Holocaust Book Review: “The Light of Days: Women Fighters of the Jewish Resistance, Their Untold Story” and What's My Line? - Andy Devine (Aug 24, 1952) and Zionism Today: Mikhail Prokhorov (Worth $11.4 Billion) Makes Aliyah By David Israel and 120th Anniversary of Rebbe’s Birth Uplifts People Around the World
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.
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
Zionism Today: Mikhail Prokhorov (Worth $11.4 Billion) Makes Aliyah By David Israel
photo Credit: Sergey Rodovnichenko
Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian oligarch whose wealth was estimated at $11.4 billion by Forbes, arrived in Israel last Thursday on a scheduled El Al flight from Switzerland, an informed source in the Civil Aviation Authority told the Russian language Israeli news outlet Detaly (Еще один российский олигарх прилетел в Израиль).
Prokhorov, 57 the former owner of the Brooklyn Nets, was born in Moscow to Tamara and Dmitri Prokhorov. His maternal grandmother, Anna Belkina, was Jewish, which means he is a member in good standing of the tribe.
In 1992, at the age of 27, Prokhorov partnered with Oligarch Vladimir Potanin to run Interros, a holding company that they used in 1995 to purchase Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia's largest nickel and palladium mining and smelting companies. During the wild-west, un-regulated privatization of former state-controlled industries after the collapse of the USSR, Prokhorov and Potanin acquired the shares of the workers at Norilsk Nickel for a fraction of their market value and seize ownership of the company. When he departed in 2007, Prokhorov's share of the company was worth $7.5 billion.
Prokhorov served as chairman of the board of MFK Bank from 1992 until 1993. In 1993, he became the chairman of the board for Potanin's Onexim Bank, which, in 1993, became the paying agent for the Russian Finance Ministry's bonds and a servicing bank for the City of Moscow's external economic activities. In 1994, Onexim Bank became the depositary and paying agent for Russian Treasury obligations, and in 1995, it became the authorized bank for the federal agency dealing with bankrupt enterprises. Banks holding government funds earned handsome fees and paid minimal interest at a time when inflation was in the triple digits.
60 Minutes interviewed Prokhorov in 2013 and noted: "Kremlin leaders gave him what amounts to an insiders' opportunity to buy one of the state's most valuable assets. It was acquired from the Kremlin in a so-called auction for the measly sum of a few hundred million dollars in a process that even Prokhorov's business partner admits wasn't perfect, and probably not even legal under Western standards. But it was legal in Russia."
60 Minutes interviewed Russian business correspondent Yulia Latynina about the auction of Norilsk Nickel, and she explained: "Yes, it was rigged. But it cannot be explained in normal economic terms to an outsider, especially an American. You had robber barons; we have oligarchs."
According to Detaly, it's not clear whether Prokhorov will remain in Israel or whether he has a different reason for the visit than making Aliyah. The outlet's source reported that at the airport the businessman expressed his intention to repatriate.
Hevenu Shalom Aleichem?
What's My Line? - Andy Devine (Aug 24, 1952)
MYSTERY GUEST: Andy Devine PANEL: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Hal Block
Holocaust Book Review: "The Light of Days: Women Fighters of the Jewish Resistance, Their Untold Story"
Reviewed by: Norman Simms
This is a very well-written, powerful, important and sad book. It is about young women, usually between seventeen and thirty, who give themselves to the fight against the Nazi Holocaust with everything they have. These young women play more than the role of cooks, nursemaids, or aides in the precarious shelters where Jews attempt to hide from the murderous bands that hunt them down and more than as couriers bringing messages between different groups of resisters and escapees. They are often the organizers, the spies who work to manipulate the systematic cruelty in Poland, and who give encouragement and courage to those whose lives are being crushed. The name for these women is kashariyot.
