Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fear of G-d

By Michael Fuah

The German nation was the crowning glory of human culture: Equality, culture, respect for every individual and even concern for animals typified pre-World War II German society. Only one thing was missing: "Just that there is no fear of G-d in this place." (Abraham on why he feared being murdered by the Plishtim, Genesis 20:11). Soviet Russia, motivated by its ideology to perfect the world and its concern for the simple worker - produced Stalin. Both the Germans and the Russians had rectified laws, but their lack of fear of Heaven brought about the murder of millions.

Technological advances, progressive legislation, war against corruption and more cannot prevent the "State of Law" from perpetrating terrible crimes. Conscious recognition of the existence of G-d is an existential prerequisite not only on an individual level but more importantly, on a public level. This is what the Torah warns us in this week's Torah portion, Kedoshim: "And you shall keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and you shall do them and the Land will not vomit you out." (Leviticus 20: 22-23)

Shabbat Shalom

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dear Limor

By Jason Gold

Dear Limor:

First and foremost I wish you raichumim (condolences) on the brutal and savage murder of your nephew, Ben Yosef Livnat. I did not know him but the passing of any young Jewish soul is tragic and all the more so because of the senseless, hateful act that took him. Your sentiments are absolutely correct. This was cold-blooded murder, pure and simple by terrorists who happened to be wearing police uniforms. No excuse of lack of coordination can condone the act of "shoot first and ask questions later" especially when the subjects are four Breslov Chasidim who only wanted to pray at Kever Yosef (Joseph's Tomb).

Do not expect any justice in this situation. Already the lies are propagating that this was an "unauthorized infiltration" that the Jews threw stones, that settlers are not normal people, etc., etc. There will be no justice. No suspects will be found or if they are, they will be given a mock trial under "Palestinian Justice", sentenced immediately to an upscale prison or hotel and then found to have mysteriously escaped when someone left the door/window open with keys in the waiting car. No, there will be no justice for Ben Yosef Livnat from the Arabs unless Israel decides to enforce it. And this, as you are well aware is doubtful at best as Israel is loathe to enforce its sovereign rights to protect Jewish worshipers as Jewish holy sites such as Joesph's Tomb or Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) while allowing Arabs, Christians, Druze etc., full and unrestricted access to their sites. It was not enough that your nephew was killed and the other three wounded. No, in an orgy of unrestrained replacement theology, the Tomb was set on fire after the murder and the dome on top painted green.

As you may be aware, the holiday of Pesach that we just celebrated documents the only time in history one nation was born while in the clutches of another. The nation of Israel was born despite the servitude to the Egyptians. Now of course, this was a miraculous occurrence via Gd and yet the government you sit in (along with those that came before them) are insisting in doing its version of imitatio dei by trying to birth an illegitimate Palestinian state carved out of the living heart of Israel (please see Gandhi, re:Pakistan from India for more information). The horrific murder of your nephew along with the recent butchering of the Fogel family should give you and the current Likud leadership pause in what your Prime Minister may propose to the US Congress in a fit of panic next week. The rationale of course being that if we don't do it ourselves, the world will do something worse (see Sharon and the rationale for the Gaza retreat that Israel is still paying for).

Limor, the sad reality is that Israel has no peace partners. It has people with a mythical nationality given legitimacy by a series of mistakes and weakness of successive Israeli leaders. And most of these people, as studies regularly show, want nothing more than to push the Jews into the sea. The more you give, the more they want and the more they murder. Israel must stand on its own feet but in order to do that, it will need the leadership with the will to be strong against the pressure that the world will bring, especially in light of the Arab world meltdown that is currently playing itself out. That leadership is to be found inside the Likud embodied in a man that because of bad advice from those around you, you tried to eject from the Likud. It may now be time to embrace that man as you did when his son laid critically injured in the hospital.

May you and your family only know simchot (happiness) in the future. And may you find the strength to do what needs to be done to insure Israel's survival continued growth towards the true Jewish state.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Can Israel Withstand the Mounting International Pressure?

By Moshe Feiglin

11 Nissan, 5771
April 15, '11

It is worthwhile to watch
this film clip of Samantha Power, a senior director on the National Security Council, one of the most influential people in the Obama administration. The two main points that Power makes in this interview, no holds barred, are the necessity to establish a strong army for the "Palestinians" (instead of "investing billions" in the Israeli army) and the necessity to enforce the political solution that she suggests with "massive" force.

As hallucinatory as Power's words may seem now, it is worthwhile to remember that the negation of Israel's right to exist, which was once the rhetoric of terror organizations and Arab states alone, has now become a central and legitimate topic throughout Europe. When a person of Power's stature speaks like this today, she clearly charts out the strategic course for the US and Europe tomorrow.

