End of the Month Elul: Reflections

As we end the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar, traditionally called Elul, here are some reflections on the meaning of this season from our student Rabbi Dennis Jones of Temple Beth Shalom in Hickory, NC.


RabbiJonesThis year on Saturday, August 15, at sundown begins the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul, which is the sixth month of the Festival Calendar and the twelfth month of the Civil Calendar—leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” has, since Talmudic times, become a season of particular introspection, repentance, and restitution.

Historical Connection

According to the Sages of Israel, it was on the Rosh Chodesh Elul, the first day of the month of Elul, that Moses ascended Mount Sinai following the people’s sin of the “golden calf” to make intercession before Adonai. You will recall that Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days. That would have covered the thirty days of the month of Elul and extended ten days into the month of Tishri, bringing Moses’ sojourn on the mountain to an end on the very day of Yom Kippur. It was on that particular visit to Mount Sinai that Moses received the second set of stone tablets containing the Law of God, since the first set had been destroyed at the incident of the golden calf. (Exodus 33-34)

It was also on this visit to Sinai that Moses had the opportunity glimpse just a tiny portion of God’s glory. This amazing self-revelation by the Creator has become known as the “Thirteen Attributes” of God and is chanted in Hebrew at many of our most moving prayer and worship services, particularly during the High Holidays: “Adonai, Adonai (God’s Name repeated twice), compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7)

Hidden Meaning

Many Jewish sources have pointed out that the name of Elul, spelled aleph-lamed-vav-lamed in Hebrew, could serve as an acronym for the verse, “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li—I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Songs 6:3) The Sages have long interpreted this verse as an allegory for the relationship between God, the beloved, and the people of Israel. Just as Moses drew close to the Almighty on Mount Sinai at this season of the year following the Israelites’ miraculous redemption from Egypt, so should we draw close to our “beloved” Creator in the period preceding our holiest of days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (See Tracey R. Rich, “The Month of Elul and Selichot,” http://www.jewfaq.org/elul.htm)


The Chassidic master, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, used to liken the month of Elul to a time when “a great king is in the field” as opposed to a time when the king is confined to the palace. When in the field, the king is among the people, and easily accessible to anyone desiring a royal audience! (“Elul Observances in a Nutshell,” http://www.chabad.org/holidays/)

Drawing Near to God

            Perhaps my favorite passage in the entire Torah is the verse following the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “V’ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b’chal levavcha uv’chal naphshecha uv’chal me’odecha.” It translates, “And you shall love the LORD (Adonai’s Name) your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” My congregation at Temple Beth Shalom probably gets tired of hearing me ask the rhetorical question , “Now, loving someone or something with all your heart, soul, and might…, what exactly would that look like?” Would you have a hard time getting that one out of your thoughts? Would that one’s name be the first thing that entered your mind upon arousing from sleep in the morning? Would your thoughts be on that one as you drifted off to sleep each night? Would you be overwhelmed with joy when in that one’s presence, and perhaps saddened to the point of sickness upon being separated from that one? I know that despite my best intentions and re-commitments each year, I fall far short of honoring and remaining conscious of the Source of All Life to the level directed by the Torah. And, I am sure that many of my co-religionists must feel the same. The month of Elul is a wonderful opportunity to re-examine our relationship with the Creator, and to map out strategies for greater devotion—more diligent study of Torah, more prayer and thanksgiving, perhaps greater support for our house of study and worship.

Relations with Others

            Elul is also an opportune time to examine our relationships with our fellow man and woman. You will recall that in one of the most powerful of our High Holiday prayers, we pray, actually quoting from the Mishna, “For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another.” (Gates of Repentance, URJ High Holiday Prayer Book; Mishna Yoma 8:9) In Jewish tradition, we have an entire month, Elul, to consider our behavior toward others and make amends and possibly even restitution where needed. This month is also an ideal time to consider becoming more proactive in our relationships with others—increasing our acts of social justice, tzedakah (charitable giving), and gemilut chasadim (acts of compassion), for the sake of tikkun olam, “repairing the world.”

Rich Traditions

            Over the last two millennia, the Sages of Judaism have developed the richest of traditions to serves as guideposts for the implementation of our faith principles. Beginning on the second day of the month of Elul and continuing until two days before Rosh Hashanah, it is the Ashkenazi custom to blow the shofar daily, after morning prayers, as a call to reflection, introspection, and repentance. The shofar is not sounded, of course, on Shabbat; nor is it blown the day before Rosh Hashana, in order to separate rabbinic custom from Biblical command. Also, during the month of Elul, Psalm 27 is added to the morning and the evening prayer services. In that Psalm, David exclaims, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? … One thing I have asked from the LORD, that shall I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” These words are a clear reminder that the Protector of Israel is continuously in our midst, and we are continuously in God’s Presence. Finally, at sunset on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, S’lichot prayers, special petitions for the mercy and forgiveness of the Almighty are added before the shachrit/morning prayer service. If Rosh Hashanah falls early in the week, S’lichot begins the week before, so that a minimum of three days of these special prayers may be said. (Rabbi Shraga Simmons, “ABC’s of Elul,” http://www.aish.com/)

It’s Up To You

            As I encourage all members and friends of Temple Beth Shalom to study our precious Jewish heritage and implement more and more of its lofty principles, I like to honor the teaching of my beloved mentor, Rabbi Theodore Gordon, who used to say, “As a liberal rabbi, I am certainly not going to tell people what they need to do to be Jewish. BUT, DO SOMETHING!” There are, according to the sages, 613 commandments/mitzvoth in the Torah. Explore it! Find which ones resonate and are meaningful to you and in your life. And, I remind you regarding all the commandments, as we pray in the Shabbat morning service, “…sh’adam okhel peiroteinu b’olam hazeh v’hakeren kayemet lo l’olam haba— the one (who keeps them) eats their fruit in this world, and reward accrues to that one in the world to come.” As we say in Hebrew, “Ken yehi ratzon—May this be God’s will!!”

