Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the Threshold of Greatness (V): some Singular First Questions

By Tuvia Brodie

If we are to start a conversation about how Israel can step across the threshold of greatness—and become her destiny-- perhaps we should not begin with action recommendations; perhaps we should begin with some questions.

The backround: the Torah is the lifeblood of the Jewish people. It contains the essential code through which our Jewishness is expressed and transmitted generation to generation. This code is our spiritual DNA. Just as our biological DNA tells us we are human, so, too, our Torah DNA tells us we are Jewish; without Torah, we are not Jewish. You might want to remember that. You might not like the Torah. You might be afraid of it. You might prefer Jewish-without-Torah. But history has been clear: without Torah, we lose our spiritual identity. Ultimately, without Torah, we always lose our ‘Jewish’.

For our purposes here, DNA has three forms and functions. Our human DNA determines what type of individual we become—male or female, tall or short. Our spiritual DNA determines what religion we become—the nature of our spirituality. Our national DNA determines what kind of nation we become.

In general, DNA is the basic building block of life. It stores the instructions necessary for biological life to develop. Our Torah performs the same function for our soul, and our religious identification performs the same function for our nationhood. But unlike biological DNA, which is automatic and ‘not conscious’, our spiritual DNA and our nationhood DNA actuate only through conscious decision-making: we have to choose it and we have to act on it—it’s a case of, use it or lose it.

The problem is, Torah (our spiritual DNA) and Jewish identification (our national DNA) take effort. They require commitment. It is not easy. Many believe that Torah and Jewish identification are not important. But that may not be true. In fact, Torah and ‘Jewishness’ are not simply the key to our personal or communal spiritual life—which they certainly are—they are also the key to Israel’s place in the Middle East. Torah and Jewish identity are key to our national future. They affect the chemistry of the entire Middle East because they are connected to a real issue-- Arab refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish State.

For several months now, we have seen an increasing numbers of references to this refusal. The Arab will not even discuss the matter; he simply refuses to acknowledge our Jewishness. He will not say the words, ‘Israel is a Jewish State.’ We scoff at this refusal. We take insult at it--but I wonder, isn’t the Arab correct? It is a singular question. In fact, it is the first question we need to ask if we are to move forward, towards our national destiny.

Since making aliyah, I see a lot of Jews (obviously). I believe that, based on my observations, I can often see who among us looks ‘Jewish’ and who does not. I have also seen many Arabs among us. I have watched them. I have interacted with them. I have stood in line and watched as they speak to and work with all kinds of Israelis. I see what they see: Jews who are religious and Jews who are not religious; Jews who appear to know about Judaism and Jews who do not. I have concluded that Arabs recognize us: they understand who looks “Jewish” and who looks “not Jewish”.

So when Israeli politicians or TV commentators who do not look or act “Jewish” say they want the Arab to call us the ‘Jewish’ State, I can understand how the Arab would say, ‘Why? You don’t look Jewish or act Jewish. Why should I call you something you obviously are not? It’s a fair question. Perhaps our Arab neighbors are telling us something about ourselves. Perhaps if we were “Jewish”, the world would be more willing to agree with us that these denials are laughable.

Our Torah teaches us how to deal with this problem. Our Torah inspires because it operates on multiple levels. It multi-tasks--successfully. It is not only the key to our personal spiritual life. It is the catalyst that energizes the connection between our spiritual identity and our national identity. Biological DNA affects fish, flies and humans; our spiritual DNA affects both our spirituality and the very land we stand on. It affects who we are and shapes how we relate to the land. If you read the Torah you will see how ‘Israel’ and ‘Torah’ go hand-in-hand. If the Torah did not exist, there would not be close to six million Jews in Israel today. We are here for a reason and that reason is our Torah. Jews come here because this is our Homeland; and remember, this is not our Homeland because of the Holocaust, which ended 66 years ago; it is our Homeland because of a 3,300 year-old document we call our Torah. When we live on this land we know that the Torah exists. Indeed, our future depends on the link between Torah and land because it is part of the Promise: we need the land to fulfil our national and spiritual destiny. Like the traditional American song about ‘love and marriage’, we cannot have one without the other—Torah and land.

The Left calls us to reject our Jewishness. They call for us to reject our Torah. But to those who seek to renew Zion—to build a new-Zion to replace post-Zion—we keep this Land only when we understand Heritage and Homeland, Torah and Israel, our spiritual and national DNA. Haven’t you noticed? The more completely a politician removes himself or herself from our religion, the more eagerly they seek to give away our land—and the quicker they are to give away our land, the easier it becomes for the Arab to separate the Jew from this land.

It’s that simple. Like it or not, Judaism is the glue that keeps us on this land and the rejection of Judaism will unglue us from this land. This is the mission of the Left: unglue Judaism. It is their ultimate goal—unglue Judaism so Israel can be free! But they are wrong for when you unglue Judaism, you lose the land; and when you lose your land you will lose your freedom.The next time you see a call for a two-state solution ask yourself two questions: (1) Are you Jewish? (2) If yes, do you want your future national destiny to be determined by someone who rejects Judaism? Let’s be honest here: you cannot have it both ways. You cannot claim to defend Israel by throwing away Judaism, and you cannot claim to defend Judaism while you give away land that our Torah says does not belong to you—it belongs to G-d. Judaism and the land: they always go together. Break the link and you destroy it all.

The Arab knows this. His message to us is clear: if we ignore the link between Torah and Land, so will he. If we ignore our Jewishness, so will he. If we ignore our spiritual and national DNA, so will he. The Arab likes this because he knows the truth: the more we reject our DNA, the closer he comes to getting our land. Torah and land; they cannot be separated. If we wish to step across the threshold to greatness—and discover triumph in today’s negative headlines-- perhaps we might begin with three questions:

- If we do not act ‘Jewish’, why should the Arab call us Jewish?

- If we reject Judaism, do we have any historic right to this land?

- Finally, if we throw away our spiritual DNA, will Jews really have a future on this land?

You may not like Torah. You might be afraid of it. But the truth is, Torah is the secret to our survival. It is the source of our strength. It is why you can still say you are ‘Jewish’. It is also the answer to the Arab denial—but only if you have the courage to act. You see, if you change how you act you will change what you hear—and when you do that, you will be the one who brings us to our singular destiny.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel: Inseparable

By Moshe Feiglin

And you shall inherit the Land, and dwell in it; for to you have I given the Land to possess it. And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families, to the more you shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you shall give the less inheritance; wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. (From this week's Torah portion, Mas'ei, Numbers 33:53-54)

When a modern Jew in Israel reads the words, "And you shall inherit the Land" he understands that this is a directive to put the Land of Israel under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. The way we are used to looking at it, actualization of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the nation state. From the verses in this week's Torah portion, however, it looks like that assumption is incorrect. It is the State's responsibility to conquer the Land and to drive out the enemy. But actualization of the bond between the Land and the Nation is not complete until the Land becomes the personal inheritance of every Jew. The Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel; not only on the national level but also on the personal level. "And you shall inherit the Land - by lot, according to your families."

