UJA FEDERATION CEO ERIC S. GOLDSTEIN CONGRATULATES ISRAELI PRESIDENT-ELECT HERZOG
By ERIC S. GOLDSTEIN
I’m delighted to congratulate Isaac ‘Bougie’ Herzog on being elected the 11th President of the State of Israel.
Bougie is a dear friend and an honorary New Yorker. Since his time as a student at a Jewish day school in Manhattan, he has maintained deep connections to New York, home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel. With his years of experience in Knesset and profound understanding of global Jewry, Bougie is uniquely positioned to fulfill his role as president of the State of Israel, and more broadly as convener of the entire Jewish people. As world Jewry faces ever growing challenges, I have no doubt that Bougie will work and succeed in building stronger bridges between all members of the Jewish community. We look forward to working together with President Herzog in helping to ensure a brighter, more connected future for Israel and the entire Jewish people.
Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York.
CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS CONGRATULATES ISAAC HERZOG ON ELECTION AS 11TH PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL
By MALCOLM HOENLEIN
We extend warm congratulations to Isaac Herzog upon being elected the 11th President of the State of Israel. We have come to know him well over his decades of service to the Jewish State, most recently as chairman of the Jewish Agency.
When he assumes office, the President-Elect will be following in the footsteps of his father, the late Chaim Herzog, who served as the sixth President of Israel from 1983 to 1993.
He will undoubtedly represent the best of Israel, both within and beyond its borders, and we look forward to working with him during what is sure to be a successful tenure.
RESPECTING OUR BRETHREN
By RABBI AARON I. REICHEL, ESQ.
Although we may not know exactly how the stampede began, the evidence uncovered so far seems to point to the failure of the organizers to take preventive measures based on feedback from prior years and allowing for the formation of a crowd too large and unruly for the limited space at some point(s). How bitterly ironic that just as the limitations on social distancing are being liberalized, the Meron catastrophe was set in motion in part because some people went to the opposite extreme and put no distance at all between their fellow prayers (people who were en route to praying) and themselves, and even infringed on the space of each other, causing irreparable harm and even death to innocent careful people victimized by the actions of those who unintentionally caused so much harm.
Ironically, the Daf Yomi studied just 2 days after Lag B’Omer points out that it takes a miracle for people standing next to each other tightly to have enough space to bow down in prayer. The reference is to people coming to Jerusalem for festivals that do not include Lag B’Omer, but the lesson should be clear. People should not press against each other tightly, if they want to be able to pray, or sway when they pray, even without bowing, without relying on a miracle.
Further down in this page of the Talmud, an observation is made that, in the days of the pilgrimages to Jerusalem – not necessarily to Meron -- nobody ever complained that the route was too narrow. The noted Daf Yomi lecturer Rabbi Shalom Rosner quotes the Torah Temima on Pirkei Avot noting that the language is actually that people didn’t complain bein adam lachavero -- from one person to another -- about it being crowded, indicating that it might indeed have been crowded, but where there is love and harmony, crowds do not have to present problems. What happened in Meron was not merely a tragedy to the innocent victims who happened to be in the “wrong” place – or should we say in the right place? -- but in the wrong time. The tragedy that precipitated this tragedy must be noted and never repeated. Some people were evidently so impatient or in such a hurry to get to or from the kever of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai that they failed to allow for even a minimal amount of social distancing between each other – even by pre-corona standards – so that some of them were pushing against each other to most inadvertently, counterproductively, and tragically set up the deadly domino effect that led to the necessity of opening up so many more kvorot that should definitely not have had to happen.
Not only the tragedy but also the irony is overwhelming. The most widely accepted reason for the semi-mourning of the omer period is because a plague killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students who did not treat each other respectfully, but the period of mourning ceases on Lag B’Omer because of a respite from the plague and the deaths. For the past year, and more, people have been socially distancing – some more than others – but the one day that the people emerged from the mourning period of the pandemic to gather en masse, some people evidently did not treat each other – or even their space -- respectfully enough, so that Lag B’Omer became a historic day of full mourning felt directly by the current generation even more than the semi-mourning period before and after it.
It has also been noted homiletically that another lesson to be learned from the contrast between being tightly pressed against each other and then separating to bow in prayer is that people tightly pressed against each other are rigid, whereas people bowing are moving around, surrounded by the space to move around. We who care about each other should not be rigid and unyielding, but should try to be flexible and considerate of each other’s feelings. Usually, this consideration for each other is not meant literally, but this year, it can be interpreted literally as never before. Had the people in Meron all been considerate of each other, waiting their turn, and allowing even pre-covid spacing between each other at all times, the double tragedy would have probably been averted.
Let us pray that the lesson of the Omer period, and of Lag B’Omer, will be learned once again, but even more personally than usual, as we consider the importance of considering each other’s feelings, space, and daled amot!
The writer of this article made the pilgrimage to Meron the year he spent in Israel, and was doubly inspired at that time by meeting his uncle, Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, walking back as he walked forward, an inspiring personality who symbolized considering the feelings of others, as depicted in his biography whose translation was edited and supplemented by the writer of this article.
Rabbi Aaron I. Reichel,
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11-17 Tammuz, 5781 June 21-27, 2021 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--652nd Web Ed.