This week, Tony Blair, the Quartet's official envoy to the Middle East, announced that Europe would accept the Hamas as a negotiating partner. He refused to make that contingent on the terror organization's recognition of Israel's right to exist. Simply put, first we will take whatever you give us and then when you are helpless, we will swallow up the rest.

Shimon Peres, of course, rushed to join in the chorus and after his meeting this week with the US President announced with no small measure of identification that "Obama wants progress - not just another show." Our honored president has begged for a meeting with Obama for a long time and was willing to pay the price: adding his own voice to the international pressure being weaved around Jerusalem. Peres does not need much coaxing. His dream of a new Middle East perfectly complements Power's declarations.

Time and again Israel's public relations representatives have emphasized the fact that there is no connection between the uprisings in the Arab world and the Israel-Arab conflict. The world, though, is not interested in the facts. But we must at least understand that it makes no difference how much we will give to placate the Arabs and the world. As long as one grain of sand in the Land of Israel remains under Israeli sovereignty, they will not be satisfied.

"He said that the Arabs are not afraid of our expansion. They negate our very presence, as a foreign implant. 'The question is,' he said, 'will you be able to muster forces to establish the state larger than the forces that we will concentrate to prevent it?'"
Abba Eban reports on his conversation with the secretary of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, September, 1947).

Nothing much has changed since 1947. We are not engaged in a border conflict with the Arabs. They are totally unwilling to accept our sovereign existence in the Land of Israel. It is not despair at their lack of sovereignty that motivates the Arabs against us. On the contrary. It is their hope to negate our sovereignty here that keeps them going. That is why every small piece of land that we give them adds fuel to their bonfire of hope. It intensifies the conflict and the international pressure that invariably comes on its heels.

Both the Western and Arab worlds are weaker today than ever before. They will be at our throats only if we open the gates of Jerusalem to them. Israel's problem is not the military danger or the economic sanctions that a Western coalition will likely institute against us. We are fully capable of protecting our interests and emerging from this sort of crisis with an improved international standing and deterrence. Our problem is inside. Are we capable of relying on our internal sense of justice, on our ancient culture, on our faith in G-d? Or do we still worship America?

Experience has proven that we do not have the ability to speed up the maturation of consciousness enveloping Israeli society. We won the Gush Katif referendum and the race for the Knesset, but it didn't help. We must understand that until the public consciousness reaches a vital critical mass, no technical victory will change reality.

That is why Manhigut Yehudit is focused now on introducing a new, Jewish way of thinking into Israeli society. We are still in politics and will continue to do all that is necessary to win. But in order to get elected, the public must understand that there is a viable and attractive alternative for which it can vote. We must be perceived by the public as the solution - and not as part of the problem. We must remain accessible and relevant, ready for the moment that the Nation of Israel will seek out authentic faith-based leadership to lead it into the new, G-dly world reality.

A Pesach Message from Moshe Feiglin

Shalom to everyone. On the Seder night, the Hagaddah begins with the negative and ends with praise. In this short message, we will do the same.


This past week, we once again had a painful reminder of the fact that the State of Israel cannot exist for a long time when it is disconnected from its Jewish foundations. The last round of fighting against the Hamas in Gaza ended with the score of 2:0 - in favor of the Hamas. On one hand, every bus within five kilometers of the Gaza Strip has now become an easy and accessible potential target, while on the other hand, Israel will not dare to carry out targeted assassinations or the abduction of senior Hamas terrorists when those measures mean that all the residents of Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva must stay in bomb shelters.

The military solution is essentially non-existent because the only way to triumph is to capture the Gaza Strip and to establish real Israeli sovereignty over the region. But he who is disconnected form his Jewish foundations cannot see this solution as an option. He is incapable of accepting the fact that Gaza is simply the Land of Israel and that our roots in the city and surrounding area are no less deep than our roots in Tel Aviv. From the mighty Samson through Rabbi Yisrael Najarah and until the 1930's when the Jewish community in Gaza was destroyed, there had always been a Jewish community there.

Are you familiar with the Shabbat songs Yoducha Ra'ayonai or Kah Ribon olam v'olmaya? You've heard them. The next time you hear those songs, remember that they were written in Gaza and that their composers are buried in the Jewish cemetery there.

He who sees only the here and now, he who is disconnected from our past and our destiny in this Land - also has no present. He finds himself running to bomb shelters or to sophisticated protective systems.

It is not only Gaza that we cannot capture without our Jewish foundations - we cannot even justify our presence in Haifa and Be'er Sheva without them. Just one generation after the Holocaust, Europe is no longer inclined to apologize. Our security-based claims sound to them - and in no small measure, justifiably so - like the tears of the Robbed Cossack. When is the last time that you heard an official Israeli representative simply say, "This is our Land"? If we also admit that we occupied a land that is not ours, how can we complain that our children are in danger?