The bond between a Jew and his Land is holy, similar to the bond of marriage. The Torah commands the relative of a person who loses his property to be the first to buy his lot so that his inheritance will remain inside the family. Further, he is directed to re-sell the lot to its original owner at the first opportunity.

Israel's current situation, in which 93% of the Nation's land is in the hands of the State, opposes this Torah directive and the Return to Zion message of world liberty. This is the real reason for the housing crisis and the pervasive feeling of servitude experienced by the Israeli public.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Masai 5771

BS"D Parashat Masai 5771

Consider the words: Dafka, Alush, Ritma, Barsa, Mitka, Avrona - what do they mean to you?

Taken out of context, they have no meaning. They are obscure and irrelevant. However, within the context of our parsha, they gain great relevance. For they are some of the stations where our ancestors encamped in the desert on their way to the Promised Land.

These places, when viewed by themselves, are irrelevant; their importance and eternal memory comes into play only through their connection with Am Yisrael.

Karet is a punishment for certain capital sins, when the perpetrator does not do teshuva (repent). The commentators differ as to the details of this very harsh penalty, but all agree that in its most severe form, it involves the severing of the sinner’s soul from the main stream of Jewish neshamot (souls) in the next world. The soul is banished to oblivion, obscurity, absolute irrelevance, forever to be a part of nothing, which is even less than nothing - total dissociation from the Almighty.

The lesson to be learned from the above is that relevancy becomes reality only to that degree that one is associated with the eternal God of Israel and His intimate connection with Am Yisrael through the Torah.

I would be hard pressed to think of a more frightening thought for a living, thinking Jew than oblivion and irrelevance, whereas stated above, to be a part of "nothing" the soul becomes even less than nothing. That is karet.

We find precedents of people being "outside" and hence irrelevant in our history.

The cloud that covered the Jewish nation in their desert wanderings expelled people, like many of the tribe of Dan, who did not deserve to be in the presence of the Shechina and, as such, became irrelevant to Jewish history.

One who is punished with metzora must leave the walled city, and is, in effect, socially ostracized. Like Gechazi, the rejected protegee of the prophet Elisha and Gechazi’s sons.

One of the descriptions of Eretz Yisrael in the Torah is (Devarim 11:12)

ארץ אשר ה' א'להיך דרש אתה תמיד עיני ה' א'להיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה:

A land that the Lord your God regards; The "eyes" of God never cease to observe it from the beginning of the year until its end

Meaning: One who lives in the Holy Land is in a diametrically opposite state to karet, for we and the Land are constantly in the Creator’s consciousness. The implication - or even more than a mere implication - is that HaShem’s interest in chutz la’aretz and in the people there could be compared to being outside the protective canopy-cloud of HaShem.

As history is being played out today, Medinat Yisrael has become in the eyes of the world the sole representative and "spokesman" of the Jewish nation, despite protests of some JINOs (Jews in name only). Israel’s international status has relegated the once crucial Jewish communities and their vocal leaders in the galut to the status of near "irrelevance".

It would not be wrong to say that the only relevance of the American Jewish community (or rather the Jewish American community) to the Jewish nation at large, is the 70% who were instrumental in electing the most anti-Israel American president in history, and they will probably vote for him again in 2012.

The terms:

`ארץ החיים- ארצות החיים

the land of life - the lands of life

referring to Eretz Yisrael, appear in the TaNaCh over 430 times.

They are found in many rabbinical writings when referring to the future resurrection of the dead, which will occur only in Eretz Yisrael. The Jews in the galut will somehow have to make their way here in order to merit their chance for new life.

The conclusion of all the above is that life and relevance of a Jew are measured according to his interaction with Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

I am writing this as an introduction to my reply to several mailings I received in reaction to last week’s message.

In a sentence, I said that despite the incredulous shock that reverberated around the Jewish world, that a Jew had perpetrated the terrible crime of murder in Boro Park, there was also a sense of relief. Because had the murderer been black, or Hispanic or a Moslem, life would never be the same in the holy precinct of Boro Park. Whereas now life could return to "normal" with the blame placed upon one deranged Jew.

Some comments were positive, with one gentleman writing: "You hit the nail on the head." Others were less sympathetic.

Following are some excerpts from one of the less agreeable messages, to be followed by my reply to the writer.

"Dear Rabbi Kahana,

I understand your belief that the Jews of Galus are holding back the fulfillment of Hashem's promises to the Jewish people and that you blame us for that. I get it.

You believe that if only we could "see the light" it would be clear and obvious and we would all make Aliyah immediately. Again, I get it. I even see that you feel the last resort is to guilt us all into coming. Your message is loud and clear...

I am not someone who has any right to lecture you in my own mind, and certainly even less so in yours, since I am a frum professional living in --- who is "content" to send money to Eretz Yisrael, visit on occasion, and yet return each time to my Galus. But I am just so upset with what you wrote, that I felt I must speak out, even if out of line.

After reading your article in shul prior to Krias HaTorah, my world was shaken, and not in a good way. I often pass around your weekly message to others and share your comments at my Shabbos table with friends and family. This week I didn't. I spoke with another individual who introduced me to your writings, and he indicated that he could not show this week's vitriol to his wife, as he usually does, out of fear of upsetting her. You ruined my Shabbos...

Perhaps if you focused more on the beauty of Eretz Yisrael, the exalted life of being a Jew in Eretz Yisrael... your Ahavas Chinam will bring the ultimate geulah of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, b'mehairo b'yomainu, so that we may celebrate a Yom Tov on that day, and our Father can bless us "kulanu k'echad".

My reply:

Dear Mr.

You might be surprised to learn that I appreciate your comments and the criticism - for one does not grow as much from praise as from criticism.

Permit me to clarify some apparent misunderstandings.

1- I am quite confident that the Jews in the galus are not holding back the geula. Because on the background of the flood-lights of Torat Eretz Yisrael, the tiny wick of the galut Torah has no influence in shamayim.

2- Behind all my writings, including my negative opinions of the religious leadership in the galut, is one singular purpose - to save the lives of Jews in the galut.

I believe that you are all in great danger. Spiritual danger certainly, because intermarriage will cross the doorstep of almost every Jewish home - as it has already occurred in the homes of some well-known rabbis. But you are also in great physical danger. The Jews in the galut are dying off by intermarriage, and they are also very close to a calamity on the scale we witnessed in Europe.

