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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Legacy of Passover

The legacy of Passover has inspired the cause of liberty, as a natural right, in the United States in particular and throughout the globe in general.

I have compiled the following reflections on Passover based on writings by Jewish sages as a backdrop to the notion of liberty as a God given right.

crossing-the-red-sea.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Exodus took place around 1500 BC. The Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, the first month of the Jewish year and the introduction of natural and national spring (Nitzan is the Babylon word for spring and the Hebrew word for bud). Nissan (“Ness“-miracle in Hebrew-is the root) is the month of miracles, such as the Exodus, parting of the sea, Jacob wrestling the Angel, Deborah’s victory over Sisera and Daniel in the lion’s den. The 15th day of any Jewish month is endowed with a full moon, which stands for optimism in defiance of darkness and the most difficult odds.

Passover has four names: Holiday of Pesach (the sacrifice), Holiday of Liberty, Holiday of Matza and Holiday of Spring. It is the first Jewish holiday, according to the Jewish calendar, which starts in the spring (Aviv in Hebrew). A time when all things come alive. The word spring is mentioned three times in the Torah, all in reference to Exodus. Passover, which commemorates the creation of the Jewish nation, lasts for seven days, just like the creation of the universe.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding father, highlighted Passover’s focus on the land of Israel and memory (UN Commission, 1947): “300 years ago, the Mayflower launched it’s historical voyage. How many remember the data of the voyage? How many passengers were on the Mayflower and what kind of bread did they consume? However, 3,300 years earlier, the Exodus from Egypt took place. Every Jew knows the date of the Exodus, the 15th day of the month of Nissan, and the kind of bread, Matza (unleavened bread) consumed. To this day Jews all over the world, tell the story of the Exodus and eat Matza on the 15th of Nissan. They conclude the story of the Exodus (Hagadah) with the statement: “This year we’re slaves, but next year we shall be liberated; this year we’re here, but next year in Jerusalem.” Consistent with Ben Gurion’s comments, Jacob and Joseph demanded to be buried in Hebron and in Shchem (Nablus) and not in Egypt, since burial sites perpetuate presence and deed.

Passover, just like monotheism, the Sabbath, Ten Commandments and repentance/Yom Kippur, constitute a Jewish gift to humanity. It has been a global inspiration to liberty and to national liberation (Let my people go).

The Exodus inspired the Puritans, the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, who considered themselves “the modern day People of the Covenant”, King George III “the modern day Pharaoh”, the Atlantic “the modern day Red Sea” and America “the modern day Promised Land”. The term “Federalism” is based on “Foedus“, the Latin word for “The Covenant”. The Founding Fathers considered the political structure of the Twelve Tribes, sustaining semi-independance, governed by Moses, Aharon, Joshua and the 70 person Legislature, a model for the 13 colonies and the US political system.

Moses, the hero of Passover, has become a role model of leadership. The Mosaic legacy has greatly impacted US democracy, hence Moses’ marble replica at the House Chamber on Capital Hill, at the Rayburn House Office Building’s subway station and at the Supreme Court (holding the Ten Commandments).

The Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, equal to the 50 years of Jubilee, another historical pivot of liberty. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10) is inscribed on our Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Our forefathers viewed our country’s founding through a biblical lens. Consider:

*George Washington and John Adams were compared to Moses and Joshua.

*Adams, Jefferson and Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses parting of the sea as the official US seal and Benjamin Franklin proposed the following design:

Benjamin Franklin's Great Seal: A New Exodus

Benjamin Franklin’s Great Seal: A New Exodus

*John Locke considered Moses’ 613 laws as the most fitting legal foundation of the new society in America.

*Ezra Styles, the President of Yale University, stated that “Moses, the man of God, assembled 3 million people, the number of people in America in 1776…” (May 8, 1783).

*John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts: “God has entered into a Covenant with those who are on their way to wilderness in America, just as He had entered into Covenant with the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai…” (1630 sermon on the Arbella).

The legacy of the Exodus has nurtured optimism, principle-driven defiance of odds, long-term tenacity and the centrality of tradition, education and national memory. It may be best summed up by a statement by President Calvin Coolidge on May 3, 1925: “The Hebraic mortars cemented the foundations of American democracy…”

For more on this subject, please see previous UIWU blog articles entitled: “America’s Hebrew Heritage” and “Christmas 1776: George Washington, an American Joshua“.


Buntyn
Ralph Buntyn is Executive Vice-President of United Israel World Union, a retired senior VP for Motion Industries, and now spends his time on historical research–much related to the 70 years of archives of United Israel.

Was Christ our Passover?

RossNicholsPublicityRDAs Easter approaches millions of Christians will associate the death of Jesus by crucifixion with the Jewish rite of Passover–reinforced by sermons, readings from the Bible, and liturgy. In this article, that appears with permission from Ross Nichols, this association is examined from a Biblical and historical standpoint. The article was originally published in a revised version here at Ross’s Roots of Faith web site. We encourage readers to visit Roots of Faith for a wealth of Biblical studies and information including hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings.

On a positive note, more and more Christians are searching Scripture in an effort to orient themselves towards a more Hebraic understanding. Non-Jews are celebrating biblical festivals, taking up dietary rules prescribed in the Torah, abandoning their previously learned anti-nomian beliefs, learning Hebrew, and returning to the Hebraic roots of their faith. These people are good and sincere souls seeking deliverance from nearly two thousand years of spiritual slavery, during which, false religious teachers have held them captive and oppressed them. A modern day Moses might well go forth today with a message to modern day pharaohs saying “Let my people KNOW!” No doubt there will be those who do not wish to leave the comfort of their Egypt, desiring the onions and leeks served daily in the only home they have known, but others are willing to endure the hardships of a new Exodus. It is for these who seek deliverance that the present article is written. Christians have inherited lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit, when it comes to a true and biblical understanding of Passover.