You may read all of Rabbi Jones’s reflections at this link: From the Rabbi

Remembering David Horowitz: Out of Africa

This is the 12th in our popular and informative new series by United Israel executive VP Ralph Buntyn “Remembering David Horowitz.” We want to thank Ralph and congratulate him on this one year anniversary. You may access the previous entries in this series here.

It was April 1958 and the celebrations and tributes marking the 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Israel and the 15th of United Israel World Union were in full swing.

On the world scene, General Charles de Gaulle becomes premier of France as a result of the Algerian crisis and is given special powers by the French Parliament. In a reply to Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s message of congratulations, the new premier stated: “I salute the courageous nation of Israel, with which France maintains solid ties of friendship and shares the same spiritual ideal.”

It’s worth mentioning that in the midst of hostilities toward the young nation of Israel, the Druze people who represent a religious minority reflect a most welcome and refreshing attitude of acceptance. Rooted in Ismailism, a branch of Shia Islam but whose social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, the Druze are Arabic speaking citizens of Israel who serve in both the Israeli Defense Forces and in politics.

In a new publication issued for the Druze community in Israel by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, a number of leading Druze hail the State of Israel and emphasize their loyalty to it. Sheikh Salih Adu Rukun, in discussing the duties of which a man owes towards his country and government writes: “We are duty bound to love our country, for there are strong ties between us and it. We were born and bred among a people which God has gathered in from all the corners of the earth into its promised land, and which has turned this holy land into a Garden of Eden, in fulfillment of the words of Isaiah: Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth. We are a branch of the Israel nation, and its ways have become ours.”

On May 11th (21 Iyar, 5718), Mrs. Bertha Chazan Horowitz, 84, wife of Cantor Aaron Horowitz, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jacob, and mother of UIWU President David Horowitz passed away. She was taken into the bosom of the Eternal’s grace, fittingly, on Mother’s Day.


In a meeting with Ambassador Daniel A. Chapman, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN, David Horowitz congratulated him on Ghana’s first anniversary of its independence. In March of 1957, Ghana became one of the first African nations to declare its independence from European colonization.

A number of years before Ghana became independent, hundreds of Gold Coast bible students became interested in United Israel World Union and in 1955 some of them, under the guidance of several schoolteachers, organized a unit of UIWU in the province. In subsequent years, Headmaster Immanuel Johnson Kumi of Presby Village School in Kwaboanta, himself a convert to the Hebrew faith, corresponded regularly with David Horowitz. Photos and reports about unit activities in Ghana have appeared in past UIWU bulletins.

Ghana maintains a close association with the State of Israel and there’s a story behind it.

Had it not been for an American black woman, Marguerite Cartwright, a roving correspondent for the Pittsburgh Courier, Israel today would never enjoy the close and friendly relations with the new, important West African state of Ghana. Both Marguerite and her husband, Leonard Carl Cartwright, played a vital role in the events that led to the Ghana-Israel relationship.

It all happened in the year of the Bandung Conference. The Conference was the first large-scale meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on April 18-24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia. In a sobering way of looking at it, the 25 countries that participated at the conference represented nearly one-quarter of the earth’s land surface and a total population of 1.5 billion people.

En route to Bandung, Marguerite, a type of modern Queen of Sheba, visited what was then the Gold Coast and interviewed the leaders of the country, including Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah. Through many discussions, Marguerite convinced Nkrumah and his colleagues that, upon Ghana’s attainment of independence, Israel would be the most logical country to call upon for technical, cultural, maritime, civil and administrative assistance. She cited Israel’s enormous success in these areas during its short period of independence.

At first, Nkrumah appeared skeptical, being fully aware of the strained Arab-Israel relations, and seemed to dismiss the thought. The persistent Marguerite Cartwright, however, kept pressing the positive results that would accrue from relations with the Jewish State. Finally, Nkrumah agreed that he would be open to the idea.

Fortified with this mandate, Marguerite attended the Bandung Conference and on her way back, stopped in Israel. There she conferred with Golda Meir, Moshe Sharett and others. Realizing the great importance and significance of Marguerite’s mission, the Israeli leaders lost no time in putting the Foreign Office machinery into motion. The results were hugely successful. Trade agreements were signed and an Israel-Ghana shipping line established, opening doors of trade and industry between the two countries. Both nations would benefit greatly from the mutual exchange of goods. Ghana would become the first African country to establish diplomatic relations with the nation of Israel.

Marguerite Cartwright would become the darling of the Israeli Foreign Office and one of the best friends that Kwame Nkrumah could have.

