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.”

 

Remembering All the Way in the Wilderness

Wilderness-part1This is the first class in Ross’ teaching series on the Biblical Book of Numbers. In this class Ross introduces the Torah’s 4th book and provides his listeners with a point that the journeys of the children of Israel represent not only geographical movement, but a transition of faith and a transition from a nation of slaves to a free and holy nation. Ross demonstrates that the salvation of Israel involves a departure from Egypt as well as a journey towards the land of milk and honey. He shows that while many people see the wilderness as a place of dryness and barrenness, the Bible presents another picture of life in the wilderness: a life of divine protection, provision and purpose.

Click here to listen to this teaching.

Jerusalem Day and the Prophet Daniel

wallIyar 28th on the Jewish calendar marks the day that Jerusalem was re-united and the Jewish people regained control of the Old City in June of 1967. Could it be that the miraculous events of June 7, 1967 were foretold by the ancient prophet Daniel? In his book, Restoring Abrahamic Faith, Dr. James Tabor (2008) presents a compelling argument that the “completely unanticipated capture of the Old City of Jerusalem by Israeli forces during the Six Day War…appears to provide a rather remarkable ‘benchmark’ of prophetic fulfillment” (p. 92).

Tabor shows that the capture of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 / Iyar 28, 5727 happens to coincide precisely with an ancient event that took place 2300 years earlier. Tabor (2008) stated, “the Persian defeat by Alexander the Great, on June 7, 334 B.C.E. (Artemisius 28th on the Olympiad Calendar), began 2300 years of hostile Gentile domination of Jerusalem” (p.93). As Tabor (2008) puts it, “the fact that the entire Temple Mount, including the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, came under Jewish control on that very day, in that very year, June 7, 1967, is rather uncanny” (p.93). Uncanny indeed. Why so?

The Hebrew prophet Daniel spoke of a he-goat that would defeat a ram. This would be followed by a trampling of Jerusalem by Gentiles, but then after the 2300 days are over there would be a “vindication” (Daniel Chapter 8). Scholars agree that the “he-goat” represents Greece and the “ram” represents Persia. Students of prophecy have often interpreted the “days” of Daniel’s prophecy as “years.” Tabor (2008) shows that Methodist minister, Adam Clarke, in 1825 predicted with close accuracy the restoration of Jerusalem. He missed by one year, presumably because he, “made a mistake in math moving from B.C.E. to C.E., neglecting to add the extra year required (there is no year zero)” (Tabor, p. 92-92).

On this day, as you reflect on the miracle of Jerusalem Day, consider that the events of that day in the summer of 1967, may very well have been seen by an ancient Jewish prophet.

References & Additional Reading

Six Day War. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sixdaywar.co.uk/news_articles-three-soldiers.htm

Tabor, J.D. (2008). Restoring Abrahamic Faith (3rd ed.). Charlotte, NC: Genesis 2000.

Tabor, J.D. (2013). TaborBlog. Retrieved from http://jamestabor.com/2013/05/08/jerusalem-day-june-7-1967/

Blessings Begin When We Listen

iStock_000064023065_XXXLarge-copy-200x300In this class Ross covers material from the final two readings of the book of Leviticus. He focuses on what are called the blessings and the curses found in the 26th chapter. Ross shows that the blessings are the result of obedience, or as the Torah puts it – Listening! Could it really be that simple? Ross shows from multiple examples that to listen is the first step in the process of Biblical blessing. He also shows that NOT listening to the Torah leads to the “curse of the Law!” You will not want to miss this teaching.

Click here to listen to this teaching.

Israel’s Bible in the Little

littlebibleIn this week’s class, Ross continues with the study of holiness. He begins by covering several key passages that state the charge given to the priests about being Holy and then works through various texts to illustrate this point. He bases the teaching on what he calls, Israel’s Bible in the little (Leviticus 22:31-33). In these few verses, Ross shows that holiness can be clearly defined. What is the secret to holiness? Listen to this teaching to find out.

Click here to listen to this teaching.

Remembering David Horowitz: When Israel Was A Child . . .

