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22
Feb
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Netanyahu & Churchill

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The following was written by Rabbi Pini Dunner, of the Beverly Hills Synagogue. He has given permission for his words to be disseminated:

The controversy over Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on the threat from Iran has been raging for weeks. On the face of it those who oppose his appearance on Capitol Hill seem to have some very valid arguments. In the first instance, everyone in Congress is already fully aware of the threat from Iran. Secondly, the United States and others are currently in the middle of tense and delicate negotiations with Iran – the speech therefore seems, at best, to be imprudently timed – or, at worst, well timed, if the intention is to ruin the talks. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, bipartisan support for Israel in Congress has endured for decades – why would Netanyahu be so reckless and irresponsible as to endanger this unanimous support just to give a speech?

On February 4th, British historian Sir Martin Gilbert died at the age of 78. I remember this gentle man well from my years at University College London, where he taught us a course on the history of the Holocaust. Although his contribution to Holocaust history was broad and deep, his greatest contribution to historical literature was certainly as Winston Churchill’s biographer. His incisive insights into Churchill’s personality and political genius are a testament to his prodigious research and profound understanding of his subject.

The curious thing about Winston Churchill is that our view of him is completely dominated by the focus in popular culture on his wartime leadership. It is therefore generally unknown that in 1929, after falling out with his party over British policy in India, Churchill commenced a decade of political obscurity that to even his greatest admirers appeared to represent a slow but inevitable disappearance from meaningful public life. Sir Martin wrote a book about this period that he called ‘The Wilderness Years.’

During those dreadful years Churchill decried the decline in British spending on the military, and he also repeatedly pointed out the growing threat from Hitler’s Germany. Everybody heard him, but no one was listening. Appeasement and isolationism dominated foreign policy, and Churchill’s prescient speeches and brilliantly written articles were dismissed as the rantings of an irrelevant has-been. But this only spurred him on. “Those Germans are not looking for equal status,” he told the House of Commons in 1933, “they are looking for weapons.” In 1934 he shocked his political colleagues by revealing the true extent of German military production, after foreign office friends fed him secret information. Rather than take him seriously, however, and address the threat posed by Germany, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin quipped: “the real danger to [Great Britain] is Winston - he is the warmonger, not Hitler.”

Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing. Winston Churchill’s warnings are now seen only through the lens of his elevation to the leadership of Great Britain in 1940, and his incredible success as the man who took on and eventually beat the unbeatable Nazi war machine. But what was he thinking in the 1930s as he watched his political career disintegrate ever more with each speech he gave to the House of Commons? His detractors scoffed and derided him as they watched this once great political figure defy the popular political trend and talk about containment, and military action, in an era of conciliation and diplomacy. Churchill was no fool. He knew his message was falling on deaf ears, but he kept going. Why?

In Terumah we are informed for the first time about the Mishkan, the wilderness sanctuary, and how it was to be built. Each piece was constructed in such a way that it could be deconstructed for transportation purposes – except for the poles that held up the Ark of the Covenant: בְטַבְעֹת הָאָרֹן יִהְיוּ הַבַדִים לֹא יָסֻרוּ מִמֶנּוּ - ‘the poles should remain in the rings of the Ark, they may never be removed.’ Ralbag explains that the Ark needed to demonstrate the completeness of the Torah, as it contained the Luchot. Even if everything else could come apart, the Ark could not, to show that the Torah can never be deconstructed. But the Ralbag’s suggestion seems ridiculous. Surely the generation that had encountered the Almighty at Mount Sinai would never question the integrity of the Torah? And if one of them did, why would this non-removal of the poles make the slightest difference?

Rabbi Alter Henoch Leibowitz z”l explains that keeping the Ark intact was decreed by G-d to confirm that which the Jews already knew, but for one reason or another was proving difficult to hold onto in their hearts. The faithful need to be reinforced, particularly when their faith is being challenged, and their world is falling apart. At such a time, seeing the Ark unchanged, unyielding, and undiminished, would reinvigorate the belief they already had, and give them the strength to go on.

Winston Churchill had no way of knowing that he would one day be Prime Minister of Great Britain, much less that he would spearhead the war against Hitler and his evil cohorts. But even though logic militated against this outcome, he knew with great clarity that his understanding of the dangers posed by fascism and expansionism needed to be heard by those who shared his views, but whose spirit was weakened by the appeasement zeitgeist. They needed to see the Ark of the Covenant unchanged, unyielding and undiminished, if there was to be any hope that Hitler would one day be vanquished.