The Jews of the United States, regardless of their particular worshipping or non-worshipping preferences, will chas ve’chaliela be the scapegoats of all the ills of that land.

I don’t deal with the question of Medinat Yisrael’s role in the final redemption of our people, even though I personally feel that the Medina is the initial stage in the preparation for the Mashiach. My responsibility is to arouse the Jews in the galut to come home in order to save themselves from a terrible fate, even if some people feel insulted along the way.

The fact is that there are a sizable number of families who have come home because of what I have written.

3- If you felt disturbed on Shabbat, it was not of my doing. Because, in most cases where one is driven to anger, it is himself with whom he is angry. Permit me to suggest that your Shabbat was "spoiled" because as a frum Jew you know deep down that your place is in the holy land of Eretz Yisrael.


In conclusion, Dear Reader;

As I stated earlier, life and relevance of a Jew are measured according to his interaction with Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

I pray that you will decide to be relevant to Jewish history, choose life and come home to Eretz Yisrael while there is still the opportunity to do so.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5771-2011 Nachman Kahana

Thank You

By Moshe Feiglin

16 Tamuz, 5771
July 28, '11

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

Today is the one year anniversary of the most traumatic event that I have ever experienced. Exactly one year ago, my wife Tzippy and I were informed that our son had suffered a critical head injury.

On the afternoon of that terrible day, Tzippy and I were bike riding together in the Yarkon Park. My cell phone rang and one of our community leaders began to stammer something unintelligible from the other end of the line. Somehow, we gathered that our son David had been injured in a car accident at the Alfei Menashe intersection and that he was in intensive care at the Beilinson Hospital.

We had no idea what his condition was, what type of injuries he had suffered - nothing. At least an hour of indescribable pressure passed until we managed to get back to our car and over to the hospital. On our way to the hospital we called whoever we could think of to try to get some information. We didn't imagine that all we had to do was to turn on the radio, where the story of David's severe injury was being broadcast time and again.

For some reason, David united the entire public in honest concern and prayer for his well being. We arrived at the checkpoint at the entrance to Beilinson. "You get out here and run in," I said to Tzippy, "while I'll park the car." But to my surprise, the guard motioned me in and told me to park in the area reserved for the ambulances. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked like the senior staff of the hospital waiting for us on the stairs of the entrance.

Suddenly, it was as if I was watching a horror movie from the outside, understanding that this ceremony was planned to inform us of the very worst news. I functioned like a robot. "Your son sustained a critical head injury," said the head of the hospital. A stifled, horrible scream emerged from Tzippy and for me, that was the worst moment of all. "You can go in to see him now," he continued.

That was the beginning of the most difficult year of our lives. But alongside the difficulties, we have merited to see the most beautiful sides of the Nation of Israel. The intensive care staff at the Schneider Hospital and subsequently, the rehabilitation staff at Tel Hashomer put their hearts and souls into their work, putting in any and all effort needed. We were wrapped around and around with the power of empathy and loving kindness, beginning with our close family, on to our community and the entire nation.

Everybody prayed ceaselessly for David. There were specialists who lost hope, but a neighbor told me, "It cannot be that G-d will not listen to all the prayers for your son; people are praying for him throughout the world. I was in Hong Kong on Shabbat and I went to the local synagogue. I received the honor of reading the Torah and I planned to make a special blessing for David's recovery. But I didn't get that far, because the person who was called up to read the Torah before me blessed him", he said.

It was truly an extraordinary phenomenon. Cars would stop next to me on the road and drivers who I did not know would ask me how David was doing. Everyone prayed for him - everyone - it didn't matter what sector of society they came from.

And G-d really did listen. After three months, David began to regain consciousness. Many more nerve-wracking months would pass until he would begin to speak once again. They had already prepared us for the possibility that his memory had been erased. "We don't see things like this here," a senior doctor joyfully told me. "It is simply a miracle." Slowly but surely, David stood on his legs and began to walk.

There are many difficulties still ahead, and a long rehabilitation battle that is far from finished. But I thank G-d, Who has given us life and sustained us and brought us to this day. A special thanks is due to all the medical personnel; they are truly amazing. But my strong feeling is that the factor that ultimately got David back up on his feet was the unity of the entire Nation of Israel in prayer for him.

I do not have any special messages or unique insights to pass on. We are still too close to the accident for me to sit and analyze it from start to finish. But I have begun to pray for other sick and injured people: For Odeliah Nechama bat Michal, a young girl who was severely injured in her head in the terror attack next to Binyanei Ha'uma in Jerusalem, for patients who I met in rehab and more. I learned that prayers really do work.

I have actually written these lines because today, on the anniversary of the accident and the great miracle that was performed for us, I feel the need to thank G-d once again, to thank all those who cared for David, to all those who helped in every way possible and to all those who carried a prayer for my son in their hearts. I simply want to say thank you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Israel's Housing Shortage

This week in Israel was the week of the housing prices protest. The person responsible more than any other individual for the outrageously high cost of housing in Israel is the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, the "best man" of the Oslo Accords. Founded on falsehood, the Oslo Accords assert that the heartland of the Land of Israel belongs to another people, significantly reducing the land reserves for building. Twenty years later, Israel is facing a housing shortage and a dramatic increase in housing prices.

Even after the Oslo Accords and the Separation Fence, construction continued in the settlements, providing almost 30% of the land reserves for building. But the building freeze has brought those numbers down to less than 1%. For those of you who understand Hebrew, this short Globes video weighs in with the statistics, showing how the building freeze in Judea and Samaria has directly impacted the housing shortage.
Even if some people refuse to pull their heads out of the sand, the direct correlation between the building freeze and the intensifying housing shortage in Israel is a no-brainer.

There is another major factor behind the housing shortage: The State of Israel has an almost complete monopoly on land. This contradicts the Creator's directive to divide the Land between all the families of Israel. Today in Israel, the land belongs to the kingdom, just like it did to Pharaoh -the opposite of what the Torah prescribes. The Israel Land Authority is an unsupervised monopoly that for reasons known only to it does not release land for building, steadily increasing the gap between the number of building starts and the number of households in need of a place to live.

The solution is to return the land to the public and to allow the free market to work. In a free market, where there are buyers there are also sellers. Currently, there are only buyers, but the Land Authority will not sell.

Manhigut Yehudit's Michael Fuah was warmly received this week at the housing protest tents (pictured above). The organizers gave him the floor so that he could explain that the solution for the housing crisis is to build in Judea and Samaria. Fuah also distributed Manhigut Yehudit's position paper on solutions for the housing crisis. As reported in a previous update, this position paper has already been read and seriously considered by the PM and Finance Minister.