High summer had arrived and the Middle East was busy being the Middle East.

In July, Iraq’s pro-Western monarchy was overthrown. King Faisal II and Premier Nuri es-Said are murdered.

Fearing that his own regime would be next, Lebanon’s President Camille Chamoun appeals to the US, Britain and France for military aid. Following the invocation of the Eisenhower Doctrine the next day, the US would send 14,000 Marines to land on the coast of Lebanon to protect it from a United Arab Republic or Communist invasion.

King Hussein of Jordan then sought military aid from Britain to withstand United Arab Republic and Communist threats after the revolt in Iraq. British paratroopers landed in Jordan and would remain there until October 29.

In the midst of Israel’s 10th anniversary celebration, Premier David Ben Gurion, who held great interest in biblical research, opened his Jerusalem home to monthly bible study groups in which he himself was an active participant. The Prime Minister made it clear that this present generation of Jews was the last generation of bondage and servitude and the first in redemption, thereby bringing the Messianic ideal of deliverance from a long and wearisome journey. This vision of Jewish and universal redemption fostered a sense of spiritual closeness and bond to the sacred books of the Hebrew faith.

By now, the Eisenhower administration was convinced that challenging Egypt’s Nasser was counterproductive. In late 1958, it quietly abandoned the Eisenhower Doctrine and decided to seek an accommodation with Nasser. This decision was facilitated by an unexpected deterioration in relations between Nasser and the Soviet Union. The result was a modest US-Egyptian rapprochement lasting for the rest of Eisenhower’s term and into that of his successor.

Ghana and Israel maintained mutual ties, but later severed their relations in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. For the next four decades they maintained only basic ties through Nigeria. They would later restore full diplomatic relations, mutual economic growth and an abiding friendship.

Marguerite P. Cartwright, the sociologist and journalist who specialized in African affairs and whose early persistent efforts played such a key role in the Israel-Ghana relationship, lived in Manhattan. She became friends with another old journalist, David Horowitz. For more than three decades, her newspaper columns appeared regularly in “The Pittsburgh Courier” and “The New York Amsterdam News.” Surviving her husband by four years, she died in 1986 at the age of 76. They left no survivors.

Havdalah Ghana

In Sefwi Wiawso, located in southwest Ghana, there is a Jewish community who call themselves “The House of Israel” and claims to have roots in the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel. They built themselves a synagogue in 1998, a simple, rectangular concrete building and painted it a brilliant blue and white to match the Israeli flags that hang above the doorways.

This is the twelfth in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” Be sure to read any posts you have missed at our archive here.

BuntynRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.


























The Top Seven Most Fateful Passages in the New Testament

The New Testament has been the most influential collection of documents in history. Taken by both commoners and those in power as the inspired and infallible  “Word of God,” and interpreted ofttimes outside its historical context, its fateful influence has often emerged from single passages with far-ranging consequences. Here is Dr. James Tabor’s Top Seven list of the most fateful and influential such texts.



Remembering David Horowitz: The Ides of April-Twin Anniversary Celebrations

Dateline: January 1957. Following the 1956 Suez Campaign, President Eisenhower launched an initiative that became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine to secure the Middle East against Soviet aggression by aiding any nation against overt armed aggression from any other nation controlled by international Communism. Congress adopted the doctrine in March.

Saudi Arabia’s King ibn Saud visits Washington at the invitation of Eisenhower, the first official visit of an Arab head of state. During Eisenhower’s eight years in the presidency, no Israeli is so honored.

In March, the Suez Canal reopens after clearance by the UN salvage crews of ship hulks sunk to block the entrance during the Suez crisis.

United Israel World Union began republishing the United Israel Bulletin in a new format in April. This edition, released during the Passover redemptive season, was the first published since the last printed magazine appeared in March 1952. During the interim, there were a number of UIWU newsletters published periodically. The first United Israel Bulletin was printed in Washington, DC in July 1944.

In the April bulletin, it was reported that movie stars Marilyn Monroe, Carol Baker and Elizabeth Taylor had all, at various times, embraced the Decalogue Faith of Moses following long periods of contemplation and study of the Hebrew Scriptures.

In July, David Horowitz was instrumental in creating the “United Nations Correspondents Fellowship,” to foster closer understanding and fellowship among the correspondents at the UN. The move was unanimously embraced by the association and lauded in written letters of endorsement by Ambassadors Abba Eban of Israel, Dr. Djalal Abdoh of Iran, Alberto F. Canas of Costa Rica and UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold himself.

In early August, Evangelist Dr. Billy Graham told David Horowitz in an exclusive interview, that God’s word with respect to Israel’s future boundaries as promised in the Bible-from the Euphrates to the Nile-cannot fail eventual fulfillment. Dr. Graham agreed that the return of the Jews to the Holy land marks one of the great turning points in the history of the world.

As 1957 drew to a close, it became apparent that the “Eisenhower Doctrine” was not a great success. Middle Eastern governments were generally eager to accept US aid under the new program, but Arab public opinion was hostile to the doctrine, seeing it as an effort to impose Cold War thinking on the Arabs by pressuring them to join an anti-Soviet alliance. Consequently, few Arab governments publicly endorsed the program.

