobibor receives a fraction of the visitor traffic observed at the Auschwitz or Majdanek camps, whose gas chambers and other structures remained intact and were turned into museum exhibits. Ten years on, though, Sobibor has made a huge splash in Russia thanks to a governmentled commemoration campaign that culminated this year, the uprising’s 75th anniversary, with last week’s commercial release of Russia’s largest-ever Holocaust movie production. Featured prominently in national media, the war drama “Sobibor” is a box-office hit with $2 million in ticket sales — an unprecedented success for its genre in Russia, especially for a movie unsuitable for children. The two-hour Russian-language film — a multi-million dollar production with state funding — features Konstantin Khabenskiy, one of Russia’s best-known actors. It has an international cast and convincing visuals but its main significance is that it goes into finer detail and nuance than any feature film made before about the camp, according to Michael Edelstein, a lecturer at Moscow State University and the film’s scientific consultant. Visually, the film is one of the goriest of its
people exited through the main gate. Only 57 escapees, including Pechersky, avoided being murdered in the subsequent manhunt. Eleven German officers were killed in the uprising. But while these acts of bravery at Sobibor highlight the rebels’ resourcefulness and determination, they and the movie also underscore how Jews’ relative obedience at Sobibor created total complacency among the Nazis — who were famously vigilant, disciplined and effective in countering threats by enemies, partisans and even prisoners of war. “A body has two hands, and so does this story,” said Edelstein. “On the one hand, there was the dehumanization and mechanized killing. On the other, the heroism. And I think Sobibor is remembered for the heroism thanks to the rebels’ actions.” The film also addresses perceived passivity, exploring the grinding effect of hard labor, hunger and trauma as well as the elaborate deception employed by the Nazis to trick the condemned into submissively entering the gas chambers, which the killers said were showers. Victims’ suitcases were tagged and they received slips to recover them. Separation between the sexes was “temporary,” they were told. Pechersky, a Red Army prisoner of war who was transferred to Sobibor because he was Jewish, realized within a few days that no one was meant to survive the camp, he said in testimonies. But others wholeheartedly believed they were about to be resettled. Some of the most poignant findings from Sobibor were discovered last year: name plaques that five Dutch-Jewish families had brought with them to Sobibor to install on their new mailboxes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced Sobibor’s dual legacy for Jews during a speech in January that he gave in a joint appearance Russian President Vladimir Putin at a comSee Film on page 22
Christopher Lambert, right, portraying a German Nazi officer in “Sobibor.”
kind. Its opening scene features the death throes of hundreds of naked women in a gas chamber. There’s a rape scene, immolation, savage beatings, floggings, stabbings, a bludgeoning to the head and firearm executions. “It’s a very difficult film to watch,” Rabbi Alexander Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, told JTA. The film also goes further than any previous production — including the 1987 British television film “Escape from Sobibor” staring Alan Arkin — in exploring the internal politics within the camp. In the days before the uprising, its conspirators suffered violence and feared betrayal by other inmates — including kapo, Jews who worked for the Nazis as camp police. Whereas the 1987 film ignores this issue, it is ever-present in the Russian production, informing at every step the viewer’s interpretation of the ac-
tions and dilemmas of the film’s main protagonist, the partisan and Red Army veteran Alexander Pechersky, who led the revolt and whose character is played by Khabenskiy. The film even features one scene of a kapo practicing the Nazi salute – a reference to Herbert Naftaniel, a German Jew nicknamed Berliner. According to testimonies from Sobibor, Naftaniel was crueler to inmates than the German and Ukrainian guards. It also shows the hostility harbored by some Russian Jewish soldiers toward other Jews, whom they call “kikes” in the film. Under Pechersky, a dozen-odd men and a few women eliminated the Nazi chain of command by stealthily assassinating several camp officers, who were lured into a trap with promises of exquisite possessions taken from victims. With weapons they stole, the rebels then engaged the watchtower guards as more than 300
THE JEWISH STAR May 18, 2018 • 4 Sivan, 5778
Why a gory Shoah film is blockbuster in Russia
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The JEWISH STAR
Continued from page 21 memoration ceremony for the Sobibor Uprising at Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. “There were those who thought that [Sobibor] was our history’s rock bottom, when in fact it marked the opposite: Our will to never surrender to those who want to destroy us,” Netanyahu said. “That moment more than any other marked the turning point in the history of the Jewish people.” But this modern view was not universally shared in Israel in the years immediately after the Shoah. In celebrating Holocaust-era bravery, authorities highlighted the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and other cases that did not carry Sobibor’s complex mixture of heroism, passivity and treachery. For decades, “the Sobibor Uprising was barely known in Israel,” according to Yoram Haimi, the Israeli archeologist who in recent years unearthed parts of the gas chamber at the camp. The only commemoration it had was when survivors’ families gathered each year on the uprising’s anniversary at the home of Dov Freiberg for a dinner party that featured neither speeches nor ceremonies, he said. Meanwhile, the Sobibor Uprising did not meet the Soviet Union’s standards for heroism either, according to Edelstein, the film’s scientific consultant. “Pechersky couldn’t be celebrated as a hero not only because he was a Jew, but also because he let himself be taken prisoner. Celebrating him was out of the question” during communism, Edelstein said. But that changed in Russia following Haimi’s archeological excavations, which drew intense interest in international media. The process that led to the film’s creation began with a visit to Israel in 2012, Edelstein said. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who is Michael’s brother, proposed the two countries cooperate on commemorating the 75th anniversary of the uprising.