Agnus_Dei_with_Vexillum

In a text attributed to the apostle Paul, we learn that Christians are encouraged to participate in Passover. “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:6-8).

Based upon this text and the gospel accounts associated with what are referred to as the passion narratives, Christians have come to certain conclusions that support their theology. The messiah, or Christ as the Greek puts it, becomes a sort of symbolic Passover lamb. The Passover lamb is then presented as merely a shadow of things to come, finding its real meaning in the death of Jesus. The writer of John’s gospel in fact lends support to this comparison when John the baptizer sees an approaching Jesus and is made to say, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29b).

Searching for more similarities, Christians often point out that according to the gospel narratives, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem four days before Passover and is examined by the priests. This they argue fulfills the Torah’s obligation to “take a lamb” on the tenth day of the first month, and “keep watch over it until the fourteenth day” (Exodus 12:3-6). The purpose? Leaving aside the age of the lamb, and the fact that it can be taken “from the sheep or the goats,” it is to prove whether or not the lamb is “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5).  Jesus was killed on the day of preparation, between the evenings, and yet despite the horrors of crucifixion, not a bone was broken (John 19:14, 32, 33, 36). So too, these reports seem to fulfill certain requirements for the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, cf. Psalm 34:20).

Participants in messianic circles will likely learn that every aspect of the seder also point to Jesus. They are often shown the matzah and told that this bread, with piercings and stripes, represents the body of Jesus that was wounded for them, though the manufactured and boxed up bread today probably looks far different than the unleavened bread of antiquity. Further, they may be taught that the 3 matzos known as the afikomen represent a triune God, and that the symbolic meaning of taking the middle piece, wrapping it in linen, hiding it, and bringing it back also point to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The meal then, is presented as a teaching tool to share the deeper meaning of an ancient Hebrew Festival, which sadly and evidently has been kept from the ones who were charged to “keep” it in the first place!

So what’s so wrong with a seder such as is taught by Messianic Jews as advertised in this video? Just about everything. Much of what is taught has no connection with the first Passover described in the book of Exodus. Many of the teaching points are based upon traditional Passover meals, some of which find no direct support in the biblical texts. When it comes to making Jesus the Passover lamb, there are some difficulties as well.

One difficulty is sorting out the last supper. Was it a seder as is commonly taught, or a meal eaten the prior day? The original Passover meal was eaten AFTER the lamb was killed since the lamb was one of the key components to the meal. In other words, if Jesus is representative of the Passover lamb, he must be killed before the meal. The writer of John’s gospel suggests that this meal took place on the day of preparation, BEFORE the Passover (John 13:1; 18:28; 19:14, 42).

Other problems exist in making the Passover about the death of Jesus. The lamb had nothing at all to do with sin. The fact that the bones were unbroken aside, the year-old lamb was to be taken from “the sheep or the goats,” roasted and eaten. What about the blood? The blood of the sacrifice was to be applied to the doorways of the Israelites for one reason and one reason only. “For when YHVH goes through to smite the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, and YHVH will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter and smite your home” (Exodus 12:23). This leads to perhaps the biggest error in associating the death of Jesus with the redemption brought about through the Festival of Passover as taught in the Torah.

While Christians teach that the Passover is a picture of the death of God’s son, the Torah teaches the exact opposite! The Hebrew Bible recognizes that God has a son and this is an essential part of the authentic Passover message. The story of Passover however is not about God’s son dying, but about God’s son NOT dying while the sons of the oppressing nation are killed. As Moses prepares to go before Pharaoh the first time, we read the message that he is charged to deliver. “Thus says YHVH, Israel is my firstborn son. I have said to you, ‘Let my son go, that he may worship me, yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your firstborn son’” (Exodus 4:22-23)! A careful reading of the narrative of Passover affirms this in several places (Exodus 12:12, 27, 29; 13:15).

While Christianity teaches that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything” (Galatians 5:6), the Torah says the opposite. Circumcision is required of any male that will eat the Passover. It’s not enough, as Paul would have us believe to be circumcised inwardly (Romans 2:28). As far as a matter of the heart, the Hebrew Bible would agree (Deuteronomy 10:12-16; 30:1-6; Jeremiah 4:1-4), but this does not negate the clear language concerning the requirement for a circumcision “of the flesh” (Exodus 12:43-49).

As a faithful Jew, the historical Jesus likely kept the Passover Festival every year of his life (Luke 2:41). We do believe that Jesus was killed at the precise time and day that the lambs were killed. This finds support in the gospel narratives as well as a reference in the Talmud, which says, “On the eve of Passover, they hanged Yeshu” (Sanhedrin 43a). If truth be told, it is improbable that the hateful Pontius Pilate had a custom to release any Jew at any time, let alone during Israel’s festival of freedom. It is more probable that in some way he was pleased to put one of Jacob’s sons to death at the very time when they would be speaking of their deliverance from oppression.

The prophesied salvation of Israel is what must have been on the mind of Jesus on the final day of his life, Passover day in year 30 of the Common Era. Perhaps his cryptic answer about one coming on the clouds, clearly a reference from Daniel chapter 7, was intended to declare his unwavering faith in the ancient prophecies of his people. This passage, though understood to be a prophecy about a messiah that would come on the clouds of heaven, is about restoring the kingdom to the people for which it was intended. If it is messianic at all, it has to do with a corporate messiah represented by the people of Israel (Psalm 105:12-15).

