Alaska Rabbi Becomes Youngest Rabbi to Open Congress in Prayer and 10 minutes with Barry Manilow, dishing on bringing his Nazi-era musical to NYC and Jerusalem’s long-closed Dan Pearl Hotel to be Demolished By Hana Levi Julian and The Portion of Matot-Solidarity
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.
Jerusalem's Long-Closed Dan Pearl Hotel to be Demolished By Hana Levi Julian
Photo Credit: Chris Yunker / Wikimedia
The long-closed but landmark Dan Pearl Hotel in Jerusalem is about to give way to newer things, Kipa News reported Monday.
Built in the late 1990s in one of the most exclusive locations in the nation's capital – between IDF Square and the Old City of Jerusalem – the building passed through the hands of multiple owners before it closed forever in 2003, according to Israel Travel News.
The structure was originally slated for demolition in 2018.
In its place were plans to build a new 170-room hotel, with eight underground floors and an additional 16 residential units as compensation to the owners for not being able to raise the building higher than the Old City walls nearby.
The building, which once housed 110 rooms, including 22 luxury suites, has nevertheless been empty for more than 20 years.
From the site of the Jerusalem Pearl Hotel, as it is called in English, one can see the Citadel of David, and Mount Zion as well as the ancient stones of the Old City walls. Jaffa Gate, the Western Wall and the Mamilla Mall all are just a short walk from the building.
On Monday (April 4), a municipal demolition order was received by the building's owners, part of the legal process necessary to advance plans to remove the structure.
City Engineer Yoel Even stated in his affidavit, "The location of the building is of historic and strategic importance, inasmuch as it is adjacent to the railway tracks that transport thousands of people every day."
The municipality under Mayor Moshe Leon acted against the owners of the abandoned hotel to expedite approval of the plan to demolish the building, ratifying the plan before issuing a demolition order.
The owners of the building have long attempted to delay the proceedings, evading the necessity of applying for their own demolition permit until finally, the December 31, 2021 deadline for doing so was reached, and expired.
City officials say that leaving the building "as is" damages the visual appearance of the capital, the special environmental and conservation value of the Old City, and the historic complexes located adjacent to the structure.
The Portion of Matot
The Children of Israel are ready to enter the Promised Land. The tribes of Reuven and Gad have amassed a large amount of possessions, especially with regards to sheep and cattle.
The conquest of part of the land east of the Jordan River, ample territory for the grazing of Reuven and Gad's large flocks, has been successfully completed.
The two tribes turn to Moses and ask his permission to remain where they are and not to cross the Jordan with the other tribes.
Moses responds in anger: "Your brothers will go to war and you will remain here!?" (Numbers 32;6)
The tribes of Reuven and Gad respond to Moses with an improved offer: "We will prepare a place for our flocks and our children and they will remain here. We, however, will join our brothers in the conquest and settlement of the land and then and only then will we return to our homes."
The Torah alludes to the return of the two tribes to their homes in the letters "nun" which is written in a unique manner in the words "nevne l'miknainu" (we will build for our flocks) (Numbers 32;16)
Alaska Rabbi Becomes Youngest Rabbi to Open Congress in Prayer
Mendy Greenberg, 32, prayed for peace in Ukraine and paid tribute to the Rebbe
Greenberg, 32, the youngest rabbi to be a guest chaplain in Congress, is the second rabbi from Alaska to lead Congress in prayer. His father—Rabbi Yosef Greenberg, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Alaska—opened the Senate session in 2016.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) sponsored the appearance by the younger Greenberg last week, noting his long-standing relationship with Greenberg and his parents. " … What they do for our community—communities throughout Alaska—is so powerful, so meaningful, and touches so many lives way beyond the Jewish community of Alaska … , " said Sullivan. "They are incredible in terms of bringing all Alaskans together," he added, speaking of the annual Alaska Jewish Gala that reaches many Alaskans of all faiths. "It is one of my favorite things to do as an Alaskan, to come and celebrate not just the Jewish community, but the spirit of togetherness, the spirit of faith and the spirit of taking care of one another."