When a kasharit arrived with news about families and politics, it was a sign that they hadn't been forgotten, that life went on outside their confined tortures that not everyone was depressed. These women were lifelines, "human radios," trusted contacts, supply dispatchers, and sources of inspiration. (p. 176)
Though many of these stories have already appeared, some in collections made near the end of the war and after the defeat of the Nazi regime, written in Yiddish or Polish or other East European languages, the author is able to develop the narratives and the characters into a moving text. The book also provides background to the persons, events and ideologies that are at work. Some of the scenes of horror are more vivid—and harrowing in their starkness— than in most autobiographies and professional histories and novels of the type, giving a sense of reality that is too often missed. But it is above all the moral, emotional and psychological struggles within the lives of the women themselves that's its persuasive power rests. It was Batalion says, "A constant pageant of deception."
Coming from many walks of life, religious and secular, wealthy and poor and sometimes already affiliated to Jewish and Zionist causes or until the beginning of the round-ups and killings indifferent to politics, these women have an almost instinctive commitment to fight the Nazis and to be active in helping others. Throughout the book their stories show them facing with grim determination the need to hide their emotions, play various role to achieve their goals—smuggling guns, assisting families escape, ferreting out secrets from soldiers and policemen—and never to let their guard down, cautious before trusting anyone, and keeping themselves alert in the most trying of circumstances.
Sometimes, too, they used their weapons and a few fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but most they did their part in smaller towns and smaller groups. Those girls who looked Aryans could do certain tasks, others who had the faces of Polish peasants other things, but all, no matter what, did their best to keep strong in mind and body so that they could whatever was needed. If possible, they cheered each other on with songs and speeches; or they lay silently in dark cellars and waited for the time to act. They watched each other suffer and die. There was no time to be young or to have private emotions.
Many of these women did not live to the end of the war, victims of disease, betrayal and starvation. Few of their names or backgrounds are known, although Judy Batalion does her best to give them a place in Jewish history as true martyrs. For those young women resisters who did survive, the aftermath of their ordeal was neither pleasant nor easy. Many of the men's associations formed to memorialize the activity of Jewish resistance could not bring themselves to hear about what the women did, if they believed them at all. Ideological differences also kept the survivors from speaking out. That is why it is important, even at this late date, a lifetime and more after the events it recounts, for such as book as The Light of Days to take an honorable place in the library of books on the Holocaust.
Judy Batalion. The Light of Days: Women Fighters of the Jewish Resistance, Their Untold Story. London: Virago Press, 2021. New York: William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2020. xvi + 556 + 16 plates of black and white photographs. + 1 map.
120th Anniversary of Rebbe's Birth Uplifts People Around the World
1,210 new institutions mark a renewed commitment to the Rebbe's vision
himmy Borgen, a young father in the Kew Gardens Hills area of Queens, N.Y., will be taking his family to visit the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. He'll also be taking one day each week to spend extra time with his wife, Leora, over a cup of coffee or tea. Borgen is doing this to mark the 11th of Nissan, corresponding this year to April 12, the 120th anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe—a man he never met, but whose influence he feels deeply.
"When I read that the Rebbe set aside time to have tea with his wife every day, I connected to that," Borgen tells Chabad.org. He notes that in some Jewish communities, birthdays aren't emphasized. "When I started learning more about the Rebbe, I saw he put an emphasis on birthdays and the celebration of life itself," he says.
The Rebbe was born in Nikolayev (Mykolaiv), Ukraine, on the 11th of Nissan, 5662, or April 18, 1902, to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson. In the period before and immediately after the Rebbe's birth, the Fifth Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, sent the Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Rebbetzin Chana no less than six telegrams giving detailed instructions regarding his care and conveying his blessings. The newborn would go on to engineer the global Jewish renaissance in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
The Rebbe saw birthdays as a powerful occasion—a day that brings new life to one's soul, and blessings to them and those around them. The Rebbe encouraged people to view their birthday as a personal Rosh Hashanah: a day to take stock of the past year, and a time to look forward to the future. Of course, the Rebbe placed the greatest emphasis on action, and thus spoke about the importance of using the day to make positive resolutions in the realms of Torah, mitzvotand interpersonal relationships.
The Rebbe's own birthday was no different, and he'd often utilize the day to encourage increased growth in all areas of Chabad activities and outreach. It was also a time when Jews the world over would present the Rebbe with their own personal and communal resolutions.When the Rebbe turned 70, he spoke adamantly against the concept of retirement, stating that humankind was born to toil and insisting that there was much work ahead. At the time, he requested that 71 new Chabad-Lubavitch institutions be established in the next year, and his followers got to work.