Passover is indeed a story of salvation and deliverance. It is meant to symbolize forever the redemption of God’s son, who does not die but is preserved alive. This is the only meaning that any child of Israel, including Jesus of Nazareth has ever known. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

References and Further Reading

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Articles by Dr. James D. Tabor

http://jamestabor.com/2010/03/18/was-jesus-last-meal-a-passover-seder/

http://jamestabor.com/2013/03/29/jesus-died-on-a-thursday-not-on-friday/

Passages from the Hebrew Bible related to Passover

Exodus 12-13; 23:15; 34:18; Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 9:1-15, 28:16-25, 33:3; Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Joshua 5:10-15; 2 Kings 23:10-14; Ezekiel 45:2; Ezra 6:19-22; 2 Chronicles 30:1-27, 35:1-9

Passages from the New Testament related to Passover and Jesus

Mark 14:1-57; Matthew 26:1-46; Luke 2:41, 22:1-53; John 11:55, 12:1; 13:1-38, 18:28; I Corinthians 5:7-8

 

Today is the Biblical New Year–Happy New Beginning to All!

January 1 on the Gregorian calendar is universally celebrated now as the New Year in most countries of the world. In addition the Chinese have their New Year, as do the Muslims, and of course the Jewish “New Year” of Rosh HaShanah, that falls in September or October–the 7th lunar month–is well known.Almost entirely overlooked is the original Biblical New Year–the 1st day of the 1st month of Nisan on the Jewish calendar. In the book of Exodus Moses tells the Israelites:

This month shall mark for you the beginning of the month; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you. Exodus 12:2

Today is Nisan 1st, the first day of the lunar month, which is always they month that leads up to Passover. Even though the focus on the 1st day of the 7th month is dominant in Judaism today has been picked up even in our culture as “Rosh HaShanah,” the Jewish “New Year,” in biblical times such was not the case. This is indeed the beginning of the “Sacred” year, not the civil year, and the return of the cycle of Sabbaths, New Moons, and Festivals. There is a lot in the Bible about this New Year’s Day and this season. The ancient Hebrews began their year in the Spring–a time of New Beginnings, not in the dead of Winter or in the Fall as everything was dying. There is a lot in the Bible about this day and this season.

first-day-of-spring

The terms “first day of the first month” in the Hebrew Bible, marking the ,”New Year” signal a new beginning, or renewal of life, including here in this text in the time of Moses at the Exodus. It is also called the turning of the year, and has to do with the sprouting of the barely, and with what we call “Spring”–at least in the northern hemisphere!

According to the Torah Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 (Gen 17:17).  A year earlier, when Abraham was 99, we have an important set of references to what was ahead.  Three “men” appeared to Abraham, one of whom is subsequently revealed to be an “epiphany” of Yahweh. The Yahweh figure tells Abraham explicitly twice:

I will certainly return to you when the season comes around, and lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son (Gen 18:10).

Is anything too hard for Yahweh?  At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes around, and Sarah shall have a son (Gen 18:14).

Two precise Hebrew expressions are used here, lending strong emphasis to the precise timing of the birth of Isaac.  There is great meaning in all this.  The first phrase, “when the season comes around,” is literally, “at the time (or season) of life.”  It is a reference to the new year in the Spring, in the month of Abib or Nisan (see Exodus 12:2).  It is worth noting that in the traditional reading of the Torah portions this section is paired with a reading from the Prophets, from 2 Kings 4.  There we read of another extraordinary birth, that of the son of the Shunammite woman during the time of Elisha (2 Kings 4:16).  Truly this month of Nisan is a month of miracles and “new birth” as we shall see.  The second phrase, “at the set time,” stresses the exactitude of the timing of this important event.  It will come at a precise time or season.  These are not merely superfluous passing references.  Three chapters later we read:

And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him (Gen 21:2).

What we learn here is that Isaac was born in the Spring of the year, likely in the month of Nisan, at a “set time.” In the book of Exodus we read of another “Spring” birth–this time the birth of the nation of Israel. Whether the author intended to link the two ideas or not is difficult to say:

Israel is My son, My first-born,
and I have said unto you: Let My son go (Exodus 4:22).

When Israel was a child I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son (Hosea 11:1).

Exodus 12:40-41 explicitly states that this “birth” of a nation taking place at this precise time:

Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.  And it came to pass, at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the very day [i.e., Passover], it came to pass that all the host of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt.

The reference to the very day is to the 15th of Nisan, the evening of the Passover Seder.  But what about this intriguing reference to 430 years?  Scholars have disputed over the meaning of this chronological note.  It should be noted that the verse, when properly translated, does not say that Israel was in the land of Egypt for 430 years, but rather the that the time of their “sojourning” was 430 years.  What event happened, 430 years earlier, “to the day,” from Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, based on the chronological records now preserved in the traditional Hebrew “Masoretic” text.

Some have suggested plotting this 430 year period of “sojourn” with the Call of Abraham in Genesis 12.  Others have counted the 430 years from the circumcision covenant with Abraham, when he was 99 years old (Gen 17).  Still others have begun the 430 years with the birth of Isaac in Genesis 21.  The Rabbinic source Seder ‘Olam preserves a traditional solution to this question.

In Genesis 23:4 Abraham tells the children of Heth, from whom he purchases the burial cave of Machpelah in Kiriatharba or Hebron, “I am a stranger and a sojourner” with you.   Abraham refers to himself as a ger (stranger) and a toshav (sojourner), even though the Land of Canaan had been promised to him. Abraham never received the Land of Promise in his lifetime; he remained a “sojourner” until the day of his death.  The same is true for Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and their 70 descendants who went down to Egypt.  The question is, precisely when did this “sojourning” of the people of Israel begin?  According to Seder ‘Olam it begins not in Genesis 12, with the Call of Abram to leave his father Terah’s house in Haran, but five years earlier, when he left the city of Ur in Babylon.  Note carefully, when Abram leaves Haran he is 75 years old (Gen 12:4).  But according to Genesis 11:31 “they went forth . . . from Ur of the Chaldees” some years earlier.  This is the actual beginning of their wandering or sojourning.  There is a significant reference in this regard in Genesis 15:7:

And He said to him: “I am Yahweh that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.”

