Thursday, August 20, 2020

Will people pay their annual synagogue dues without getting a seat? today is Rosh Hodesh Elul--usually, people buy their seats-and Retail rents plummet across New York City, as America’s glitzy shopping districts turn into ghost towns and THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING | "2025 is when the whole procedure finishes" and Ateret Cohenim -Jewish homes in the Christian and Muslim Quarters of the old city and President Trump: God Is Testing Me

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Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

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Jewish Homes in the Chrisitan Quarter with Shalom Pollock and Ateret Cohanim Organization

Jewish Homes in the Chrisitan Quarter with Shalom Pollock and Ateret Cohanim Organization

On July 26, 2020, along with Shalom Pollock and a gang of Jews we discovered the Proud Jews making a stand for Judaism in Jerusalem living in the "Christian Quarter" of the old city. LIke the Moslem Quarter, many of the areas of the Christan Quarter were originally Jewish and the Ateret Cohanim organization helps to reclaim the property for Jewish living.

Ateret Cohanim (Hebrew: עמותת עטרת כהנים lit. "Crown of the Priests"), also Ateret Yerushalayim, is an Israeli Jewish organization with a yeshiva located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It works for the creation of a Jewish majority in the Old City and Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Notable alumni of the yeshiva include Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham and Rabbi Eyal Karim.

While the activities of Atara Leyoshna focused mainly on locating Jewish assets in the Muslim Quarter and transferring them into Jewish hands through legal means, the activities of Ateret Cohanim involves acquiring houses in the Christian and Muslim quarters or renting them from government companies and populating them with Jews. The association owns many buildings in the Old City, where over 80 families live. Some estimate that 1,000 Jews are in the properties they control.

The head of the association is Mati Dan.

Since its establishment 30 years ago, Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim has resided in the heart of the (liberated) Old City.

The Yeshiva is the spiritual epicenter of a community of almost 1000 residents in the heart of the Old City in the so-called "Moslem" and Christian Quarters. This area was in fact, prior to the Arab riots, largely inhabited by Jews. It is on this historical basis that we refer to it now as the Renewed Jewish Quarter.

In keeping with the educational goals of our Rosh Yeshiva, Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner Shlit"a, the Yeshiva's approximately 2000 graduates have established themselves in a wide variety of professions fields. Dispersed throughout the country, these men now serve as heads of educational institutions, pre-military and other yeshivot, as senior IDF officers and in key security positions. Others are active in law, media, hi-tech, management, and business.

At present, 250 students are learning in one of the Yeshiva's three institutions:

  1. The Yeshiva Gevoha, the higher institute of Torah studies: 120 single students
  2. The Kollel: 80 married students
  3. The Pre-Military Academy: 50 students

Land purchases

Around 2000, Ateret Cohanim and another organization, the Ir David Foundation, began to acquire land in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem outside the Old City. They operate mainly in the village of Silwan, and at the Beit Orot Yeshiva on the Mount of Olives.

In the Old City, the yeshiva was involved in buying property from Arabs, Greeks, and Armenians. Ateret Cohanim reportedly owns more than 70 buildings in the Muslim Quarter. The property includes their yeshiva, the building that houses Yeshiva Shuvu Banim, several dormitories, a museum, and about 50 apartment units. Some of the property belonged to Jews who lived in the Muslim Quarter before they were driven out by pogroms in 1929 and 1936. Other properties belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church, in the Christian Quarter, prior to a disputed deal that involved the Patriarch Irineos, resulting in property tenants in the Christian Quarter being driven out. The 99-year lease from the Greek Orthodox Church of the New Imperial Hotel and the Petra Hostel near Jaffa Gate and of a third building from the Muslim Quarter, was finally confirmed by Israel's Supreme Court in 2019, bringing to an end 14 years of legal disputes.

In May 2015, Ateret Cohanim reclaimed legal ownership of the Old Yemenite Synagogue in the nineteenth century Jewish Yemenite Village Kfar Hashiloach (Hebrew: כפר השילוח‎) neighborhood in the Jerusalem district of Silwan.

Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim

Torat Chaim Yeshiva

In 1886, Rabbi Yitzchak Winongrad established the Torat Chaim Yeshiva on ha-Gai Street, facing the Temple Mount. At its peak, about 300 students from all over the world, including Rabbis Tzvi Pesach Frank, Tzvi Yehuda Kook, and Aryeh Levin studied there. The ground floor of the building served as a shop selling vegetables which provided funds for the yeshiva's maintenance.

In the wake of the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, the yeshiva relocated to the new city, leaving the building and its contents entrusted to an Arab watchman who faithfully preserved it until the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. This yeshiva was the only one out of approximately 80 synagogues and study halls that was not destroyed by Jordan during the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem. In 1967, the caretaker gave the keys to Chaim Herzog (in his function as the military governor of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank), telling him that "the holy place watched over me more than I watched over it" during those years.

Modern day Yeshiva

Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim (Hebrew: ישיבת עטרת ירושלים‎) is a continuation of the former Yeshiva, Torat Chaim, and is located within the same building as the old Yeshiva. In 1980, when Israel passed the Jerusalem Law, re-unifying Jerusalem, many began praying and learning again in the old Yeshiva building. In 1983, Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim began occupying the building, the first time the building was used for a Yeshiva in almost 50 years.

The Rosh yeshiva is Shlomo Aviner,] and the Yeshiva serves the 1,000 Jewish residents of the Old City, including 250 Yeshiva Students. There are over 1,500 graduates of the Yeshiva.

Retail rents plummet across New York City, as America's glitzy shopping districts turn into ghost towns

High-end handbag maker Valentino is suing to get out of its lease on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, a vacated Barneys New York still sits empty on Madison Avenue just a block over, while the bankrupted luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus is shutting its doors for good on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

As the coronavirus pandemic brings tourism to a temporary standstill, leaves consumers holed up at home and puts millions out of work, America's glitziest and most expensive retail districts are losing tenants and rents are in a free fall. The pressures from the Covid-19 the crisis will likely have a lasting impact on shopping streets such as Michigan Avenue — better-known as the "Magnificent Mile" — in Chicago, the Las Vegas Strip, and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, to name a few.

It is already beginning to play out with the changes taking place throughout the New York City retail scene, serving as a leading indicator of what's to come in other major metros, real estate analysts predict.

"In the U.S., certainly you will see that what was once perceived as a luxury block in any major city is no longer exclusively luxury," said Naveen Jaggi, the president of commercial real estate services firm JLL's Retail Advisory team. "We will see an extension of what happened in 2008 and 2009, which left American consumers shifting toward value more aggressively."

"More and more retail real estate space is going to be taken up by non-luxury," he said. "Take Fifth Avenue. You see a Vans, a Five Below , and a Timberland. Those kinds of brands are the ones taking space. That's all you need to know about the direction of Fifth Avenue."

Some of these changes were already shaping up before the Covid-19 crisis. The discount retailer Five Below, for example, opened its store on Fifth Avenue late in 2018, marking a pivotal moment for a retail district that is home to Saks Fifth Avenue's sprawling department store and a multilevel Louis Vuitton right down the block. But now, this changing dynamic is expected to accelerate. [CNBC]

President Trump: God Is Testing Me

Say what you will about President Donald Trump, he certainly has the power of his convictions,

In High Holiday season synagogues are wondering: Will people pay dues?

With regular in-person High Holiday services off the table

 due to the coronavirus, many synagogues are wondering whether they can survive financially.


Like many synagogues, Temple B'nai Hayim used to rely on the High Holiday season to survive financially.

The small Conservative synagogue in Southern

California would receive the lion's share of its revenue in the run-up

to the holidays: Members sent in their annual dues, which included entry

to High Holiday services, and non-members purchased tickets just for

the High Holidays.But with the option of holding regular in-person High Holiday services off

the table due to the coronavirus, the synagogue is anticipating a

decline in revenue this year and responding by reimagining its financial

model from the ground up. Going forward, as long as congregants give

any contribution, they get access to everything the synagogue offers:

High Holiday services, a bar/bat mitzvah ceremony, even religious school

— virtually for now, someday in person. Annual membership dues, which

once cost $2,000 per two-parent household, will be abolished."We

know a lot of people are hurting, and even if they give us a penny, we

know they are a true friend," said Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen, the

synagogue's cantor. He added: "We should be worried, and I don't think

we should reasonably expect this new model to cover all of our


the country, synagogues are bracing for a significant reduction in

revenues. Though many are seeing increased attendance at virtual

services, without the annual cash infusion that in-person High Holiday

services bring, and with community members under financial pressure,

congregations across the denominational spectrum aren't sure how they'll  make ends meet this year."They're expecting that their revenue will be down, in some ways, for the next year,"

said Amy Asin, the Union for Reform Judaism's vice president for strengthening congregations.

Congregations are places, now more than they have been in the past, where people want

to belong," she said. "That doesn't mean that they're in a financial

position to pay what they've paid in the past."Adas

Israel, a 1,700-member Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., is

expecting a 20% drop in revenue this year even as it has seen a spike in

attendance at its online services. One recent Friday evening service

had about 1,600 screens tuned in — or nearly one for each member

household.To keep

congregants comfortable, the synagogue is not planning to increase its

annual dues this year, which can run to more than $3,000. And it's also

hoping to save on expenses it no longer has, like food for kiddush after

services. But whether Adas Israel can avoid any layoffs among its 170

employees as the synagogue moves into an unprecedented future remains


crystal ball broke a long time ago," said Laurie Aladjem, the

congregation's president. "I believe that many of our members join and

affiliate with Adas Israel not just for the High Holidays. We have a

really robust education department both for children and adults. We have

a preschool. We have a religious school that is bursting at the seams.

We have really robust adult education programming."For

many U.S. synagogues, a fixed yearly membership payment has usually

included a High Holiday ticket, with nonmembers paying for a seat for

the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

services. (Discounts on fees are often reduced based on need, and few

synagogues actively turn away those who want to attend services.)

Because so many people generally pack the sanctuary on those days, the

holidays are often the driver of synagogue revenue.That's

true across denominations, though it's especially pronounced in

non-Orthodox congregations. Congregation Rodeph Shalom, a large Reform

synagogue in Philadelphia, would get 150 or 200 people at its Friday

night service — and 10 times that number on the night of Yom Kippur.

Beth Jacob Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue in Beverly Hills,

California, sees as many as four times its normal Shabbat attendance on

the Day of Atonement."We

hope people understand that when they are buying a High Holiday ticket,

what they're really doing is supporting the synagogue in its ability to

exist throughout the year," said Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Conservative Rabbinical

Assembly.On the

whole, High Holiday revenue is less critical to synagogues than it used

to be, according to Rabbi Daniel Judson, one of the authors of a 2016

UJA-Federation study which found that 57 synagogues nationwide had

eliminated annual dues entirely and now just ask for donations. As more

synagogues are making their High Holiday services free, they are less

dependent on the revenue they once generated.Judson

said, however, that those who donate to synagogues around this time of

year do so regardless of the fee structure, and this year will likely be

tough going. Historically, he said, for a medium-size synagogue, 60% of

annual revenue comes from annual dues."I

think synagogues are less dependent on High Holiday revenue than

they've ever been before," said Judson, dean of graduate leadership

programs at Hebrew College near Boston. "But it's still part of the

regular calendar that people pay their dues so that they're ready for

the High Holidays."Orthodox

synagogues may have an advantage, as surveys show that Orthodox Jews

are more likely to attend synagogue regularly rather than just for the

High Holidays. Still, Orthodox synagogues may see a drop in revenue,

said Rabbi Adir Posy, the Orthodox Union's director of synagogue and

community services. That issue, he said, could be particularly

pronounced in large cities with big Orthodox communities, where families

may bounce between synagogues and not feel a particular connection to

one congregation."A

larger percentage of our membership have robust connections to communal

activity through the shuls throughout the whole year, so it's a

conversation that is not waking up for the weeks before the High

Holidays," Posy, an associate rabbi at Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, said

in discussing Orthodox synagogues in general. "That being said, we are

seeing synagogues that are getting a lot more membership forms mailed

back with associate memberships or limited things."Rodeph

Shalom, the Reform synagogue in Philadelphia, has three membership

tiers for its 1,000 members, and also allows for reductions if needed.

