Character development and spiritual goals are ultimately the most fulfilling. Trivial goals are better than not having a goal. But don't limit yourself. The greater your goals, the greater your potential for accomplishment and the more fulfilling your life.The Bible teaches us that the reason we are here is to work on our Character development and therefore spiritual goals are the most fulfilling. However, remember that G-d helps those that help themselves so walk carefully and carry a big stick (forgive me President Theodore Roosevelt). In Israel right now we are under attack. Carrying a big (or Iron as I am) is a way to help yourself.
Town Hall Meeting with US Congressmen that I attended. (these were the Congressman's wife's sitting near them)
Visiting US Reps: 'We must address Palestinian denial that Israel is a Jewish state'
Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) says people who support Israel have a responsibility to do a better job on Twitter and Facebook.
US congressmen Scott Garrett (NJ), Alan Lowenthal (CA) and Mark Meadows (NC) at a special Town Meeting in Jerusalem. (photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Palestinian denial that Israel is a Jewish state, and not settlement construction, is one of the critical issues that must be addressed in order to achieve a two-state solution, visiting Democratic Congressman Alan Lowenthal said in Jerusalem on Saturday night.
He spoke at a special town meeting at the Inbal Hotel that marked the end of the week-long trip he made along with four Republican congressmen. The five legislators met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minster Moshe Ya'alon and toured Hebron and the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
"I believe in what Prime Minister Netanyahu told us the other day when we sat with him, whether it is the distortions and lies about the Temple Mount or the settlements, this [Palestinian] hatred [of Israel] goes far beyond that," Lowenthal said.
"The historical denial about the right of Jewish people to have their own homeland" and the Palestinian "refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, that is a critical issue that needs to be addressed."
That is one of the essential messages about this trip to Israel the California congressman said he plans to take home with him.
Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) said he also had questions about the land for peace concept.
"It's not clear to me that the giving away of property, whether in the Sinai or Gaza, has brought peace. In many ways, it has made [the situation] more difficult," he said.
Soldiers patrolling the streets "has become very normal for you," Meadows said, but it is "very abnormal for us," indicating that the purpose of the visit was to see the level of danger lived with by Israelis.
Meadows added that he believed the IDF had shown great restrains in dealing with the current wave of terrorism.
All the legislators spoke of the danger social media poses in inflaming emotions with regard to the conflict and passing on false information.
But Meadows said concern over those issues must be balanced with respect for free speech.
People who support Israel, he said, have a responsibility to do a better job on Twitter and Facebook. There are ways that modern technology helps make people more aware of the dangers facing the country, he said recalling how during the 2014 Gaza war he sat with former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and that during their conversation, his phone went off 42 times from a Red Alert app alert notifying him of incoming missiles.
All the legislators pledged to talk about the dangers Israel faces when they return home in an attempt to dispel the false narratives that are being spread about events in the last few weeks.
Other representatives on the panel, which was moderated by Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde, were, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Raul Labrador of Idaho.
Their trip was sponsored by the non-profit organizations Yes Israel and Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.
Watch the video with Pat Boone
Irving Epstein is what they call a "fresser." He just loves to overeat and his favorites are all of the high calorie Jewish foods: cholent and kishke and kugel and rugelach. At his annual checkup, his doctor had some stern words for him.
"You are not in good physical condition Mr. Epstein," said Dr. Rosenberg. "The best thing for you to do is to give up the cholent and the kishke and the l'chaims and all of those other high calorie foods."
Irving thought about it for a second and said, "OK, doctor, what's the next best thing?"
JERUSALEM – The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for Victims of Terror yesterday (Wednesday, October 14) began granting immediate financial aid to Israelis affected by terror attacks in recent days. The grants have been made possible by contributions from The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and other donors.
The immediate assistance of NIS 4,000 is meant to address families' most urgent needs in the wake of an attack, including the purchase of medical equipment, incidental expenses during hospitalization, mobility for the wounded and their family members, initial treatment for children, accommodation expenses, and so on. The grants have thus far been distributed to those wounded in the attacks, as well as to family members of those who have lost their lives. Additional requests continue to arrive at the fund's emergency hotline and are being handled as swiftly as possible.
