Thursday, November 1, 2018

Believe in Yourself-- The "Rocky" Sylvester Stallone Story and the Jews come to the Synagogue to make up for the ones that can't anymore in Pittsburg, and the Jerusalem city  council  winners and  losers

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Count Your Blessings

Develop a deep sense of appreciation for what you have. The Creator has given you many gifts for your welfare and enjoyment. Realize how foolish it would be for someone to needlessly make himself miserable when he has so much wealth!

Failing to focus on what you have is depriving yourself of much joy. Don't commit this crime against yourself and our Creator.

Make a list of your possessions, in order to increase your appreciation for them. (Remember to include those things that you're most likely to take for granted!)

Nearly every Jew was thrown into shock by the worst massacre in American Jewish History on October 27, 2018. Because I married a Czech girl, I have had the opportunity to go to European synagogues which have security to watch the Jews. I grow up in the States, where the security is non-existent. After this experience, people will have to wake up and remember that anti-semitism is long from dead.

As a child of Holocaust parents, whose entire family was murdered, I say Kaddish each and every day that I am able to make up for those that can't go to the synogogue anymore. Every Jew must remember those that can not speak for themselves anymore.

Love Yehuda Lave

Sylvester Stallone: Inspiration on the rocky road to success

Before he was an Oscar-winning writer, he was a young kid with facial paralysis and a dog named Butkus. Sly was expendable, living in the eye of the tiger and struggling to tell the story he wrote about an up-and-coming boxer. This is the true inspiring story of Rocky.

His mother is Jewish making him Jewish as well, whether he recognizes his roots or not.

In Response to Pittsburgh, Jews Seek Out Synagogues "The victims will not be in shul … we will be there for them" By Menachem Posner

October 29, 2018 4:37 PM In Northbrook, Ill., a crowd of 200, representing a number of local congregations, joined together at their local Chabad synagogue on Sunday night.

As news of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre spread to Jewish communities around the nation, many responded in the way they know best: by heading into synagogues to pray.

"That's what Jews do when faced with tragedy; we come together in unity," said Kim Mcguire, who attended Sunday-morning services at her Chabad synagogue in Salem, Ore. She was not alone.

"So many wonderful people have joined us in commemorating the beautiful lives of those who lost their lives," said Marlene Eichner, about the extra-large crowd at the services. "We just did the morning services with our hearts and our love being sent to those people."

In a small community that numbers less than 2,000 Jewish households, Salem Chabad rarely has a critical mass for a weekday service. But on this Sunday, as many as 60 people had gathered, eager to participate in prayer services.

It was a scene that replayed itself out in Chabad synagogues and centers from Milwaukee to Miami, from Montreal to Milford.

In Northbrook, Ill., a crowd of 200, representing a number of local congregations, joined together at their local Chabad synagogue on Sunday night. The memorial service included reading psalms and lighting memorial candles for each of the 11 Jewish souls murdered in the attack.

Across the Canadian border, too, Rabbi Levi Gansburg of Chabad on Bayview in Toronto is preparing to host a large crowd for Friday-night and Shabbat-morning services this coming week, as are many other Chabad centers in the greater Toronto area. The rabbi says he will use the opportunity to share the Jewish response to tragedy and violence.

"The Rebbe taught us," says Gansburg, "that the best way to combat darkness is with light. The killer wanted to snuff out the light of 11 precious Jewish souls, and we aim to repay him many times over. The victims will not be in shul this Shabbat, so we will be there for them."

The Northbrook memorial service included reading psalms and lighting memorial candles for each of the 11 Jewish souls murdered in the attack. In a small community that numbers less than 2,000 Jewish households, Salem Chabad rarely has a critical mass for a weekday service. This past Sunday, it drew nearly 60 people to a special service.

The winners and losers in the Jerusalem council election

Haredim just one seat away from majority in Jerusalem city council as candidates gear up for run-off election in mayoral race.

Haredi factions in Jerusalem emerged from yesterday's local election just one seat short of an absolute majority on the city council, with 15 of the council's 16 seats.

While Tuesday's mayoral race in Jerusalem was deadlocked, leading to a run-off election to be held in November, the results of the city's municipal council elections have already been tallied, showing the council's haredi factions gaining one mandate despite a split within the largest haredi party.

A total of 242,490 Jerusalemites voted Tuesday, representing 38% of the 638,065 eligible voters in the Israeli capital.

As in previous elections, turnout was minimal in the city's Arab sector, which traditionally boycotts Israeli elections, but was high in predominantly haredi precincts.

Though haredi leaders had expressed concern prior to the election that the three-way split in the Ashkenazi haredi vote would lead to a loss of seats, the four haredi lists saw a net gain of one mandate over 2013.