It was announced in early 1958 that American Jewish Press correspondent at the UN, David Horowitz, had been elected to the Executive Committee of the Foreign Press Association during its recent meeting. Fitting recognition for the many contributions Horowitz was making to the association.

Israel's 10th Anniversary

The American Committee for Israel’s 10th Anniversary announced that the inauguration of the celebration would take place on April 24 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the cradle of America’s independence and the home of the famous Liberty Bell containing the Old Testament inscription “Proclaim ye liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” Harry S. Truman, the first head of government to recognize the newly born state 10 years earlier and Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban were to be the featured speakers during the unique ceremony.

During a television interview with leading CBS newsman, Edward R. Murrow, former president Truman was asked: “You moved immediately to recognize Israel after it was created. Do you have any regrets about that?” With no hesitation, Truman replied: “Not the slightest…I know the history of that section of the world fairly well. There was the Balfour Declaration on the creation of the State of Israel. They hesitated and prolonged the situation. When it became my time to make the decision and there was a chance to create the State of Israel, as had been promised, I just carried out the agreements that had already been made. I’ve never been sorry for it, because I think it’s necessary that there be a State of Israel. It’s going to stay there no matter what they (the Arabs) think or what they do. Because the Israelites will take care of themselves as they always did in historic times.”

Israel’s 10th birthday was not the only significant event being celebrated in the month of April 1958.

United Israel World Union would also be observing the 15th anniversary of its existence.

UIWU 1958 15th Anniversary Remarking that the great Hebrew prophets prophesied the rise of the Third Hebrew Commonwealth in a period of stress and trial among nations, David Horowitz drew a providential connection between the two events, saying: “despite the confusion among nations, two great rays of hope and fulfillment beam on the world horizon: Reborn Israel in two dispensations-United Israel World Union and the rising Hebrew Commonwealth on the ancient site.”

“Notables Hail United Israel World Union On Its Fifteenth Anniversary” announced the front-page headline of the April edition of the United Israel Bulletin. Leaders from all walks of life-among them professionals, rabbis, and laymen alike-joined hundreds of others in hailing the successful endeavors of United Israel on the occasion of its 15th anniversary.

Among the many rabbis who praised the constructive, Torah-reviving activities of UIWU were: Dr. W. Gunther Plaut of St. Paul’s Mt. Temple; Rabbi Arthur Meyerowitz, Scarsdale, N.Y., a member of the N.Y. Board of Rabbis, and Rabbi Samuel S. Lerer of Temple Sholem, Hollywood, California. Also, the world-renowned Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem M. Schneerson, who sent a special Passover message along with his best wishes and blessings.

Especially meaningful to Horowitz, was a message from London from former Catholic Priest, Abraham Isaac Carmel, congratulating UIWU on its fifteenth birthday. Dr. Carmel, the first and only fully ordained Catholic priest to have adopted the Hebrew faith, hailed UIWU as a “heaven-sent” movement that has “created a new era in Jewish history.” In an open letter to UIWU, Dr. Carmel wrote: “As a proselyte to Orthodox Judaism, and the first Christian Priest to enter the Hebrew family, I write to offer my warmest congratulations on your 15th birthday. I personally owe a great debt to David Horowitz and his wonderful work. It was a heaven-sent revelation to me to learn of the amazing activity of David Horowitz and United Israel World Union.”

In still another open letter to UIWU, which was entitled “Time for rededication and to open the gates of Sinai,” Dr. Hirsch Loeb Gordon, world-renowned leader in the field of neuropsychiatry and research, offered the following remarks: “On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Israel and the 15th of United Israel World Union, we should all rededicate ourselves to the rebuilding of our ancient Fatherland and to the propagation of our ancient faith universally.” Dr. Gordon, a giant in his field, was the holder of six Doctorates and four Masters in several different fields, and had served in the Neuropsychiatric Consultants Division, Office of the Surgeon General and was the past National Commander of the American Palestine Jewish Legion of World War I.

In a stirring endorsement, Dr. Gordon had this to say about the work of United Israel World Union: “Your movement to send the Chariot of YHVH across the firmament of the pagan world to finish the mission begun at Sinai and crush the false idols is most inspiring.”

Perhaps Rabbi Samuel Lerer of Temple Beth Sholem expressed it best when he said: “I wish to convey my deep gratitude for your dedicated work in bringing the Judaic faith unto the nations of the earth. Your missionary work that brings pure monotheism and Torah-faith to mankind, which is now merely a trickling spring of clear water, will eventually develop into a great fountain that will break forth into many springs from which humanity will drink.”

Two fitting anniversary tributes; one to Israel reborn in their ancient prophetic homeland and the other to the emergence of an organization calling for a return to the Decalogue Faith of Moses for all mankind.

This is the eleventh in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” Be sure to read any posts you have missed at our archive here.

BuntynRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.
























Remembering David Horowitz: Back to the Desert–the War over Suez!

The Suez crisis was a crucial turning point in world history. It marked Britain’s demise as the pre-eminent Western power in the Middle East and the assumption of that role by the United States-a role the US continues to play to this day.

Egyptian President Gamal Nasser began buying arms from the Soviets, unleashed the fedayeen (terrorists) on Israel, and had blockaded the Straits of Tiran. He continued to take actions that rankled the Eisenhower administration, threatening to turn to the Soviet Union for funding of the Aswan Dam project and to extend diplomatic recognition to Communist China.

