Tuesday, May 31, 2011
(Pictured at left, Director of the Moskowitz Prize Ruthie J. Lieberman, Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz and Minister Uzi Landau)
Zionism at its best.
Imagine being in Ir David, in the City of David, in the cradle of civilization. As the wind tickles your hair, you can just picture the winds that woke King David and played his harp for him.
Tonight I had the glorious opportunity of attending the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism.
The three prize recipients were epic Zionists - Meir Dagan, former head of the Mossad; Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh; and former MK Chanan Porat, one of the founders of Gush Emunim (pictured here, flanked by Cherna Moskowitz and Rabbi Pesach Lerner).
The evening was emotional and inspiring and an evening of appreciation for those Jewish giants whose lives have epitomized Zionism, love of and service for Eretz Yisrael. (At left, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass)
(At left, Avigdor Kahalani congratulates honoree Meir Dagan)
There is so much to say about this stellar evening, and I'm falling asleep on my keyboard, but I don't want to end without mentioning a few points.
Beloved philanthropist and sponsor of the event, Cherna Moskowitz (pictured here) was present. As she entered the event area, an awe rolled over all those present. Cherna and husband Dr. Irving Moskowitz are responsible for most of the great and small Zionist projects in Israel today from Yeshiva Bet Orot to buildings in Chevron, the Old City, the Mount of Olives, and throughout Judea and Samaria.
The Moskowitzes have donated reportedly more than $90 million to important causes here and abroad.
When Mrs. Moskowitz (everyone called her "Cherna") arrived at tonight's ceremony, she was revered with a mixture of love, admiration and gratitude. Her contribution, support and encouragement of the institutions of Eretz Yisrael reminded me of the input of Baron Edmonde de Rothschild and his wife Adelaide, who were responsible for the reclamation of nearly 500,000 dunams of land and almost 30 settlements. May Hashem bless Cherna and her husband Dr. Irving Moskowitz with good health and long life.
From the seamless way the evening progressed to thoughtful gifts on each seat (including a shawl against the cold), to the moving clips about each honoree (mini-documentaries), to the music by Meir Banai was perfectly executed.
For this, credit must be given to the Director of the Moskowitz Prize Ruthie Jaffe Lieberman (at left), who oversaw ever detail with care and precision.
Who's Who of Zionism
One of the greatest parts of the Moskowitz Prize is being surrounded by the Who's Who of Modern Day Zionism. Besides the honorees and the Moskowitz family, I was honored to be in the same company as:
Noam Armon, spokesman of Chevron and former Moskowitz Prize Winner
Yedidya Atlas, media specialist, senior correspondent and commentator for Arutz 7
Yoram Ettinger, former ambassador. editor of The Ettinger Report
Harav She'ar Yashuv Kohen, chief rabbi of Haifa
Rabbi Sholom Gold, founder and dean of the Avrom Silver College
Judy Grossman, Keep Jerusalem
Eve Harow, former City Councilwoman of Efrat, Arutz 7 radio personality and brilliant tour guide
Harav Hillel Horowitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaavei Chevron
Yehudit Katzover, Women in Green and the Yibaneh Fund
Minister Uzi Landau
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel
Daniel Luria, spokesman of Ateret Kohanim
Baruch Marzel of Chevron (seen here with Voices Publisher Yisrael Katz)
Nadia Matar, founder of Women in Green and the Yibaneh Fund
Winkie & Batya Medad, prolific Zionist bloggers, media specialists, columnists
(no, that's not Winkie with Batya, that's me)
Liora Nitzan, artist and activist
Mark Provisor, Israeli head of One Israel Fund
Phil Rosenblatt, member Committee for Gush Katif Bridal Showers
Chaim Silberstein (Chaim and Phil pictured at left) - president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund
Yehudit Tayar, respected leader of settlement in Samaria
Anita Tucker (seen here, chatting with a friend), a founder of Gush Katif community Netzer Chazani/Ein Tzurim and soon, IY"H, Yesodot...
plus many more, including the Mayors of Kiryat Arba, Katzrin in the Golan and Nazareth Elite.