Five years ago, the United Torah Judaism party won eight seats in the council, making it the largest faction. Shas, the second largest, won five seats, while the new Bnei Torah faction won a single mandate.

In Tuesday's election, the United Torah Judaism split into two factions – the Hassidic Agudat Yisrael party, and the non-Hassidic Degel Hatorah faction. Degal Hatorah won six mandates Tuesday, while Agudat Yisrael won three. Shas remained stable at five mandates, while Bnei Torah stayed with a single seat.

The right-wing United Jerusalem list, led by Land of Israel activist Aryeh King, won two seats, the same number the faction won in 2013. Along with King, United Jerusalem will be represented in the city council by Rabbi Yehonatan Yosef, the grandson of former Chief Rabbi and Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The Jerusalem Tazliach party, led by Mayor Nir Barkat in 2013, ran with Likud MK and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin at the helm on Tuesday, winning just two mandates, compared to the four the party won in 2013. In this election cycle, Jerusalem Tazliach was allied with the Jewish Home faction, which won two seats, an increase of one mandate over its 2013 performance.

The Hitorerut party, led by Ofer Berkovitch, gained two mandates, rising from four seats to six.

The far-left Meretz party remained stable with two seats, while the 'Paz' faction representing the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem lost its only seat in the council.

Yossi Havilio, a former Jerusalem city legal adviser, won a seat with his Havilio Matzilim list.

Dear G-d, An Open Letter From a Jew in Pittsburgh 'It is time for a new day to dawn, a day that is entirely Shabbat' By Eli Rubin October 29, 2018

Dear G‑d, the One by whose word all comes to be,

I write to You from Pittsburgh, and from the empty space that only faith can fill. I write to You with the suggestion that Your eternal word shall issue forth anew, "I will descend now and see if the cry that has reached me represents what has been done." (Genesis, 18:21)

These words, preserved as black fire on white fire in the Torah scroll, were read aloud on the holy Shabbat this week in our locked-down shul.

Then a few lines further we heard Abraham's echoing plea, "Will You even destroy the righteous ... ? Far be it from You to do a thing such as this, to put to death the righteous ... Far be it from You! Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice?"

But I am not here to write a theodicy, dear G‑d. I am here to talk to You, and to issue an invitation.

* * *

I have three young children, and they all love going to shul. This Shabbat morning we got out early, rain jackets zippered against the damp and the drizzle. The youngest, just 18 months old, broke free of my handhold to chase her older brothers down the street.

I was already thinking about this verse; "I will descend now and see." Not because I had any premonition, but because of its fundamental theological intimations. Is this a Divine admission, that You, G‑d, are somehow aloof, transcending the hum-drum concerns of earthly life, activity and death? Or are You indeed present as "an eye that sees, and an ear that hears" (Avot, 2:1), perhaps even a heart that cares?

Word reaches You of evil on earth, and You say something along the lines of "hmmm ... I guess I'll go down and take a look."

I am not the first to grapple with this ambivalence. This morning before leaving for shul, I had been rereading a discourse delivered 200 years ago by the Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. As the Torah reader's voice resounded in my ears—and as Jews were murdered in my neighborhood—I continued to reflect on his theological intervention:

R. Schneur Zalman distinguishes between the essential being of G‑d, on the one hand, and the manifest revelation of G‑d, on the other. G‑d's essential being is at once utterly inscrutable and utterly inescapable even when G‑d's revelation is withdrawn. "Therefore," he says, "even children know that G‑d is present, though they have no understanding or grasp of how G‑d is manifest or what G‑d is."

* * *

My own children are downstairs in the basement social hall. There, we hope, they will be safe … so long as no gunman breaches our serene cocoon of a locked-down shul.

The information has come from people in the street, and we have acted on the information that we have. But there is no panic, no pressure. It's Shabbat, so we do what we do every Shabbat. We pray, we study, we talk, we sing, we eat, we drink.

Despite the horror that we know is unfolding mere blocks away, the Shabbat itself protects us from its own desecration. We hear no sirens. None of us have phones. There are no beeps. No buzzes. No images. It is just us. A community in shul. On Shabbat.

Soon we receive confirmation that the gunman is contained. My wife and I take the kids home for a late-morning nap. A little later, the whole family walks north—through the all-too-quiet streets into the heart of Squirrel Hill—to keep a Shabbat lunch appointment with another family.

This brings us much closer to the action. News vans roll by, so do emergency vehicles. When we encounter other members of the Jewish community, we wave and warmly wish them "Good Shabbos!" or "Shabbat Shalom!" and then stop and quitely share what we know, how we heard, etc.

It's clear by now that we have suffered a tragedy that we really can't quantify—and that our community is at the center of an international news story. And yet, it is Shabbat.

* * *

It is after Shabbat that I begin to shake.

