The observance of Yom HaZikaron today and Yom HaAtzmaut starts tonight and How will Justice Jackson Treat Israel and Judaism? By Nathan Lewin and after the fact--think about it for next year -Is It Proper To Go On A Pesach Program In A Place Like Dubai In United Arab Emirates?By Jewish Press Staff -
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.
How will Justice Jackson Treat Israel and Judaism? By Nathan Lewin
Photo Credit: White House
Despite much vocal opposition from Republican senators, Ketanji Brown Jackson is on her way to joining the Supreme Court. There is little doubt that she will ally with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in the court's liberal wing. But is she a threat to America's Jews and to Israel? Critics have pointed to her membership in Harvard's Black Students Association as an undergraduate, and they tar her with anti-Semitic sympathy because the organization invited a notorious black anti-Semite to address its membership.
There is no evidence that she participated in the decision to issue that invitation or that her views then or now mirror the speaker's. Not much else in the public record suggests what can be expected from her as a justice on legal issues that could impact America's Jews.
I confess to some personal bias. In 1999, Jackson was an associate in the 35-member law firm Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin, of which I am the sole surviving name partner. She left the firm to start a clerkship with Justice Stephen Breyer in August of that year. I have no personal recollection of working with her on the litigations that I was handling at the time. But in May of that year, I was heading the effort to bring to the Supreme Court for a second appearance the case for state funding of the school for learning-disabled children in Kiryas Joel—the all-Satmar Chassidic community in New York. The court had ruled in 1994 that the law creating a governmentally funded school district in the religious community was unconstitutional, but the New York legislature repeatedly amended the law to authorize broader arguably constitutional funding for municipalities seeking to create their own school districts. These changes in the law kept the Kiryas Joel school in operation while the constitutionality of the new statutes was again making its way through the courts.
On May 11, 1999, the New York Court of Appeals divided 4-3 on the latest amended law. The majority found the amendment unconstitutional, but there was a strong dissent. Representing Kiryas Joel's Board of Education, I rushed to take the New York decision to the United States Supreme Court so that the school would not be immediately shuttered. I don't recall which young lawyer in our firm I assigned to hurriedly draft a petition for Supreme Court review, but the time-keeping diary I still have for that period shows 2.2 hours I spent on "Kiryas Joel" on May 19, 1999–"Revised KJ draft." The initials "KJ" indicate that the draft I reviewed was written by Ketanji Jackson because I customarily noted the initials of the firm's lawyer who had assisted me. Since we knew by then that she had been selected for a Supreme Court clerkship, it was natural to choose her to draft a potential petition. (On June 2, 1999, we filed a petition and a request with the Supreme Court to stay the New York decision and won a surprising order on June 21 that retained state funding and kept the school going. The law was again amended that summer, and our opponents then gave up their challenge.)
Two rulings issued by Jackson while she was a district judge have garnered little notoriety, but they are, for America's Jews, grounds for optimism.
As a counter to the notorious Israel-baiting J Street, a pro-Zionist group called Z Street was formed in Pennsylvania in 2009. Its application for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code was delayed by the IRS under a policy that prescribed more exacting review for organizations "connected with Israel." Z Street filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania federal court claiming that this "special policy" was unconstitutional. On the IRS's motion, the case was transferred to the District of Columbia, and it was randomly assigned to Judge Jackson.
The Obama Justice Department strenuously contested Z Street's legal claim, and it argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed. In May 2014, Judge Jackson ruled in a detailed opinion that Z Street's lawsuit should continue. The Court of Appeals approved her decision in June 2015. It then took until February 2018, during the Trump administration, for the case to be settled and for the IRS to apologize to Z Street.
Her sympathy for claims of religious liberty may have been disclosed in a case that came to District Judge Jackson in 2017. A lawsuit was initiated by a U.S. Postal Service employee named Howard Tyson, who claimed that his supervisor allowed other employees to play music while they worked but denied a promotion to Tyson because he played Christian gospel music over the supervisor's objection to "religious music." Judge Jackson refused to dismiss the case, saying that this was "a plausible claim for religious discrimination."