1953 began with a new United States Presidential administration. With the transition from Truman to Eisenhower, the US began to distance itself from Israel. A new Middle East policy began to take shape that would influence American decision-makers for the remainder of the century. The greatest danger in the view of the new administration was the Soviet Union. US policy throughout the 1950s would be primarily shaped by the effort to contain communism.

Israelis were disappointed by the Arabs refusal to recognize its existence after the 1948 War of Independence. They were discouraged further by the policies of the new Eisenhower administration, which ranged from apathetic to seemingly hostile. Eisenhower thought that the previous administration had been excessively partial to Israel and he resolved to follow a more even-handed policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The foreign aid program for Israel that Truman had initiated after the 1948 war was quickly reduced. Aid was used as a lever to extract concessions. The Israelis were encouraged to make territorial concessions in exchange for peace with the Arabs. The new president also refused to sell arms to Israel and showed little tolerance for Israeli policies.

In fairness, it’s important we understand the forces at work in the shift of US policy. In addition to the growing cold war with the Soviets, Eisenhower faced a potent challenge in Arab nationalism. Two issues were considerable factors. First, there were the lingering vestiges of British and French imperialism in the Arab world. The fact that the US was formally allied with Britain and France aroused considerable popular resentment in the Arab world. Secondly, the issue was Zionism. The fact that the US had played a key role in the creation of Israel aroused even deeper Arab resentment.

The basic dilemma thus became another all too familiar political juggling act. The US had to keep the Arab states favorably disposed toward the West and keep the region’s oil reserves and strategic positions accessible, while at the same time, remaining committed to Israel’s survival and security, a position that caused deep resentment in the Arab world.

Hanukkah 1953

Hanukkah on Israeli Kibbutz 1953

The new nation of Israel was a mere child, yet five years old, learning to live a new life of self-determination, while surrounded by a world of hostile forces committed to its destruction. Would it survive? Could it? What were the odds? If we could pause and tear a page from history that shows us a picture of the new five year old, what would the child look like? How was it behaving?

Fortunately, we have such a record today. As the US shifted its Middle Eastern policy, we are allowed a look back at the old family photo.

David Horowitz, serving as a Special Correspondent for “The Voice,” a Los Angeles publication with the largest Jewish circulation in the West, had returned from an extended stay in Israel and offered a full report of his findings in the June 12, 1953 issue of the publication. The following is David’s assessment of the new nation in his own words.

JERUSALEM-“My three month visit to Israel, having afforded me the opportunity to traverse the country and study carefully almost every phase of life here, has left me with the following impressions:

  • Israel as a whole is the most dynamic and promising little country in the world. The sturdy, energetic Israelis are creating a Commonwealth along this Mediterranean crescent which, judging by the present intensive activities, has all the signs of becoming a second little “America.” Settlements dotting the nation are expanding and thriving at a pace unequalled in history. Possibilities here are as great as they were in the early days of colonization in America. The wise and the foresighted are putting a stake in this land and now is the time of opportunity. Four or five years hence might be too late in order to get in on the ground floor.
  • Opportunities for foreign investors in nearly every field of endeavor are greater now than ever. The Mapai-General Zionist Coalition, opening a new trend, has enhanced the situation. Former restrictions placed on private enterprises have been relaxed. The political trend is tending more and more towards the center, away from Mapai-Mapam influences (note: Mapai was the largest left wing political party, General Zionists the centrists political party and Mapam, a left wing labor party with Marxist ideology). My survey has shown that more than 30 percent of the population is independent of Party affiliation. Also, many within the Mapai-Mapam Parties find themselves favorably disposed to the new trend. Here lies a great power for the future, a power that may well prove decisive during the next elections.
  • Despite the present economic difficulties, and they are many, no nation in history has doubled its population in so short a time. With population growth from 650,000 to 1,450,000, the State is moving ahead uninterruptedly with numerous national projects. These include roadways, waterways improvements and port developments. Most important, Israel’s military strength has more than tripled since the War of Independence. The leading cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberius, Beersheba, Ashkenlon, Rishon, Petah Tikvah, Ramleh, Afuleh and Acre, have all embarked upon large-scale municipal programs which will make these vital centers equal major tourist attractions.
  • Israel is the most music and art-loving country in the world, even surpassing Italy. The strains of the great masters are heard daily from almost every house with the new songs of Zion as happy interludes. There is singing in the streets and dancing during festivals and holidays. The Sabbath in Israel is truly Sabbath. Shops and factories close early Friday afternoon and some two hours before sundown the streets become deserted. Thus universal acceptance of the Sabbath by all Israelis is remarkable. The seventh day rest transcends affiliations. It is a holy day of peace and relaxation for all. While it’s true that only a minority goes to the synagogue, the majority rejoices in the delights of the Sabbath under the canopy of the clear skies, enjoying the seas, lakes and rivers and the many glories this land has to offer. Saturday is indeed Sabbath.
  • As for the Arabs remaining in Israel, their lot has never been better. A buyer of tobacco took me to several Arab villages recently. With us, went an official of the company buying the rich tobacco leaves. He carried a briefcase containing 10,000 Israeli pounds. After the tobacco bales were weighed, the Arab growers were paid on the spot. The inspector revealed to me that during the Mandate days, the Arabs often had to wait up to a year until payment was made, and they themselves had to go into the city from their villages begging payment, thus losing valuable time that could be spent working their plantations. In one of these villages I was invited into the home of an Arab member of the Knesset. A flagpole over this home flew the blue and white flag of Israel. For the Arabs living in this village, this emblem meant something new and good. For they are their own witnesses to the fact that since this flag has flown over their village, their conditions have improved a hundredfold. This was evidenced by the joyful and happy expressions of their children who did not appear any different from the Israeli children of their neighbors.”