In January 1956, David Horowitz learned that UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold would visit both Cairo and Tel Aviv in efforts to ease tensions in the region. He was scheduled to meet with both Nasser and Ben-Gurion. David made a personal written appeal to the Secretary-General. In his letter to Hammarskjold, David stated, in part: “Since your flight to Cairo and Tel Aviv has been announced as a good will visit, you are in an excellent position to drive home the points you wish to raise with both President Nasser and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion. They must meet if peace is to come in the Palestine Zone.”

David continued by suggesting: “When you see Nasser, you might mention that Egypt had played a vital role in Old Testament history as evidenced so wonderfully in the fascinating story of Joseph and his brethren who found refuge in Egypt under a kind and benevolent Pharaoh. For a period of 400 years the Hebrews lived and thrived with their cousins the Egyptians, until Providence ordained them to leave and become an independent nation under the leadership of Moses, whom Islam venerates as Nebi Musa.

When you see David Ben-Gurion, you might open the Bible and show him Isaiah chapter 19, verses 24-25, when prophecy of the future speaks of an Israel and an Egypt at peace and as constituting a blessing in the midst of the earth.”

Just before his departure to the Middle East, Hammarskjold expressed his thanks to David, remarking that he considered the counsel to be of great value and hoping that his own personal intervention might bring a measure of success.


Other attitudes were shifting politically. The new Socialist government of France, headed by Guy Mollet, had grown increasingly close to the new Israeli government, politically, diplomatically, and militarily. The alliance with France proved to be crucial for Israel in the years to come. The French became Israel’s primary source of arms for roughly a decade and provided the key elements that ultimately allowed Israel to develop a nuclear capability.


At the end of January, Former President Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and labor leader Walter Reuther issued a joint statement urging the US provision of defensive arms to Israel to help it protect itself from the introduction of Communist arms to Arab countries in the Middle East.

France immediately informed the US that Mystere jet fighters would be sent to Israel.

The US made it known it would not object to the sale of arms to Israel by France or Britain, but continued to defer action on Israel’s request for US arms.

On February 26, 1956, Cantor Aaron Horowitz, David Horowitz’s father, was hailed as the dean of American Cantors in an impressive tribute to his 60 years of service to Orthodox Judaism. The testimonial dinner event, sponsored by B’nai Jacob Synagogue, brought forth messages of tribute to Cantor Horowitz and his wife from regional, state and national personages.

Among the many tributes in messages were those of President Eisenhower, Governor George M. Leader and Herman Wouk, iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose works include “Caine Mutiny” and “Marjorie Morningstar.”

Mr. Wouk described the testimonial to Cantor Horowitz as a rare and splendid event. The author cited a traditional Hebrew concept that in each generation there are 36 unknowns whose spiritual ministrations enable the rest of the world to survive. Wouk concluded that Cantor Horowitz’s career might well place him in that category.

It was a most high tribute for Cantor Horowitz and a special time for a proud son.

In June 1956, Britain withdraws from Egypt, ending 74 years of military occupation and Golda Meir replaces Moshe Sharett as Foreign Minister in the Ben-Gurion government.

Following Britain’s withdrawal, Nasser responded by announcing that he was nationalizing the British-owned Suez Canal Company and would use toll revenues to finance the Aswan Dam Project. Britain regarded Nasser’s action as intolerable and began advocating a military intervention to reverse it. The US strongly opposed military action and pressed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

From Israel’s perspective, the continued blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba, combined with the increased fedayeen attacks and buildup of Arab arms, made the situation intolerable. David Ben-Gurion decided to launch a pre-emptive strike with the backing of the British and French governments.

The three nations subsequently agreed on a plan whereby Israel would land paratroopers near the Canal and send its armor across the Sinai Desert. The British and French would then call for both sides to withdraw from the Canal Zone, fully expecting the Egyptians to refuse. At that point, British and French troops would be deployed to “protect” the Canal.

On October 29, 1956, Israel attacked Egypt. Operation Kadesh began with a paratroop drop near the Mitla Pass, about 30 miles from the Suez Canal.

The US government received no prior notice of the British-French-Israeli plan. Eisenhower was infuriated and immediately sent a message to David Ben-Gurion urging the withdrawal of forces. Ben-Gurion ignores the request. The US seeks a UN Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal. Britain and France veto the US resolution and address a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel to withdraw from the Suez Canal area.

On October 31st, French and British warplanes destroy most of the Egyptian air force in raids on air bases near the Suez Canal. The Soviets inform Gamal Abdel Nasser they will not go to war over the Suez. Jordan and Syria reject his appeal for military support. He orders a withdrawal from Sinai to concentrate forces to repel the impending British and French invasion.

Given the pretext to continue fighting, the Israeli forces routed the Egyptians. The IDF armored corps swept across the desert, capturing virtually the entire Sinai by November 5th. That day, British and French paratroopers landed near Port Said and amphibious ships dropped commandos onshore. British troops captured Port Said and advanced to within 25 miles of Suez City before the British government agreed to a cease-fire.

Meanwhile back home, the Republican incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower defeats challenger Adlai E. Stevenson for another term as US President in a rematch of their contest 4 years earlier.