There is some concern that the Left is taking advantage of the housing protest for its own agenda. But the hardship is real and we can just as easily channel the energies gaining momentum into a demand for a true solution, that would include building in Judea and Samaria and transferring lands from the Land Authority to the free market.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Jews in the Basement

By Stella Paul

(originally posted on the American Thinker website)

The coming week marks five years since the murder of Pamela Waechter. Who? If the name doesn't ring a bell, here's a brief reminder: She was shot in the head by Naveed Afzal Haq, as she tried to crawl down a flight of stairs and escape, after Haq shot her in the chest.

Still not jogging your memory? How about this: Waechter was the 58-year-old director of the annual campaign of the Jewish Federation of Seattle. Sometime around 4 PM, on July 28, 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq grabbed a 14-year-old girl and thrust a gun in her back. He used her to gain entry to the Federation, and then rampaged through the building, shooting six women -- Layla Bush, Christina Rexroad, Cheryl Stumbo, Dayna Klein (who was five months pregnant), Carol Goldman, and, fatally, Pamela Waechter. Tammy Kaiser jumped from a second-story window to escape, and was hospitalized with injuries.

What was Haq's motive? Well, here's an interesting clue: As he stormed through the halls, shooting and killing, he shouted, "I'm a Muslim-American! I'm angry at Israel!"

Quite a dramatic story, no? And yet it's not a story anybody wants to tell. Grab the average leftist on the street -- or, certainly, on campus -- and ask him about Rachel Corrie, the anti-Israel activist accidentally run over by an Israeli bulldozer. I bet he knows Corrie's story by heart; after all, our cultural grandees never stop pushing it as a "teaching moment" about Israeli brutality.

Likewise, gay activists turned the murder of Matthew Shepard into a universal "teaching moment" about America's homophobia and crimes against gays, and the urgent need for sensitivity training in schools.

But American Jews have found no "teaching moment" in the murder of Pamela Waechter, and the shooting of six women at work, performing the administrative tasks of the Jewish community. The tragedy of Waechter, a Lutheran who converted upon marriage and devoted her life to Judaism, remains a private heartbreak for those who loved her.

And yet, the images of the Seattle women under attack are so unbearable that the question must be shrieked from the rooftops: Where are the men?

Where are the Jewish men, who ought to be rushing to protect their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters? Where are the Jewish men who lead the community, as Jewish women come under increasing assault, right here in America, from Islamic fanatics?

Where are the Jewish men who will stand up for the memory of Victoria Hen, a stunningly beautiful 25-year-old ticket agent, murdered at the El Al counter in Los Angeles airport on July 4, 2002? Her killer, Egyptian national Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, shot her, then opened fire on 90 people waiting in line for a Tel Aviv flight, fatally wounding Yaakov Aminov. When police searched Mohamed Hadayet's apartment after the attack, they found a sign taped to his door saying, "Read the Koran." Victoria's parents had planned a surprise party for the next day, at which her boyfriend would have formally asked for her hand in marriage.

Of course, you've probably never heard the name "Victoria Hen." Like Pamela Waechter, she's invisible in the Jewish community and everywhere else, an embarrassing victim whose death, if truly examined, would demand a courageous response.

And the Jewish men are very busy, you see, cowering in the basement. In 1903, the great poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik, was sent to report on the Kishinev massacre of Jews in Russia. Bialik was shocked by what he learned of the men's passivity, as their women were raped and murdered before their eyes. He wrote a searing poem, "The City of Slaughter," excoriating the men hiding in the cellar, who silently watched their loved ones' destruction:

In that dark corner, and behind that cask
Crouched husbands, bridegrooms, brothers, peering from the cracks,
Watching the sacred bodies struggling underneath
The bestial breath,
Stifled in filth, and swallowing their blood!

Given the nature of our times, David Solway and Daniel Gordis have both written important essays on the relevance of Bialik's poem, which I urge you to read. For once again, here in America, too many Jewish men are crouching "in that dark corner," while Jewish women are attacked.

But oh, how their minds are busy! Political fantasies are spinning wildly in their heads. They're dreaming about "constructive engagement" and "dialogue with The Other" and "reframing the narrative." And should you rush in to defend Jewish women, they will finally leap into the fray -- to attack you!

You don't care about the peace process! You don't respect The Other! You want to impose your values on different cultures! You don't understand why they, trembling behind the casks, are so morally superior to hate-filled, brutish you!

Thus, in that corner, we find Rabbi Richard Jacobs, the new leader of the Reform Movement, beckoning his followers to crouch behind him. He gives the signal and millions of eyes look away, as a three-month-old baby girl, Hadas Fogel, is butchered in her crib, while her mother, Ruth, her father, Udi, and her young brothers, Yoav and Elad, bleed to death in the next rooms.

Rabbi Jacobs sighs, and writes another check to J Street, which lobbies Congress to not protest the Fogel murders.

In that corner, wave hello to Rabbi Marc Schneier, flush with money from Hollywood and the Hamptons. He's busy pushing his "interfaith dialogue" racket, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Rabbi Schneier consults the caterer for his next gala affair, as Berkeley student Jessica Felbercries out under violent assault by the leader of Students for Justice in Palestine, and Hampshire College student Lihi Benisty suffers physical blows, death threats, and daily catcalls of "Zionist pig."

Rabbi Schneier decides on the apricot roasted chicken, then turns to the camera to sternly lecture us on why Jews must fight "Islamophobia."

And in that corner over there, why it's the grand old man of the Jewish establishment, Abe Foxman of the ADL! In Malmo, Sweden, 86-year-old Judith Popinski, an Auschwitz survivor, shudders and says, "I never thought I would see this hate again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," as Jews flee violence from Muslim immigrants. Foxman puffs himself up behind the cask, and demands that Jews give money to help Muslims build mosques in America.

Ten years after 9/11, five years after the murder of Pamela Waechter, it's past time for Jewish men to get out of the basement. The first step: start telling the truth.

Write Stella Paul at

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Threshold of Greatness (IV): Renewing Zion

By Tuvia Brodie

For more than a hundred years, Jews have had a dream called ‘Zion’. It has been a dream to create a national homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. But this modern dream has a flaw. It is not the original Zion. It is a secular Zion. It is not organically whole. It is not authentic. It is imperfect.

Today, we see those imperfections. Indeed, the call has already been sounded to move ‘beyond’ Zion, to replace this flawed Zion with a new dream –a post-Zion dream. Those who trumpet this call seek an Israel emptied of Judaism, to create a State that will be both free and new. But the ideology of this new post-Zion is not new. In the Jewish Tanach, we see repeatedly how Jewish kings of the past have sought this same dejudaizing dream; and their results have always been the same—disaster for the Jewish people.

