A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack.”

From The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh to the Poway Synagogue shooting in California to the shooting at the kosher market in Jersey City this week. The latest shooting occurred literally just the day before President Trump issued an executive order at a White House Chanukah celebration to cover anti-Semitic acts under the civil rights laws that ban discrimination based on national origin. Yet, despite the Constitution and all the protective laws and orders on the books, we are getting to the point where it is starting to look and feel awfully like there is nowhere safe anymore if you are a Jew, even in this great land of freedom.


What anti-Semitism, G-d forbid, will the next week bring, and the week after that, and after that? This vile behavior coming from people that hate us just because we are Jews, because we are Jacob and not Esau. May our eyes be open to what is happening around us, and may Hashem have an abundance of mercy on us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Celebrating With Security.”

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn’t there just for show, it’s there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly–in defiance and in faith!


While I don’t know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

Celebrating Chanukah At Ulpan

It was so nice tonight at Ulpan. 


Morah Degani had a special night planned for us tonight to celebrate Chanukah. 


She called me up to light the candles for the 3rd night and recite the blessing. 


Then she played Chanukah songs and we sang along to the Hebrew words on the screen. 


We later read and talked about the story of Chanukah and all the meaning and significance of it for having freedom of religion/worship and to maintain our religion and not assimilate. 


It was a beautiful way to learn and practice our Hebrew. 


Happy 3rd night of Chanukah! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

On The First Night Of Chanukah

Please see my article in The Times of Israel called, “The Lesson of the Candy Lane Menorah.”

It was a beautiful ushering in the first night of Chanukah by Chabad of Bethesda, Maryland. The “candy” menorah that they were going to use was somehow destroyed, but Chabad came with a spare–they are terrific…even when things go wrong, miracles can happen, but we have to be prepared like Chabad was tonight.

Happy First Night of Chanukah to everyone! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shooting at The Tree of Life

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Devastation at The Tree of Life Shooting.”

No, this is certainly not the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden–this murderous scene was certainly no Eden! On this Shabbat there is not life in that holy house of worship, but another familiar Jewish massacre from a gunman screaming, “All the Jews need to die!”

Let us be strong together and hope for the full redemption when peace and brotherhood will soon prevail. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dreaming of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Dream of Zion.”

To flourish in the land of milk and honey.

To celebrate the Shabbat and holidays as in the days of old.

To revere the bravery and heroism of the defenders of Israel.

To live and worship as a Jew without discrimination, racism, and hatred.

To fulfill the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Hope you enjoy and we can all one day live the dream! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)