CAlendar of Events
Send your events to Calendar@TheJewishStar.com • Deadline noon Friday • Compiled by Zachary Schechter
Wednesday May 16
Shulamith School for Girls: Foundaitons for Our Future gala saluting Duvi and Tova Kupfer (guests of honor), Josh and Arielle Spiegel (community service), Shragi and Ahava Feldman (parents of the year) and Ariela Fine (teacher of the year). Reservations: Shulamith.org/dinner, email@example.com, 516-564-1500 x100. The Sands Atlantic Beach.
Thursday May 17
Parsha Shiur: [Weekly] Join Michal Horowitz at the YI of Woodmere for a special shiur on the parsha. 9:30 am. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950. Iyun Tefilah: [Weekly] Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst. 9:45 am. 8 Spruce St, Cedarhurst. Learn Maseches Brachos: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Eliyahu Wolf at the YI of Woodmere for a shiur on Maseches Brachos. 5:15 pm. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950. Halacha Shiur: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Yoni Levin at Aish Kodesh for a halacha shiur. 9:30 pm. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere.
Friday May 18
Erev Shabbos Kollel: [Weekly] Eruv Shabbos Kollel starting with 6 am Chassidus shiur with Rav Moshe Weinberger and concluding with 9 am Chevrusah Learning session with Rabbi Yoni Levin. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere.
Sunday May 20
Timely Torah: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, assistant rabbi of the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, for a shiur on relevant Halachic and philosophical topics related to Parsha Moadim and contemporary issues. Coffee and pastries. 8 am. 8 Spruce St, Cedarhurst.
Learning Program: [Weekly] At Aish Kodesh led by Rav Moshe Weinberger following 8:15 Shacharis including 9 am breakfast and shiurim on subjects such as halacha, gemara and divrei chizuk. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere. Gemara Shiur: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff at the YI of Woodmere for a gemara shiu.r 9:15 am. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950. Torah 4 Teens: [Weekly] Yeshiva program for high-school age boys & young adults with Rabbi Matis Friedman. 9:15 am-12:30 pm. 410 Hungry Harbor Rd, Valley Stream. Torah4teens5T@ gmail.com.
Monday May 21
Women’s Shiur: [Weekly] Dr. Anette Labovitz’s women shiur will continue at Aish Kodesh. 10 am. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere. Seeing Things Clearly: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Shalom Yona Weis at Aish Kodesh for a shiur for women and high school girls titled “Seeing Things Clearly- Learning to View Our World and Our Lives Through Positive Lenses. 8:45 pm. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere.
Tuesday May 22
Breakfast Connect: [Weekly] Breakfast Connect is a business and networking group that meets for breakfast at Riesterer’s Bakery and to discuss business and networking opportunities. 7:30-8:30 am. 282 Hempstead Ave, West Hempstead. 516-662-7712. Women’s Shiur: [Weekly] Rebbetzin Weinberger of Aish Kodesh will give a shiur on the “Midah of Seder in our Avodas Hashem.” 11 am. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere. Jewish History: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Evan Hoffman at the YI of Woodmere for a talk on Jewish History. 8:15 pm. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950.
