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Rabbi’s Blog: Emissaries for Truth

02/05/2024 01:31:41 PM


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Dear OZ family,


My father was born in a city called Lutsk in Northwestern Poland. The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact had him living in Russia for a little over a year, and then, when that pact was overrun by the Germans, life became a daily living nightmare. My father told me that one morning the Germans called together a large gathering to witness a certain spectacle. There was a large pile of loaves of bread, drenched in gasoline, with about 10 Jews who had been shot dead, around the pile of loaves. The Germans told the gathering that they had planned to distribute the loaves for free, but that the Jews ruined it by pouring gasoline on the bread, in order to maintain the high prices in their stores. The gentiles believed this nonsense, and it made them more certain than ever that all the misery that was being visited upon them by the Germans, was the fault of the Jews.


They believed it because they wanted to. The same way that CNN wanted the world to believe that Israel bombed the hospital in the early days of the war. The same way that all Chamas reports go un-vetted in the press, while in many circles, there is still denial of the full extent of the atrocities of Oct. 7th. Apparently, not all women are to be believed. This sounds like the anti-dati report that came out some years ago, of a motorized--wheelchair bound person who was stoned to death at the Kotel for using it on Shabbos. Of course, that never happened, but many people wanted to believe it. It’s hard to say when such hatred of the Jew could stop. Chamas was counting on the world to pressure Israel to end her counter-offensive much earlier, but the hatred nonetheless is rising in many of the familiar places.


May I suggest that our response must be in 2 directions. One, is to ceaselessly be emissaries for the truth, at every opportunity, and with everyone who will listen. Second, is that an excellent defense against all the Lashon Hara, lies, and libels that are told about Israel, is for each and every one of us to commit to stamp out Lashon Hara ourselves. This means not speaking it, and if someone didn’t get  this message and spoke it to us, not hearing it, and not believing it. That means that we judge everyone favorably. That means that when the Adaraba prayer is read at the end of Shabbat morning services, we pay attention say Amen, and mean it.


I’d like to draw your attention to a few programs this week. This evening at 7PM, Rabbi Yaron Levy is addressing our community, on Israel’s current situation, and the best ways we can be involved. This will be live at the shul - Also, this Shabbat, Rabbi David Gottlieb will join us as Scholar in Residence - visiting from Israel, and he will be speaking throughout Shabbat, also regarding themes that are of great interest in Israel today - rsvp for the Wine & Dine at Yakov Orgamani will be joining us at the Friday Night dinner. His daughter, Noa, is still being held hostage. She is the young woman who was abducted onto the back of a motorcycle in the Oct. 7th ghoulish video that Chamas made. He will be addressing us at the dinner, which still has room for reservations.      


We are still taking donations to distribute on our mission to Israel next week.


Stay well and healthy.


Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street

New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200




Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784