My friend and colleague Dr. Michael Kram suggested to me that I join the growing list of bloggers.
Click here to read my entire Mission Statement.
THE FRENCH EU DEFEAT 5/29/05
The defeat today of the EU constitution in France and its impending defeat in Holland later this week is welcome news.
The French goal of attempting to create an alternate center of world power is but a back-handed slap at the U.S. In the immediate future the result will be a lowering of the value of the Euro .But more importantly anything that disrupts the cohesiveness and power of the EU should lessen the ability of that group to pressure Israel in the peace process. It will also divert their attention inwardly as they ponder their future and even the future of its unitary monetary policy . Thus they will exhibit less bravado and power to negatively influence events in Israel.
The Europeans have many economic and social problems. These include high unemployment, a low birthrate with an inability to guarantee the stability of their welfare systems without immigration from N Africa. The Islamization of Europe that ensues yields crime, and a lack of integration of these millions of refugees. These problems plus a lack of contact between the average European and the Central EU structure, on top of resentment against the Chirac Government all speak to the underlying problems in Europe.
A MEMORABLE SEFER TORAH PRESENTATION 5/26/05
It has been an exciting two weeks for me and the group of physicians, spouses and friends who joined our mission.
During my adult years I have taken part in many presentations of a sefer Torah to an organization, synagogue or community These have always been exciting and uplifting experiences. However very few ceremonies in my life compare to the spiritual highs of the Ashdod Naval base Hachnasat Sefer Torah (presentation of a torah scroll) ceremony.
When our Talmud study group in Good Samaritan Hospital, in Suffern N.Y. decided to raise funds for a Torah, they invited their colleagues to join, and be a part of this great mitzvah.
Thus a large segment of the Jewish physicians of Good Sam participated. The cover of the Torah.(mentle) had each contributors name embroidered on the back ,in addition to that of the Community Synagogue of Monsey and World Mizrachi who gave us assistance in our project.
On the first morning that our group spent in Israel, we started the Rosh Chodesh (new moon) day by attending morning services at a new hesder yeshiva (Yeshiva Hagevoah Tel Aviv Maaleh Eliyahu)That morning they celebrated a bar mitzvah of a non-orthodox neighborhood youth .
. Back at the hotel, our group was honored to welcome Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau shlitah of Tel Aviv (and former Israeli Chief Rabbi ) In his wonderfully powerful and charismatic talk,he proceeded to inspire our group as befits the double celebration of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut.Perhaps more importantly he prepared us emotionally and spiritually for the upcoming naval ceremony.
At the actual ceremony at the Ashdod Naval Base,close to 200 male and female soldiers and sailors danced and kissed the Torah with such enthusiasm and love that tears came to our eyes as our pride and joy reached an unbelievable high..We all realized that we were witnessing a phenomonom.
Young Israelis almost all of them non-orthodox smiling and overjoyed with spontaneity they each had the opportunity to walk under the huge rolling 20 foot high crown and canopy(chupah) accompanied by a sound truck while holding the Torah, surrounded by the dancing of our group and their colleagues What was remarkable was that this dancing which lasted almost two hours was joined in by all who were on the base from the most junior recruit to the Commander with the rank of Naval Captain
A surprise guest was Rabbi Zev Leff formerly of Miami and a strong supporter of the OU and NCSY who was invited by one of the Commanders on the base who live in his community of Kfar Matisyahu. Both Rabbi Leff who is an old friend and I spoke .
I pointed out that the portion of the Torah that week was EMOR whose first sentence is an admonition to the priests to prepare their children for the duties of the priesthood, as a protective reminder that only vigilance and piety to our traditions and laws will be the source of our survival. The Torah is our lifeline to protect the spiritual continuity of the Jewish people. How appropriate it was for our group to present a Torah to the Navy whose responsibility it is to guard our physical well-being from those who would seek to destroy Israel by using the surrounding bodies of water This gift speaks to our commitment to support the religious, spiritual and physical security of our brethren and our homeland
Since that event each and every member of our group cannot stop discussing its impact on them.
In a few days as the jet lag disappears I intend to discuss lessons I have learned from the Moscow-Berlin portion of our trip
A CLARIFICATION 5/7/05
I WOULD LIKE TO REITERATE,I AM NOT ADVOCATING A DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE PRIME MINISTER.I WAS POINTING OUT THAT IN MY OPINION THE DECISION TO HAVE SUCH A RALLY IN NY WAS NOT WELL THOUGHT OUT
I LEAVE WITH MY SHIUR TO ISRAEL MOSCOW AND BERLIN AND WILL RESUME THE BLOG IN 2 WEEKS.,
A N.Y..RALLY FOR ISRAEL? DISENGAGEMENT? 5/5/05
IT IS DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN
I LIVED THROUGHT THE 1995 NY PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE RALLY THAT WAS BILLED AS A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE THEN STRICKEN PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL YITZCHOK RABIN ,AH
.THE ISSUE S WERE A DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THOSE WHO WANTED A RALLY IN SUPPORT OF THE” PEACE PROCESS” AND THOSE WHO WANTED TO SUPPORT THE STATE AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND THE “PURSUIT OF PEACE” (NOT THE GOVERNMENT IN ITS PURSUIT OF PEACE) (I HAVE A FULL DESCRIPTION OF THAT BATTLE IN MY BOOK)
THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE THAT THEY WILL SPONSOR A NY RALLY ON MAY 22 IS VERY REMINISCENT OF THE ABOVE BATTLE..