One might have expected, on the basis of Genesis 12:1-3, for the text to read “who brought you out of your father’s house,” i.e., from Haran.  But in the Genesis tradition, picked up on by the Rabbis, the initial “Call” of Abram was out of Ur in Babylon, not from Haran in the land of Canaan.  In other words, the wandering, or “sojourning” of Abram begins before his call from Haran at age 75.  Also, the Hebrew word here is crucial.  The phrase here translated “brought you out” is from the verb yatz’ah, the same word used in Exodus 20:2 introducing the Ten Words at Mt Sinai:

I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

That would mean that according to the Masoretic chronology Abram left Ur, which was his own personal “Exodus” from idolatry and paganism, on the very same night, Nisan 15th, which later becomes the Passover.

The precise chronology of the Masoretic Hebrew text confirms this.  Note the following references and numbers (the years are given as AM, “after Man (i.e., Adam),” which correspond to the traditional numbering of Jewish years since Creation):

Abram leaves Ur    Abram 70    Year    2018 AM (Gen 11:31)

Abram leaves Haran    Abram 75    Year 2023 AM     (Gen 12:4)

Birth of Isaac    Abram 100    Year 2048 AM    (Gen 17:17)

Birth of Jacob    Isaac 60    Year 2108 AM (Gen 25:20)

Israel to Egypt    Jacob 130    Year 2238 AM (Gen 47:9)

Exodus    210 yrs later    Year 2448 AM (Ex 12:40)

The total years from Abram leaving Haran at age 75 (2023 AM) until Jacob going down to Egypt (2238 AM) are 215.  To this we add the 210 years of Egyptian slavery for a total of 425 years: from Abram leaving Haran, until the Exodus in the year 2448 AM.  Since Exodus 12:40-41 designates 430 years rather than 425 the conclusion becomes obvious. The five additional years are by default the time Abram spent in Haran.  Accordingly, he must have left Ur at age 70.  Thus, the total years of “sojourning of the children of Israel,” is precisely 430 years, from the Abram’s “going out from Ur” at age 70 (2018 AM), until Israel’s “going out of Egypt” in the year 2448 AM.

One important additional note here.  Why would Exodus 12:40 speak of the sojourn of the “children of Israel” as 430 years when this period begins with Abram?  The answer is that Abram stands for the whole people.  The term “Israel” is both a name and a title which includes Abraham and his entire line through Isaac and Jacob.  The Covenant with the Jewish people begins with Abraham.  The Rabbis love to play with letters and point out that the name ISRAEL in Hebrew is spelled Yod, Shin, Resh, Alef, Lamed.  These five Hebrews letters are the first letters of the names of the Patriarchs and their wives, namely Yod=Yitzak (Isaac) and Yaakov (Jacob); Shin=Sarah; Resh=Rebecca and Rachel; Lamed=Leah!

Isaac is born at a “set time,” when the “season of life” comes around.  We have already seen that this is a reference to the beginning of Spring, or the month of Nisan.  In Jewish tradition Isaac, as a miraculous child of promise, was born on Nisan 15th or Passover.  In fact Genesis hints at the festivals and holy days of Israel, later set forth in the Torah, as known in various ways in much earlier times (Gen 1:14; 8:13).  For example, there is a reference to Lot preparing “unleavened bread” or matzos, for the heavenly guests prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:3)!  Why matzos?  In the previous chapter Abraham has been told that Isaac will be born “at this season next year” (18:14).  So, in the text of Genesis we know we are in the time of Nisan, when Abram is 99, a year before Isaac’s birth.  Does Genesis imply that God rescued and removed Lot and his family from Sodom around, or even on, the very night of Passover? The text contains several Passover motifs.  The angels keep urging Lot and his family to leave, to hurry, and not to delay.  In a similar way the Israelites make haste to leave Egypt, not even allowing their bread to rise.

Remembering David Horowitz: What A Difference a Year Makes!

Times Square: New Year’s Eve and the countdown was underway. Suddenly it was 1950.

Happy New Year…Happy New Decade!

Samuel Epstein and David Horowitz were invited to a New Year’s Party in Greenwich Village to celebrate the new beginning. During the party the subject of Israel and the Middle East was raised and David was asked for an insider opinion. Some, not wanting to mix merriment with politics, objected rather loudly. Upon hearing the commotion, a Ms. Nan Reilly, seated just inside an adjacent room, spoke out loudly, “It’s regarding Israel, let him speak!” And so, with Ms. Reilly’s vociferous endorsement, David addressed the revelers on why he felt it was the British, more than the Arabs, who were responsible for the hostility and conflagration against Israel.

NYC NEW YEARS 1950

Following his address, David introduced himself to his young outspoken supporter. They spent much of the remaining evening in conversation and ringing in 1950 together.

Nan Reilly had been escorted to the party by composer Abner Silver, but following the party, was taken back to her East 76th Street residence by David and Mr. Epstein.

As David would discover later, Nan Reilly had a similar history in supporting Israel’s struggle for independence. Born in 1910 to an Irish father and English mother in Longford, Ireland, Nan’s childhood and early adolescence were spent like any other Irish child of that period, living on a rural farm with lots of chores and a warm family and community life. Unfortunately, that blissful existence came to an end when Nan was but a teenager. She lost both of her parents, then her aunt and uncle who had subsequently brought her to America.

Bereft of relatives, and still in her teens, Nan studied nursing and obtained her certification. It was during this period of loss that she began to make close friends in the Jewish community, both among her patients and other acquaintances. This new circle became her adopted family. Nan developed a fierce loyalty to the Jewish people and became an outspoken supporter of an independent State of Israel and an opponent of all forms of anti-Semitism.