Jumpstart your career! Parsha Chukas
• June 30, 2017
• 6 Tamuz, 5777
• Five Towns Candlelighting
8:11 pm, Havdalah
9:20 • Luach page
19 • Vol 16, No
of our Orthodox
By Celia Weintrob Photos by Doni Kessler
Photo by Doni
note remarks that opened the fourth While Torah is nual an- passed down way for the mesorahforever true, the ideal tive Five Towns Community Collaboraaccording Conference on to be conveyed the time, emphasizing to the middah of children — and Sunday. “What is the Torah how an everlastingto our that the primary of Torah and the kids need now?” ingredent needed in Yiddishkeit is embeddedlove he asked. “What today’s chinuch simcha. their beings — worked in 1972 is in necessarily changes won’t work today.” Twenty-six speakers, “You’re still talking over time. Rabbi Weinberger, about what rebbetzins, educators, including rabbis, for you in 1972 and insisting thatworked d’asrah of Congregationfounding morah ers and community leadwhat should work lecturers that’s Woodmere Aish Kodesh in and mashpia at sue that challengeeach addressed a key isMoshe Weinberger, for your kid,” Rabbi the YU, reminded families and parents Shila”a, said in key- that Torah and educators in attendance frum communities. The event, schools in will not be received the Young Israel hosted at of Woodmere, if it’s not was orgaSee 5 Towns Rabbi Moshe hosts on page Weinberger, of 15 Kodesh in Woodmere, Congregation Aish delivered keynote
Presenting their topics, from left: Baruch Fogel of Rabbi Touro College, “Motivating our children to motivate themselves”; Reb-
dmere as There’s joy in Woo celebrates new home
Presenters at Sunday’s conference, from left: Elisheva director of religious Kaminetsky, SKA kodesh, “Empoweringguidance, limudei choices”; Rabbi
• Vol 16, No 34
betzin Shani Taragin, 7:53 • Torah columns Tanach coordinator and mashgicha 6:46 pm, Havdalah nika, and Morah”; ruchanit at Midreshet Towns candles Rabbi • Five rah V’avodah, Ephraim 5777 Congregation Polakoff, don’t”; “Miriam: Meyaledet, To• 24 Elul Bais 15, 2017 Rabbi Jesse Horn Tefilah, “Teens Meiech • Sept. technology: What and kotel, of Yeshivat HaNitzavim-Vayeil you know and ognize your bashert”; what you and “Helping children balance ideology Rabbi Kenneth pleasure”; Esther of Congregation Hain Wein, “How to Beth Shalom, rec- A-OK to “When it’s say yes.”
Reuven Taragin, Yeshivat Hakotel founder and director of Eytan Community Education Feiner of The Conferences, White Shul, “When Yitzchak met “Torah tips on Rivkah: Torah’s Star tion and maintain to build Jewish first menThe how a strong By marriage”; of martial the Hebrew joined love”; Michal Towns “Ahavas in Horowitz, The FiveRabbi Sunday Yisrael: In theory or Long Beach on at its in pracnew Academy of
Super Spec ialS chanukat habayit Avenue in celebrating a on Church elementary school Woodmere. beginnings that the humble
tice?”; Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, d’asra, Young mora Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, “Raising successful children”; Rebbetzin Lisa Septimus, yoetzet hala-
of our Orthodox
Photos by Doni
Photos by Doni
t’ is YU prez: ‘Torat eme
value school’s top core The JEWISH STAR investiture follows formal the Emet first is “Torat ‘InvestFest’ fair shiva University,”Truth.” in
Star the loss, By The Jewish to remember Cedarhurst pausedmiracles of 9/11, at the the n on Sunday. the heroism, and commemoratio village’s annual Rabbi Shay Schachter of WoodIn his invocation, of the Young Israel the Master and (top right photo) pray that G-d, all the strength mere said, “we world, grant us Creator of the to stand firm together against of and the fortitude of extremism, of bigotry, all forms of terror, and of all evil that can be hatred, of racism, forms in our world.” who found in different obligation to thosenever solemn a have “We 11th to injured on Sept. died or were said Mayor Benjamin but we also forget what happened,” “We saw evil, Weinstock (bottom). America.” of best survivor saw the (middle), a 9/11 78,” reAri Schonburn Fate of “Miracle and waitand author of that day. He was called his experiences on the 78th floor when elevators ing to change hit. Chief the first plane hurst Fire Department Lawrence-Cedar the playing of saluting during victims. David Campell, 9/11 names of local Taps, read the
ceremony, YU’s new president, after the investiture for a selfie. sterdam Avenue who happily posed sought-after celebrity
Arthur James Balfour
t was a minor news story when it broke in the summer of 2016. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was suing Great Britain over the Balfour Declaration, issued on Nov. 2, 1917. But as we observe the centennial of the document this week, it’s important to understand that although his lawsuit was a stunt, Abbas was serious. More than that, the symbolism of his See Tobin on page 22
photos by Ed
The Jewish Star
& Lulav Sets Island • Etrog
Jonathan S. toBin
