Archive for November 19th, 2010

“HEBRON FUND “FLOTILLA” DINNER SAILS TO SUCCESS IN NEW YORK” by Fern Sidman

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Over 600 people boarded a luxury multi-level vessel called “The Cornucopia Majesty” at Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers on Tuesday evening, November 16th, as they set sail around the island of Manhattan in a unique celebration of Jewish life in Hebron. The “flotilla supporting peace and life” was the venue of choice for the 22nd annual gala Hebron Fund Dinner in New York.

In a twist of irony, the organizers of the dinner selected this setting as a direct response to the international condemnation of Israel following the Mavi Marmara episode on May 31st, in which Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish flagged ship that was headed to Gaza with the intent of breaking the naval blockade that Israel had imposed in order to prevent the smuggling of lethal weaponry to Hamas terrorists in the region. The purported “peace activists” on board the “Gaza Aid Flotilla” brandished knives and guns and violently attacked Israeli soldiers.

Distinguished criminal defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman served as the master of ceremonies for the much heralded event that attracted the usual contingent of counter-protestors who represented themselves as members of Jewish Voice for Peace and other assorted anti-Israel organizations.

“This is our idea of a real flotilla, where peaceful, fair minded, productive citizens come together to stand in support and solidarity with the people of Hebron”, said Mr. Brafman to thunderous applause. Spotlighting the centrality and prominence of Hebron to the Jewish nation as the very first capital of Israel, established by King David, Mr. Brafman and others spoke of Hebron as “the eternal resting place of our beloved antecedents” and a place that “is our permanent home; a place that symbolizes the unbreakable bond between Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel” and a place of “beauty and majesty where the past, present and future come together.”

Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum led the attendees in the recitation of chapter 21 in Tehillim (the book of Psalms) and explained that there is a dual meaning for the word “Horim” (mountains). “While the word “horim” that we read in Tehillim means mountains, it also means parents, telling us that in the mountains near Hebron there lies the resting places of our precious fathers and mothers and there is an inextricable bond between our ancestors, ourselves and our land”, he said.

Special prayers for the sick and infirmed in Hebron were said along with prayers for those missing in action including Cpl. Gilad Shalit (Gilad ben Aviva) who was abducted by Hamas terrorists in June of 2006 and American Jew, Jonathan Pollard (Yonatan ben Malka), the former civilian intelligence analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel.

Yossi Baumol, the executive director of the Hebron Fund said, “The Hebron Aid Flotilla was an exercise in freeing our minds from the hypocrisy and falsehoods of our times. But wielding the “Big Lie” is no modern invention. This evening’s dinner falls out on a most significant day. Tonight the Moslem world celebrates the holiday Eid-Al-Aida or in English, “Feast of the Sacrifice”. In Moslem tradition Yishmael replaces Yitzchak at the site of the Akeida. In their minds Yishmael is the sanctified bearer of the holy legacy.”

Also delivering remarks expressing gratitude to the honorees and those supporting the community in Hebron were dinner chairman, Teddy Pollak, Rabbi David Wilder and Rabbi Noam Arnon, spokesmen for the Jewish community of Hebron, Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, Director of Tourism for the Jewish community of Hebron, and Avraham Ben Yosef, Mayor of Hebron.

Popular attorney, columnist and Long Island community leader, David Seidemann of Lawrence, New York along with his esteemed wife Jane were the recipients of the “Bonei Hevron” (Builders of Hevron) award. Mr. Seidemann is a longtime Hebron Fund board member and former Fund president. Mr. Seidemann is also an award winning columnist receiving national recognition for his articles that appear on a weekly basis in “The Jewish Star”.

The “Chasdei Avot” (Charity of the Patriarchs) award was presented to David and Joclyn Stern, two beloved activists on behalf of Hebron. The Sterns are regular guests in Hebron during the special “Chayei Sarah” weekends attended by tens of thousands each year. Mr. Stern is the president of Brooklyn’s Young Israel of Midwood synagogue and has led numerous missions to Hebron.