Nan also became an ardent supporter and worker for the pro-Irgun “American Committee for a Free Israel,” which was led by the noted Samuel Merlin and Peter Bergson and supported by other such notables as Ben Hecht and Billy Rose. In connection with this work, she met and befriended the young Irgun leader Menachem Begin, thus meeting the great Israeli leader before David Horowitz would.

As the New Year unfolded, Middle Eastern issues continued to occupy the UN agenda.

The UN General Assembly, led by a coalition of Arab, Muslim, Catholic and Soviet bloc states votes for the internationalization of Jerusalem. In reaction, the Israeli government proclaims Jerusalem to be its capital and the Knesset is transferred there. Most countries refuse to move embassies to Jerusalem.

The General Assembly also established the UN Refugee Works Administration (UNRWA) beginning with a $54 million budget, to assist in employing refugees on relocation projects in Arab lands. Arab governments refuse to cooperate with any plan designed for economic integration and the UNRWA remained a relief agency.

Many new developments were also underway at United Israel World Union.

image12David Horowitz announced plans to visit Israel after a long absence. He would be returning as a correspondent for the UI publication and as head of United Israel World Union. His purpose was to make a comprehensive survey of conditions prevailing in Israel after statehood and explore possibilities for assisting in program development of a more unified educational system.

After meeting David at the New Year’s party, Nan Reilly began to take a greater interest in the activities of United Israel World Union, becoming a member of it’s editorial staff and assisting at UIWU’s Fifth Avenue office in her spare time.

Speaking at a meeting of the New York unit of UIWU on the eve of the biblical New Year, 1 Nisan 5710 (March 18, 1950), President David Horowitz emphasized that “the battle of the sword” for the redemption of Israel must be accompanied and followed by “the battle of education” towards the unity of all Israel in common with all nations. “The Mosaic Code,” stated Horowitz, “is not mere religion in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a philosophy of life applicable to all peoples and all times.” He announced that UIWU was expanding to include a more extensive program in the educational field and that a new United Israel Welfare Fund would be established to assist in the newly expanded program.

In an interesting development, the Jordan radio station in Amman announced plans to launch a series of Hebrew broadcasts. The programs were seen as the first move toward Jordan’s recognition of the Jewish state. The Amman station would be the only Middle Eastern station that referred to the new Jewish state of “Israel.”

During April 1950, the council of the Arab League adopts a resolution forbidding its members to conclude peace with Israel. They also refused to recognize the annexation by Jordan of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, calling it illegal.

On June 11, the Jewish National Fund announced the establishment of the Harry S. Truman Village in Israel. Vice-President Alben Barkley expressed the hope that the agricultural colony bearing the name of the President will “serve not only as a testimonial to President Truman’s efforts on behalf of the Jewish State, but also as a firm link which will bind together the oldest democracy in the New World with the youngest to be born after the World War, in a firm union against all aggression.”

April brought the seventh annual meeting of UIWU, several favorable reviews for David’s autobiography “33 Candles” and an extensive interview by New York radio station WLIB commentator Estelle Sternberger, whereby David explained how UIWU began and discussed the purpose and goals of the organization.

Events were heating up on other fronts.

Egypt closes the Suez Canal to Israeli ships and Israeli commerce.

In June 1950, North Korea invades South Korea. The UN Security Council, acting in absence of the Soviet Union, votes military sanctions and calls on its members to repel the invasion. President Truman authorizes the use of American forces.

On the 19th day of Tishre, 5711 (September 30, 1950), the Sabbath of the Feast of Tabernacles, members of United Israel World Union from various parts of the country converged upon West Olive, Michigan, at the estate of Lewis Goodin, Vice-President of the Union, to dedicate a new Hebrew altar. Scores of visitors from surrounding cities came to witness the historic dedication, including the Mayor of Grand Haven and the leading Rabbi of Muskegon. The New York Times, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and all the local newspapers had representatives covering the biblical ceremony. The New York Times coverage of the event appeared in their October 1, 1950 edition.

With UN Day only three days away, David Horowitz finished the final draft of an article entitled “America’s Destiny, The United Nations and the World.” He completed it in the United Nations Press area at Lake Success on October 21, 1950 and the first copy was dispatched that same day to President Harry S. Truman.

David arrived at Flushing Meadows on the morning of October 24, UN Day 1950.

Everything was in readiness for President Truman’s arrival on this historic day, where he was scheduled to be the final speaker. With a number of newsman and security personal in the hallway, David witnessed Truman’s entry. Truman’s address on the role and vision of the United Nations was moving and passionate, citing the promise in Isaiah that “swords shall be beaten to plowshares and that nations shall not learn war anymore.”

Following the adjournment of the Assembly, a special UN reception was held for the President. David was standing nearby with a couple of White House correspondents when the President left. The President looked over, smiled and chuckled, “well, well!”

It had been a year filled with change and progress. United Israel World Union was experiencing incredible exposure and growth and David was becoming much more involved in UN activities.

As 1951 came into being, David Horowitz and Nan Reilly, whom he had met at the New Year’s Party the previous year, were married. Truly, what a difference a year can make.

This is the sixth 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judgment at Nuremberg: Purim Fest 1946!

On the occasion of the Purim holiday, I’d like to share something I have read in a number of sources over the years and find fascinating to this day. It is the strange and captivating connection between the Megilla Esther story and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946. Many will remember the chilling 1961 film “Judgment at Nuremberg,” still worth watching and you can read more about the trials, the accused, and their crimes here.