The negation of Israel's legitimate right to exist is spreading like wildfire in the West, IDF officers and Israeli politicians are afraid to leave the country to which they themselves do not understand their connection.

O.K., we also have to leave some time for the positive.

The good news is that despite the confusion, the Nation of Israel is upward bound. As individuals we may be confused, but as a nation we are displaying unbelievable vitality. The birthrate among Jews in Israel is the highest in the Western world - even without the religious factored in. All the Western nations are shrinking and by us, construction of new apartments does not meet growing demand. Israel today is one of the most modern and developed states in the world. We export more to the US than we import - and that is even though we buy more from America than Brazil or India, with its population of a billion. The Western economies are collapsing - while the Israeli shekel is the most stable in the world. Our foreign debt is small and unemployment in Israel is relatively minimal. True, the lack of a balanced Jewish culture of modest spending and loving kindness is currently preventing the wealth from filtering down to all layers of the population, but as we connect to our culture, that will also work out. We're talking about the positive now, remember?

With G-d's help, next year most of the Nation of Israel will be in the Land of Israel - before next Pesach. This demographic status has not occurred since the era of the First Temple!

So what is happening here? On the one hand the physical aspect of our nation is flourishing, while on the other hand we are experiencing spiritual weakness that threatens our continued existence. How can we change this situation? How can we progress? How can we take advantage of our national sovereignty and the great abundance that our Father in heaven is showering upon us and not lose them, G-d forbid?

The answer is leadership. To emerge from our state of mental subservience to genuine national liberty, we need Jewish leadership that will know how to stabilize our national structure on the foundations of our Jewish heritage.

How will we do it? How will we deal with the Arabs? How will we explain it to the Jews? How will we stand up to American pressure? We have answers to all those questions and more.

You can start by reading our articles, arranged on the
Jewish Leadership website by categories . Check out TomorrowMagazine for more details on various issues. And most important of all, get our ideas out through your own blogs and social media outlets.

We are entering Pesach 5771 with great hope. With G-d's help, we will greet Jonathan Pollard, Gilad Shalit and all our other captives this year. All the wounded and sick will completely recover and all of our dreams will be realized in the very best way.

Reality is nudging our nation into a new consciousness - Jewish consciousness. We are building an alternative and with G-d's help, we will soon lead our nation and complete the journey that our ancestors began in Egypt 3,013 years ago - on the Temple Mount.

I wish you a happy and kosher Festival of Freedom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time to Loosen Up

By Shai Malka

machar 6E

The existential anxiety experienced by many of Israel’s citizens is the product of a traumatic history and the all-inclusive draft. A professional volunteer army would release pent-up stress and make it easier for everyone to breathe.

There are situations in life when we must be prepared. Our muscles instinctively tense and our survival mode takes over. The problem begins after the danger has passed and our muscles remain tense from the memory of the fear. The trauma leaves us anxious and stressed, which in turn wastes energy. More than anything else at moments like these, we need someone to tell us that we can relax; that we are already on solid ground.

True, Israel has experienced difficult periods in our past and recent history. We had to protect our lives and we were almost annihilated. But the situation has changed considerably in the last years and today’s Israel can be a bit more relaxed and confident.

Constant anxiety affects the pace of our days, the shortness of breath and intensity of life in Israel. In India it is common to meet Israeli backpackers who have completed their army service sitting in a guest house and smoking drugs: The tension and intensity of life in Israel fade away in India with a little help from chemistry and good friends.

Israeli society can be defined as high-strung. Army service is not exclusively to blame, but it is definitely a major factor in our stress. It’s all inclusive imperative highlights the difficulties and tension in our lives. Sometimes, it also hinders our ability to make balanced decisions. The compulsory draft law is a remnant, like a muscle still flexed because of emergencies that we experienced in the past. Compulsory draft is not only a product of our anxiety, but it perpetuates it. By repealing the compulsory draft we can free the public of its existential anxiety.

A closer look at our Jewish sources also shows sensitivity toward personal freedom and rights – even during war. The Torah explicitly prohibits the compulsory draft of soldiers for medical or certain personal reasons.

The pressure that we are under prevents us from thinking of totally different possibilities to improve the IDF. Statistics show that the army is urgently in need of revamping. Even if it is possible to implement far-reaching reforms without repealing the compulsory draft, it appears that this step has greater potential to achieve the desired result. We are certain that many superb young people would enlist for volunteer professional army service. A state for which its citizens are not prepared to fight will not survive.