Israel’s failure to inform the US of its intentions, combined with ignoring American entreaties not to go to war, sparked tensions between the countries. Pressuring Israel to withdraw included a threat to discontinue all US aid, impose UN sanctions, and expel Israel from the United Nations.

Additional pressure from the Soviets, the US and the UN would force Britain, France, and Israel to end their attack on Egypt. Nasser’s regime was saved.

By the end of the fighting, Israel held the Gaza Strip and had advanced as far as Sharm al-Sheikh along the Red Sea. A total of 231 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting.

US pressure resulted in an Israeli withdrawal from the areas it conquered without obtaining any concessions from the Egyptians. This would sow the seeds for a later war with Egypt in 1967. The only thing Israel would gain for giving up all the territories it had won would be the US assurance that its shipping lanes would be kept open.

On December 23, the last British and French troops leave the Suez Canal region.

Gamal Abdel Nasser’s prestige at home and among Arabs was undamaged. In fact, his greatest influence and popularity was just beginning.


This is the tenth in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” Be sure to read any posts you have missed at our archive here.


Ralph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.


























Roots of Faith Online

bible-mouseRoots of Faith is a Biblical teaching and resource center operated by Ross K. Nichols, as an outreach effort of United Israel World Union. Ross Nichols is a Vice-President of UIWU and an ordained teacher since 2003. Each week, a growing global congregation assembles on-line to participate in an informative Sabbath service where they learn ancient truth for a modern world.

Every Saturday morning at 10:30 AM CST, Ross teaches an exciting and informative lesson on the weekly Torah portion. After the teaching, we read the weekly Torah and Prophet reading and then participate in an open dialogue session about the material covered during the class. During the service, there is a live chat that is open for fellowship. During the dialogue session the local congregation interacts with the on-line congregants in a mutual learning environment where people can share their views and express their opinions so long as they do so in a respectful manner.

What makes these classes refreshing is that the focus of the teaching is on the Scriptures themselves. While tradition and sectarian views are respected, and even discussed at times, the Biblical texts take precedence. All are welcome participants in our growing global on-line community. The classes present the biblical texts, “from the words, in connection with the words and on the basis of the words.”

The teachings have been described with kind words from our listeners. They have been described as instructive, insightful, fresh, realistic, challenging, and eye opening. While the teachings often present conclusions that stand in opposition to fundamentally accepted beliefs, the presentation and delivery have been described as sensitive, respectful and humble. The goal is to make the teachings of Torah plain so that those who wish to live accordingly may be prepared and encouraged to do so.

Ross describes his own approach as “Preaching Moses every Sabbath.” The ancient teachings of Moses and of the Hebrew Scriptures are presented as relevant instruction for today, thus the slogan of Roots of Faith is, “Ancient truth for a modern world.”

One can join our services weekly via live audio or video, or for those who cannot join in live, the lessons are uploaded to our site and are also available on YouTube and iTunes where they can be downloaded to your personal devices and listened to at your convenience.

If you are looking for a place where the Scriptures are proclaimed from their original and thoroughly Hebraic perspective, and where anyone who believes in the God of Israel and seeks to live according to the principles of the Hebrew Bible is welcome, then Roots of Faith may be what you have been looking for.

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48 Years Ago Today: June 7, 1967–Do You Remember?

June 7, 1967. Are you old enough to remember?  Those of us who do remember will never forget how the entire world was riveted to their televisions during the “Six Day War,” as the fledgling 19 year old state of Israel was locked in mortal combat with three hostile Arab states–Egypt, Jordan, and Syria–who had threatened to “drive the Jews into the Sea.”  The Israelis were vastly outnumbered in both manpower and military hardware. Their preemptive strike against Egypt’s airfields, followed by lightening moves against Syrian and Jordanian forces, turned the tide, but no one, not even the Israelis, expected such a victory, including the return of Jerusalem to Jewish sovereignty.

Today, June 7th, marks the 48th anniversary since the Israeli liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem. No Jews had been allowed in the Old City since 1948, when the city came under Jordanian rule as the British moved out.  You can read the account by Michael Oren here, taken from his book, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. This Youtube video captures the moment with live radio transmissions and footage as Israeli soldiers arrived at the Western Wall.

For me it was one of the defining events of my life and my generation.  I was 21 years old, living in Texas, and like so many others was glued to the television 24/7 as the fate of Israel hung in the balance. None doubted that the shrill words over Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian radio about finishing the job that Hitler began would be carried out in full should it be militarily possible.  The ancient words of Psalm 83 and Psalm 124 seemed uncannily relevant, as if history does indeed repeat itself in some strange cycle of protagonists.

1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, let Israel now say — 2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, 3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; 4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; 5 then over us would have gone the raging waters. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! 7 We have escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Today however, reaches back much further than 1948. The book of Daniel speaks of Jerusalem being “trampled by the nations” for 2300 “days” (Daniel 8:13-14). The beginning of the end of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem was marked by the defeat of the Persian King Darius by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. The Persians had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile and rebuild their Temple. Alexander’s conquest marked the first of a long series of foreign occupiers–Roman, the Byzantine Christians, the Muslim conquest, the Crusaders, the Turks, the British, and finally the Jordanians. In some uncanny pattern of history June 1967 falls 2300 years after Alexander’s defeat of Darius, and it is after that period that the Prophet says the city will be “vindicated,” or literally “made right” (נצדך).