A different district judge who took over the case when Jackson was promoted to the Court of Appeals ruled against Tyson in November 2021. The case is now on appeal. Jackson's initial ruling at the outset of the case is no longer an issue, but it demonstrated judicial receptivity for a somewhat tenuous claim of religious freedom.
These are thin reeds on which to make any prediction of what Justice Jackson will do. But it is all we have.
Is it proper to go on a Pesach program in a place like Dubai in United Arab Emirates?
The implication of the question is that there might be some significant reason for some pause in spending Pesach in Dubai, either because it is an Arab country or because it is a luxury destination that is polar opposite to our forefathers' experience at Yetzias Mitzrayim– their departure from Egypt, the topic of the Seder and the reason we celebrate Pesach this time of year.
Another implication is whether one should spend large sums on a trip, when for far less one could enjoy the Seder at home.
Regarding Dubai, since the Trump – Netanyahu peace breakthrough between Israel and the Arab states (the Abraham Accords), for those that can afford to do so, they are contributing to the peace via their personal economic stimulus.
As relates to the luxury destination as well as the cost, there is a famous Gemara (Jerusalem Talmud, end of Kiddushin) "A person, in the future, will be required to give an accounting [up high] for all that his eyes saw [and was permissible] and he did not eat [partake] thereof."
Hashem gave us this world and everything that's in it with the sole purpose that we enjoy. However, while we enjoy, we must give thanks to Hashem for his gracious and abundant munificence.
Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K'hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.
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First things first: Pesach was meant to be celebrated in the land of Israel. That is the Torah's clear intention, and even if there is no formal mitzvah of aliyah l'regel today, nonetheless there is still a virtue in being in Israel and experiencing the fifth kos – that Hashem will bring us to the land He promised our forefathers.
If one is not celebrating in the land of Israel, there is certainly a value in celebrating Pesach at home. The transformation of the Jewish home from its normal state into its Pesach mode is truly magical. The impression made on children – of parents and grandparents, of cousins and extended family, of traditions unique to each family – is indelible. Even Bubby's special Pesach dishes will be cherished forever, unlike those of some anonymous chef. And although it is understandable that some families feel compelled to go to a hotel because of the inability to accommodate large numbers of relatives in one house they should still be mindful that the advantage also has some disadvantages.
Once a decision has been made to observe Pesach outside the home it doesn't really matter in what country it is being celebrated. I remember that before the first Pesach after Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt there were enterprising hoteliers who advertised about observing Pesach in Egypt, "back where it all began." Thankfully it didn't catch on.
Dubai is much friendlier and genuinely appreciates Jewish and Israeli visitors, which is a very heartwarming change in this part of the world. But to fly over Israel to celebrate Pesach elsewhere? There is something odd about that. At least stop in for a visit either before or after Pesach. Chag kasher v'sameach!
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is Israel Region Vice-President for the Coalition for Jewish Values and author of Repentance for Life now available from Kodesh Press.
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While I am not the biggest fan of Pesach programs in general, I do not see any significant difference between Pesach programs in Dubai and Pesach programs anywhere else, with two exceptions: First, I think that Israel has wonderful Pesach programs of its own and should therefore be given first consideration over any other destination. Second, I have a visceral sense that it would not be proper to spend Pesach in Egypt.
There are numerous factors that should go into the choice of a Pesach program that have little to do with location. The obvious ones pertain to whether the environment will be conducive to the experience of true simchas ha-chag. How is the davening? How are the shiurim? Will the conduct of other participants enhance or distract from a spiritually uplifting experience? (I am not worried about the gashmiyus.) If all that can be found in Dubai, then great!
The only concern particular to Dubai that I would raise is treatment of migrant workers. Migrant workers constitute the vast majority of the population and workforce in the Emirates, so it is likely that at these Pesach programs it is they who will be attending to the needs of participants. This, in itself, is not a problem, and it must be said that the Emirati government has taken action to combat the abuse of foreign laborers. Nevertheless, reports of inhumane treatment of foreign workers, including practices that have been labeled as slavery, continue. It is true that most of these workers came to the UAE of their own free will to escape poverty and hunger in their native land; this is exactly how the family of Israel came to Egypt.