A rare color photo of the accused in the docket

A rare color photo of the accused in the docket

Those of us familiar with the story of Esther (478-464 B.C.) know how she was instrumental in bringing deliverance to the Jews living in Persia who did not return to Jerusalem after Cyrus’ decree. The defeat of the wicked Prime Minister Haman whose lies were intended to bring destruction to the Jewish people is still celebrated today as the Feast of Purim.

On October 16, 1946, ten of the highest-ranking Nazi officers of Hitler’s Germany were put to death. Three more were given life sentences (Rudolf Hess, the last surviving relic of the trials, died in Spandau Prison in 1987 at the age of 93), four were imprisioned for up to twenty years, and three were acquitted.

After 216 court sessions the International Military Tribunal, convened specially for this purpose, disbanded itself and later in that day the ashes of the men responsible for the Holocaust were scattered into a little brook in Munich-Solln, and thereupon vanished forever. The true horror of Nazism had been revealed to the world every day for almost a year, and now the grimmest chapter in the history of the civilized world was all but closed. While the ashes of Hitler’s top politicians and officers have disappeared into oblivion, not many people are aware of a more divine significance of this historic event, one connected to an episode in Persia over 2,500 years ago.

When King Ahasuerus, then the most powerful man on earth, offered to grant Queen Esther whatever she desired for having saved his life, she replied, “If it please the king, let it tomorrow also be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do according to the law of this day, and let the 10 sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.”

This is a remarkable request since Haman’s 10 sons had already been killed by the sword in the citadel of Susa (Esther 9:6-14). Nevertheless, in accordance with Esther’s wishes their 10 dead bodies were hanged. In the Apocryphal Greek version of Esther, chapter 9 verses 13-14 reads: And Esther said to the king, “Let the Jews be allowed to do the same tomorrow. Also, hang up the bodies of Haman’s 10 sons.” So he permitted this to be done, and handed over to the Jews of the city the bodies of Haman’s sons to hang up.

When the Megilla Esther was written, the names of the 10 sons of Haman who were hanged are enumerated. In the Hebrew text, the letters of the names are several times larger than the regular text. Yet, in the second, eighth and eleventh entry in the list, there are three letters; Tav, Shin and Zayn which are only a tiny fraction the size of the regular text–they are almost hard to spot. This mysterious order has been followed ever since in copies of the Megillat Esther. The numerical value of the three diminished letters equals 707.

10SonsHaman Esther Scroll

The Nuremberg Trials ended on October 1, 1946, which corresponded with the Jewish year of 5706. However, the due process of law meant the sentences of the convicted men could not be passed down until after appeals for clemency, of which there were many, had been heard. Finally, the sentences were pronounced. The Jewish New Year had arrived in the interim-it was 5707.

Twelve Nazis were meant to hang-although the method of execution might equally as well have been the firing squad-but Martin Bormann had escaped at the end of the war and was sentenced to death in absentia, and Herman Goering committed suicide two hours before his destined execution, leaving 10 condemned men.

In the early hours of October 16, 1946 during a 90 minute period, these 10 top Nazis went to their death on the gallows. The guards, with precise, ruthless efficiency brought them in one by one to deliver their last words and die. Only Julius Streicher went without dignity. His appearance happened at 2:11 a.m. He had to be pushed across the floor, wild-eyed and screaming, “Heil Hitler!” Mounting the steps, he cried out: “and now I go to God.” He was pushed the last two steps to the mortal spot beneath the hangman’s rope. Streicher swung around to face the witnesses and glared at them. Suddenly he screamed “Purim Fest 1946!” Then he was hanged.

The Megilla Esther had predicted that just as these 10 sons, descendants of Amalek and enemies of the Jews, were hanged, so again in the year 5707 (1946) would 10 other children of Haman be hanged.

The day of the early morning executions the front page headlines of the October 16, 1946 Late City Edition of The New York Times broke the story of what had just happened. In another strange twist, this was the day of Hoshana Raba.

Nuremberg

“…On the seventh day of the Succot Holiday (Hoshana Raba), the judgement of the nations of the world is finalized. Sentences are issued from the residence of the King. Judgements are aroused and executed on that day.” Zohar Vayikra 31b

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.

 

Benjamin Netanyahu: A Modern Day Mordechai

RossNicholsPublicityRDThis article originally appeared at Roots of Faith (March 1,2015) and is reprinted here with thanks to Ross Nichols. It was written prior to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress.

 

Purim is a Jewish holiday, whose etiology is found in the Hebrew Bible’s book of Esther. In the book, a behind-the-scenes plot to destroy the Jewish people is foiled by an informed Jew named Mordechai and his strategically placed niece Esther. The book presents an ancient anti-Semitic antagonist by the name of Haman, a descendant of the infamous Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:17-19; Exodus 17:8-16). At its core, the book tells a tale of how the Jews survived death in the face of anti-Semitic hatred. Berlin states, “In the end, though, the message is positive: Good triumphs and evil is eradicated; the threat of Jewish annihilation is averted and the Jewish community is assured of continuity and prosperity” (Berlin, 2004, p. 1625). As Purim approaches, it is the Prime Minister of Israel who is seeking the good of his people and interceding for the welfare of his kindred, against threats from those in a modern Persia who desire their destruction.

Netanyahu

While the Jewish people prepare to celebrate their survival in antiquity, the words and themes of the book of Esther seem to take on a new relevance as Benjamin Netanyahu travels to the United States to speak before the American Congress. The visit of Israel’s Prime Minister has created quite the stir. The invitation it seems, violated certain protocols, comes at a crucial period in negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear program, and is viewed by many as counter productive when it comes to an already strained relationship between the governments of Israel and the United States. None of this has deterred Bibi. Against all of the encouragement and pressure to cancel his address, the Israeli leader has promised to do everything in his power to make his concerns heard. He has clearly said that as the Prime Minister of Israel he is obligated to ensure the security of Israel, and part of this obligation is to do everything in his power to oppose the present negotiations with Iran.