or the Palestinians, the year zero is not 1948, when the state of Israel came into being, but 1917, when Great Britain issued, on Nov. 2, the Balfour Declaration—expressing support for the establishment of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. So central is the Balfour Declaration to Palestinian political identity that the “Zionist invasion” is officially deemed to have begun in 1917—not in 1882, when the first trickle of Jewish pioneers from Russia began arriving, nor in 1897, when the Zionist movement held its first congress in Basel, nor in the late 1920s, when thousands of German Jews fleeing the rise of Nazism chose to go to Palestine. The year 1917 is the critical date because that is when, as an anti-Zionist might say, the Zionist hand slipped effortlessly into the British imperial glove. It is a neat, simple historical proposition upon which the entire Palestinian version of events rests: an empire came to our land and gave it to foreigners, we were dispossessed, and for five generations now, we have continued to resist. Moreover, it is given official sanction in the Palestine National Covenant of 1968, in which article 6 defines Jews who “were living permanently in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion” as “Palestinians”—an invasion that is dated as 1917 in the covenants’ notes. As the Balfour Declaration’s centenary approached, this theme is much in evidence. There is now a dedicated Balfour Apology See Cohen on page 22
Dealer on Long
Sukkah To Abbas Largest and Hamas, it was ‘original sin’
At declaration’s centennial, a source of joy and derision
To British, Palestine just another colony
to an — we believe investiture speech Delivering his Wilf Campus in at YU’sThe Newspaper of our Orthodox communities Berman, with many assembly of 2,000 ty, Rabbi Dr. Ari values that personify YeWashington Heights, in by livestream, that of the “five more listening spoke of the Rabbi Berman the five central “Five Torot, or institution.” teachings, of our believe in Tor“We do not just Chayyim — Torat at Emet but also and values must that our truths he said. live in the world,” teachings, YU’s other central Adam,” “Torat he said, are “Torat Tziyyon, the Chesed,” and “Torat Torah of Redemption.” formal cereFollowing the community parmonies, the YU street fair at an “InvestFest” Am- tied street fair on Amsterdam Avenue. 11 was a along at the “InvestFest” See YU on page Star
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of YI LawrenceYaakov Trump director From left: Rabbi Shenker, executive Cedarhurst; MarvinWeitz; Dr. Herbert Pasternak; of YILC; Dr. Mott Lance Hirt; and Rabbi Aaron / Theresa Press HALB Board Chair The Jewish Star Fleksher of HALB.
Corbyn boycotts B’four event
Britain Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn— who in 2009 called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” — said he would not attend a dinner commemorating the centennial of the Balfour Declaration. Prime Minister Theresa May she would attend “with pride” and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would be her guest. “We are proud of the role we played in the creation of the State of Israel and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride,” May said. “I am also pleased that good trade relations and other relations that we have with Israel we are building on and enhancing.”
R H STA The JEWIS el ra Is h it w l in efesh’s 56th charter LIers goonal Nefesh B’N
IsraAID brings relief to U.S. disasters
By Ron Kampeas, JTA Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and WASHINGTON — For 17 years, the then the wildfires in northern California. Israeli NGO IsraAID has been performPolizer recalls that he was wrapping ing search and rescue, purifying water, up a visit to IsraAID’s new American providing emergency medical assistance headquarters in Palo Alto on Oct. 8 and and walking victims of trauma back to was on his way to a flight to Mexico to psychological health in dozens of disas- oversee operations after a devastating ter-hit countries. No 25 earthquake there when he got word of • Vol 16, But no season has been busier than the wildfires. “I literally had Luach page 19 9:15 • to do a Uthis past summer and fall, its co-CEO Yo- turn,” he said Havdalah this week in an interview 8:07 pm, tam Polizer said in an interview — and ting Candleligh at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Polizer spoke with the exhilaration of an executive whose team has come through a daunting challenge. “We’re the people who stay past the ‘aid festival’,” he said, grinning, describing the See IsraAID on page 5
r of our Orthodox
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Leah in sec-t. (with mom of Woodmere for Girls in Cedarhurson Feinberg photos School said. More ar-old Elishevah at the Shulamith now there,” she The Jewish Star / Ed Weintrob trip” and a student out. Thirteen-ye came from year-long had been home. magic “on a 30 as olim, to come ond photo) love for Eretz Yisroel Nefesh B’Nefesh’s left Israel of my land. Jonawho flew promised Her parents her family’s journey fulfill “Part was she said. Long Islanders aliyah to the for a enough to flight page 16. through Al’s charter the smiling in” and making he’s waited long will follow,” to do this it’s time, NBN’s El to Israel the first some of “all said she’s wanted family, friends, “Hopefully, everyone t of boarding boarding the move Here are on July 3, going Hills (left) and was land, said excitemen olim, for others Shpage 16 through on July 1 carpet ride of Kew Gardens While the olim on emerged the promised of the and her school, from teaching See. 201 carpet to Her love of Israel for many than Yehoshua holy land, — he retired palpable time. visits to the the dream
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• May 26,
2017 • 1
week • Candleligh
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L’Chaim 5K: YI Jamaica Estates 17th annual L’Chaim 5K. 83-10 188th St, Jamaica.