Greenberg opened his remarks with a prayer for Ukraine. "Almighty God, Master of the Universe," the rabbi began, "we stand before You in prayer in these troubling times when innocent men, women and children have lost their lives and millions fled their homeland due to the catastrophic war in Ukraine. In the words of King David, Psalms, Chapter 121: 'I lift my eyes to the mountains—from where will my help come? My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.' "
Invoking the Torah's timeless wisdom, Greenberg prayed for the understanding that the "ultimate way to eliminate the cause of war and bring true peace to the world is by embodying the universal values of the seven commandments issued to Noah after the great flood, foremost of which is not to commit murder."
Greenberg beseeched G‑d to bless the Senate, whose very gathering, he noted, is a fulfillment of one the the seven Noahide laws—the obligation to enact just laws.
The primary force driving the fulfillment of the Noahide laws for the first time in generations is the Rebbe, whose 120th anniversary of birth on the 11th day of the Jewish month of Nissan is being marked on April 12, noted Greenberg.
"In 1978, this honorable body established the Rebbe's birthday as Education and Sharing Day USA and [it] is proclaimed annually by the President of the United States in recognition of the Rebbe's global campaign to bring awareness and educate our youth about these ethical values of the Seven Noahide Laws as the basis for a just and compassionate society.
"Almighty God, may it be in the merit of realizing the Rebbe's vision for humanity, [that] we speedily see the fulfillment of Isaiah's promise: 'Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore,' with the coming of Moshiach, Amen."
10 minutes with Barry Manilow, dishing on bringing his Nazi-era musical to NYC
The show is about the Comedian Harmonists, a performing troupe of Jews and gentiles who combined close harmonies and stage antics in Germany during the 1920s and '30s.
By JACOB HENRYApril 1, 2022, 11:22 am 0 Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman at a rehearsal for their musical Harmony in New York City. (Julieta Cervantes)
(New York Jewish Week) — Barry Manilow could fill a stage just by showing up with a piano, and he has: Starting in 1977, his stints on Broadway have nearly always sold out. With 13 multi-platinum albums, 28 top ten hits, and a famously devoted fan base, he might be forgiven if he wanted to rest on his laurels.
But at 78, the Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter and his writing partner Bruce Sussman are, well, ready to take a chance again: Their musical "Harmony," which is being produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, is being staged in New York for the first time. It's a musical about the Comedian Harmonists, a performing troupe of Jews and gentiles who combined close harmonies and stage antics in Germany during the 1920s and '30s.
Their success was a counterpoint to the rise of the Nazis, who eventually banned performances featuring work by Jewish composers, which had been a huge part of their repertoire. In 1934, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time, the Harmonists were prohibited from giving public concerts because two members of the group were Jewish.
Manilow and Sussman have been working together for decades, with a catalog that includes everything from pop hits to musical theater spectacles. "Harmony" was first staged in 1997; Sussman learned about the group thanks to a lengthy German-language documentary that first aired in 1977.
"We couldn't believe that we didn't know these people," Manilow said of the Harmonists.
Before the show officially opens on April 14 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, the New York Jewish Week caught up with Manilow and Sussman to talk about musical theater, their Jewish upbringings in New York City, and how to create harmony in an ever discordant world.
Barry, before you were one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, you started in theater, both you and Bruce. You had to sneak into the second act of "Company" when that show first premiered on Broadway because you couldn't afford the tickets. Now, you've played on Broadway and "Harmony" is opening this year in New York. When you look back at it all, how does it feel seeing your career go full circle like this?
Manilow: I'm not sure it's exactly full circle, but it's exciting to be in New York, I'll tell you that. We're doing what we've wanted to do forever, which is bring "Harmony" to New York. This theater in particular is very moving. It just really resonates with this show, and with me and Bruce. It's a very big impact on the audiences, being in this theater.
You had a Jewish upbringing, in one of the most Jewish places in the world, Brooklyn. Do you have any specific memories of what it was like growing up Jewish in Brooklyn? Were any of these memories used to shape the songs from the show?