In addition to the immediate emergency assistance, the fund will present each family recognized as victims of terror by Israel's National Insurance Institute with supplemental aid of up to NIS 25,000. The supplemental grants are meant to help the families cover the costs of medical equipment, treatment, professional training, and so on.
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: "The Jewish Agency is extending a helping hand to victims of terror in real time, because it is important that we help the families as swiftly of possible, even before the government steps in. It is important that we embrace the victims with the solidarity of world Jewry and that we extend immediate, practical aid, so as to alleviate their pain and distress to the extent possible."
The Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror was established in 2002 in the wake of the wave of terror attacks during that period and reopened after the Second Lebanon War in 2006 in order to provide supplemental aid to victims of terror recognized as such by the National Insurance Institue and assist their rehabilitation process. Since its establishment, the fund has assisted more than 6,000 Israeli families—including hundreds affected by last summer's Gaza operation—and distributed more than $30 million. In 2007, the fund created an emergency channel to provide victims of terror with urgent aid and help them through the immediate aftermath of an attack.
Requests for assistance from the Fund for Victims of Terror may be submitted via the National Insurance Institute's rehabilitation staff or municipal welfare services. The aid is distributed directly by Jewish Agency representatives in the field, in close coordination with local welfare services and the National Insurance Institute.
The below 6-minute video is a must-see. It offers an up close and personal account of what Christian minorities are experiencing at the hands of jihadis and other Muslim "rebels". A Christian family from Iraq narrates how their young children were killed and burned alive, "simply for wearing the cross." One of the remaining and traumatized children uses toy figures to show people how his siblings were slaughtered. Listen especially to the mother's words - starting around the 2:50 minute mark. She talks about how the "ISIS" that attacked and killed her children were their own Muslim neighbors, whom they ate with, laughed with, and even provided educational and medical service to.
Speakers at Begin Heritage Center book launch, L-R: Australia's Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, Isi Leibler, Natan Sharansky, and Ilan Greenfield, Gefen Publishing. Photo by Andres Lacko
"Let My People Go" by Sam Lipski and Suzanne Rutland, published by Gefen Publishing, was launched in October 2015 at a major event at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, co sponsored by the World Jewish Congress and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Following are links to the videos of the speeches and the full book review by Steve Linde, Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post.
By Steve Linde
October 15, 2015
New book documents the remarkable role of Australia and its Jewish leadership in the campaign for Soviet Jewry.
Let My People Go is a fascinating account of how the small Jewish community of Australia, under the inspirational leadership of Isi Leibler, played an extraordinary part in the exodus of Soviet Jewry a quarter of a century ago.
While it was ultimately a successful struggle that Leibler, together with Israeli and Diaspora Jewish leaders, conducted untiringly over three decades, the book opens with a celebration held at Melbourne's Arts Center on May 17, 1988.
Some 3,000 Australian Jews attended the event, together with 15 former Soviet refuseniks released by then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. In his controversial address, then-Australian president Bob Hawke memorably said: "My friends, the story of the Soviet Jews is a human drama of vast proportions." Hawke praised the "indomitable splendor of the human spirit" that the refuseniks had displayed, and credited the world Jewish community's "sustained and principled support," in which "the Australian Jewish community could take great pride." But most pointedly, he paid particular tribute to Leibler: "I venture to say, Isi, that nobody has made a greater individual contribution than you."
Ironically, Hawke also made a gaffe in his speech, which was to taint his hitherto close relationship with Leibler. The audience, including Leibler, was visibly shocked when he surprisingly compared the plight of Soviet Jews to that of the Palestinians in the territories and blacks in apartheid South Africa.
But his essential point, that Australia and its Jews had played a small but active supporting role in what he had termed "a human drama of vast proportions" was well made and well received. And that's what this wonderful book is about. In the words of its authors, veteran journalist Sam Lipski and Jewish historian Suzanne Rutland, "How Australia's involvement with Soviet Jewry began; how the Jewish community became an active player in the great drama; how successive Australian governments responded; why Soviet Jewry became an issue in Australian politics; how the Jewish community changed; and how it all led to the Melbourne Concert Hall in May 1988 is a story worth telling." It's also a story well researched, beautifully written and worth reading.