The dream of the new post-Zionist is no different than the dream of the old rebellious Tanach kings—and yet the modern dreamer expects a different result. The new dreamer is adamant: our only chance to remain free is to drop all that is Jewish; our only chance for a true peace is to dejudaize Israel. The new dreamer believes this fervently. But the flaw of his dream is revealed by an unexpected source--Corporate America, where managers report what they have learned in the harsh cauldron that is business in America: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while always expecting a different result. And, Corporate America reminds us, insanity is not the key to survival or success.

The post-Zionist dream is wrong. This dream would not yield different results. Life—and history-- do not work that way. Post-Zionists are the new rebellious kings of Tanach: their dream would bring a nightmare to the Jewish people.

The dream of the original Zion is eternal. Newer is not better. Yes, the modern secular Zionist dream has served the Jewish people -- to this point-- for it has been primarily through the effort of the modern secular Zionist that we have our modern Jewish State. But because that dream is flawed, it is a dream that can weaken and die. The post-Zionist is right. If we are to remain successful, something has to change.

But change does not mean we replace Zion. We need to renew Zion. In American sports, if you want to win the Big Prize (the World Series, the Super Bowl, the National Championship), you do not change who you are once you see success before you: you continue forward by relying on your known strengths—or, as the saying goes, you “go with what brung you here”: you play the way you have always played; you do not change what is your hallmark game-plan.

What has kept Jews Jewish these last 2000 years of exile has not just been the dream of Zion—though, certainly, that is a part of our story; what has allowed us to survive as Jews has been our commitment to our Heritage. That is our strength. That is the key to our success. Without that commitment, there would be no Jews to dream of Zion. But if we are to go forward from this point—to win the ‘Big Prize’-- we cannot rely on our Heritage. You cannot have a wedding with just the groom. We need to develop our commitment to our Homeland just as we must remain committed to our Heritage—we must, in other words, prepare both the groom and the bride. We do not alter our game plan by dropping either the bride or the groom or both: we “go with what brung us here”--our strength, which focuses not only on our Heritage but also on an authentic Zion.

We step into our future by reaching back to our past. What we dream today is not to replace Zionism or to move beyond it. Our dream is to renew Zionism. Our dream is to promote a psychic renewal; and we start that renewal by removing the defect of secular idolatry from the dream. We begin. We renew. We strengthen.

This renewal will be a ‘Tikun’ in the classic religious sense, where Tikun does not mean serving the poor in Africa (important as that is), but rather turning to our own heart in order to correct those dimensions within us that distort our commitment to our Heritage. That Tikun must also apply to the land. We must renew, build and strengthen our commitment to the land. We renew, we ‘repair’, so that our wedding includes both the bride and the groom.

Zionism is not a replacement of our Heritage. Zionism must instead be a true Yishuv—a true return both to our Heritage and our Homeland. To define Zionism as a substitute for our Heritage is the same as telling a man you will make him whole by cutting off his right arm; and to tell a man that he has only a Heritage is like telling him he has only a body, no soul. In fact, our Heritage lives only for Zion’s purpose; for Zion starts with the Davidic Kingdom, when David first unified Israel and then his son Solomon built and dedicated the Temple, which is the heart, the soul and the full spiritual expression of our national and religious reality. That is our Zion—the ultimate union of our national and religious essence into one unique place, in one unique land.

It is no coincidence that some modern archaeologists deny the existence of the Davidic dynasty and its unified national kingdom. They are shrewd. They understand our religion. They understand what we forget: by telling the story of the Davidic dynasty, the Bible ennables the story of a powerful, unified Jewish Nation which controlled and protected an entire people under one king, one G-d and one religion—a rare reality. The Bible story of David and Solomon gives Israel and the G-d of Israel enormous influence. Therefore, if you can argue that the Biblical kingdom of David and Solomon never existed, then the Bible is not true. David and Solomon become nothing more than fictional characters. When the Bible is nothing more than literature, you deny the existence of Zion; and when you deny Zion, you can then deny the G-d of Israel (who is so intimately tied to David and Solomon), and you can also deny the (national) story of Israel itself.

With a single denial, the Bible becomes fiction and the whole story of the Jewish ‘people’ collapses. The history of the Jews then becomes a story of disjointed tribes who have promoted the fiction of a unified, national kingdom so that today they can make a claim of ownership to land that was never under their power.

But the G-d of Israel has a plan, and today modern archaeologists just now begin to discover tangible evidence of David, Solomon, and the Unified Monarchy. The G-d of Israel is showing us, today, that Zion lives.

Zion is our story. It is our Homeland and our Heritage, bride and groom celebrating our national and religious story of unification and worship. It is the secret of our survival. It is the source of our power. It is the story we must retell not only to combat the nations and peoples who would deny us; it is a story we must retell so that we remember it ourselves and embrace it; for this is how we will renew our dream of Zion—and give ourselves the courage (and the desire) to step over the threshold to greatness.

Friday, July 22, 2011

G-d's Seal of Truth

By Moshe Feiglin

"And when a person makes a promise to G-d or vows a vow to bind a prohibition on his soul, he shall not break his word, all that comes out of his mouth he shall do." (From this week's Torah portion, Matot, Numbers 30:3)

Judaism's approach to what comes out of a Jew's mouth is disproportionate to what is accepted in other cultures, certainly to what is accepted in the cultures of our times.

You are children of Hashem, your G-d" declares the King of the world. In other words, you are princes and princesses. Your word is not meaningless; it is the word of the prince. When a prince is not faithful to what comes out of his mouth, he misrepresents the king, for the root of truth is the existence of G-d. When the truth is distorted, it is actually a declaration of war on the sovereignty of the Creator.

Cultures in which the truth is not significant cannot develop. That is why the "middle-eastern imagination" culture of the Arab nations cannot develop a productive economy.

When the president of the USA attempts to rehabilitate the economy by printing more money, he is actually declaring that there is no truth - in other words, that there is no G-d. At the foundation of this foolishness is an economic system that assumes that reality is actually an illusion and that everything is a fleeting deception. If that is the case, all that needs to be done is to create the illusion of economic growth. Like every falsehood, this can work for a certain length of time. But due to the fact that there is a G-d and there is absolute truth, the falsehood will eventually boomerang.

We can say that the essence of the economic/philosophical difference between the Republicans and the Democrats or between capitalism and socialism is expressed in how they view the truth: as objective or subjective. In other words, is reality absolute or relative? The philosophy that views reality as absolute/objective truth generally dovetails with a G-d based approach to life, while the philosophy that views reality as relative/subjective truth is more accepted among those who reject a G-d based approach to life. (Yes, there are definitely exceptions to this rule).