The time has come to begin to think about replacing the compulsory draft with a professional volunteer army. It is time to relax a bit and to let people live. It is time to begin thinking like a normal country, because for a long time now, we really are a normal country.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Israel's Economic Miracle

By Moshe Feiglin

"And Elisha said: Listen to the word of G-d, for so says G-d: At this time tomorrow a measure of fine flour will cost one shekel and two measures of barley will cost one shekel on the Shomron exchange. And the king's captain, on whom he relied, answered the man of G-d and said: Will G-d make windows in heaven? Will this thing take place? And he answered: You will see it with your eyes but you will not eat from there.
(From this week's Prophets portion, Kings II, 7:1-2)

Everyone was starving to death in Shomron, the kingdom of Israel's capital. There was even cannibalism. The mighty Aram army was deployed in siege mode in the valley, patiently waiting for the city to fall. Not only did they have an abundance of food, but also heaps of gold and silver. Why work hard and endanger themselves trying to climb up the treacherous slopes and menacing fortifications to Shomron? Soon, they were sure, the starving population would surrender their city for a few crumbs.

And the prophet? What does he have to say about this dire situation?

The prophet Elisha writes an economic forecast that seems to be taken from Globes. Does anybody really care how much grain will cost on the local exchange? Couldn't he simply say that tomorrow morning there will be abundant food for all?

G-d's Divine Providence is everywhere, but it is most obvious in economics. Economics is not science. No experts were able to tell us exactly when the last economic crisis would occur. Like historians, economists do a better job explaining what happened in the past than forecasting what will take place in the future.

If an economic expert had claimed five years ago that the Israeli currency would be the most stable in the (Western) world and that the entire world would flee the dollar, he would likely have been ridiculed, just as the captain ridiculed Elisha. But we are witnessing an economic miracle unfolding live. Due to the fact that we are the recipients of the miracle, we do not recognize it as such. We do not understand how the Creator changes the world - first and foremost through its economies.

Just as the Aram army fled within minutes, so America and Europe are disintegrating before our eyes. A new, G-dly world is waiting at the door. The process is being led by the economy. Elisha understood the axis around which all the processes were taking place and used it to depict reality.

Our Sages predicted that before the redemption, the gold of all the world will flow to the Land of Israel. The light that will shine forth from Zion will be preceded by great wealth, so that Israel's wisdom will not be the scorned wisdom of the destitute.

The gold is already starting to flow. Now we have to make sure to be worthy of the miracles.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Final Word on The Manhigut US Dinner

By Fern Sidman

A palpable excitement filled the air as close to 400 people gathered on Monday evening, March 21st at the Terrace on the Park catering hall in New York to attend the 9th annual gala dinner for the Manhigut Yehudit movement. This year's dinner was dedicated to the incredible life and enduring legacy of Herbert Zweibon, ZT"L, the beloved founder and chairman of Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI) who passed away on Tu B'Shevat, January 19, 2011, as special tributes were paid him. Considered a shining paradigm of pro-Israel activism in America, Mr. Zweibon was remembered in the fondest of terms by the Manhigut Yehudit leadership.

"My first memory of Herb Zweibon was when I volunteered at AFSI for a year", said Rob Muchnick, US Director of Manhigut Yehudit. "We are proud to say that we continue to work with AFSI and will continue our important work together in the future. Herb's fighting spirit was infectious and his entire being resonated with an overwhelming love of Israel and the Jewish people", he added.

Helen Freedman, executive director of AFSI said, "I was very touched and pleased by the fact that Manhigut Yehudit saw fit to honor our beloved Herb Zweibon, z"l at their annual dinner. Since the goals of Jewish leadership and the preservation of a whole Israel are shared by both AFSI and Manhigut Yehudit, it was very appropriate that AFSI's Chairman should be honored at this occasion. The large turnout of AFSI members was a tribute both to Herb and to the ideology of Manhigut Yehudit."

The recent barbaric murders of five members of the Fogel family in the settlement of Itamar on March 11th took center stage amongst dinner attendees and organizers. "Tonight we not only pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions to Jewish activism made by Herbert Zweibon but we recall with profound sorrow the horrific and tragic massacre of the Fogel family", intoned Shmuel Sackett, international director of Manhigut Yehudit.

"There are revolutions underway in Egypt, Libya and the entire Arab world, but what about Israel?", declared Mr. Sackett. Recalling that he and Manhigut Yehudit party chairman Moshe Feiglin led hundreds of thousands of Israelis in protests across the nation, he ruefully observed, "they did not help". Adding that, "Israelis believe they live in a democracy in contrast to the people of Egypt who knew they didn't live in a democracy. Israelis still believe in the democratic process and thus, we are here talking about positive change in the Israeli government. We are building a new leadership that will be committed to a complete and undivided land of Israel living to serve the one and only G-d of Israel," he said.

"The conscience of Oslo is crumbling before our very eyes", declared keynote speaker Moshe Feiglin, founder and co-president of Manhigut Yehudit. Regarded by many as the leading spokesman for the Land of Israel sector, Mr. Feiglin founded the Zo Artzeinu (This is Our Land) grassroots movement in 1994 which stood in vehement opposition to the Oslo Agreements, and later established the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) organization, which has since joined the Likud with the goal of “influencing from within.” Manhigut Yehudit is credited with giving the Likud, and especially its list of Knesset members, a more nationalist slant than it would have had otherwise.