IS THE RALLY T TO SUPPORT THE GAZA PULLOUT AND THE PRIME MINISTERS PLANS OR IS IT TO SIMPLY EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL AND ITS PEOPLE AS THE PRIME MINISTER, MR SHARON WILL BE TRAVELING TO THE AIPAC CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON ?
IN EITHER CASE I BELIEVE THAT THE CHANCES OF THIS RALLY TAKING PLACE ARE PROBLEMATIC
· WHILE IT WILL NOT BE DIFFICULT TO GET 1500 INVITED LEADERS TO NY TO SUPPORT DISENGAGEMENT, NEW YORK COULD EASILY PRODUCE 20-50,000 PROTESTERS AGAINST DISENGAGEMENT ON SHORT NOTICE..
· IF ZOA, YOUNG ISRAEL, OTHER RIGHT WING GROUPS, PLUS THE LONE RANGERS OF JEWISH ACTIVISM BRING OUT THE TROOPS THEY WILL BE JOINED BY THOUSANDS OF YESHIVA STUDENTS. EVEN THE ORTHODOX UNION WOULD HAVE TO CONSIDER ABANDONING ITS “POLICY” OF “NO POLICY” IF THE ANTI-RALLY WERE DONE RESPECTFULLY.
· SHOULD THESE OPPONENTS MAKE PUBLIC CALLS FOR A DEMONSTRATION THE LEFT WING MEMBERS OF THE CONFERENCE WHO BELIEVE THAT AMERICAN JEWRY SUPPORTS DISENGAGEMENT ARE IN FOR A BIG SURPRISE THEIR SUPPORTERS DO NOT HAVE THE FIRE IN THE BELLY THAT THE ORTHODOX AND NEO-CONSERVATIVE COMMUNITIES HAVE.
· NO WAY IN MY OPINION COULD THE LEFTIES BRING OUT THE MASSES ON SHORT NOTICE TO COUNTER THR RIGHT. BUT WITH OR WITHOUT A COUNTER/COUNTER DEMONSTRATION IT WILL BE A MESS.
· SHOULD SUCH AN ANTI DISENGAGEMENT RALLY START TO PERCOLATE IT IS PROBABLE THAT ISRAELI SECURITY WILL NOT ALLOW SHARON TO COME-IF THAT WAS THE INTENTION, AND EVENTUALLY THE RALLY WILL BE CALLED OFF OR MOVED TO WASHINGTON ETC
SHOULD SUCH A RALLY FLOP IT WOULD BE A MAJOR EMBARRASSMENT TO SHARON AND THE LEFT WING
LET US REMEMBER IF THE RALLY IS SIMPLY TO SUPPORT ISRAEL, NEW YORK HAS A MAJOR ISRAEL DAY PARADE COMING UP AND DOESN’T NEED ANOTHER SUCH RALLY
RIGHT WING OR MODERATE GROUPS WHO SUPPORT THE RALLY SHOULD NOT FOOL THEMSELVES AS TO ITS PURPOSE.
IT IS ALL EXCITING AND HIGH POLITICAL DRAMA AND WE HAVE NOT HEARD THE END OF IT YET
A NEW AIPAC PRESIDENT, AND BOMB SALES 5/3/05
I WAS SO PLEASED TO LEARN THAT MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE HOWARD “TZVI “ FRIEDMAN HAS BEEN ELECTED AS THE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF AIPAC.
TZVI, A RESIDENT OF BALTIMORE, IS THE ORGANIZATIONS FIRST ORTHODOX PRESIDENT. A WARM AND FRIENDLY INDIVIDUAL, HE IS AN OUTSTANDING BAAL TZEDAKAH (PHILANTHROPIST) HIS CAUSES ARE MANY AND ECLECTIC. AS A LEADER OF THE BALTIMORE FEDERATION, HE DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF ON MANY FRONTS.
I WAS FORTUNATE TO BE ABLE TO CONVINCE HIM TO HEAD UP NCSY WHEN I SERVED AS ORTHODOX UNION PRESIDENT.THERE IS HARDLY A YESHIVA OR CHARITY THAT HE DOES NOT TAKE A LEADING ROLE IN. SUPPORTING
HIS RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM BOTH PARTIES IS LEGENDARY AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN HE HAS RISEN TO THE CHALLENGE IN ORDER TO STRENGHTHEN THE U.S-ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP
I WISH HIM AND HIS WIFE CHAYA MUCH SUCCES ON THIS VENTURE-OUR COMMUNITY SHOULD BE PROUD.
BOMB SALES TO ISRAEL
WE SHOULD APPLAUD THE SALE BY THE US OF BUNKER BUSTING BOMBS TO ISRAEL.THESE SPECIALLY CONSTRUCTED 2000 POUND BOMBS CAN BURROW DEEP INTO THE GROUND AND 20 FEET BELOW DESTROY CONCRETE WALLS.
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THIS IS A MESSAGE TO IRAN. ABSENT AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD HALT URANIUM ENRICHMENT,AND ,IF IT APPEARS THEY ARE GETTING CLOSE TO A NUCLEAR DEVICE WITH A DELIVERY SYSTEM THEN THE US WILL APPROVE OF ISRAEL TAKING DEFINITIVE PRO-ACTIVE STEPS AS IT DID IN IRAQ TO DESTROY THE OSARIK REACTOR.
THIS SALE WILL REQUIRE CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL,AND WE WILL NEED AIPAC’S LEADERSHIP IN THIS REGARD.THIS IS BUT ONE REASON THAT THE SUCCESS OF AIPAC IS VITAL TO EACH ONE OF US,