Fred and Carole Samuel were the recipients of the “Magen Avraham” (Abraham’s Shield) award for their constant devotion to the security of the people of Hebron. During their frequent trips to Hebron, they have established close and enduring friendships with the local residents and Mr. Samuel is currently spearheading an important Hebron related security project.

The “Aishet Chayil” (Woman of Valor) awardee for 2010 was the distinguished Ester Arieh-Hatanian. She is the mainstay of the Hebron Fund office in Brooklyn, New York and received the recognition that she so justly deserves for over a decade of dedicated service that can only be termed as above and beyond the call of duty.

The highlight of the evening was the address delivered by the guest of honor and keynote speaker, Ms. Caroline Glick. Ms. Glick is the managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, the Senior Fellow for Middle East Affairs of the Washington, DC based Center For Security Policy and chief diplomatic correspondent for the Makor Rishon newspaper. Ms. Glick was named by the Israeli newspaper Maariv as “the most prominent woman in Israel” and she also served as producer of the video clip entitled, “We Con the World” which spoofed the hypocrisy inherent in the public reaction to the Gaza flotilla incident. As a retired IDF captain, Ms. Glick received the auspicious “Gevurat Ha’Imahot” (Bravery of the Matriarchs) award.

“Tonight we celebrate not only the Jewish community of Hebron but the extraordinary tenaciousness of the Jewish people”, declared Ms. Glick. She spoke of the pre-1967 period when the closest Jews could come to praying at the Maar’at HaMachpela was on the seventh step, but she said, “This Jews stood as close as he could to the front of that seventh step and would not budge. She said that “this Jew” describes the core essence of the Jewish nation. “This Jew wouldn’t move, he wouldn’t be humiliated, he remained fully dedicated to Torat Israel and Eretz Yisrael; standing tall and upright just as a cedar tree. This Jew represents his nation; a people who exuded Jewish pride and said Kaddish despite everything” she said, adding that, “When I get tired I think of that Jew on the seventh step.”

Ms. Glick cited the miraculous accomplishments of the nation of Israel over the last 62 years since the birth of the modern State of Israel and said, “Israel is a work in progress and it waxes and wanes with the strength of the Jewish people. She lauded the courageous Jewish residents of Hebron saying that they are, “the North Star of our people, a community that is fiercely dedicated to Torah, to G-d and to their people and is representative of the kind of perseverance that has come to define our nation.”

Making oblique references to the lack of leadership in the current Israeli government, Ms. Glick said, “The Talmud tells us that the year before Moshiach is expected to arrive, we will be led by dogs. Dogs are not leaders, but rather they stand in front of you waiting for you to guide them where to go. The more boldly we lead, the more boldly our leaders will be.”

She called upon those present and the entire Jewish people to “bring the geulah closer by supporting the people of Hebron who live in the very same place that remains the resting place of our patriarchs and matriarchs” and by proclaiming to the world that “the land of Israel is not a refuge, it is not a ghetto, but it is our home; a country where Jews can live freely.”

Commenting on Ms. Glick’s address, Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For a Safe Israel said, “Our AFSI chizuk mission just returned from Hebron where we spent Shabbos Chaya Sora with thousands of Jews in Hebron and it is clear that if the Jewish people do not have a right to Hebron, we certainly have no right to a Tel Aviv that was built in 1905. The Jewish ownership of Hebron is stated in the Torah and it is through our connection to our ancestors that we will survive as a nation.”

———————————————-

Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

“AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY CELEBRATED IN THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE” by Fern Sidman

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Contemporary American Jewry experienced one of it’s signature moments on Sunday afternoon, November 14th, as over 1000 people from all over the world gathered to attend the spectacular dedication and grand opening of a “first of its kind” museum on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Originally founded in 1976, The National Museum of American Jewish History has shared a building with the historic Congregation Mikveh Israel, but now is being housed in a $150 million, 5-story state of the art building, designed by famed architect James Stewart Polshek.