"After attending the funeral of the Fogel family, I realized that a dramatic shift in Israeli society was taking place", intoned Mr. Feiglin. "When Galei Tzahal (Israeli Army Radio) broadcast the entire funeral live, I took note of the fact that this station is the second largest radio station in the country, and definitely not a right wing one, felt the need to report this event that rocked the entire nation. That means something as does the left wing journalist from the Ma'ariv newspaper who said after the slayings of the Fogels that he is "scared and frustrated that there will be no peace and that he wants to "hide under the dress of Daniella Weiss" (a leading figure in the settlement movement).

Delivering an optimistic prognostication of his future on the Israeli political scene, Mr. Feiglin declared, "The Oslo Accords had in the past engulfed the nation and caused a disconnect from reality, but now we have witnessed the fact that people are coming to terms with the abysmal failure of Oslo. It was then that I understood, that with the help of Hashem, I am going to be the next prime minister of Israel and it's going to be sooner than ever before."

Addressing the recent ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Feiglin said, "Arab dictators are moving aside. Israelis have now come to the stark realization that they never had peace with Egypt when they saw Egyptian government opposition forces holding pictures of Mubarak with the Star of David scrawled over his face." Mr. Feiglin promised a change in Jewish leadership in Israel by carving out a new direction for Israeli youth. "For these young people, Oslo is the only language that they know. They have no concept of a true Jewish state but we are going to offer them an alternative that includes an authentic Jewish identity. With your help,” Mr. Feiglin told the enthusiastic crowd, “that day will be here a lot sooner than most people think!"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount: The Acid Test

By Moshe Feiglin

2 Nissan, 5771
April 5, '11

It is just one of the laws of nature here in the Middle East. When the Arabs feel that we are not determined to maintain Israeli sovereignty over our Land, when we apologize all the time and project transience, when they understand that we are not motivated by the feeling that we are right, the missiles and bombs are just a matter of time. It is not the massacre in Itamar, the rockets on Be'er Sheva or the bomb in Jerusalem that should surprise us, but the relatively long time that the fa├žade of quiet held up.

The point where we lost our spirit and feeling of justness has a name and an exact topographical location: It is the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the quintessence of the Land of Israel. There is no place holier to the Jews - and only to the Jews - than this place. There is no other place in the world that has been the focal point of our prayers and our destiny over the millennia. The entire trek of Abraham, Moses and King David leads us to the Temple Mount. Without it, our presence in Israel loses its meaning.

The Nation of Israel has longed for the Temple Mount throughout 2000 long and cruel years of exile. It is this longing and focus that preserved our Jewish identity and that brought us back to our Land. It is also the dynamic that provided the national foundation for the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Temple Mount was liberated during the Six Days of Miracles. The paratroop commander announced, "The Temple Mount is in our hands" and a wave of jubilation swept over us all; religious and secular, alike.

But just a few hours after the Temple Mount was liberated, the Israeli flag was removed from the site. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan gave the keys to the Mount to the Moslem wakf. Ever since then, the legitimacy for Israel's existence has slowly but surely eroded. "He who rules the Mount rules the Land," wrote poet of faith and rebuke Uri Tzvi Greenberg. He understood that the grand victory parades were obscuring the fact that when we left the Temple Mount, we lost the war.

Today, almost 44 years later, Jews essentially have almost no rights on the Temple Mount. Try your luck and go to the Temple Mount - not as a tourist, but as a Jew. Put a
kippah on your head and try to say a few words of Psalms or any other prayer. Before you are even allowed to enter the Mount, you will be detained at the side while all the tourists enter. Then you will be subjected to a thorough search - just in case you, Heaven forefend, are carrying a book of Psalms or prayer book. When you enter, a wakf worker and a policeman - often a Moslem, as well - will accompany you and scrutinize your every move. If your lips move in prayer - and it makes no difference if nobody else is there - the wakf worker will tell the policeman, who will hurriedly arrest you and take you off to the police station.

All of this is a patent violation of the basic human right of the Jewish People to pray at the place most holy to them - but the "human rights" organizations could not care less. The Supreme Court explains time and again that it is permissible for a Jew to pray on the Temple Mount, but that it is up to police discretion to authorize each prayer. It is actually just a game. The Supreme Court awards the police with responsibility when it fits its agenda; to negate the most basic rights of the Jews in their own Land.

It is on the Temple Mount that we lost the justness of our hold on this Land. He who consciously gave the royal crown to his enemy can no longer claim that his presence in any other part of the Land is just - not in Tel Aviv and not in Haifa.


