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Rabbi’s Blog - Israel: Shabbat Shalom - Shabbat of Peace

10/13/2023 11:55:28 AM


Dear OZ family,


Many children in Israel have still not gone back to school, and they have been told that zoom classes will begin next week. So many children have just gotten over their Covid lockdown traumas, and they feel they are living it all over again. Many of these families don’t have the quiet space for each child to learn properly, much less, the devices for each one to do so. In my son, Moshe’s case, he has to find the space to give zoom classes, while his kids are taking zoom classes. All of this is happening while the children cannot venture more than 40 meters form their house. That is the measure for Moshe’s 4 kids, and that leaves them a small parking lot in which to have outdoor time. Chani’s 8 kids have 60 meters because she lives further away from Gaza than Moshe. But yesterday, her city’s siren system malfunctioned so they told the kids not to leave their houses at all.


These are small traumas. Can you imagine what it is like close to Gaza like in Sderot, or the places I sent out earlier this week? Shrapnel from an iron dome deflection fell 20 feet from Moshe’s home in Beit Shemesh two days ago. Luckily no one was hurt, but no country can sustain such a barrage. I am attaching a link with this message an important 2 minute clip regarding the RED CROSS, click HERE. Please watch to the end and contact them. There are still lives to be saved. Hopefully Israel will soon end this seemingly endless nightmare of shelling population centers all over Israel.  I say soon, while the good will of good people is still with Israel regarding what it needs to do, because we know that Chamas will parade their trophies to a voracious media complex, of the victims that will suffer because these ghouls place them as shields against return fire.


The venomous hatred of Chamas is global and we are told of a day of rage around the world for today. As I wrote yesterday, the city is on alert. Mayor Adams assured us on a conference call yesterday, that the entire NYC police force is on high alert to protect us. If the enemy can’t kill us, they want to disrupt our lives, but we won’t let them. They want to keep us away from shul, away from singing Kabbalat Shabbat tonight. The enemy doesn’t want us to hear the beautiful BODI melodies in shul. They don’t want us to have dinner together. They don’t want us to hear words of Torah and encouragement tonight at the Kumsitz at 9pm. They want to keep us from being together. They want to change our way of life. Earlier this week we had a Strength to Strength event at the shul. Former members of the IDF spoke, as well as survivors of terror attacks in Israel as well as survivors of 9/11. One of the IDF veterans encouraged us to continue pursuing our way of life. That is a pursuit of Torah, Avodah and Gemillut Chassadim to enhance happiness to the fullest. They can’t take this from us. This is why we go to war in the first place, he explained.


80 years ago this week, 400 rabbis converged upon Washington to beg the White House to do something for the thousands of Jews who were being slaughtered every day in Europe. The White House didn’t recognize this large group. My grandfather was among this group, and he told me how crestfallen he was that such a great effort at the time, by so many leaders, went totally unnoticed. This is in sharp contrast to the very attentive response this WHITE HOUSE has made in favor of Israel, and what it needs to do now to uproot the pure evil in its midst. Click HERE for the attached statement. Chamas has gambled that the world and the media will quickly forget its actions, and concentrate only on Israel’s response. Fortunately, the morally obtuse faculty and students in some elite schools don’t carry the opinion of our country. Fortunately some morally vacuous politicians and media pundits on this matter are in the small minority in this country. But we must be ready to be on the front lines,   defending Israel  in social media and in the courtrooms of public opinion.


Please have in mind Akiva ben Baila Chana. He is at the moment, in Gaza and has lost 3 very close and dear friends in the last few days. He is under unspeakable pressure, yet so upbeat and positive about what he needs to do. His parents, Blair and Elisabeth Axel have asked us to keep him in our prayers.  


I notice more and more people at daily minyan. I notice more people at programming and shiurim. Let these habits stay with us. The Gedolim in Israel have asked that we add 10 minutes to Shabbos, and that we light candles 10 minutes early today. For NYC that would be 5:51 pm. If we can’t make that then let’s keep 10 extra minutes after Shabbos. Whatever they want to take from us, we will attempt to add. I have also added a picture of the arch of TITUS (here), as well as a picture from a PHILLIES (here) playoff game this week. Hopefully they’ll make it the World Series and do it again then.


Tomorrow, after morning minyan, at about 11:15am, Hindy Poupko, the Senior Vice President of the UJA Federation, will speak about Community Involvement for Israel. She will be preceded by a short presentation by our Security Committee head, Jeff Korenman, who will give us an update on security measures, as well as a pitch for CSS volunteers for the shul. Jeff and Shira’s 3 nephews were just called up to serve. May all those I have mentioned all week return very soon to their families unscathed.


I look forward to seeing you over Shabbos, safe and sound. Be strong, and be healthy.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz



Wed, July 24 2024 18 Tammuz 5784