One of the recipients tonight said that the people in the audience were truly deserving of this award, and looking around me at those selfless individuals who give of themselves every day for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, I know he was correct.
There are more photos and more news about tonight's Moskowitz Prize, but it's been a long exciting day. More tomorrow, IY"H.
(Pictured, Ruthie J. Lieberman with Tony Gelbart and with Minister Uzi Landau)
Monday, May 30, 2011
We spoke for more than an hour, and the time flew by. Judy edited the show down to whatever length Arutz 7 Radio needs, and while some stories hit the cutting room floor, the show ran smoothly and was really fun to listen to. Judy did a great job!
And I talked about the Raise Your Spirits Theatre Company, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary, and our celebratory appearance in Jerusalem on June 12 at the Gerard Behar Theater. (Tickets through Bimot, 629-8061, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02-623-7000.)
That broadcast on Rusty Mike Radio of the AACI was a real radio experience. Together JUDGE!'s music director Gayle Berman and I sat with radio earphones on our head to block out any outside noise, and we chatted with radio host Rafi Poch, who is also a theater director.
Overexcited and speaking without any notes (I didn't know radio people have notes - no wonder they can just keep talking without pregnant pauses), I forgot two important details about Raise Your Spirits. The details are actually people - composers. I should have (and would have, if I had notes) told the listeners that Raise Your Spirits first original show, ESTHER and the Secrets of the King's Court, had music by Rivka Hatten. And our subsequent productions were musically composed and arranged by Mitch Clyman of Muso Productions. Rivka's and Mitch's music brought to life the words written by Toby Klein Greenwald, Arlene Chertoff and myself.
They are brilliant, sensitive people, and it was a pleasure to work with them.
I had been in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital visiting my brother, who was recovering B"H well from surgery, when I had to find a quiet place for our interview.
The head nurse on my brother's floor was so lovely, and offered me the therapy room, which she said would be empty for the next hour. I went into the room, set up a chair and sat quietly, patiently and comfortably, waiting for the phone to ring. Suddenly someone came in to get bandages. In the next room, one nurse called out to another. The cleaning man clopped around. I realized that this was no quiet place at all.
And since the phone was going to ring in just a minute, I had to find another place. I ran, R-A-N, from porch to porch looking for a quiet spot. On one porch patients were chatting. On another, folks were smoking. On another, workmen were clanging nearby.
I ran to the other side of the building, looking for a hallway, an alcove. I was ready to close myself in a broom closet. The nurses wouldn't let me.
I went to the Administration Offices and begged to sit anywhere, even in their copy machine room. No, sorry, someone might need to make a copy.
I was racing through the hallways of Shaarei Tzedek frantically when I saw my daughter's friend Sarah Beth, a bat sherut (national service volunteer) at the hospital. I almost fell on to her. "Sarah Beth, Sarah Beth, I'm so happy to see you. I'm going on the radio in just seconds and I can't find a quiet place in this entire hospital for the entire. Can you help me find one?" Immediately she found me the perfect spot. Thank you, Sarah Beth.
No sooner did I sit down and wipe my brow, then the phone rang and I was on the air.
It's amazing I knew my own name at that point.
The interview was very lively. Judy asked great questions, and one of the reasons that she's so terrific on the radio is that she's interested in her guest and relates to the conversation in real time.
I spoke about my childhood and some of my projects today.
I would have spoken about more. All good projects need some promotion.
Judy edited the show for length, and added in some segways after our taping.
When I listened back to the show last night, I heard her say something like, "So, you had a Jewish school education and then how did you end up where you are?" Or something like that.
Either it flew by me, or Judy edited the comment in later so that we could continue to the next topic. But if I had rightly heard it, I would have changed my answer completely.
I did not have a formal Jewish day school education. Yes, I went to Hebrew School and later to Hebrew High School, but I did not attend Jewish day school.
