Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.
In this newsletter:
• Mazel Tov
• Divrei Torah: Behar
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• 5TJT: Opposition to New Educational Guidelines
• 5TJT: RAA Mourns Buffalo Victims
• Queens Jewish Link: Opposition to New Educational Guidelines
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 20 Iyar-27 Iyar
• Newsweek: Progressives are dead wrong on abortion justice
• Jewish Voice: Mourning the Shooting Victims
• Jewish Voice: Opposition to New Educational Guidelines
• Rabbinical Alliance of America Expresses Outrage Over the Proposed New Educational Guidelines Issued by the New York State Education Department
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Joins America in Mourning the Victims of the Buffalo Supermarket Massacre
Please let us know about your family simchos and l"a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to email@example.com.
Mazel tov to Presdium Member Rav Yehoshua and Rebbetzin Freida Hecht of Norwalk, CT, on the birth of a granddaughter to their children Shaina and Rabbi Eli Shochat of Hallandale, FL. May they continue seeing nachas from their entire family.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim 917-446-2126 firstname.lastname@example.org === Thursday May 19th, 2022, Iyar 33,5782 === Lag B’ Omer <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><<><><><><> Kavei El H – Place your hope in H
The value of every Jew. Realizing the potential and the goodness of each person.
How precious we all are to H.
Do not be discouraged, be courageous, be strong, take those steps H will love you.
We can make every effort and be proud of our accomplishments.
We offer our bakashos, we do not hear His voice, but in our hearts, we know what He wants from us.
In G We Trust – Trust in G =================
Kavei el H, chazak libechaw – “Place your hope in H; strengthen yourself and He will instill courage in your heart, and place your hope in H. There is none as holy as H, for there is none besides You, and there is no Rock like our G. For who is G besides H, and who is a Rock except our G? (Artscroll siddur Artscroll Mesorah Publications Ltd.)
This is a tefilla of hope in H our G recited before the traditional Ein Keilokeinu in the Musaf of Shabbos and Yom Tov. Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein zt”l instilled that hope in H to the thousands who he shared from his heart to be courageous and not afraid to take the next step in their lives. The step of recognizing their value, and how much their Yiddisha Neshamos means to H – their G. He showed them the way, guiding each person with immense faith in the Ribono shel Olam and how Yiddishkeit could and a does elevate each with tremendous love of our Torah and our mitzvos. A way of life more meaningful, bringing many from the depths of difficulty, helping to inspire, to heal, to feel spiritually and strong with self- confidence.
“Remembering Rabbi Wallerstein zt” l Letters to the Editor FJJ Newspaper (May 12, 2022, page 110) “Your Publisher’s Message tribute to Rabbi Wallerstein was written so beautifully.
“I followed Rabbi Wallerstein on Torah Anytime and what can I say. What an incredible person he was. The love that he had for each and every one was just incredible. For someone that was struggling he didn’t look at their outward appearance he saw their neshama, their potential. When he felt there was a need for something he didn’t just talk about it or complain, he did something about it. Like for one example the Ranch. It bothered him so much that a person who needs help in a facility should be eating treif. So, he made a kosher place. What needed to be done he did. I could probably write pages and pages about this wonderful person, there is so much to learn from him and emulate. His love and closeness to H, not spending so much time on the phone, being the best, you can be….
One last point that made an impression on me. He said when you listen to a speech, how do you know if it’s true or not. You really don’t. However, he said your neshama does. So, when you hear a speech, and the speaker is emes and is speaking from the heart your neshama will know if it’s true. So, Rabbi Wallerstein thank you for all that you have taught me, I know that it was all true!
Klal Yisrael has lost a giant.
H should give a nechama to his family and may we be zoche to the coming of Moshiach very soon. He advocated for Klal Yisrael in his lifetime so I have no doubt he will continue now in the Olam Haemes. Yehi Zichro Boruch.” by Miriam Berkowitz.
“After the Calamity at Meron” by Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman- Remembering Meron The FJJ newspaper May 12th, 2022 (page 112) From Rabbi Shulman’s drasha the Shabbos after the tragedy. Presented at the Young Israel of Midwood. “These are the most difficult drashos. One wants to say something that will make sense of the tragedy that shook us this past week, but that is beyond me.
One of the talmidim in yeshiva circulated a page in which talmidim could undertake kabalos, as he put it, in memory of the kedoshim. I told him that the impulse is praiseworthy, but we reserve the term kedoshim for those who died al kiddush H. Yet afterward I thought that perhaps, in a certain sense, the term is not out of place. The mitzvah of kiddush H is stated in the Torah, in this week’s parsha, just before the parsha of the moadim. The sefer B’chagvei ha’Sela suggests that the connection is that the purpose of the moadim is to experience closeness to the Ribono shel Olam; the word moed means rendezvous. And no one can be closer to Him than those who give up their livesal Kiddush H (See Baba Basra 10b).