If one chooses to spend Pesach in Dubai, perhaps it would be appropriate to research how these workers are treated by their employers. It would seem highly improper to enjoy Pesach at the expense of migrant workers pressed into service in a foreign country.
Rabbi Elli Fischer is a translator, writer, and historian. He edits Rav Eliezer Melamed's Peninei Halakha in English, co-founded HaMapah, a project to quantify and map rabbinic literature, and is a founding editor of Lehrhaus. Follow him @adderabbi on Twitter or listen to his podcast, "Down the Rabbi Hole."
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I've always believed that ideally, one's Seder should be in one's home. I have wonderful memories of my father ahleading the Seder in his home, or our own personal Seder with all our children in attendance. After all, what better place to create the reenactment and the transmission of the story of the Exodus from Egypt than one's home in which both parents and hopefully grandparents can attend. Not only can the story of the exodus from Egypt be told but parents and grandparents in this environment can convey their own personal stories of the miracles in their own lives and share as well their own individual history, which in my mind is fundamental to speak about at one's Seder. As well, in a hotel the children are not involved in the preparations for the Seder; preparing the marorand charosetor the zeroa. In my opinion, even a private Seder at any hotel won't offer the children the full ruachof the Seder. The home and our children have always been the center and the focal point of one's Seder even as it was at the first Seder in Egypt.
That being said, I don't believe there is anything halachically wrong in having a Seder in a hotel in Dubai or for that matter in any kosher for Passover hotel.
Rabbi Mordechai Weiss lives in Efrat Israel and previously served as an elementary and high school principal in New Jersey and Connecticut. He was also the founder and rav of Young Israel of Margate, New Jersey. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The observance of Yom HaZikaron today is just a day before Yom HaAtzmaut tonight
Yom Ha'atzmaut 2022 in Israel will begin in the evening of Wednesday, 4 May, and ends on the evening of Thursday, 5 May
Why is Yom HaAtzmaut important? Independence Day (Hebrew: יום העצמאות Yom Ha'atzmaut, lit. "Day of Independence") is the national day of Israel, commemorating the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. The Day is marked by official and unofficial ceremonies
Because Independence was declared on 14 May 1948, which corresponded with the Hebrew date 5 Iyar in that year, Yom Ha'atzmaut was originally celebrated on that date. However, to avoid Sabbath desecration, it may be commemorated one or two days before or after the 5th of Iyar if it falls too close to the Jewish Sabbath. Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day is always scheduled for the day preceding Independence Day.
Yom Ha'atzmaut was originally celebrated on that date. However, to avoid Sabbath desecration, it may be commemorated one or two days before or after the 5th of Iyar if it falls too close to the Jewish Sabbath. Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day is always scheduled for the day preceding Independence Day. In the Hebrew calendar, days begin in the evening.
Independence day is founded on the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel by the Jewish leadership headed by future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on 14 May 1948. The mood outside of Ben-Gurion's home just prior to the declaration was joyous: The Jews of Palestine ... were dancing because they were about to realize what was one of the most remarkable and inspiring achievements in human history: A people which had been exiled from its homeland two thousand years before, which had endured countless pogroms, expulsions, and persecutions, but which had refused to relinquish its identity—which had, on the contrary, substantially strengthened that identity; a people which only a few years before had been the victim of mankind's largest single act of mass murder, killing a third of the world's Jews, that people was returning home as sovereign citizens in their own independent state. Independence was declared eight hours before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, which was due to finish on 15 May 1948. The operative paragraph of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel of 14 May 1948 expresses the declaration to be by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the basis of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. The operative paragraph concludes with the words of Ben-Gurion, where he thereby declares the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel. The new state was quickly recognized by the United States de facto, the Soviet Union, and many other countries, but not by the surrounding Arab states, which officially declared war on the new state, thus escalating the ongoing Palestinian Civil War.