What few realize today with all the media rhetoric about “occupied Arab East Jerusalem” is that the Old City had a majority Jewish population under Turkish rule until the early 20th century, even though Jewish life was severely restricted, see my blog post on this here. Under Jordanian rule, from 1948 until 1967, Jews had been driven from the Old City and many historic markers of Jewish life and culture were systematically destroyed by the Arab Legion from Mt Zion to the Mount of Olives. I first visited Jerusalem in July, 1962, under Jordanian occupation, and even visited the Western Wall and the “Jewish Quarter,” but the Old City was filled with Christian tourists and Arabs, both Christian and Muslim–but strangely, no Jews. You can read my personal account here.

Forty-eight years later the differences are hard to fathom with religious rights and access guaranteed by the Israeli government to all faiths and holy sites and much of the Jewish Quarter restored–including most recently the magnificent Huvra Synagogue. Jerusalem is far from trouble free but it is a diverse and dynamic city that is constantly improving life for all its citizens under the leadership of Mayor Nir Barkat. Tourism, despite all the challenges of terrorism and potential war, is booming. It is a magical city, rich in culture and history, with the stories of its past being continually enlightened by new archaeological discoveries such as those now being uncovered on Mount Zion, that reflect on the history of Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

The Birth of Prophecy…Spiritually Speaking

SciniaThis week, Ross covers material found in Torah Reading, Be-Ha’alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:16). He begins by pointing out that the wilderness was a place of miracles and closeness with YHVH. Ross highlights the phrase “mouth of YHVH” from this week’s reading. The phrase occurs some 50 times in the Hebrew Bible, 18 of which, occur in the Book of Numbers. We learn for instance that the children of Israel moved camp according to the mouth of YHVH. From this point Ross shows what led to the birth of prophecy. Working carefully through various texts he demonstrates that prophecy is the method by which YHVH chose to speak to His people. Contrary to popular opinion, Ross goes on to show that the Spirit is an essential part of the ancient Hebrew Covenant.

Watch the video of this informative class.

Remembering David Horowitz: The Gathering Storm

1954 began with an all too familiar sameness. A January issue of the New York Times reported King ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia urged the sacrifice of 10 million Arabs to “uproot the cancer” of Israel, while infiltration attacks inside Israel by Arab guerrillas continued on a frequent basis.

David Horowitz became involved in controversy when the editor of a small mid-western newspaper, James M. Watkins, accused David of advocating the conversion of Christians to Judaism. In the February 23, 1954 edition of “The Restitution Herald” of Oregon, Illinois, Mr. Watkins criticized David for being a Jewish missionary, along with the frivolous charge that he somehow had near complete control of Israeli news. Watkins charged that “Since Horowitz controls most of the press dispatches that go to the nation of Israel, as well as that which is sent out in this country, we can assume that he expressed the official viewpoint of the nation (Israel).” Talk about the power of the press.

Reacting to Watkins’ editorial, Karl Baehr, Executive Director of the American Christian Palestine Committee (a pro-Israel Christian group), in a letter that was printed in the March 30 edition of the “Restitution Herald,” tried to dissuade any anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish feelings among Watkins’ readers.

Responding to both Watkins and Baehr, David sent a reply to the “Restitution Herald” dated April 13, 1954. In the letter, David defended his views and his press dispatches. In reference to a specific passage, he remarked that the statement was not his, but that of “a Catholic, Malcolm Hay, author of the book “The Foot of Pride” (Beacon Press, Boston 1950). “A book,” Horowitz suggested, “that Watkins and every true Christian ought to read.” Hay’s book carefully chronicles the roots of Christian anti-Semitism.

Middle East policy continued to focus on containing the Soviet Union. The Arab states often played the superpowers off against each other in an effort to win concessions from one or the other. One Arab ruler, however, stood in the middle of everything: the inter-Arab rivalries, opposition to Western imperialism, Eisenhower’s bid to create a regional alliance, and the perpetuation of the war with Israel. That man was Gamel Abdel Nasser. Over the next two decades, Nasser was to be an extremely forceful and charismatic advocate of radical Arab nationalism and of resistance to Western domination.

Ike & Nasser

This was an especially busy and active time at the UN and Horowitz’s role as a journalist took on an intensive tempo. In addition to his many hours interviewing delegates and ambassadors from various other nations, he had considerable contact with Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban and new UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. He also interviewed France’s Pierre Mendes France during his visit to the world organization.

Horowitz, persistent as always, continued his campaign to get the Israel-Arab dispute settled by the utilization of the Bible and the Koran. During August 1954, he tried to convince Egypt’s chief UN delegate Major-General Abdel Hamid Ghaleb and received a most interesting and candid response.

Speaking to Horowitz, Ghaleb emphatically stated that he and all religious Egyptians believe in the Torah as much as in the Koran and they venerate Moses as one of the holiest men to have appeared on earth. He further told David “that if the people in the Middle East turned to the Torah and the Koran for guidance instead of accepting their own narrow views, peace could come to the region. Allah is the same God worshipped by Israel, and this one God certainly does not want them to quarrel and fight over questions which, in the final analysis, are disposed of by Him anyway.”