For this same reason Netanyahu must stride into Congress with confidence and conviction, and tell the world what they all already know – that Iran is intent on becoming a nuclear power. Not because he will convince the appeasers, but because he needs to reenergize the spirits of those who are his fellow travelers, but who have all but given up hope in the face of those who insist on placing the world in grave danger, on the basis of skewed foreign policy and diplomatic incompetence. Let us listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to Congress with pride, in the knowledge that when the time comes, he will be acknowledged as the person who, to his own detriment, called it out loud and clear long before anyone else, and who understands best how to deal with Iran’s evil regime.

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05
Jan
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January 14th 7 pm!

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26
Jun
0

Timothy Buckles' Infamous Aliyah

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It used to be that when someone presented himself to you as a Jew, there would be no reason to question it. Although I am more wary these days, for a number of reasons, this past week - I was duped.

A bearded gentlemen, donning Talleth and Tefilin, showed up at our “Power Minyan.” He was wearing a plastic hospital bracelet, and said that his wife just had a baby girl and he would like to name the girl during the Keriat haTorah.

We obliged.

The man read the berachot flawlessly and gave us his wife’s name and the name of the new baby in perfect Hebrew. We wished him a mazal tov.

After Tefilah, we asked him who he was, and where he’s from.

Tim Buckles, and he’s from Everett.

Now what would a modern “Hasidic” – looking Jew be doing in Everett? What kind of Jewish life is there up there?

You see, Seward Park is just too darn expensive….

Uh huh…

A trusty minyan attendee was suspicious and started looking into this person’s background. Mr. Buckles, in the internet age, it’s pretty tough to be a practicing charlatan!

Tim Buckles is none other than Timothy Layne. He is not Jewish. He is one of the leaders of the Tzemakh David Messianic group in Everett WA.

That has not stopped Rabbi Tim from trying to get a foothold in the Orthodox community, including an attempt at infiltrating Chabad outside of Seattle.

Look, it’s a free country, and people can believe in whatever religion they want, even make up their own religion which somehow reconciles classical Judaism with the belief in Jesus as one’s personal savior.

It’s the deception that’s troubling. I’ve put a call into Matthew Steele, President of the Tzemakh David Messianic group, to request that his congregants, maybe even his rabbi (?) conduct their missionary work elsewhere.

You see, in an effort to “win souls”, Mr. Buckles, Layne, or whatever his name may be tomorrow….feels that God is on his side.

Below: Clockwise: Buckles-Layne in one of his Yeshivish moments...note the picture of the Hafetz Haim (!) in the background; Tzemakh David women, who embrace the divinity of Jesus, would not dare show a strand of their hair...Rabbi Tim on a brief break after some intense Tzemakh David davening!

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12
Mar
0

March 30th - One Show Only!

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26
Aug
0

Rabbi's New Office Hours

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As of this week, Rabbi Meyers' new office hours are as follows:

Sundays 11 am - noon
Mondays 1- 3 pm
Wednesdays and Thursdays 1-3:30 pm
Fridays 1:00-3:00 pm

 

 

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05
Aug
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PT II of "What Makes Me Orthodox?"

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I want to thank everyone who took part in our discussion of Torah Min Hashamayim at EB this past Shabbat.  I trust that the session was a fair overview of the background and context of the Zev Farber saga and that our community has a better feel for the personalities and interrelationships in the Modern Orthodox community that is now responding to Dr. Farber's posts. It is by no coincidence that the bulk of the critique of his comments is now being posted on the Moreorthodoxy blog, which has been the social media resource used most effectively by Chovevei Torah and the International Rabbinic Fellowship, with which Dr. Farber is closely identified.  The first major post was by Ben Elton, a student at YCT and the most recent one by Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, a prominent Talmid Hacham and Jewish educator.  Rabbi Blau, ordained by YU and squarely in the Centrist/Rav Soloveitchik camp, has been praised by the blog's readers for his eloquent and restrained response to Dr. Farber's posts. You can read what he has to say by clicking on http://morethodoxy.org/2013/08/05/guest-post-by-rav-yitzhak-blau-the-documentary-hypothesis-and-orthodox-judaism/

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21
May
0

EB Contributes to Oklahoma Tornado Relief

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oklahomaIn keeping with our focus on Torah, Avoda and Gemilut Hasadim, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth's Discretionary Fund, on Tuesday, made a generous contribution to help people impacted by the disastrous tornado in Oklahoma.

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19
Mar
0

New Maccabeats - Les Miserables - Passover Story

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14
Mar
0

Were We Duped, too?

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My wife Miriam, Rubisa of Ezzy Bezzy, advised me (in the heat of my passion over the Gordon commercial) to look at Snopes.com, which I have done.  "Snopes" attests to the fact that this commerical is fake: the car salesman was an actor, Gordon didn't do the stunts, but stuntman Brad Noffsinger did them; liability issues make it impossible for Pepsi to have really tried to pull it off.  I was sensing something similar after writing the first blog post, figuring they must have paid the salesman millions of dollars not to file a lawsuit...