The amazing existence of the Jewish Nation is testimony to the existence of G-d in the world. Is it even possible to think that the main witness would lie?

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Matot 5771


Pinchas and Matot 5771 and the 17th of Tamuz

The Jewish world is still reeling from the events in Boro Park. A nine year old boy went missing and several days later was later found hideously murdered. And in defiance of the logical, expected outcome of the case where the perpetrator would have been either a black, an Hispanic or an Islamic, as it turned out it was one of ours - a Jew!

This adds an additional sad dimension to our already unhappy sober mood today on the 17th of Tamuz, when this is being written.

I will return to this later.

The two leading personalities of last week’s parasha (Pinchas) are Moshe Rabbeinu and his nephew Pinchas, who is identified with Eliyahu Hanavi.

Despite the family kinship between these two great men, they were separated by great character differences.

1- When faced with the terrible spiritual rebellion led by Zimri ben Salu which threatened to bring HaShem’s awesome wrath down on the nation, Moshe did not act, whereas Pinchas did not hesitate to enter the forbidden tent and kill Zimri and his Midian princess partner.

2- In all the fearful, suspenseful meetings between Moshe and Paro, we do not find that Moshe ever addressed the evil dictator in a way he deserved. Whereas, Pincha-Eliyahu calls the evil Achav, King of the northern tribes of Israel, to his face, "ocher Yisrael" - the one who has made Yisrael ugly in the eyes of HaShem.

3- Moshe prays for the physical wellbeing of the nation, and was answered with the Manna, the transient well of water and the slav (quail). Whereas, Eliyahu brought about the disastrous three year drought when innumerable Jews under King Achav suffered so much.

I suggest.

Moshe was more the diplomat than Eliyahu. Moshe was brought up in the palace of the king of Egypt and was aware of the responsibilities of a national leader. HaShem had prepared the young Moshe to be surrounded with the trappings of grandeur befitting the future redeemer of God’s chosen people and the conduit through whom the Torah was to be given to Am Yisrael.

Moshe knew the importance of truth. But he was also aware of the implications that every decision made by a leader would have for the entire nation. To insult Paro, even when it was the honest truth would have been self defeating; so Moshe addressed Paro in the accepted diplomatic jargon of the times.

For Moshe to take a spear and kill the rebellious Zimri was the simple truthful thing to do, but it might have opened the flood gates of civil war, so Moshe desisted from that justified act.

Moshe prayed for the physical welfare of the nation, even when the evildoers were so many, because he took into account the future generations of God fearing Jews.

In contrast to Moshe, Pinchas-Eliyahu was free from the constraining chains of a national leader. He saw a situation; held it up to the pure perfect requirements of HaShem’s Shulchan Aruch, and when he found the people involved to be less than textbook pure, reacted in a manner aimed at restoring the dignity of the God of Israel.

Zimri, and the Zimris of the world, lose the privilege of life. The nation under Achav, sinned because of their wealth and economic success, so a three year drought was brought to restore them to their Jewish senses.

Achav was not content in doing evil and perverting the Torah; he would not rest until all Torah true Jews and their prophets would be eliminated. So Pincha-Eliyahu stood in front of the man and in the spirit of the "King’s clothing" told Achav that Jewish history would forever remember him for what he truly was - an "ocher Yisrael".

Pure truth is usually a distressful experience, as told in the following story:

There was once a man who sought the absolute truth. He traversed the globe looking for someone who could convey to him the truth of the world. It was his habit in every place he visited to ask if anyone knew the truth of life? One townsman replied that when he was a young child, his father had told him that on the mountain lived a woman who knew the truth. The man ascended the mountain where he saw a woman standing before a cave. She was the ugliest person he had ever seen. Her age could have easily been 120. Any beauty which might have been hers was long ago lost. She was a pitiful ugly sight. He asked her if she was the woman who knew the truth? She replied that she was the personification of truth in the world. The young man could not look at her, but he was so enraptured by the woman's wisdom and revelations on every subject, that he decided to stay. After several months, he informed her that he had to return to civilization. She agreed; and when he was just about to leave she said, "Young man, just remember to tell everyone that I am young and beautiful".

The moral of this story is that people seek to sweeten and beautify the truth when faced with facts which are unpleasant. The pure unadulterated truth of Eliyahu projected him into a role reserved for the very few.

In our lives, we experience Eliyahu in three ways. He is present at every brit mila, at every melaveh malka on motzei Shabbat and he visits out homes at the Pesach Seder.

The love of pure truth positioned Eliyahu him as the ultimate witness before God and man, since truth is the essence of bearing testimony.

After telling HaShem at Mount Sinai (last week’s haftara) that the Jewish people "had left the covenant", Eliyahu was commanded by HaShem to be present at every brit mila in the future in order, in order to testify that we had not abrogated the holy covenant.

He is present at the end of Shabbat and at the Pesach seder in order to bear witness, before the holy throne, that the people of Israel have remained steadfast in their relationship with the Creator.

Tradition states that Eliyahu will usher in Messianic times. He will testify in truth to the evil perpetrated against God’s chosen nation. And he will testify to those individuals who turned their backs on their fellow Jews by betraying the land of Israel.

He will inform us of our shortcomings which will have to be redressed before the Mashiach can appear.

Eliyahu, the man of pure truth, will cleanse our nation of all manner of non-Torah and anti-Torah ideas and ideologies, foremost of which is the school of thought that Jews must wait in the golden galut for the Mashiach to bring them to the promised land in limousines, as told to me by two Satmar chassidim quite in ernest.

Let’s return to the tragedy that befell the Jews of Boro Park.

Now since I am very much aware of the thinking of the great majority of Jews in the galut, especially those in Boro Park and similar places, my understanding is as follows, with the hope that the reader will consider what I am saying.

In the neighborhood, there was an immediately sense of disbelief that one of their own could have perpetrated such a sadistic, hideous act.

That was the initial reaction, but there are after shocks.

I would not be surprised if Eliyahu would come and disclose the real truth behind the outward appearance of distress.

Before the murderer was apprehended, the many people feared that if it was a black, then it would be impossible to have any relationship with blacks. They would no longer be welcome to clean the Jewish homes or to perform other menial low paying jobs.

If it turned out that the perpetrator was an Hispanic, then fear would have spread over the community and who could foresee the consequences?

And if it turned out to be an Arab or some other Moslem, then the wars of Medinat Yisrael would be carried over to 13th Avenue and surrounding areas.

But Baruch HaShem, the murderer turned out to be a Jew! So now we can continue to live in peace and tranquility in the galut, where blacks, Hispanics and Moslems will continue to be welcome in Boro Park, and life will continue to be sweet.