Ghaleb also revealed that Egyptian President General Mohammed Naguib (who appointed Ghaleb), during his premiership, often visited synagogues and was sincere in his desire to come to some understanding with Israel. But, as recent developments showed, his way was overruled. Undoubtedly having restrained his innermost feelings, he succeeded in escaping the fate that befell the late King Abdullah of Jordan whose mind was open for negotiations with Israel.

On September 28, 1954, Egypt seized the Israeli merchant vessel “Bat Galim” in the Suez Canal. The issue would be brought before the UN Security Council with the fiasco continuing into 1955 before a resolution would be reached.

In February 1955, Israeli Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon resigns following the uncovering of an Israeli intelligence network in Egypt. David Ben Gurion returns to government as Defense Minister.

In March 1955, David Horowitz made his fifth trip to Israel. His first visit took place in 1924 when Israeli pioneering was in its height. Subsequent trips were taken in 1932, 1951 and 1953. This time David would be holding high level meetings as a UN correspondent as well as conducting a little United Israel business.

David met with former Irgun leader Menachem Begin, who was a member of the Israeli Knesset in behalf of the second largest party, Herut. Mr. Begin expressed to David that the greatest threat facing Israel at the time was guerrilla warfare.

David also gained an audience with Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who had served in the Jewish Legion together with Ben-Gurion and was among the signers of the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. The Israeli President showed a deep interest in United Israel World Union and said he would extend an official welcome to any UIWU group. David later remarked “that President Ben-Zvi is a great scholar who has shown a profound interest in the fate that has befallen Israel’s tribes scattered all over the world.”

Countless hours were spent in interviews with other officials at Jerusalem’s UN headquarters.

Before leaving Israel, David visited some old friends, the Tritto family, now residing in Safed in the Galilee region. Esther, her husband Eliezer and family were among scores of other Italians, all former Catholics who had embraced the Hebrew faith, who came to Israel from the south Italian town of San Nicandro in 1949. He happily reported that they had established firm roots in Safed and were helping to build Israel.

As April 1955 came to a close, France was hit with Arab threats and protests for shipping arms to Israel. Jordan also threatened to boycott French goods and the Foreign Ministers of both Syria and Lebanon protested the French action. Egypt was asking that the Negev be detached from Israel. Just another busy day at the office of Middle Eastern affairs.

In June 1955, David became a charter member of “Judaism Universal,” a new international society for the propagation of the Hebrew faith as a world religion funded in New York City. Blessed and endorsed by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, “Judaism Universal” adopted the following three-point program: to reclaim the Jewish youth; to Judaize the Jews; and to draw within the sphere of Jewish life neglected Jewish communities in isolated parts of the world, including non-Jewish populations who hunger after universal truth and righteousness.

During a national election in Israel, David Ben-Gurion is again elected Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Moshe Sharett becomes Foreign Minister.

US officials continued to reach out to Gamel Nasser. Egypt was offered promises of arms and help in building the Aswan Dam. Nasser instead began to look to the Soviet Union. He began to import arms from the Soviet Bloc to build his arsenal for a confrontation with Israel. In the short-term, however, he employed a new tactic to prosecute Egypt’s war with Israel. He announced it on August 31, 1955: “Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam, and they will cleanse the land of Palestine.” These “heroes” were Arab terrorists, or fedayeen, trained and equipped by Egyptian Intelligence to engage in hostile action on the border and infiltrate Israel to commit acts of sabotage and murder.

The terrorist attacks violated the armistice agreement provision that prohibited the initiation of hostilities by paramilitary forces; nevertheless, it was Israel that was condemned by the UN Security Council for its counterattacks.

The escalation continued with the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s only supply route with Asia. Less than two weeks later, on October 25, Egypt signed a tripartite agreement with Syria and Jordan, which placed Nasser in command of all three armies.

As 1955 drew to a close, Gamel Nasser was making clear his intent. In an interview with New York Post reporter Paul Sann, he explained, carefully and quite clearly, “that Egypt would never, under any circumstances, consider peace with the Jewish State.”

Even as war clouds gathered over the Middle East, history would remind us once again: One should never say never.

This is the ninth in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” Be sure to read any posts you have missed at our archive here.


Ralph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

























Wishing All a Meaningful Shavuot 2015/5775

Chag Sameach Shavuot–Happy Festival of Weeks!

This year it just happens that the traditional Jewish day of the “Festival of Weeks,” known otherwise as Pentecost (from the Greek word πεντηκοστή meaning “50th”), corresponds with the more literal “count” of 50 days beginning the “day after the Sabbath” of Passover week–counting 50 days–until the day after the seventh Sabbath or Sunday (Leviticus 23:15-16; Deuteronomy 16:10). For Jews Shavuot marks the giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai or Horeb (Exodus 19:1ff) and for Christians, Pentecost (known by its Greek name) marks the beginning of what was later understood as the inauguration of a “New Covenant” (Acts 2:1-4). Event the Dead Sea Scrolls community had a ceremony for the “renewal of the Covenant” on this day in ancient times (Community Rule).

shavuotWhatever its meaning it always seems to have to do with “new beginnings” and inauguration. So wishing all new beginnings and abundance of “harvest.”