Last Tuesday, the Knesset Interior Committee, chaired by MK David Azulai of Shas, held a hearing on the violation of the rights of the Jews on the Temple Mount. The hearing was summoned by Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin along with MKs Yariv Levin, Tzippy Hotobeli, Uri Ariel, Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad in the aftermath of the report on Jewish Rights at the Temple Mount recently published by Manhigut Yehudit.

Police "representative" in the Knesset, MK and former Police Chief Aryeh Bibi attempted to claim that the discriminatory and scandalous behavior of the police on the Temple Mount is caused by Jewish provocations. Police Chief of the Old City Avi Ruoeff also attempted to make similar claims. Arab MKs present at the hearing attempted to claim that all the trouble was being made by an "extremist and dangerous" Jewish fringe group.

These attempts, which had been successful in the past, totally failed. The police representatives embarrassed themselves with their contradictions and lies.

The faithful to the Land and the Temple prevailed not because of the power of their claims, but because of the stature of the claimants. MKs Uri Ariel, Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari spoke eloquently and did excellent work. But when the key speaker is Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin and he is followed by Likud MKs Yariv Levin, Tzippy Hotobeli and even MK Otniel Schneller from Kadimah, the hearing cannot be squelched simply by demonizing the claimants.

At the next hearing, the police will be required to present the committee with the rules for ascent to the Temple Mount, the list of people prohibited from entering the Mount and the reasons for their disqualification and - most importantly - an explanation of what the police consider a 'provocation.' Is it a provocation to enter the Mount with a Jewish prayer book? Wearing an IDF uniform?

Michael Fuah and I were at the hearing. We did not speak. But everyone present knew that without Manhigut Yehudit the entire hearing would not have taken place.

The position of the Israeli government and Israel's Police force on Jewish rights on the Temple Mount is an acid test for the State of Israel's commitment to its Jewish identity and its democracy. We will continue to work hard on this issue, which is a reflection of the state of our sovereignty over the entire Land.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Miracle During the Season of Miracles

(Editor's note: 9 months after an auto accident landed Dovid Feiglin in the hospital and in a coma for two months, he returns to the site of the accident in the first video to thank Gd for performing a miracle and saving his life. In the second video, an interview with Dovid and his father, Moshe Feiglin.)

Jonah Bruck's Speech, Manhigut Yehudit Dinner, Shushan Purim, 5771

(Editors Note: Jonah and Jo Bruck of Chicago, pictured below with Moshe Feiglin, were the Guests of Honor at the Manhigut Yehudit dinner in New York on Shusan Purim. Mr. Bruck gave an incredibly passionate and heartfelt speech on the necessity and urgency of Manhigut Yehudit's faith-based leadership in Israel.)

As most honorees start off by stating they did not want this honor.
Jo and I did not want this honor as well.

However, we accepted this for two reasons:
# 1. Shmuel Sackett called 5 times and then sent a guilt letter that we couldn’t say no.
# 2. Moshe Feiglin once mentioned, when speaking with him, that most Jews complain and do nothing, so we are here.

Columbus discovered America in 1492. The Civil Rights War was in 1861 between the Confederates and the northern states.

We also know about the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King.

The reason we know about this is because if you’re an “American,” and go to school, you should know about your country and heritage.

Ask most Israelis who the 1st Israeli NBA player is and they know.
However, ask most Israelis to name 7 of the 10 “Mackos” and they don’t know.

Ask most Israelis to name 2 players on the Tel-Aviv Macabee team and they know.
Ask most Israelis why Hevron is important to us and they don’t know.

Ask most Israelis to name 2 players on the Israeli soccer team and they know.
Ask most Israelis where the land that belongs to Shevet Efraim and Shevet Manashe is and they don’t know.

We have been privileged to have Moshe Feiglin at our house many times and were inspired by his vision, knowledge, and leadership capabilities.
Today in Israel we face many issues:
A) 90,000 children go to sleep hungry each night.
B) Hamas in the south. – Firing thousands of rockets in the past 4 years.
C) Hezbollah in the north.
D) Iran, G-d forbid with nuclear weapons.
E) Egypt in disarray.
F) Many Arab states now in disarray with no leadership.
G) Uneducated Israeli’s that don’t know why this land is theirs.
H) And the list goes on.

I would like to go through some things but not answer them – that is for Moshe Feiglin to do.

1. On May 14th, 1948, the state of Israel was established.
Jews around the world listened on their transistor radio of the announcement.
We were literally dancing in the streets.

2. In 1967 we were proud of the 6 day war. We captured Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – which we gave back.

3. In 1976 we were proud of the Entebee Rescue. We were proud and all Israeli’s were
proud and all Jews felt a bond across the globe.