Is the threat real or imagined? Is there any hope in reaching a peaceful resolution to the concerns of the global community? Every sensible person is concerned about the intentions of Tehran’s leadership when it comes to their nuclear program. One does not have to look far to find threats against the Jewish state from people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Some have suggested that Hassan Rouhani is more moderate, but others doubt this assessment. Due to global mistrust, an international team has formed to negotiate a peaceful resolution to concerns around Iran’s nuclear program. The team is known as P5+1 and consists of delegates from the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Russia and China. The European Union is facilitating the negotiations.

Benjamin Netanyahu remains unconvinced that the negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran will prove successful and sees his appeal to Congress as perhaps his only chance at convincing American leadership of the true intentions of Iran. Netanyahu holds that the potential threat is too real to ignore and that easing sanctions will enable Israel’s enemies to reach a nuclear threshold state within a short period of time, thus endangering the people of Israel. So, on the eve of the Jewish celebration of Purim, a modern Jewish voice, inspired by characters and events from the Bible’s book of Esther is making his way to the United States.

While it is untenable to make direct correlations between the characters of the book of Esther and the modern day, Netanyahu may find it useful to draw from the characters and events in the story of Esther. Like a modern day Mordechai, he is right to refuse to bow down to edicts that contradict his values and beliefs. Perhaps his visit to the Western Wall before leaving for the U.S. correlates to Mordechai’s mourning, and his speech before Congress to the crying out loud over the threat against his people (Esther 4:1). Like Mordechai of old, he will not have access to the king. He will need to do his work through friends in high and influential places. There is no Esther in our modern play unless Congress can fill the role. If they fear a breach of protocol, perhaps he should warn them that even their present position will not guarantee their safety and that if they “keep silent in this crisis, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, while [they] and [their] father’s house will perish” (Esther 4:15). Netanyahu might further encourage members of Congress that perhaps they have attained their present positions, “for such a time as this.

The role of Haman is played out in the voices of such men as Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, who want to destroy the Jewish people. If the scenario plays out in modern times as in antiquity, their true intentions will become manifest and the evil that they intend for the Jewish people will be returned upon their heads. Perhaps the writer of Ecclesiastes was correct when he said that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). On March 3, 2012, on a previous trip to Washington, Benjamin Netanyahu presented President Obama with a scroll of the book of Esther. This trip, the Israeli Prime Minister will need to share the story with Washington as if the existence of the Jewish people depended upon it. If he does his job effectively, generations from now, people will say of him that he was “highly regarded by the Jews, popular with the multitudes of his brothers, he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of his kindred” (Esther 10:3).

References:

Berlin, A., & Brettler, M.Z. (2004). The Jewish Study Bible (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

P5+1 Negotiations with Iran. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-negotiations

Purim: Celebrate, but Remember!

From the Rabbi…

RabbiJones

 

 

 

And Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord is My Banner.” And he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” (vv. 14-16)

 

The holiday of Purim is just around the corner. Beginning at sundown on Wednesday, March 4, and extending until sundown on Thursday, March 5, it is a time of joyous celebration for Jewish families the world over. We will observe the four mitzvot or commandments of Purim which are enunciated in the Hebrew Bible (Esther 9:20-22) and reinforced in the Mishnah (Mas. Megilah 2a): the reading of the megillah of Esther, matanot l’evyonim—giving money to the poor, mishloach manot—gifts of food to friends, and feasting. Our hearts will be filled with gladness! But, we should also take time to remember that Purim represents a very serious subject as well, the age long struggle of those who would stand for the good against the forces of evil. It is a sad fact that the enemies of Israel and of the Jewish people have a hatred so intense it seems unexplainable in terms of normal human emotions. And, that hatred is both ancient and modern.

We read in the Torah, in the 25th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, that as our people were coming out of Egypt, a tribe called Amalek laid in wait along the way and attacked Israel from the rear as they passed through. Amalek picked off the weakest members of the Israelite group, women, children, and stragglers. The Torah states that Amalek “did not fear God.” A very stern pronouncement against Amalek occurs twice in the Torah, once in Deuteronomy, “It shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies in the land which the LORD your God gives you…, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.” (vv. 17-19) This commandment appears to be a clarification of the more cryptic statement in the 17th chapter of Exodus, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ And Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord is My Banner.” And he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” (vv. 14-16)

EstherNow, the connection between Amalek and Purim might not be immediately obvious to most readers. The evil Haman, whose hatred of the Jews defies rational explanation, leading him to seek the Jewish people’s annihilation, is referred to in the book of Esther as an Agagite (3:1). The connecting link to Amalek is found in the 15th chapter of the book of First Samuel. The newly crowned King Saul is leading the Israelites in a life and death struggle against the neighboring tribe of Amalek. God, through the prophet Samuel, had instructed Saul that God was about to punish Amalek for the crimes done to the people of Israel when they were on the way out of Egypt, and the judgment was to be harsh. Saul, in defiance of God’s command, spared the king of Amalek, Agag, the ancestor of the wicked Haman. (I Samuel 15:1-9)