A short story:

Now it came to pass in a little shtetel in Russia, that a week before Pesach the murdered body of a young boy was found by the river.

The news spread quickly among the goyim, and their animosity towards their Jewish neighbors increased by the minute. The local priest warned the town’s people to keep their children indoors because of the insatiable need of the Jews for gentile blood before Pesach. The Jews knew that the pogrom would come on the night of the seder; the feared pogrom which never failed to erupt in these circumstances.

The Rav commanded the entire community to pray for a miracle, because nothing less could avert the inevitable wild killing orgy.

On the night of Pesach, the entire community gathered in the bet knesset in agreement, that if to die, it would be better to do so together in that holy place.

Suddenly, as if by a great gust of wind, the doors of the bet knesset swung open. The shamash came running in, made a wild dash for the aron kodesh, and opened the doors to reveal the most holy Torah scrolls. He cried out, "God has performed a miracle. We are saved by the hand of God himself. Who could have predicted that from such a churban could come out such a great yom tov?"

The rav took hold of the hysterical shamash and screamed, "What happened? What miracle?" And the shamash barely able to control himself blurted out, "Rabbi, A ness. A miracle. A true miracle like we find in the Torah. We are saved - IT’S A JEWISH BOY".

This is the unfortunate reality of the Jews in the galut of America - their belief that their lives will forever be sweet, with the incidences of "discomfort" swept under the carpet of self denial.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5771-2011 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Your Nation is not My Nation and Your God is not My G-d

By Moshe Feiglin

18 Tamuz, 5771
July 20, '11

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper

It was hot on Monday, but I took my jacket along, nevertheless, hanging it on a hook in my car. It was the start of a long day of meetings, the pinnacle of which was to be a reception that Glenn Beck was holding for an exclusive group of people in a Jerusalem apartment, and I wanted to look my official best.

Beck is justifiably considered one of the best public relations people that Israel - and particularly the Israeli Right - has today. When you see an intelligent and articulate American gluing millions of Americans to their seats with the Israeli Right's case, making points that the Right dares not make, you immediately feel great pride and joy.

Glenn Beck is surely a great lover of Israel. He is not an active missionary and is not establishing a dubious charity foundation here. He is a very popular broadcaster; his job is public relations - what could be better than that?

But on Monday afternoon, I heard Glenn Beck speaking before the Immigration Committee in the Knesset. The main point of his message was that we must return to a policy of telling the people the truth. He called upon his listeners to attend an international event that he is organizing in support of Israel, to be held at the foot of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. Toward the end of his speech, Beck quoted the Scroll of Ruth:

"I invite you to join us," said Beck. "Your nation is my nation and your G-d is my G-d."

I must admit that when a friendly non-Jew starts to quote the Bible, I get a bit nervous. It is not just the long history of anti-Semitism that has developed a genetic mutation in the noses of Jews, giving them great sensitivity to anything that smells of Christianity - but
also my own personal experience with avowed lovers of Israel and the settlers who took great pains to mask their Christian motives.

As Glenn Beck is not in the process of conversion to Judaism, it is impossible to understand his quote from the Scroll of Ruth as meaning, "I am joining you." Apparently, the real meaning of his words is "I am replacing you."

A quick study of Glenn Beck's speeches before non-Israeli audiences and a simple internet search of his biography show that he is a believing Mormon who is motivated by a deep religious consciousness. In a live broadcast from the Temple Mount, Beck theatrically shows his audience how in that very place, Jesus turned over the tables of the Jewish money-changers who served the pilgrims to the Temple. He forgot to mention that with this act, that man created one of the most blatantly anti-Semitic Christian legends that lives on to this very day. (Beck's Republican listeners probably didn't understand that this was also the birth of the foundation of Communism, which views private money as the epitome of evil).

The problem is not Glenn Beck's beliefs. Beck is a good person who believes in what he is doing. The problem is that the most loyal Jewish public is giving him its support without thoroughly checking his message. They are unwittingly abetting a very gentle and heartwarming type of modern crusade. From a religious point of view, there is no difference between the Western Wall and the Southern Wall, where Beck's event is planned. They are both walls of the Mount of G-d's House. Would we allow a group of Christians to spread its message at the Western Wall?

As long as Glenn Beck and his friends support Israel from the outside, understanding that your nation is your nation and my nation is my nation; that your god is your god and my G-d is my G-d, all is well and good and it is important to cooperate with them. But when it turns out that the agenda is actually replacement theology; a theology that aims to bring waves of Christian aliyah here and to use the Jewish renaissance in Israel as a springboard to a Christian renaissance - I cannot lend it the legitimacy of Manhigut Yehudit.

Glenn Beck speaks a lot about our obligation to tell the truth, so let us do just that: The Temple Mount is the home of the Holy Temple of the Jews - exclusively. All the non-Jews who understand that are invited to come to the Temple Mount (in the area where they are permitted according to Jewish law) to pray to the Master of the Universe, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Esau and Ishmael have their own holy places. Please honor our exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem, including our spiritual sovereignty, just as we respect your spiritual sovereignty in your lands.

On Monday, my jacket remained in my car. And so did I.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Return Of Aryeh Deri?

By Jason Gold

So imagine my surprise (or not) when in big bold headlines on Yediot's website, the story of the Israeli Left supporting former Shas head Aryeh Deri's attempt at re-entry into the Israel political scene was plastered across my computer monitor (see Ynetnews here). It seems that the Israeli Left, in full faux democracy outrage mode, is upset that a bill (the "Deri Bill") is making its way through the Knesset in order to ban potential poltical candidates previously convicted of moral terpitude. Such is the previous conviction of the aforementioned Aryeh Deri. It does give one pause though, to contemplate if the Left would rise to the same level of outrage if say, this pique-inducing proposed legislation had been called, oh, let's see, the "Feiglin Bill"?

Now, I am not here to opine one way or another on the wisdom of the Left, nor am I here to sit in judgement of Aryeh Deri. And I happen to agree with one premise of the Ynet article that everyone (well, almost) deserves a second chance. If you recall, Deri was the head of the Shas party in the Knesset when the infamous Oslo accords were passed in a cesspool of corruption only recently matched by the Congressional manipulations involved in the passing of ObamaCare. Shas' influence in getting Oslo passed greatly helped Rabin, Peres, Beilin, Aveneri, et al to rescue the murderer Arafat and his thugs from near-extinction, legitimized them and turned them loose in a murderous frenzy upon the hapless citizens of Israel under the illusion of peace. Deri was later charged and found guilty of various sundry crimes for which he served his time in jail. Upon release, he has now decided to again jump into the Israeli political scene.