4. After 63 years we built a modern country with highways, sky scrappers, hi-tech
companies that are marveled around the world. The shekel is at it’s strongest.

5. And the list goes on of how many things we can take pride in.

1. UN has condemned Israel 187 times for war crimes and human rights violations.
They only condemned the Arab states 6 times.

2. Major General Doron Almog and others cannot get off the plane in London without
being arrested for war crimes.

3. We cannot visit Kever Yosef in Shechem without getting shot at or killed.

4. We cannot walk free in Hevron nor can we visit Avraham, Yitzchok or Yaakov
on a daily basis.

5. Just last week, as a family slept on a Friday night, they were
massacred in their own beds.

6. We cannot go up to the Temple Mount and pray.

7. Almost 9,000 rockets have fallen in Sedrot – I was there with my family when a rocket was launched and landed.

8. We pulled out of Gaza – for what?

9. Building freeze – for what?

10. Gilad Shalit is sitting in a hole somewhere for 5 years.

11. Jonathan Pollard is in an American jail for 25 years.

12. We are building a fence around ourselves. One of the strongest armies in the world
and we’re fencing ourselves in.

13. Many soldiers don’t know what they are fighting for.

14. Not one Prime Minister has stood up in Israel or to the world and said, “This land is
ours because G-d gave it to us.”

15. We keep recycling the same Prime Ministers.
(Bubi, Ehud Barak, Livni)

16. The world at large condemns Israel.

17. Alilyah would increase if we can build anywhere and live anywhere safely and - if
Moshe Feiglin was our Prime Minister.

18. Jewish pride would be restored - if Moshe Feiglin was our Prime Minister.

19. Jewish values would be restored – if Moshe Feiglin was our Prime Minister.

20. Israel would be a Jewish state run by Jewish values – if Moshe Feiglin was our
Prime Minister.

21. Pride would be restored to the army – if Moshe Feiglin was our Prime Minister.

22. All Jewish children would know their heritage and be proud of it – if Moshe Feiglin
was our Prime Minister.

23. The world would respect us – if Moshe Feiglin was our Prime Minister.

How will he do this, what would he do differently – ask him.
He’s here tonight.

I have heard some of his plans and goals and I am 100% confident in his abilities to accomplish
this so what can we do?

Two things I’m asking everyone to do:
#1. Financial support that of course runs the campaign. Whatever you gave is greatly
appreciated. It doesn’t matter how much. Every dollar helps.

#2. Pass along to all of your friends and family his goals and visions. This can be done
via email and forward his web-site. We need 3 million Americans to get to know
1. I want to wish a refuah Sha’laima to Dovid ben Faiga Perel.

2. I want to thank everyone who came from near and far, especially my parents.

3. I want to thank all my kids – Shoshie and Sruli, Ruchie and Ari, Sholom, who is in Israel now, and Akiva – for being the special children you are. I love you all very much.

4. I want to thank my partner and friend, Mr. Lennie Weiss. For 13 years we have accomplished a lot but more importantly we have built a great friendship.

5. I want to thank Starsky and Hutch (Shmuel Sackett and Dovid Shirel) for all their work and dedication to Manhigut Yehudit.

6. I want to thank Moshe Feiglin. May your vision become our reality.

7. Last but not least, my wife Jo. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better person and sharing this
night with me. May we share many more happy and healthy years together.

Everyone here already knows how important this cause is – thank you all for coming!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Mezuzah and the Supermodel

by Rabbi Ari Kahn

How the mezuzah provides a daily connection to spirituality.

I was sitting in a coffee shop waiting for a friend; I had chosen a table with a strategic view of the door so I could spot him as soon as he arrived. Each time the door opened I quickly glanced up to see if my friend had walked in. At one point, the door opened and a very tall, attractive and immodestly dressed woman walked in. She looked like she might have been a model.

Before I averted my eyes and looked back at my menu, this woman did something that struck me: she reached out her hand, touched the mezuzah outside the door, and proceeded to kiss her fingers. It was a gesture I have witnessed thousands of times; nonetheless, I felt a sense of dissonance, of the incongruity between her lack of outward religious identification and the religious gesture she performed before she entered the building.

My friend's tardiness allowed me to perform a sociological experiment over the next few minutes; I quickly noticed that there was absolutely no correlation between outward appearance and the act of kissing the mezuzah upon entering or leaving a room.

I mentally filed this as another wonder of living in Israel, alongside another such striking episode. Several years ago, during a particularly tense period in Israel, the security guard at the entrance to my bank employed a most unusual security regimen: He greeted customers at the door with a bundle of spices in hand. Anyone who knew the correct blessing was allowed in; anyone who didn’t was subjected to a more conventional security check. In this instance, as well, I was quite surprised to see how many "non-religious looking” Jerusalemites knew the proper blessing. I made a second mental note: don’t ever judge people based on their outward appearance.