At the end of the day, I don't think it makes a difference if the salesman was real or an actor.  Pepsi clearly wished to create the impression that it was a true practical joke.  For that reason, I still consider the commerical an assault on our common humanity.

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14
Mar
0

Cruelty Gone Viral

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It's a reason NOT to purchase Pepsi products. In fact, as a protest against the basesness and cruelty of this practical joke, I urge all clear-thinking people to specifically boycott Pepsi products until there is a formal apology for this assault on our common humanity.

In the video, race-car driver Jeff Gordon dupes an unsuspecting used car salesman into thinking Gordon is a geek who does not know much about cars - only to take him on a five minute drive of terror; it has no doubt evoked laughs in the 2.95 million people who have already viewed the film on YouTube, but when the dust clears - we have to ask ourselves: what are we laughing at ?

At the discomfort and terror of the salesman? A laugh expressing our tension, as if we were the salesman ? 

Or is our laugh instead a sadistic laugh of Gordon and the people at Pepsi who so cruelly abused this man during the prank? 

Back in the 1960's, many of us remember Candid Camera.  I submit to you that the difference between CC and the Pepsi prank is not just a difference in degree, but in kind.  

See for yourself.  First, the Pepsi prank, which I call "Cruelty Gone Viral", and then the Flying Phonebooth of CC of the early 1960's.

 

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07
Jan
0

This past week's theme song

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02
Jan
0

Mazal Tov

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....to our family!  Our daughter Yosifa (Lehman) gave birth to a healthy baby girl this evening in Jerusalem.  Rubisa Miriam is headed to help her readjust to home life on Jan. 16th, for two weeks. May we only share good news!

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07
Aug
0

Letter to Sikh Community

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lettertosikhcommunity


Our Congregation has just sent the above letter, on congregational letterhead, to the local Sikh community in response to the Sunday massacre in Wisconsin.

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01
Aug
0

Passing of Mary Israel

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We regret to inform you of the passing of Mary Israel (Max M. a''h) member of Ezra Bessaroth.  Funeral services Sunday August 5th at 1:00pm at the Sephardic Brotherhood Cemetery (1230 N. 167th Street, one block east of Aurora).  

May the Lord comfort the family amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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19
Jul
0

SHIVA SCHEDULE FOR MOSKOWITZ FAMILY

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Rabbi Morton and Leya Moskowitz will complete the observance of Shiva in their home, 6421 Hampton Road S, Seattle, WA, 98118 beginning late tonight, Thursday, July 19, 2012.

Services:

Thursday, July 19: Arvit 11:30 pm

Shachrit Services:

Friday, Sunday and Monday, July 20, 22 and 23: 8:00 am

Mincha/Arvit:

Sunday, July 22:  8:40 pm

May the Lord comfort the family amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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17
Jul
0

Passing of Shmully Moskowitz

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Funeral Announcement:

We regret to inform you of the passing of Shmully Moskowitz, son  of Rabbi Morton and Leya Moskowitz. Funeral services were held earlier today, Tuesday, July 17 at Boulevard Park West Chapels in Hewlett, New York with Internment at Wellwood Cemetery.

Rabbi and Mrs. Moskowitz will begin to sit Shiva at the home of Rabbi and Mrs. Yisroel Chait, 529 Hicksville Road, Far Rockaway, NY, 11691. Side entrance of home. Phone number: (718) 471-3479.

They will return to Seattle later in the week to complete the observance of Shiva. 

- This is a great tragedy for the Moskowitz family, for our entire community, and for the Jewish people. Menuchato B'Gan Eden.  May Hashem comfort the Moskowitzs amongst the mourners for Zion and Jerusalem - Rabbi Meyers


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29
Jun
0

This Week's Newsletter

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29
May
0

Funeral Announcement

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FUNERAL THIS WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 AT 11AM

We regret to inform you of the passing of Rebecca Boguch. Funeral services & burial will be held at the Sephardic Brotherhood Cemetery (1230 N. 167th Street, Shoreline, WA 98133) on Wednesday, May 30th at 11:00am. May the Lord comfort the family amongst the mourners of Zion & Jerusalem

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22
May
0

The Kiddush Man

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I think that this is a profound and wonderful short film.  Comments welcome! (You have to click on "watch it on youtube")


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17
May
0

We have moved!

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Welcome to the new location and format of the Ezzy Bezzy Blog.  For nearly a year, we have been in wordpress, but now, with the unrolling of our new EB website, the blog is fully integrated into the EB site.  Keep posted on the latest classes, EB events, Divrei Torah and my thoughts on what's going on in the world by checking in with our blog on a regular basis.  I look forward to your comments!

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