Manilow: My one answer is the accordion. Every Jewish kid had to play the accordion before they would let you over the Williamsburg Bridge. I kid, but I was good at the accordion. They only teach you Yiddish folk songs. I loved those Yiddish songs. The family would sing a lot. I got a very musical Yiddish upbringing. When I left Williamsburg, I knew that world of Yiddish folk songs. I played them, I sang them, I arranged them, I knew everything about them. Jumping into "Harmony" was just a big familiar musical experience for me.
Barry, you've performed on Broadway for years, including the 1977 "Barry Manilow on Broadway" show that earned you a special Tony Award. Is there anything you can say about producing and creating theater now when compared to when you first started?
Manilow: It's still the same. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do, only it's even more expensive as the years go by. I don't know how these shows get up.
Sussman: Also, I think what is deemed commercial is a more narrow number of pieces. When we first started, there were situation comedies on Broadway. There were all kinds of musicals. And I think now, a lot of that stuff is no longer feasible to produce on Broadway. It's either off-Broadway or regional theaters, but not on Broadway. It's just harder to finance. The original production of "Follies" that Barry and I saw in 1971 was budgeted at $700,000 [approximately $5 million in today's money]. And that was the most expensive show produced to date. You can barely do a workshop for that amount of money now. The finances are staggering, and then that puts pressure on the producers to make sure that they have something that's financially viable. So that narrows the number of shows that are going to qualify.
So in this world of "The Lion King" and "Aladdin," how were you able to bring this show, a show about Jewish singers facing oppression, to life?
Sussman: We wrote the show we wanted to write, and we hoped that people would like it and that we would find a home for it. It was just a matter of getting it to New York. And now, National Yiddish Theatre stepped forward with this beautiful, gorgeous building that I'm in, and here we are.
"Harmony" is a show set in a time where Jewish people faced a great deal of oppression and had to fight against that. Did you see any parallels between this story and life right now, or maybe within your own lives?
Sussman: I'm from Queens and Barry is from Brooklyn. We both grew up in something of a bubble. Being Jewish was kind of the norm. It wasn't until I went to college in western Pennsylvania that I realized, oh my goodness, I'm the minority. I grew up in Jackson Heights. Every school I went to, on the Jewish holidays, nobody went to school. Everybody was off. I was always among my own. The story from "Harmony" was something I knew just from history, but it wasn't anything I experienced personally in my life.
Manilow: It's really not about my life at all. The only parallel is that I'm a musician, and they were musicians. And they were very inventive, so inventive that they were the first people to do the kind of harmonies we hear now. Now, we've got the high notes, we've got Backstreet Boys, nobody did that, plus they were [like] the Marx Brothers. And then all their records, all their music, all their movies, it was destroyed. They were the inventors of a style of music and comedy that had never been before them.
Sussman: And when we realized why we didn't know them, that was the story. That became very compelling to us. One of the parallels too is that Barry and I, first and foremost, are collaborators. And this show is about "Harmony" in the broadest sense of the word. And one of the ways these guys found harmony was by finding the ability to successfully collaborate with each other. That's something that Barry and I can relate to very strongly. A lot of people don't know how to collaborate. And it is very important to us. It's the thing that Barry and I do best.
My editors are going to kill me if I don't ask about "Copacabana." It's one of your most beloved songs. Do you feel the same way about it? Do you still get the same thrill out of performing your most classic hit today?
Manilow: I do. I would stop doing it if I didn't. These audiences are lighting themselves on fire with every hit I've been lucky enough to have. By the time we get to "Copa," that's the last straw for them. In my shows, there are so many hits and songs that they know, that by the time we get to "Copa," they've forgotten I haven't done "Copa" yet. When those drums start, it's the last straw for these audiences.
You've both hit every music milestone in the industry. What else is there to accomplish?
Manilow: As far as what's on the horizon, we don't know yet. We've gotta finish this. It's taken a long time. Whether we make it uptown or it ends at the Yiddish theater, I will be very happy. We'll have an original soundtrack soon. That will be great. It would be so wonderful if we could move this uptown. Right now, we're just in the weeds making sure that this version of "Harmony" is the best one we've ever had. PJC