Meanwhile, on the world scene, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin dies, the UN and North Korea sign a truce agreement ending the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and King Hussein bin Talal assumes the throne in Jordan. Grandson of King Abdullah bin Hussein who was assassinated in 1951, King Hussein’s rule would extend throughout the cold war and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict.

At the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish diplomat and economist, was elected the new Secretary-General of the UN after Trygve Lie’s resignation. David Horowitz and Dag Hammarskjold were both Swedes. They became good friends and the fact that they shared the same birthplace gave them great chemistry. Their friendship and respectful working relationship would continue until Hammarskjold’s tragic death in 1961. David’s shock and subsequent action will be the subject of a future installment.

An exhausted Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced his intention to withdraw from government and was replaced by Moshe Sharett, who was elected the second Prime Minister of Israel in January 1954. Ben-Gurion would later return to government in 1955 and soon be re-elected as Prime Minister.

In an article written by Adam Garfinkle entitled “The Triangle connecting the U. S., Israel, and American Jewry may be coming apart” and published in Tablet Magazine on November 5, 2013, Garfinkle reported: ”For President Harry Truman, the Jews of America stood for the Jewish people in history as mediated through the prism of Anglo-American Protestantism. Truman actually cried when Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog told him, during his White House visit on May 11, 1949, what he as President had done, in broad meta-historical terms, for the Jewish people. In a private meeting after Truman left the White House, he replied to the thanks offered by the head of the Jewish Theological Seminary by answering his host, “What do you mean helped create Israel, I am Cyrus; I am Cyrus!”

For the young child Israel, a new era had begun.

And a long, long exile had ended.

This is the eighth 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.

 

 

 

Who is my neighbor?

neighborhoodIn this class, Ross explores the biblical concept of holiness. He begins by making the point that the solutions to the problems in our world might not be as difficult to solve as we think. What if the solutions we seek are to be found in the ancient texts of the Bible? Could it be that the growing sense of hopelessness and helplessness will continue until people turn to, trust in and apply the Scriptures in order to solve the issues with which we are faced? As Ross points out in this class, we do not live in a God forsaken world, but we do live in a God forsaking world. The answers are to be found within the ancient Bible of Israel, specifically in the rules contained in the holiness code of Leviticus chapter 19. In this teaching, Ross focuses on how our behavior can lead to a better world. In particular, Ross highlights a command that most people know, but that few have taken to heart. You will not want to miss this teaching.

Click here to listen to this teaching.