I was raised in a modern Orthodox home with all the suburban touches. Besides the Jewish upbringing I had at home, my real Torah education (Tanach, halacha) came from a child. Well, maybe she wasn't a child, but she was younger than I by two years.
I grew up in a brand new neighborhood where houses were added day by day. My best friend was my Rabbi's daughter, Chaya Sara Jungreis.
I went to public school and Chaya Sara went to TAG (Torah Academy for Girls). We played together and hung around together, and Chaya Sara taught me the Torah lessons she had learned during school at TAG. She was my first Torah teacher, and she was fabulous. She still teaches today in New York City at the Hineni Heritage Center. Everyone who attends her classes for Wisdom Wednesdays is surely inspired by her deep knowledge and warm caring heart.
Since my second home was that of Rabbi Meshulem Jungreis, ztz'l, and may she have a long life Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, their influence on me was life-changing. Their Torah teachings and way of life were a pivotal part of my life.
Chaya Sara and her parents were three of the people, who in addition to my grandmother, o'h, gave me a burning love of Torah. They influenced me to keep the mitzvot with great care. I remember when I came back from my first semester away in university. The Rebbetzin called me over in a loud voices, "Come here, Sarah Leah. Open your mouth. I want to make sure that no treif had entered there."
And you can be sure, I was superduper careful from then on about everything, even when I was away from home.
When I returned to New York to study closer to home, I also attended Hineni School, which was a weekly Bible class, given by Rebbetzin Jungreis. I learned there for many years and even met my husband there (with a push from the Rebbetzin and her beloved father, Zayde, ztz'l).
An important part of the foundation of my belief and love of Torah came from the inspiration I found thanks to Chaya Sara and her parents.
If you live in New York, your life will be enriched if you attend classes at the Hineni Heritage Center, http://www.hineni.org/ .
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
There were photos by the talented photographer Nissan Konikov.
Soloists, including the talented: Gayle Berman, Aviela Trapedo,
The audience was lucky enough to see the very talented Chani Natura.
Adorably fun duo Linda Friedburg and Shimona Gottlieb wowed the crowd with an old-Yiddish-turned-Andrew Sisters song.
Chutzot HaYotzeret is an evening that women of Efrat and Gush Etzion look forward to all year long. It begins with fabulous arts and crafts and clothes and jewelry and more. Hundreds of women wander through the booths to try on the latest hats, check out new colors in make-up, and peruse the gorgeous challah covers and ceramics. (At left, Liora Nitsan and her magnificent painting of Abraham and Isaac.)
So, we're in Alon Shvut waiting to hear if we're going to perform or not, and we're told by Event Producer/Director Sima Gal that the show will go on, beginning with psalms and quiet music, instead of the opening act that was expected (us!!).
Monday, May 23, 2011
My troupe rehearsed and then I stayed around for a short while to watch the other performers. There's nothing a performer likes as much as seeing other performers on stage for a private showing.
Anyway, it's going to be loads of fun. Before the show, there'll be a tremendous crafts fair, plus gourmet dinner. Then the show.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Today's Jerusalem Post article on a new poll of the world's Western leaders made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. But the tears are real, because the West is blinded by its own foolishness.
Jpost reports, "Opinion leaders in the US and Europe believe the mass protests of the Arab Spring are animated by a genuine desire for democracy and freedom, but they are skeptical about their prospects being achieved, according to an unusual poll that surveyed the view of leading figures in government, the media, law academia and non-government organizations.
About three quarters of the 343 opinion leaders surveyed said that anti-government protestors were motivated by 'democratic aspirations' rather than 'religious influence,' and shared the same democratic aspiration of other people around the world."
Are these people totally blind to reality!!!?? I'm not asking, I know they're blind to reality. They have created their own reality, and we, the Jewish People will chas v'shalom be the sacrifice of their worship on the altar of misplaced euphoria.
Yesterday I printed results of polls of Moslems are thinking lately:
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I mean, Egypt just announced that they believe Hamas-Fatah is a real peace partner now. Unfortunately, shortly after Israel National News reported "Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar said Wednesday he rejected peace talks with Israel and that Hamas would not allow Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to pursue them. Last week al-Zahar said any peace agreement with Israel would be a prelude to war."