Sunday June 10
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Towns nowhere more than in the United States. 5777 • Five Tamuz, “The last few months have been un2017 • 20 believable,” he said, listing a succession • July 14, Parsha Pinchas of disasters that occupied local staff and Niveen Rizkalla working with IsraAID in Santa Rosa, Calif., in volunteers since August: Hurricane Harthe wake of deadly wildfires there. vey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida,
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A Cultural Celebration: The Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck will be hosting the 70th Anniversary Of the State of Israel: A Cultural Celebration featuring Senator Elaine Phillips and author, Francine Klagsburn. Free admission. 7 pm. 113 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck. RSVP 516-829-2570.
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Timely Tanach: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Ya’akov Trump of the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst for a shiur on Sefer Shoftim. 8 pm. 8 Spruce St, Cedarhurst. Chumash and Halacha Shiur: [Weekly] Shiur with Rabbi Yosef Richtman at Aish Kodesh. 8 pm. 894 Woodmere Pl, Woodmere. Shiur and Tehillim Group: [Weekly] Join the women of YIW at the home of Devorah Schochet. 9:15 pm. 559 Saddle Ridge Rd.
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Wednesday May 23
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wedding TheJew on the 70th Bonnie ishStar.c EpisStar reported survivors 93rd om ty News s and St. John’s The Jewish and Shoah The Newspape , the Far residents years ago Herald Communi Last March, Woodmere of Jack Rybsztajn’ Bessen, closed five Rockaway Peninsula y of r of our Orthodox in patients Hospital the By Jeffrey communit On the occasion anniversar hospital on percent jump Rybsztajn. his story continues. ies When Peninsula and Jack to get became the experienced a 35 million on July 12, center was desperatelocated. copal Hospital a $10.15 birthday medical Weintrob obtaining to help complete Jack Rybsztajnrelatives were which Rockaway y services. By Celia a few war ended, emergenc week celebrated nt of Health creating primary After the to Brussels, where cargo trains, during legal using its officials last Departme given on ld hospiSt. John’s New York State that will also include from Stuttgart daring voyages then ultimately sister-in-law s the The 111-year-o Turntwo grant from services renovationacross the street. and arrested, and their future to Brussels Through y at 275 Rockaway headed y center the couple emergenc in a building right for he was discovered . ambulator in Brussels, journey. They had dismay had left on page 14 care space an off-site sites on the peninsula residence the to their See St. John’s Cyla, who tal also operates and similar finally completed kosher restauJack’s sister they arrived. pike in Lawrence to meet s ate at a stating that a one day before wall the Rybsztajn Palestine Brussels, a placard on the looking for anyone While in this was they saw address, wrote to rant, where with a Brooklyn been Rybsztajn , who had survived. Mr. Jacobs, JN who Yechiel Rybsztajn containson of s, a package plus named RYBSZTA he is the afterward Brussels, man, saying nephew. Not long was received in Mr. Jacobs’ and a pair of tefillinto the United States. Rybsztajn ing a tallis g his travel for five years,” which in Belgium were so nice, papers authorizin Brussels “we stayed Poland. So However, gentile people of went through in Shaydels, the “The what we recalled. He mentioned s into their a relief after was such coming to America.” the Rybsztajn on page 7 who welcomed See Shoah we stalled Isaac. a well-to-do couple
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son, great-grand holds his he holds his grandson, Jack Rybsztajn in inset below, father. Years earlier, is Isaac’s Marc, who
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Halacha Shiur: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff at the YI of Woodmere for a halacha shiur. 8:40 pm. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950. Gemara Shiur: [Weekly] Join Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt at the YI of Woodmere for a gemara shiu. 9:15 pm. 859 Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere. 516-295-0950.
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