The 100,000-square-foot museum, located near Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and directly across from the Liberty Bell, will be exclusively dedicated to exhibiting and interpreting the vibrant legacy of American Jews, spanning more than 350 years, from the arrival of the first Jewish community in 1654 to the present. Across three-and-a-half floors, the museum’s core exhibition explores the religious, cultural, political and economic stories of American Jews as well as examining themes of democracy, religious innovation versus continuity, immigration and integration, and the various lifestyles and aspirations of this immigrant community. The main exhibit features historical artifacts, interactive media and narrative storytelling, while illuminating the history of American Jewish life with evocative objects, thirty original films and cutting-edge technology.

Mr. Polshek said that the exterior envelope of the museum is comprised of two interwoven and interdependent building volumes. The first volume, the diaphanous glass prism that faces Independence Mall, expresses the accessibility of the museum’s mission. Its luminosity beckons onlookers to enter; a reminder of the open door that greeted their forebears finding sanctuary in America. The glass also announces the fragility of the democracy that is the guarantor of the freedoms that have made this country so desirable a destination.

The curator of the core exhibition is Josh Perelman, Ph.D, the museum’s deputy director of exhibitions, programs and collections, and chief curator, who worked with a team of leading historians of American Jewish history from across the country.

The many fascinating artifacts that are on display are drawn from the museum’s collection, other prominent museums including the Smithsonian Institution; of which the museum is an affiliate and private lenders. Among the treasures to be viewed are an 1862 Confederate $2 bill with a portrait of Judah P. Benjamin, the Confederacy’s Secretary of State, a handwritten copy of “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, and the nameplate from the chair of Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis.

The exhibition also includes a Contemporary Issues Forum and the “It’s Your Story” video storytelling booths which will allow visitors and their families to record stories about their families’ histories and have them archived in the museum. They will also be sent a link so that their stories can be emailed to others or posted on social media sites.

“American Jews are experiencing perhaps the greatest freedoms we’ve enjoyed in Judaism’s long, multi-thousand year history. These freedoms come directly from our nation’s foundational documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which were forged on the scared ground of Independence Mall. It is, therefore, compellingly appropriate that the National Museum of American Jewish History is located on the Mall, the very birthplace of American liberty”, declared Michael Rosenzweig, the president and CEO of the NMAJH.

Andrea Mitchell, the NBC news chief foreign affairs correspondent served as master of ceremonies for the historic event and enthusiastically greeted the overflowing audience. The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia told the audience, “It is a tremendous honor and privilege for me to be here on this most historic day in US history. Today we pay tribute to the multifarious contributions and accomplishments of Jews from around the globe who played such a major role in the history of the United States. It is no irony that this most special and unique museum is located on the most historic mall in America, where liberty and justice were originally proclaimed.”

“Even though I never had the opportunity to obtain a Jewish education or even have a Bar Mitzvah, my parents made it their business that I would never forget and would continue to support my Jewish heritage”, said Edward G. Rendell, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He added that, “This outstanding museum will facilitate in promulgating the exceptional narrative of Jewish life in the United States to all people, irrespective of religion or nationality.”

The keynote address was delivered by Vice President Joseph Biden who said, “The National Museum of American Jewish History stands as a permanent and invaluable tool in helping to preserve the uniqueness of the American Jewish experience and heritage and also celebrates the freedoms that we all enjoy in the United States”. Vice President Biden relayed a story about a rabbi in Lithuania, who in the early 1800s heard of a liberty bell in the United States that proclaimed the words of the Bible, “To declare liberty throughout the land” and asked one of his students if this was true. The student answered in the affirmative but told the rabbi that the liberty bell had a crack in it. The rabbi responded that it is the obligation of the Jews to mend that crack through means of their philanthropic endeavors including the building of schools and hospitals. VP Biden added that, “The Jewish people took this directive very seriously and became leaders in the arts, in politics, sports, law and the economy and truly vitalized and enhanced the building of our great country.”

The National Museum of American Jewish History will be open to the general public on Friday, November 26th. The hours or operation are Tuesday-Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and weekends from 10 am through 5:30 pm. The museum in closed on Mondays and all federal holidays that fall on Monday. The admission rates for adults are $12.00 and $11.00 for seniors, active military personnel and youth ages 13-21. For more information please visit the NMAJH web site at: www.nmajh.org.

———————————————-

Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.