Jamaica's only mikvah is an aesthetically pleasing, modern spa-like space
Echoing the Rebbe's call in 1972, this year Chabad will be establishing 1,210 new institutions spearheaded by the Vaad Or Vechom organization. They range from new Chabad centers in places as far off as Costa Rica (where Chabad has had a presence since 1989) and as close as Pittsburgh, Pa. (where the first Chabad institution opened in 1943). New mikvahs are being constructed around the world, from Accra, Ghana, to Pensacola, Fla., and balmy Montego Bay, Jamaica. A new "mitzvah tank" will be dedicated in Austin, Texas, and new preschools will open in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis. Another Hebrew school will sprout in Troy, Mich., and Billings, Mont., will welcome their first permanent Chabad emissaries.
"Jews have lived in Pensacola for generations," says Rabbi Mendel Danow, co-director of Pensacola Chabad Jewish Center with his wife, Nechama, "but there's never been a mikvah or Jewish preschool here." Danow is set to change that, with Chabad's preschool already in full-swing and construction to soon commence on the mikvah. Additionally, the Danows have just formed a chapter of Chabad Young Professionals in Pensacola, aiming to create a cohesive Jewish community for people of all ages.
The anniversary of the Rebbe's birth is "a fitting opportunity to bring his vision to fruition," says Danow. "120 years symbolizes completion, and that's what we're bringing to Pensacola—a complete array of Jewish opportunities and experiences."
In Jamaica, a mikvah will be opened on 11 Nissan. Local Jewish historian Ainsley Henriques says it's the island nation's first-ever mikvah. "There is no record of this in Jamaica before," he told Rabbi Yaakov Raskin, who with his wife, Mushkee, co-directs Chabad of Jamaica.
Raskin says that though Jamaica is surrounded by ocean on all sides, the lack of a purpose-built mikvah made traditional Jewish family life very difficult for residents and visitors. An ocean poses unique challenges according to Jewish law, as well as safety and privacy concerns, and is only used when no other option is available
"For seven years, I've been accompanying women to the ocean," says Mushkee Raskin, who also serves women in the community as a registered dietician and nutritionist. "Finally, there will be a beautiful mikvah here."
Mikvah expert Rabbi Sholom Ber Shuchat,right, examines the mikvah during construction, together with Rabbi Yaakov Raskin, left.
'The Spiritual Landscape of the City'
Mushkee Raskin recalls the time in early 2021 when one woman needed to use the mikvah on a rough and stormy night. It seemed logical to postpone it for a calmer night, but Raskin resolved to make it work.
"I was unaware at the time how important it was for this woman to immerse on time and how it would impact her life," acknowledges Raskin, but she soon found out. "She had been struggling with infertility for seven long years, and timing was crucial for her. Thank G‑d, she gave birth to a healthy child just before the High Holidays."
Now, says Raskin, women won't have to brave the high seas for this special mitzvah.
"The Rebbe taught—quoting the Zohar—that a mikvah changes the spiritual landscape of the city and country," adds Rabbi Raskin. "This is the most beautiful gift we can present the Rebbe with on his birthday."
In Pensacola, Fla., Rabbi Mendel and Nechama Danow opened the city's Jewish preschool
Communities around the world will also mark the day with a farbrengen, a Chassidic gathering over songs and words of Torah. Larger gatherings will be held in advance of the day, including 2,000 gathering for an evening of inspiration in South Florida. On April 6, some 34,000 people will fill Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium—Israel's largest—for a night of Chassidic song and words of Torah honoring the Rebbe's legacy.
Borgen says he first encountered the Rebbe as a high school student at the Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere, N.Y. There, his teacher, Rabbi Dovid Weinberg, would take the class to visit the Ohel in nearby Queens, where Borgen says he feels the depth of the Rebbe's presence like nowhere else.
As the Rebbe's 120th birthday approaches, Borgen says he sees the Rebbe's vision for humanity taking shape.