Again, let me repeat, I am not here to judge Deri one way or another. In fact, I would hope that he has done his Teshuva/Repentance and has seen what mistakes were made in the past. However, let me regale you with a true story that may shed some light on the wisdom of Deri and his new-found friends on the Left. It seems Deri, while searching for backing and legitimacy in his new-found political quest phoned HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, ZTK"L, and asked him for his blessing and backing. As told by one who was with Harav Eliyahu, ZTK"L at the time of the call, the great sage informed Deri that he would be happy to do so on the condition that Deri personally go to the grave sites of every victim of terrorism from the Oslo accords and beg forgiveness for what he had helped bring upon the people of Israel. The utter silence from Deri's end of the phone spoke volumes as HaRav Eliyahu gently but firmly hung up.

Every recent poll and indication shows the people of Israel slowly waking up from the Oslo-induced anesthesia with its accompanying cognitive dissonance and shifting ever rightward in their political stance. Simultaneously, it also shows the Left hurtling into the oblivion of irrelevancy, but not easily. If Deri wants to hook his chariot to them and they in turn want to champion for him, may it become a true match made in heaven or possibly some other venue. While I wish Deri no ill will personally, this could be fun to watch. Stay tuned...........

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Boycott Law

Once again, good people with good intentions have done something that is not good. According to the Boycott Law adopted by the Knesset this week, it is forbidden for an Israeli citizen to boycott or to call for a boycott on Israel or its institutions.

This is actually a blow for basic civil rights. There is no difference between the right to call for a boycott of cottage cheese or the right to call for a boycott of products produced in the settlements or the right to call for a boycott of a university that employs lecturers with whom I do not agree.

Everybody has the right to boycott - including the State. The government (not the Knesset) as the representative of the majority, can decide that it will not include those who call to boycott it in government tenders or in any other benefits. That is exactly what the government currently does; it boycotts Judea and Samaria and does not issue tenders there - despite the fact that the citizens in those areas are loyal to the State. No Israeli court will require the government to build in Judea and Samaria in contradiction of what it perceives as the public good. Likewise, if a university lecturer calls for a boycott of Israel, the government can withhold its funding from that university until the lecturer is fired.

Will the court allow that to happen? Of course not. By the same measure, the Israeli courts will neuter the Boycott Law of any meaning. That is a double loss for the national camp. We have created another tool with which to trample civil rights in Israel (a tool that will ultimately be used against the faith based public alone) and we also have not helped the settlements.

On the Threshold of Greatness( III): a Singular Jewish Nation-- without America?

By Tuvia Brodie

Today, it is easy to call Israel an outcast. She seems alone and rejected. She alone stands accused of being responsible for the failure to achieve peace between Arab and Jew in the Middle East. The President of the United States practically said as much in a March 2011 meeting at the White House with leaders of major American Jewish organizations—and these American Jewish leaders have subsequently signed on to the Obama proposal for Israel to pull back to pre-1967 borders before peace negotiations with the Arab begin-- so that ‘there can be peace’.

The leadership of America’s Jewish community laments Israel’s refusal to deal with a terrorist organization—Hamas. These leaders call for Israel to surrender land. They want Israel to yield to Obama. They fear for Israel’s safety. They see Israel’s destruction if she does not comply.

But the pain and anguish everyone sees is not a hint of a destruction to come; rather, it is the harbinger of birth. America’s Jewish (secular) leadership does not understand the reality of Israel: she does not stand on the threshold of destruction; she stands on the threshold of greatness. The sounds we hear are not the sounds of the mourning; they are the sounds of the birthing room. The final result of the Arab onslaught against the Jewish nation will not be Israel’s destruction. It will be Israel’s ennoblement.

The leadership of the American Jewish community has taken a stand—to promote the Obama call for pre-1967 borders for the future of Israel. But this leadership decision represents not only a disconnect from the majority of Israel’s citizens, it is a disconnect also from the majority of America’s Jews. Polls repeatedly show this. With this decision, the leadership of the American Jewish community has put itself onto an iceberg—and then shoved off, cutting itself off from those who have fed and supported it.

If this leadership wishes to survive, it should announce immediately that the Obama proposal is a betrayal of the Jewish nation. It should publicly reject J Street. It should reject every call for a two-state solution so long as Hamas clings to terror, calls for the destruction of Israel , and so long as Arab media and mosque demonize the Jew, call for the killing of Jews and honor Jew-killers. To do otherwise is to ignore American Jewish sentiment and betray Israel.

But there is another American Jewish leadership that must now also step up for Israel: the religious leadership. If both the secular and religious leadership of the American Jewish community are to have any role in the birthing room of the new Israel to come, they must both show up.

Until now, the religious leadership in America has been ‘delicate’ about its support of Israel. It has remained (for the most part) silent about modern Israel because modern Israel does not meet their refined criteria for approval. But with Israel now in the birthing room, with the pang and cry of birth echoing in our ears, the time for delicacy and refinement are passed. The religious leadership of America must put down its objections and pick up the Israel flag. They do not need to reject their objections. But they must put those objections aside to declare their unity with and connection to their people. To do otherwise is (potentially) to render themselves irrelevant.

The quality of Torah in Israel grows, deepens and matures daily. Today, it may be possible that, if American Jewry did not exist, Israel’s national and religious life would nevertheless stand—and thrive. American Jewish leadership—both secular and religious—run the risk of cutting themselves off from Am Yisroel, the Jewish nation. We are not quite there yet; but are we getting close?

Our struggle for national survival has reached a new stage. Ours is no longer the struggle of the 1940s or 1950s. We are about to step over the threshold of greatness. Our future ennoblement is before us.

The din of hate that surround us are the cries that accompany our new birth. If American Jewish leadership refuses to break bread with Israel now, they risk everything. In the secular community, more than 50% of our Jewish youth leave our religion; perhaps millions who call themselves ‘Jewish’ may not be halachically Jewish; most in America who call themselves Jewish have little or no understanding of their Jewish heritage—and all of this begs the question: how Jewish is their view of the Jewish State? How credible is their voice?

In the religious community, leadership seems to stand aloof. They know full well what is their heritage, but their apparent ideology of galut—exile—(see Rabbi Dr. Yehoshua Kemelman, Diaspora is Jewry’s graveyard, Urim Publications, 2009, p. 10) turns them cold to Israel.

The leadership of American Jewry—both secular and religious—appear to offer little that is positive for Israel. They seem to find little time to support Israel’s future even as 60,000 Jews a year walk away from America’s Jewish community (ibid, p 9). As Rabbi Kemelman points out (ibid, p10), Israel will survive without America’s children; but will American Jewry survive without Israel?

Israel will survive. Israel will step across the threshold to greatness.