INN also reported that Yunis al Astal, a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament, said that "The [Jews] are brought in droves to Palestine so that the Palestinians and the Islamic nations behind them will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang." He continues that the Divine purpose of all Jews in returning to the land was "for the purpose of the great massacre." That would be a hard sell for Nefesh B'Nefesh.
Al Astal envisions the entire Middle East turning into the "United States of Islam."
But, news agencies the world over are saying that Arab revolutions throughout the Middle East are aimed at achieving democracies for their people!
Al Astal must not have listened to the news, because he says that all the Islamic nations are going to unite to annihilate the Jewish people and turn into the USI.
Thanks to MEMRI for translating this clip for all to see: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144283
So, what do the Arabs really want? What do Jews want? What does the world want? What's going on?
I tried to find out by reading some polls today.
Near East Consulting conducted an opinion poll after last week's unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Abdullah Abdullah, a senior Palestinian legislator and member of Fatah said, “No one in Fatah and Hamas movements recognizes Israel.”
Someone please show this to Bibi.
Perhaps the media feels that with the new H-F/F-H deal democracy is on the way for the PA and peace will soon follow on its heels. But the Near East Consulting poll shows that Arabs are not looking for democracy. Sorry to burst your bubble, President Obama. NEC found that 40% of respondents said that they believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best system for Palestinians. They seem to be on the same page as Al Astal's United States of Islam.
Moreover, when asked how the Arabs of the PA defined themselves, 57 percent said Muslim; 21 percent, Palestinian; 19 percent, human beings; and only 5 percent said Arab.
Sounds like the ground in the PA is ripe for an Islamic Brotherhood-Islamic Fundamentalist-Hamas type government.
What else is happening on the PA ground?
The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion PCPO, founded in February 1994 in Beit Sahour (next to IDF's famed Shdema Army base) by Dr. Nabil Kukali, had its own poll a few days ago, interviewing 950 adults. The poll showed that Arabs are thrilled with Fatah-Hamas unity. They're also ready for a third intifada (read: terror attacks), G-d forbid, if they don't get what they want in Israeli-Arab peace talks.
An interesting question by the PCPO read, “In case all efforts towards peace have collapsed, which of the following options are most probable to administer Palestinian affairs?” more than one-third 37.4% of Palestinians are for the dismantling the PA and holding the international community responsible for the legal vacuum that will arise [that is a giant surprise to me], whereas 24.7% are in favor of declaring a Palestinian state and escalating resistance, 34.6% for keeping the “ status quo” with developing new strategies to run Palestinian affairs, and 3.3% say “do not know”.
A majority 70.5% of Palestinians expect a break out of a third Intifada that will be similar to that of 1987 or that of Al-Aqsa one in case Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stumbled. However, 25.5% oppose its occurrence, whereas 4.0% abstain.
A few more polls.
More than 58% of Jerusalem Post readers said today that this week's Nakba Day protests prove that "Israel has no peace partner." I guess Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not one of those questioned.
With all the riots, demonstrations and the latest PA unity plans, almost 90% of Arutz 7 readers told an A7 pollster that it's time to "stop talking about 'peace'.
One more tangential poll. (I think it was today's New York Times, but please forgive me if I made a mistake), Osama Ben Laden may have been taken out, but 77% of those questioned still believe that Al Qaeda is a top threat.
I actually visited Sdot Yam this week. The kibbutz is just Gan Eden, everything Hannah or any teenager from grey, damp colorless Europe would imagine if she dreamt of Israel. When Hannah came there, it was a hill of sand above the Mediterranean Sea. But with the hard work, blisters and love of so many teenage pioneers, it became a colorful island of potential realized.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
American officials went to great pains to explain the dignity with which they treated his body, so as not to offend Islamic sensibilities. How kind.Osama's "burial" brought to mind another Arab burial that I actually meant to write about on Yom HaZikaron (Memorial day for
The funny thing is that the information on the monument is a bit confusing. The soldier isn't unknown at all, and it isn't one soldier. It's the monument to four Egyptian soldiers – two colonels, a sergeant and a private. In addition, the monument says that they fell at the Battle of Faluja in June 1948.