It is Not too Late to Join us This Weekend: 2015 United Israel Annual Conference

 It is Not too Late to Attend our

2015 UNITED ISRAEL ANNUAL CONFERENCE!

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The 72nd Annual Conference of United Israel will be held over the weekend of April 24-26, 2015 in Charlotte, NC at the DoubleTree Suites Hotel in South Park. Please register here using the form provided and give us all the names of those attending in your party–children included–for name tags. You have an option to pre-pay the modest registration fee which we appreciate. You can also register at the door when you arrive.

Our block of rooms at the Doubletree Hotel in SouthPark  has expired but if you want to get a room you can still contact the hotel and see if there is availability. If not you can check nearby hotels–Charlotte has many options nearby.  All rooms are suites with partial kitchen facilities and can sleep a family or group. 

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Our program begins Friday evening at 7pm with Rabbi Dennis Jones leading us in song and worship welcoming Shabbat and continues through Sunday afternoon at 5pm. Saturday morning Patty and David Tyler will also present a special program “Our Message in Music.” We encourage those who can to stay overnight Sunday. Here is the complete program:

UI 72nd Program 2015

 

100 Years of History: Archived at our United Israel Research Center

The United Israel archives contain over 50,000 documents related to the life and work of David Horowitz (1903-2002). They include his early life, his career at the United Nations from 1945 until his death, and the entire history of UIWU from 1944 until the present–over 100 years of materials. All of the documents have been carefully copied and and the originals sealed in air-tight bags for preservation. The arduous task of sorting, cataloging, and collating has now begun.

 

 

Remembering David Horowitz: Twin Flames of Freedom-An Eternal Bond

This is the seventh installment of Ralph Buntyn’s ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” We are publishing it, appropriately on David’s birthday. He was born on April 9, 1903 so he would have turned 112 today! For those unfamiliar with David’s long life here is a biographical sketch of some of the highlights with photos.

 

Building off the previous year’s success and momentum, United Israel World Union continued to expand.

Newlywed President David Horowitz sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion regarding the establishment of colonies in Israel.

UIWU also announced the formation in Greater New York City of a Young Men’s and Young Women’s Anti-Discrimination Auxiliary under the name B’nai Sinai. It was a program designed to unify and strengthen the ranks of an Israeli youth of a new age, one born out of the Hitlerian holocaust. It would offer renewed hope and faith in the eternal ideals of their heritage born at Sinai. Response and growth was widespread among the young men and women of the Empire City and the organization would soon have its own officers and committee heads.

On April 22, 1951, UIWU held it’s eighth Annual Meeting and announced plans for the building of the organization’s second Hebrew Altar to serve a growing congregation in West Virginia. The dedication was scheduled to take place in the town of Wilbur during the Feast of Tabernacles in October.

The Korean War had intensified. China had intervened and two hundred thousand Chinese troops had entered North Korea. On April 11, US President Harry Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his Far Eastern command.

May 1951 marked a new chapter in American Zionism and David Horowitz would witness firsthand many of the new developments.

The Zionist Organization of America’s Salute to Israel Rally was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on the evening of May 13-commemorating the Third Anniversary of the State of Israel. The pageant entitled “Twin Flames of Freedom” was presented at the rally before over 20,000 spectators. The marvelous pageant-conceived by Israeli Ben Aronim and produced by Isaac Van Grove-linked the destinies of the oldest and youngest world democracies. It drew a sharp parallel in the struggle of the United States and Israel to achieve independence. The very nature of this unique pageant symbolized the link that would bind the two democracies into a bond of eternal friendship involving ongoing cooperation and co-ordination of action and activities.

The celebration continued as two warships of the Israeli Navy arrived in New York harbor on a goodwill tour of American ports. It marked the first visit of any unit of Israel’s armed forces. Representing the world’s youngest navy, the warships (frigates) named “Misgav” (Secure Haven) and “Haganah” (Defense) were veterans of Israel’s War of Independence. Members of the crew were from over 30 different countries. Many bore the brand of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps and had personal, dramatic stories to share of survival and migration to Israel. Mrs. Nan Reilly, new UIWU associate editor and David’s new wife, interviewed Israeli sailors during the warship’s NY visit for United Israel World Union.