The Soviet Jewry campaign was at the center of the Australian Jewish political and communal experience for three decades, the book notes. "There was a clarity and simplicity about Soviet Jewry's compelling human rights story," it says. "'Let My People Go'" resonated – as a slogan, but also as a call for involvement."
Leibler's involvement started when he was a 25-year-old graduate visiting Israel in 1959. He was recruited at a meeting at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv by the legendary spymaster Shaul Avigur, who was, at 60, head of Nativ, then a covert agency dealing with Soviet Jews. In what Leibler describes as a roller-coaster, he began leading a campaign that in 1962 resulted in Australia becoming the first country to raise the plight of Soviet Jews at the United Nations.
Lipski refers to Leibler as "the lead actor" in the story. "Widely recognized and honored internationally, his involvement and leadership – his 'magnificent obsession' with the refuseniks and Soviet Jews, merit a full account and an Australian Jewish perspective," writes Lipski.
The book, adds Rutland, is based not only on interviews with the major players, including former prime ministers of Australia, Jewish leaders and refuseniks, but also on material from the National Archives of Australia and from Leibler's personal library of "extensive materials on the campaign for Soviet Jewry."
Leibler dedicated most of his career as a leader of Australian Jewry to persuading Australian and other Jewish leaders in the Diaspora to push for the cause of Soviet Jewry. His travel company, Jetset, was chosen in 1978 to handle the travel arrangements of the Australian Olympic Team to Moscow, allowing him a visa to begin visiting Russia, meeting with Jewish activists and government officials.
His trips terminated abruptly when he was arrested and expelled for "consorting with Soviet citizens denied exit permits to Israel due to having had access to state security secrets." But only seven years later, in 1987, he returned with his wife, Naomi, at the invitation of the chief rabbi of Moscow's KGB-controlled Archipova Synagogue, where he addressed a packed audience that included refusenik friends who had previously been refused entry. He later learned that he was the first world Jewish leader invited to evaluate Gorbachev's glasnost reforms.
A series of visits followed, Leibler recalls, culminating in the establishment of the first Jewish cultural center since the revolution, named after Solomon Mykhoels, the famous Yiddish poet murdered by Stalin in 1948. With Hawke's help, Leibler finally succeeded in persuading Gorbachev to free a number of key refuseniks. Soon they were to be followed by the more famous of the prisoners of Zion, including Natan Sharansky and Yuli Edelstein, and later by more than a million others, a large share of them coming to Israel.
Sharansky, now the chairman of the Jewish Agency, who was released in 1986, told Lipski that "the liberation of Soviet Jewry... tore a gaping hole in the Iron Curtain, one that would eventually spell the end of the Soviet empire." Sharansky described the book as "a unique testament as to how a small group can play a unique role in history."
"In retrospect," said Leibler, referring to the resilient refuseniks such as Sharansky, "a handful of heroic Jews not only changed the course of Jewish history but undoubtedly also made a major contribution toward the collapse of the 'Evil Empire.'" The launch of Let My People Go at a packed hall in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on October 7 was addressed, inter alia, by Sharansky, Rutland, Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Leibler. Now a popular Jerusalem Post columnist who lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Leibler defended the very public campaign he led for the release of Soviet Jewry more than three decades ago.
"Relying on silent diplomacy is not the Jewish way, and not the way to promote Israel today," he said. "I think that was proven overwhelmingly by our coordinated support for Russian Jews on a public level, which of course could never have taken place without the heroes who paved the way. That support was extraordinary, and being public, it had its impact."
Most importantly, Leibler said, if there had not been a State of Israel, nothing could have saved Russian Jews. "We would have been as powerless as we were before, and even if we would have achieved a breakthrough, there would not have been countries willing to accept these Jews.
The State of Israel makes that possible. Every day we should look in the mirror and remind ourselves, and not take Medinat Yisrael for granted."
Leibler ended his speech with a plea for teaching the subject of the Soviet Jewry struggle at schools here and abroad.
"Above all, the heroic story of Soviet Jewry should become a critical ingredient in the curriculum in every Jewish school."