Another confusion. The battle of Kibbutz Negba, not Faluja, took place in June 1948. One thousand Egyptian soldiers attacked the 140 Israelis (mostly teenage Holocaust survivors) of Negba. The Egyptians reached the kibbutz's inner fence, but the kibbutz members had no tanks or machine guns to repel them. Still, they fought bravely against the mighty Arab Army with their guns and Molotov cocktails, and B"H miraculously, destroyed six tanks and drove off the Egyptian forces.
Was this what the Memorial referred to as the Battle of Faluja?
Or perhaps they were referring to the battle at Ibdis in July 1948. The
Perhaps they meant a different battle that took place nearby in December 1948. The IDF tried to take control of the Egyptian stronghold (right between Kibbutz Negba and today's Kiryat Gat – formerly Faluja - on Route 35) Iraq-el-Manshiya. The stronghold had been a fortified British police station, which at their departure, the British turned over to the Egyptians (instead of the Jews of Negba). It was renamed the Iraq Suedan fortress, after a nearby Arab village. From here the Egyptians had launched their attacks against Kibbutz Negba and other Jewish towns.
The Israelis were unable to take the ex-British fortress, despite many bloody battles, and the Egyptians stayed in possession of the former British stronghold throughout the war. When the fortress finally fell, Yigal Alon met with the Egyptian's Brigadier General Said Taha Bey and offered an honorable surrender.
As part of the Peace Agreement with
The Faluja memorial reminded me of one more memorial to fallen soldiers.
Memorial (or None) to a Massacre
These memorials to fallen soldiers of 1948 led me to think of the Lamed Hei, the legendary 35!In January 63 years ago, 35 Palmach soldiers set out on foot in the middle of the night from the Bet Shemesh area to bring supplies to the beleaguered kibbutzim of pre-State Gush Etzion. The kibbutzim had been cut off by the Arab villages and Arab Legion forces. Convoys to Gush Etzion had been attacked; some convoys destroyed and their defenders killed. Airplane drops had failed. The Palmach march was the last hope to aid the isolated Jewish towns.
Unfortunately, the 35 (Lamed Hei) were seen at daybreak. They were attacked by Arabs of Tsurif and the surrounding towns, and after a brave struggle, the Jewish soldiers were all butchered and decapitated. Their body parts were left to rot. The British didn't retrieve the remains of the Lamed Hei until two days later, and then 12 out of the 35 were so unrecognizable the sainted Reb Aryeh Levin had to perform a kabbalistic ritual - a lottery attributed to the Vilna Gaon (goral haGra) - to identify them for burial. Four months later Gush Etzion fell to the Arab Legion, and on the very next day the State of Israel was born.
[Find out more about the Lamed Hei:
The heroic Lamed Hei were reburied on
So, I guess all this has set me to thinking of battle burials and war memorials. Al Qaeida's chief Osama Bin Laden was given a sanctified Islamic burial by the
The Egyptian soldiers of the battle of Faluja (whichever battle that was) were given a magnificent monument in the northern
Did the Arab Legion put up a memorial to the 35 Palmach soldiers after they butchered them? Is there a granite obelisk standing upon the Battle Hill of the Lamed Hei even today?
While it seems there has been great sensitivity paid to honorable burial for the enemies of
We must respect and demand respect for our civilians and our soldiers in death and in battle, but also in life.
We ourselves must honor and value our people's lives, and demand that others honor them as well. If we respected our people's lives, we wouldn't allow them to be kassamed or bombed or terrorized. We would do everything to stop i!
We must honor our own people at least as much as we honor the enemy, and care about the sensitivities of our own people at least as much as we care about the sensitivities of the enemy, protect the lives of innocent Jewish or Western civilians at least as much as we protect enemy civilians.
But that's another story.