Why, though, did this woman, and so many other patrons of the restaurant that day, kiss the mezuzah? Indeed, why do Jews kiss mezuzahs?

Some may view this as a superstitious gesture: They seek protection from the elements, from both the physical and spiritual harm that lays in wait beyond the security of the home.1 However, for many, kissing the mezuzah may be an expression of simple and honest faith. They seek a connection with God, and view the mezuzah as an expression of this connection.

In the middle ages, a number of rabbinic authorities expressed approval of the custom of touching the mezuzah upon taking leave of one's home while uttering a prayer asking God for protection.2 The mystics instructed that when touching the mezuzah
, specifically the three-lettered name of God –SHA-DaI – that is printed on the outside of the parchment, should be touched, and then the finger which touched this holy name should be kissed.3

What is it about this name
Sha-dai that affords protection and gives us strength when facing the world? Why is this particular name of God associated with the mezuzah, so much so that some say the name Sha-dai is actually an acronym for shomer dalatot Yisrael – ‘protector of the doors of Israel’?4

The Talmud5 explains that this name is intertwined with the very basic processes of creation: Prior to the moment of Creation, there was nothing. The act of Creation was an act of expansion, which progressed until the point that God said to nature, "
dai" – "enough," desist from expanding. This name, then, is associated with the ability to control nature or harness instinct.

The name
Sha-dai is found for the first time in the Torah when God gives Abraham the commandment of circumcision, as if to express the concept that, although man is surely a creature of natural impulse, although man is often controlled by instinct, nature can and must be harnessed. Just as God harnesses nature, creates boundaries so that the universe does not continue to expand into extinction, so can man harness his own nature, draw lines within which he can realize his potential and become perfected.

The biblical character most closely identified with this characteristic is Joseph; the Divine name
Sha-dai is used in connection with him more than any other biblical character. We recall that Yosef heroically controlled his own instinct and impulses when propositioned by the wife of Potifar, his master. He practiced restraint, creating and respecting the boundaries that comprise moral behavior. He knew the secret of Sha-dai.6

Although the original custom was to touch or kiss the mezuzah when leaving one's home, many Jews have extended this practice to every doorpost that has a mezuzah. They seem to have decided that uttering a silent prayer and asking for Divine protection is a wonderful way to punctuate the day with spiritually uplifting mini-events.

But the truly "Godly" gesture is not merely reaching out one’s hand to the doorpost; it is knowing how and when to say "enough" –
dai, of practicing self-control. The restraint that we learn from the very act of Creation should be a guiding principle for our lives, an organizing principle that can help us perfect all our relationships.

Self-restraint – control of the human impulse to expand, to control, to conquer – will help us when are at work, and when we are at play. It will even help the next time you see a woman who looks like a supermodel in a coffee shop – just picture her kissing the mezuzah, and say "
Dai," – enough.

  1. This association may be dated back to the placing of the blood on the doorposts during the Exodus, an act which protected the Israelites as God "passed over" their home. See the Mechilta Bo, end of section 11, which associates the mezuzah with this rite. See Responsa Divrei Yatziv,Yoreh Dayeh 191.
  2. See customs of the Mahril section 91.
  3. BirkiYosefYorehDayeh 285:3.
  4. SeferEitzChaim, ShaarHaKlalim.
  5. Talmud Bavli, Chagiga 12a.
  6. For more on this idea, see Explorations(Jerusalem: Targum Press, 2001), p. 87 ff.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Masters of Time

By Michael Fuah

People whose entire lives are bound to the pressures of time, work or society - people who have never savored the taste of true redemption - will have a hard time understanding the Torah's innovative message to the Nation of Israel, "This month is for you the head of all months." Just as a blind person cannot sense the depth in blue, the storm in red and the serenity in white, so the servant of time cannot sense the feeling of redemption when one controls time.

"This month is for you -" time is now in your hands. You can work with it and sanctify it. The Nation of Israel is commanded to sanctify the material world; to build the Sanctuary in the desert and the holy Temple in the Land of Israel. It is this same sanctity that we are commanded to create in the most spiritual element of the material world comprehensible to the human mind - time. This freedom is Israel's unique message to humanity.

The Jewish Nation's message of freedom to the world is actually the message of Manhigut Yehudit to the Nation of Israel. It is the message of leadership that believes in G-d and strives to develop its national identity so that we may truly be a light unto the nations. Manhigut Yehudit means leadership that is unafraid of the Supreme Court and the state prosecution that sanctify the rule of law above all else. It means leadership that is not fearful of public-opinion-makers in the media, academia and arts. It means leadership free of the shackles of Western morals that aggrandize the weak, leadership that sanctifies justice and liberty and strives to perfect the world in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jewish leadership is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the Nation of Israel. And that is why it will become reality.

Shabbat Shalom