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UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS OF
AMERICA CONGRATULATES HERZOG UPON HIS ELECTION AS
ISRAEL’S NEXT PRESIDENT
By JENNIFER PACKER
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, congratulates Isaac “Buji” Herzog upon his election as Israel’s 11th president, succeeding Reuven Rivlin when his term ends next month. The president-elect won the position in an overwhelming Knesset vote of 87-27 against contender Miriam Peretz, a greatly admired educator and social activist.
Mr. Herzog, a member of Israel’s Knesset for 15 years and head of its Labor Party before becoming the top official at the Jewish Agency for Israel, comes from a highly respected dynasty of religious, political and military officials: he is the grandson of Israel’s first chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Isaac Herzog, for whom he was named; the son of Israel’s sixth president, Chaim Herzog, who was also Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and served as an IDF major general; the brother of retired IDF brigadier general Michael; and the nephew of former foreign minister Abba Eban’s wife, Suzy.
The president-elect is also an alumnus of Manhattan’s Modern Orthodox Ramaz School, which he attended in the late 1970s. As Israel’s president, Mr. Herzog will take on the role of head of state and play a key role in addressing relations between the Jewish state and American Jewry and other diaspora communities.
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane: “We send our wholehearted congratulations to President-elect Herzog and wish him the very best as he assumes this new and important role in helping to shape Israel’s political landscape and guiding the nation into the future. Throughout his many years of service in the Knesset, to Israel and in the Jewish Agency, Mr. Herzog has become known for his respectful, soft-spoken manner and for eschewing partisan rancor and feuding.”
Said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer: “The Orthodox Union is heavily invested in cultivating deep relationships between American Jews and Medinat Israel — through our OU Israel Center in Jerusalem, NCSY Summer Programs, Birthright and more. We at the Orthodox Union look forward to working with President-elect Herzog on this essential agenda for the Jewish People."
GO TO WORK AND GROW YOUR FINANCIAL SECURITY
By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE
Working a job that pays you money is your best assurance for financial security. In 2021 manufacturers, construction, transportation companies, any entity that sells products, drivers and almost all employers are begging for workers.
Many Americans were assisted by the large unemployment payout of the pandemic. This was initially helpful. Many people such as restaurant workers and others had lost their jobs. The flush of cash from Government kept families fed and financially stable. There has been a downside to this as now manufacturing has slowed down so much that trucks and cars have often been delayed from service because of the stall in manufacturing parts.
From October through March I waited for a part out of New York for my Ford 150 truck. Finally, it was made and delivered but with this kind of part production there have been some unhappy car owners
Many people search for get rich schemes. The best way to build wealth and financial security is to work 40 to 45 hours a week. Take some of your money and buy food and provide for your family. Pay your utility bills, make your house payment, give some to our local church or charity, make your car payment and put as much of your income as possible into an IRA through your bank, a 401k or a 403 b through where you work. Also buy safe solid stocks that have a long track record of performing well. Money will grow over time if invested wisely.
My church friend, Harold Rice insisted on putting $6 a month into my Guidestone retirement fund when I was a 17-year-old pastor. He did this every month for about a year of so until I graduated from high school and left the church. I Long forgot about that but started checking into it a couple of years back and discovered that little account has grown to over $53,000. My salary at the age of 17 was $60 per month. My Guidestone retirement investment was ten percent of what I made which was $6. Both financial figures sound funny and somewhat they were barely enough to buy my gas to the Liberty church in rural Johnson county. Over 35 years that little bit of money which might have been $100 grew to over $53,000 and is a now a nice addition to my retirement portfolio.
The bottom line to that story is that I was performing a service of work that I loved. I received a small amount of compensation and even miniature retirement pay. However, eventually it became something.
Find the best job you can find and work that job. Work as many hours as are available. Negotiate the best pay you can negotiate. Take care of your family and look for every opportunity to save money for down the road.
It starts with doing something. There is a job you can learn. So many are willing to train new employees today. Be willing, be open to learn and in a few months, it may amaze you how well you are doing and how much your money is growing. Go to work. Go somewhere to work. It’s better to go somewhere and find enjoyable work than to sit home in miserable idleness wishing you had pursued the America Dream. Wishing will not get it done for you. You have to go to the opportunities. People all over America have done this during our entire existence and you can benefit your life this way as well.
Glenn Mollette, Newburgh, IN
TRUMP GRAND JURY
By JAKE PICKERING
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. just announced the impaneling of a special grand jury focused on the Trump Crime Family/Organization, not long after New York state Attorney General Letitia James notified the public the state’s civil investigation of the Trumps has now become a criminal inquiry as well.
No wonder desperate Donald Trump drew his infamous “red line” prohibiting Justice Department investigators from looking into the Trump Crime Family’s crooked, fraudulent finances while Trump was in office.
Too bad for delusional orange-collar criminal Donald, but his red-flagging of his own criminal business enterprise (in addition to unsuccessfully attempting to hide his tax returns for so long) led legal authorities to right where Trump’s business bodies are buried. And now they’re being dug up.
Indictments are sure to follow. You don’t create a special grand jury to last for six months for nothing. Deranged Donald and his evil brood had better find a better lawyer than Rudy “Tutti Frutti” Giuliani, otherwise the Trumps can expect a long, less than luxurious stay at Rikers Island penitentiary.
Jake Pickering, Arcata, CA, USA