Thursday, June 10, 2010

Israel Stands Alone, The Ramba”n’s shul

I’ve just read a truly excellent editorial in an Israeli/American newspaper.

Entitled “Israel Stands Alone”, the editorial discusses the fact that Israel was blamed by the whole world before any of the facts came out. The editorial harshly criticises the American government accusing it of abandoning its closest friend and ally.

It then aims its guns at Liberal Jews and informs us that a liberal secular Jew was far more likely to support the Palestinian cause than support Israel today and that secular Jews were abandoning Zionism where as the trend in the Orthodox community is exactly the opposite with more and more religious Jews identifying with Israel and Zionism.

Read the full piece here: Israel Stands Alone

Oh, did I mention that this editorial appears in this week’s Chareidi newspaper “Yated Neeman? No?

Well, the editorial appears in this week’s Chareidi “anti-Zionist” newspaper, “Yated Neeman”.

The irony is that the cheloni (secular) Israeli press including Ynet, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz are becoming increasingly anti-Chareidi with articles intended to incite secular Israelis to hatred towards religious Jews. This trend could well be due to Chareidim taking a more active role in Israeli society including the army and politics.

The chelonim look with envy at the Chareidim and their emunah (faith) in Hashem, their commitment to Torah, their solid connection to Jewish history and connection with Eretz Yisrael, their idealism, confidence and enthusiasm in life.

They attack the Chareidim, oblivious to the fact that their traditional friends, the secular liberal left of America have ceased to identify with the leftwing Israelis because, due to assimilation and a total lack of Jewish education, American Jews have ceased to identify with Israel altogether.

Meanwhile, the American Orthodox communities of all streams, are feeling increasingly uncomfortable in the United States under Obama and are looking towards Yerushalayim.

As it happens, I’ve just spent the last two evenings in the Old City with my kids, taking part in school outings. We davened in the newly rebuilt Churva HaRamba”n shul which was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948 and kept in ruins by the Israeli authorities for decades after liberation because they wanted it kept as a permanent reminder of what the Arabs did. However, because of constant pressure, the shul is now rebuilt and in use 24 hours a day.

I have to admit shedding tears of joy and gratitude to Hakodesh Baruch Hu as we davened Shmoneh Esrei in this beautiful place. Kedusha could be felt bouncing off of every wall.

The current news as well as these outings got me thinking. Surely we are witnessing with our own eyes, the hand of Hashem as He guides us steadily towards Geula Shlemah, beyameinu, Amen.

(Above) The Churva, before it was destroyed in 1948
(Above) After the liberation in 1967, Israel rebuilt the main arch but left the remainder in ruins.
(Below) Now, rebuilt 2010.



Anonymous said...

The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

"Failed Messiah" reported that the Haredim had "taken over" the Hurva and were charging admission and demanding people book visits in advance.

Since hearing this, I've been wary of visiting the Hurva. I visit holy sites to pray, not to allow myself to be annoyed or provoked, so I tend to avoid possible confrontational situations like this.

Your experience sounds nothing like what Failed Messiah described, not that I believe everything I read there. Is a nice kavonnadika mincha too much for a respectful frum lady to expect?

Reb Mordechai said...

Dear Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret.

I can only tell you what our expreience was. I walked in with my son. As we were walking in, a shomer was politefully explaining to a group of American teenagers that the girls were not allowed to enter from here and would have to go around and enter through the women's side. They all decided not to enter and walked off. We walked in and davaned a slow mincha. We took some photos (as you can see). At one time a shomer came up and told me that during davaning it was forbidden to take photos even from outside looking in to the shul as it disturbs those who are davaning. Fear enough! While outside, one of the teachers in my son's school told us to go up the stairs on the outside which leads to the ezras nashim (the women's gallery) to get a fantastic view and access to the balcony above. However when some of the men walked up the stairs, a shomer politefully told us to go down again as this section was for women only! I noticed that there were quite a few shomerim about (all young religious kipa seruga guys wearing tzittis) who acted more like tour guides actually. At no time at all was I asked for any entrance fee or approached by anyone asking for money. People were sitting down, learning and minding their own business. The experience was 100% positive and I intend to go back, beli neder next week to spend some more time there.