An announced Israeli bond drive of one half billion dollars opened in the US. Following an extensive tour of leading American cities on behalf of the bond issue drive, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion left New York on the afternoon of May 31st aboard the Queen Mary. At Paris, he would board an El Al Israeli National plane for the return trip to Israel. On the eve of his departure, Mr. Ben Gurion made the following statement at a meeting with the representatives of the press: “I am returning to Israel profoundly moved by the warmth and cordiality of the reception which Mrs. Ben Gurion and I have experienced on all sides during our stay in this country. In Washington, I twice had the opportunity of meeting with President Truman and of learning firsthand of his deep personal interest in the welfare and development of Israel.”

Truman Eban Ben Gurion

David Horowitz personally met and interviewed several members of Hollywood’s leading personalities appearing in NY for the festivities. Peter Hanson, Joan Taylor and Nancy Hale were among Paramount’s Golden Circle who spent time with David at a luncheon held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on May 15th.

Israel and the United States-it was a golden celebration.

On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah Ibn Hussein of Jordan is assassinated as he leaves the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. His murder is attributed to his willingness to negotiate with Israel. David Horowitz, who had carried on a written dialogue with the King in the mid 1940’s, was deeply saddened. An account of this dialogue was covered in a previous release entitled Dialogue with an Arab King.”

In late August 1951, David was back in Israel. He was fortunate to have arranged a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. The occasion of the visit marked the presentation to the State of Israel of United Israel’s first symbolic flag at the behest of the West Olive unit in Michigan. The Premier accepted the flag enthusiastically and would later convey his appreciation. Dated August 29, 1951, the Prime Minister wrote:

“Your kind letter of August 20th was conveyed to me by Mr. David Horowitz. I was deeply moved by its contents and by your fine gesture in sending us your symbolic flag. I have told my colleagues in the Government of Israel of your letter and of your gift. The flag I will hand over to the State of Israel and, in accordance with your wishes, it will be kept in Jerusalem, the Holy City, the capital of our State.” 

On October 14, 1951, the second UIWU Altar was dedicated at Wilbur, West Virginia. The Clarksburg Telegram of October 15 carried a full report of the dedication in a front-page story.

Yasser Arafat of the Husseini clan begins organizing Palestinian radicals in Cairo and recruits Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and other future leaders of the PLO.

In early 1952, UIWU began experiencing financial difficulties and announced they were no longer able to have the United Israel Bulletin published. It was replaced by a number of “Personal Letters” consisting of several legal sized pages with a bulletin-like format. The last magazine style bulletin appeared in March 1952. It was not until April 1957 that the bulletin reappeared, this time in a tabloid form.

In Personal Letter #5 of July 1952, David reported that he has a new column entitled “Behind the Scenes at the United Nations” which the Western Jewish News of Winnipeg, Canada, had assigned to him to write for the publication. A leading magazine in Bombay, India and the “Jewish Herald” in Johannesburg, South Africa soon picked up the column as a regular feature. In the first few columns, David referred to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s participation at the UN in connection with her deep understanding of Israel. Upon reading the columns, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote David a nice note of appreciation.

During July 1952, King Farouk of Egypt is dethroned by a bloodless coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat and others. Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, in a Knesset speech, extends the “hand of friendship” to the new Egyptian regime and privately offers economic and political assistance, which Egypt responds to favorably. Private conversations would continue until December 1954.

Returning from a trip to Spokane, Washington in October, David stopped over in Kansas City, Missouri and had a long visit with one of President Truman’s closest friends, Eddie Jacobson. Jacobson and Truman were once business partners and were also buddies during World War I. It was felt that Jacobson also had influenced Truman on the matter of the recognition of the State of Israel. David later received a letter from Jacobson telling him that he had finished reading David’s autobiography “33 Candles” and that he planned to visit David at the UN in November.

On November 9, 1952, the first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, died while in office. In a little known fact, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion offered Albert Einstein the position of President. Einstein declined the honor, saying he was “deeply moved by the offer, but didn’t consider himself suited for the position.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi would succeed Chaim Weizmann as president. The office of the President of Israel is a largely ceremonial position with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister.

Einstein and BenGurion

In the November 1952 Presidential election, former five-star general and Columbia University President, Dwight David Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson, becoming the 34th President of the United States.

Under the new US administration, Israel would soon learn just how much they missed President Harry Truman.

This is the seventh 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.