I first check in with family and friends. Then I read the news and try to process what has happened.

What does it mean? For me, for my family, for the Jewish people, for America, for the world?

What does it mean for You, dear G‑d?

I am reminded of something the Rebbe wrote to Elie Wiesel in 1964:

The question "Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice?" can only be authentic and have due power if it is torn from the suffering heart of a deep believer. It is indeed for that very reason that the first to articulate such a challenge was our forefather Abraham, the great believer and father of "believers sons of believers" ...

To believe in G‑d is to believe in judgment and justice, to believe that there is an ultimate measure of good that humanity can strive to emulate.

Without a fundamental belief in the Divine measure of good, we are mere humans, left to fend for ourselves in this big lonely world. Faith does not provide us with any easy answers, but it does provide us with something to live for beyond the narrow question of our own comfort and survival. Faith in G‑d gives us faith in humanity, and it is precisely when that faith is betrayed that we cry out in pain, that we feel violated and shattered.

Pain is a sign of faith. It signals our belief that this world can be raised above its station—that human beings can overcome self-interest and put the needs of others ahead of their own.

But the Rebbe makes another, even more important point. It is not simply enough to memorialize the massacred and vilify their murderers. We need to act to ensure that our faith, and the faith of the victims, lives on.

We need to enact good in the world. We need to live good lives. We need to put the collective needs of our communities before our personal priorities.

* * *

Pittsburgh is that kind of place. This is a community of believers. A community of people who act for the good of the collective, people who put others before themselves.

It is in this spirit that I write to You, the One by whose word all comes to be; I write to You with the suggestion that Your eternal word shall issue forth anew, "I will descend now and see if the cry that has reached me represents what has been done." Come and take a look at this community, make Your presence known.

This a double cry:

These are trying times. People are losing faith in one another. We could use some Divine intervention.

In these times, Pittsburgh's Jewish community stands like an oasis of faith, a beacon of unity. Come and see. Come and be seen. Are we not worthy?

It is time for a new day to dawn. A day that is entirely Shabbat. A day without ambiguity. A day of revelation and song.

Mikvah on Masada by Elaine Rosenberg Miller

Descend impure, arise sanctified.

I stood at the mikvah on the southern side of Masada. Flecks of ancient plaster were still visible on the walls.

I stared and stared.

Nothing, not the Herodian palaces nor the

Descent impure, arise sanctified Roman bathhouses at Masada, the 1,300-foot-high mesa arising from the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the last refuge of the zealots fleeing the destruction of Jerusalem, moved me as much as the lonely ritual bath at Masada.


The Jewish rebels had come to this isolated stone outcrop, and for the time being, until the Romans attacked, were alone with themselves and with G‑d.

The mikvah waters were fed by rainwater collected in cisterns. It was easy to imagine the moment when the warrior/scholar/farmer first entered the waters.

Were they cold? Protected from the desert sun by thick walls? Or were they warm, like a child's bath?

Nearby were the elaborate caladarium tepidarium, frigidarium and the royal recreational pools. They were the centers of indulgence, information-gathering and society for Herod and his court.

The simple mikvah had no such features.

It was made according to Torah law. The requirements were uniform throughout the world. And its purpose was not physical transformation, but a spiritual one.

Now I, nearly 2,000 years later, stood at the entrance to the mikvah.

My ancestors had wandered Europe for hundreds of years, but they always looked east, towards the Holy Land and their history.

I knew my companions would be coming to look for me. But I wanted to remain, to communicate with the generations who had gone before me.

My mother had survived Auschwitz; my father,

It had endured and endured. Just like the Jewish people. Siberia and Tajikistan. Dozens of their family members were sent to Belzec and Majdanek. Some were killed in cemeteries after having been forced to dig their own graves.


And yet, here I was.

I had been a thought, a dream, a hope, in my 19-year-old mother's body. She weighed 85 pounds. "One more week," she told us "and I would no longer have lived."

My father said that in Siberia, during the depths of winter, he ate grass. Later, he nearly died of malaria.

And yet, here I was.

For a moment, I wished, imagined, that the mikvah was once again filled with water. Had my ancestral mother or father walked these steps?

I turned to leave.

I took one more look.

It had endured and endured.

Just like the Jewish people.

(This article first appeared in The Times of Israel.)

by Elaine Rosenberg Miller    More by this author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller is an attorney living in West Palm Beach, Fla. Her essays, memoirs, poems and short stories have appeared in Allgenerations, Jewish Magazine and numerous other publications.

Masada and the Dead Sea Pilgrimage

The new family takes a ride on a beautiful day down to Masada and the Dead Sea. The drive is one of the best ones in the world, with beauty on all sides and not much traffic during the week

See you tomorrow

Love Yehduda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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