Those who died Thursday night had come to a special makom tefilah to be inspired and uplifted to a greater sense of H’s presence and there in that place and on that occasion, they lost their lives. They perished seeking closeness to H, and no doubt they found it.
After such an event we find ourselves saying that H is sending us a message. And in the next breath we add that we are not nevi’im and don’t know what the message means. Indeed, we look askance at anyone who claims such knowledge. It seems a strange way for Him to communicate with us; what is the point of His sending us messages if we don’t have a way to interpret them?
Perhaps I might suggest an approach. Even prophecy – with the exception of Moshe’s prophecy – did not reach the navi clear and explicit. The Rambam writes that a navi wouldsee a vision, and then look into the heart and finds its meaning there. R’ Yehoshua Leib Diskin (cited in full in Avi Ezri, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah) adds an amazing thought. Two different nevi im, given the same nevuah, might perceive it in slightly different ways. (He also makes a distinction between the nevuah of Moshe and all nevuah). And yet, he adds, the nevuah would be fulfilled just as the navi to whom it was addressed perceived it. In this regard he compares prophecy to dreams, which Chazal tell us are also sometimes a form of Divine communication- 1/60th of nevuah- and about which the gemara says that the meaning of the dream depends on how it is interpreted. So too the full meaning of the nevuah is found in the heart and the understanding of the prophet to whom it is addressed, and of none else.
Apparently, this is a feature of Divine communication. The meaning of the communication reveals itself in the heart and mind of the receiver.
The Ribono shel Olam is communicating with us; but since we do not have a navi, the communication must be directed individually to each one of us. We cannot know what it means for everyone; but we can endeavor to find what it might mean for me. We can each one of us look into his or her own heart and try to find there what the Ribono shel Olam might be saying to me, what He might want of me and how He might want me to be moved. And if each of us does that honestly and earnestly, in a true spirit of seeking, then the message we will each find will be the message that was meant for each of us.”
Many of us sometimes wonder, what can we accomplish in life. How can we too like Rabbi Wallerstein convey with such conviction to others and ourselves who seek faith and belief in H and build monumental towers as he did both with actual buildings such as Ranch, and in the hearts of so many. Life is not meant to be how much, how many, but to share our love and our trust in H. True emunah and betachin is having trust in H. It is not easy for someone going through challenging times to find joy, hope and faith. But as rabbis. rebbetzins and chaplains have the patience, the understanding, the compassion, and the fortitude to help each person find the path, assist with the steps, no matter how steep they may be. Rabbi Wallerstein believed in all those who sought his guidance. No matter what they were dressed in, how they looked or types of rings they wore. Each Yid was and is precious in the eyes of H. He believed that with his whole heart. He imbued confidence and we too can bring joy in life feeling more confidence in those we offer care, guidance and chizuk to. Helping a person to get up should he/she fall down with an outstretched hand to lead the way.
Do we really know what H wants of us? Do we have any idea of what H is communicating with us? We say our bakashos, but how will we know H’s response to us? In our hearts we must trust in Him and know with immense faith and emunah whatever He does is for our best. With Torah, Avoda, Gemilus Chasadim, Achus, and being Mekadeish H, we will be on the right path as will all those we offer our care to. Helping to bring out the positive, giving encouragement, finding, and giving kindness and goodness in each person is so important.
From Chasidic Masters by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan “The Concealed Light, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Moznaim Publishing Corporation (Chapter 8 page 112, 113) “The attribute of wisdom is actually higher than faith. Still, you must avoid the wisdom of speculation and rely on faith alone. Faith has great power, and when you follow its path, you can attain Desire, a level even higher than Wisdom.”
“Never let yourself fall completely. There are many ways in which you can fall. At times, your prayer and devotion may seem utterly without meaning. Strengthen yourself and begin anew. Act as if you were just beginning to serve G. No matter how many times you fall, rise up and start again. Do this again and again, for otherwise you will never come close to G.
Draw yourself toward G with all your might. Remain strong, no matter how low you fall. Whether you go up or down, always yearn to come close to G. You might be brought low but cry out to G and do everything in your power to serve Him with joy. Without this inner strength, you will never be able to truly approach G.
Keep pushing until you can do nothing else but serve G all your life. Be ready to do so even without any promise of reward.”
Truth and Faith Rabbi Menachem Mendelof Kotzk (chapter 13 page 176) “It is written, “You shall emerge with joy” (Isaiah 55:12). Through joy, you can emerge from all troubles.”
From The Gentle Weapon Prayers for every day, and Not-So Everyday Moments. Timeless Wisdom from the Teachings of the Hasidic Master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (Jewish Lights Publishing page 63) IN THANKS “Loving, caring G, all the happiness and fulfillment in my life come only from You. Knowing how absolute my dependence on You is, I find peace of mind. Your presence suffuses my life, caressing me with hope, joy and love. I’ve tasted Your love, I’ve known Your compassion, I’ve experienced Your patience, and I am filled with gratefulness.”
=== LAG B’ OMER ===
A day of special, spiritual meaning for Klal Yisrael.
Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
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The Rabbinical Alliance of America Joins America in Mourning the Victims of the Buffalo Supermarket Massacre Edited by: TJVNews.com The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—joins America in mourning 10 people and 3 others who were severely injured by a gunman motivated by hate on May 14, 2022, at…
Edited by: TJVNews.com The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis— expresses shock and outrage over the new educational guidelines issued by the New York State Education Department. Recently, New York State released new guidelines about nonpublic schools – including day schools, yeshivas, and Bais Yaakov schools, which currently…
The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis— expresses shock and outrage over the new educational guidelines issued by the New York State Education Department.
Recently, New York State released new guidelines about nonpublic schools – including day schools, yeshivas, and Bais Yaakov schools, which currently educate over 100,000 students – redefining the requirement to provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of the public schools. Going forward, Jewish schools must meet onerous government standards about what they teach and for how long they teach it, subject to watchful government inspection.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America asserts that these newly promulgated guidelines represent an unacceptable governmental encroachment on and intrusion in the autonomy of our religious schools. Each school’s board and educational committee should be entrusted to determine the course of education for its students, according to the traditions and philosophy of its community and parent body.
RAA Presidium Chairman, Rabbi Yaakov Klass, stated that “perhaps the single most important issue currently facing the Jewish community of New York City is the freedom to educate our children in a proper yeshiva environment that trains them to be good Americans and at the same time teaches them to remain true to our faith and traditions. The Yeshiva educational system has produced generations of productive, loyal, resourceful, and respectful New Yorkers who have contributed greatly to the growth of the city’s economic, civic, and cultural greatness. The vast and diverse Yeshiva system in New York City is currently thriving as it offers parents a spectrum of schools to fit each child’s unique needs. Never in history has a Jewish parent had so many school choices as in New York City today.”
RAA Executive Vice President, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, noted that “the important wall of separation between state and religion is being breached in a most egregious manner, as evident by the draconian guidelines issued by the New York State Education Department.”
This country was settled due, in part, to the desire to live and raise one’s children according to one’s religion. The constitution protects the right of a citizen to parent and educate one’s child in the religious manner one sees fit.
Jewish schools have done an outstanding job in educating the community’s children. In addition to extensive Judaic content and core secular studies, these schools teach critical thinking, logic, textual skills, and traditional values – skills that are crucial to becoming productive, law-abiding citizens. The numerous graduates of the Jewish educational system and their manifold accomplishments, throughout the USA and abroad, attest to the high quality of Jewish education.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America fully and unequivocally supports all the actions being taken by community leaders supporting religious liberty and Jewish education in combating the edicts of the New York State Education Department encroaching upon the separation of religion and government.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America calls upon the New York State Education Department to abolish these draconian regulations that are, in our considered opinion, both unconstitutional and an infringement on religious freedom, the promise this great country offers all its inhabitants.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—joins America in mourning 10 people and 3 others who were severely injured by a gunman motivated by hate on May 14, 2022, at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.
The 18-year-old suspected of opening fire on innocent victims reportedly told authorities he was targeting the Black community. The alleged gunman reportedly made disturbing statements filled with hate toward the Black community. He published a white supremacist manifesto online and traveled a great distance in order to accomplish his hateful plan. Investigators also uncovered other information indicating he had studied previous hate attacks and shootings in order to prepare with great forethought his own hateful attack on innocents.
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. “This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind.” The Buffalo attack was the deadliest US mass shooting of the year. There have been at least 198 mass shootings so far in 2022.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “words cannot express our outrage at this senseless, hateful, racist act of pure evil and cold-blooded murder. As Jews, we have been victims of antisemitism and the target of hateful attacks throughout the ages. We have witnessed hate and terror in Israel and we relate to the pain of the victims’ families and those who were wounded in this vicious assault against mankind. The victims and their families are in our prayers.
“We firmly preach that a hateful attack on innocent victims of any group – in this case, African American people – is an attack on all Americans. We at the Rabbinical Alliance of America call upon all peaceful Americans to protest this vile act of racism and to condemn it in the strongest possible terms. What started as an ordinary Saturday should not have ended in tragedy for the decent, peace-loving victims and their families. We must be proactive in teaching respect and civility and that each human life is precious. We must constantly stress that there is no room for hate in America. The fact that an 18 year old can be so depraved and disturbed shocks the conscience of our country and requires us as a nation to engage in self-reflection with a brutally honest eye to understand how such a disconnect from reality can occur in the first place.
“We, as Americans, cannot allow the memory of these martyrs to go in vain. Therefore, the Rabbinical Alliance of America encourages all Americans to engage in acts of kindness and charity in their memory. We encourage our fellow Americans to exit their comfort zones and to reach out in love and friendship to build bridges with people of differing persuasions. We must combat the hate and polarization of our moment with love and friendship, with hope and prayer. We firmly believe that through building a foundation of unity and friendship, we will fortify our society so that such tragedies shall be no more.”