It's maintaining that system, but plans to make its livestream High

Holiday services open to the public for free.Senior

Rabbi Jill Maderer said she isn't sure what the lack of High Holiday

tickets will mean for the synagogue's bottom line, but believes that

opening the prayers to the public is the right choice this year."We

feel this is an opportunity to recognize people's spiritual needs

across the community, and to open our tent to the broader community,"

she said. "I am concerned, and I am also extremely curious, as to

whether people will show the commitment without that stick hanging over

them. And I'm not afraid. I really believe in the community."

Could My Symptoms Be Covid-19?

This was written by the Rabbi 33 years ago--It is true now as well

K A H A N E "

The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea

March – April 1987 Adar – Nissan 5747


See them walking about in their expensively cut suits and expensively cut hair and very expensive masks of aristocratic self-confidence. They are the bankers of the West and the masks of unconcern are a masquerade for the deep fear they feel concerning a banking system slowly but surely collapsing and taking with it a western economy and social stability. The decision by Brazil to suspend interest payments on a staggering $68 billion of commercial bank debt (its total foreign debt is even more stupendous, more than $108 billion) means that the world debt crisis which threatens a world depression that would dwarf the one of the '30s, has entered a new and more dangerous stage.

A long list of so-called Third World countries, hopelessly in debt, exists – with no conceivable possibility of the States every paying off the principal. Banks and bankers in the west who greedily – like some financial drug pusher – urged every underdeveloped (and developing country for that matter) to borrow, borrow and borrow (very much like their rapacious policy of credit card brainwashing in their own lands), are now faced with paying the Piper. The horrible thought that borrowing states will simply cancel the debts they owe is so frightening, that the banks have quietly allowed a score of such states to simply at least pay the interest regularly.

But even that proved to be excruciatingly difficult for under-developed and developing states who borrowed so often on the delusion that their economic prosperity of a decade ago would forever blossom. Of course, the dream has turned into a nightmare as world oil and commodity prices have tumbled crazily, leaving not only prosperity behind, but something far more dangerous, punctured expectations.

Few countries were wishfully thought to have the nerve to simply tell the bankers, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that they simply could not meet any debt payments, principal or interest, and that, furthermore, they were not prepared to risk social upheaval, not to mention political defeat at the polls. Each debtor state was, indeed, anxious for one of the others to be the first to do so, for there are many candidates for the second, third and other places. Now Brazil has done it, and beneath the masks of complacency, the bankers are asking: Can others be far behind?

Surely not. Mexico, a country with a list of ills that would stage an economic social physician, itself has a nearly $100 billion foreign debt – as well as one of the fastest growing populations in the world. There are not enough jobs; there is not enough hope. It is only the most likely candidate of half-a-dozen Latin American states to be the next to jolt the banking world. Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, as well as a host of Asian and African states (the Philippines, for example, with an impossible debt of $28 billion) are all preparing to shake the banks with suspension of payments.

The world banking system is on the verge of collapse and all the masquerade and charade of calming statements will help no one. The world is rushing towards economic holocaust and the social fabric will explode in a deafening explosion of violence and extremism, the direct result of a four-decade era of prosperity and rising, ever-rising, unlimited expectations. The poor are rarely disappointed. It is those who once tasted the sweetness of economic progress who will never agree to quietly return to their misery.

Of course, this is all part of the inexorable Divine process of measure for measure, the material destruction of a world that left G-d for materialism. The arrogance and absolute certainty of men as they prospered and advanced through their own prowess and intellect. The crowning of Man, the King, as sovereign of the universe. The plunge into the unbridled sea of Pleasure and unharnesed desire with not a thought for Divine purpose and raison d'etre. These are the ingredients of a universe that buried G-d as a meaningful factor in the world – and personal – affairs.

"He that sitteth in Heaven laugheth, the L-rd hath them in derision…" (Psalms 2)

You come from dust, you will return to dust.
That's why I don't dust. It could be someone
I know.

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See you tomorrow bli neder

We Need Moshiach now

Rosh Hodesh Elul Tov
Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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