Parallels to those who hate the Jewish people so intensely and who seek our annihilation, while difficult to comprehend or accept, can be found in almost every generation, most recently and egregiously in the acts of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. I have never been so moved by a Purim story as I was recently by a story told by Lori Palatnik, a writer, educator, and the founding director of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project. She tells of a neighbor she had while living in Toronto whose name was Mr. Cohen. He was a holocaust survivor. As a youth of only 17, Mr. Cohen had been taken by the Nazis to Auschwitz. Knowing he would be there for a long time, if he survived, Mr. Cohen memorized the Jewish calendar for the next several years. He was known by his peers in the camp as a walking calendar. They would ask him, “When is Shabbat?” “When is Hanukah?” “When is Pesach?” And, Mr. Cohen would be able to tell them. When it was Purim, Mr. Cohen and a group of men met secretly in their barracks. They had smuggled a few bits of potato and bread crust as well as a book of Esther into their deplorable living area. The men stood in a circle as quietly as possible so as not to arouse Nazi suspicion, and they passed the bits of bread and potato from man to man in fulfillment of the mishloach manot commandment. The last to receive the morsels of food was Mr. Cohen, for it was he who was about to read the megillah of Esther. As they read the story of Esther under the harsh oppression of the Nazis, you can only imagine the joy it brought to their hearts to hear of the victory of the Jewish people over their enemies on Purim over 2300 years ago. We ultimately gained victory over the Nazis as well, though many, many precious souls had to give their lives in the process. Still, the Jewish people survives, thrives, and prospers. Truly a modern miracle (http://www.aish.com/sp/lal/Purim_in_Auschwitz.html)

Jewish author, Tracey Rich, tells a similar Purim story about Joseph Stalin. Rich relates the story from Chabad, the Lubavitcher Hasidic Jewish group, that in the year 1953 Joseph Stalin was planning to exile all of the Jews in the Soviet Union to camps in Siberia. At a Purim gathering of the Lubavitcher Jews that year, their Rebbe was asked to give a blessing on the Jews of the Soviet Union. Instead of a blessing, he told a story about a Jewish man who was in attendance at the election of a Soviet official earlier that year. The crowd was shouting, “Hoorah! Hoorah!” as the candidate stood on stage. The Jewish man did not want to validate the candidate by shouting, “Hoorah,” but neither did he want to draw the suspicion of the crowd. So, he indeed shouted, “Hoorah,” while knowing in his own heart that he meant “Hu ra,” which in Hebrew means, “He is evil!” Moved by the Rebbe’s message, the Jews at the Purim celebration began to shout in unison, “Hu ra! Hu ra! Hu ra!,” referring to Joseph Stalin. Later that same night, March 1, 1953, Stalin experienced a stroke that led to his death a few days later. His plan to deport the Jews was never carried out. (http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm)

Rabbi Benjamin Blech reminds us that the meaning of Purim can be found not only in the great miracles of the ages, but also in the small miracles of everyday life. A common term for such everyday miracles is “serendipity.” Defined as “a fortuitous happenstance” or “a pleasant surprise,” serendipity can be thought of as a beneficial occurrence that seems to defy statistical odds. For example, one evening you have just been thinking of a friend whom you have not seen for many years and with whom you long to reestablish contact, and the next day you happen to bump into that friend at the grocery store. Or, you set an arbitrary date to meet with your friends based on your busy schedules, and then you find out in retrospect that the day you chanced to pick is, in fact, the anniversary of some important event that is meaningful to you and those friends. Rabbi Blech points out that some of the greatest scientific achievements of all time were made under the most serendipitous of circumstances.

How does this relate to Purim? The miracle of Purim is recorded in the Hebrew Bible in the book of Esther. Esther is one of only two books in the Bible which do not mention God or the name of God at all (the other being Song of Songs). And yet, one cannot read the amazing details of the hatred and plot against the Jews, the coming of a Jewish princess into a position of power disguised and against all odds, and the ultimate triumph of the Jewish people over their enemies, without sensing the power and the hand of God in the events. So it is with serendipity. God may not be working in overt, readily observable ways or in mighty miracles. But, according to Rabbi Blech, “Serendipity is God whispering to us; it is God’s still small voice that beckons us to be aware of God’s presence.” (http://www.aish.com/h/pur/t/dt/Purim-and-Serendipity.html)

As we celebrate this year’s holiday of Purim and mark the final month of the Hebrew calendar, Adar, leading up to our beloved Pesach, it is my prayer for you that you too will find God working in your life, whether in the grand ways or small. Ken yehi ratzon—May this be God’s will.

Remembering David Horowitz: A Decade of Change–The Greatest Generation

Israel, the Jewish State in Palestine, was born on May 14, 1948. The day after Israel declared its independence, five Arab armies-Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq-invaded Palestine in an effort to prevent Israel from coming into being.

The Arab war to destroy Israel failed. The cost to Israel, however, was enormous, both in human loss and economic cost. Because of their aggression, the Arabs wound up with less territory than they would have had if they had accepted partition and the United Nations would be faced with a huge Palestinian refugee issue. Israel expected its neighbors to accept its independence as a fact and negotiate peace. This was not to be.

Four of the Arab countries signed armistice agreements with Israel in 1949 with Iraq being the only country choosing not to do so. It would be 30 years before an Arab state would agree to make peace with Israel.

1948 was winding down.

On September 14, 1948, the symbolic ground breaking ceremony of the United Nations permanent headquarters located in the Turtle-Bay area on the East Side of Manhattan took place. The event marked the beginning of the actual work of excavation for the thirty-nine story first building. David Horowitz once remarked that he “watched the UN compound go up brick by brick.”

October 24 would be declared United Nations Day to commemorate the coming into force of the United Nations Charter, one of the greatest international undertakings in history. October 24th would be observed each year thereafter throughout the world as United Nations Day.

During the same period, Dwight David Eisenhower was installed as the thirteenth president of Columbia University. Some interesting sidelights on the appointment: the number thirteen happens to be both America’s and Israel’s peculiar symbol. Nearly all the emblems on the Great Seal of the United States run in groups or clusters of thirteen. America started with thirteen colonies, Israel with thirteen tribes. Also, thirteen is the numerical value of the Hebrew word “echad” (meaning one).

GreatestGeneration

Eisenhower was taking over the reigns of the only university in the world whose official seal carries the Hebrew name YHVH as its most imposing symbol. Eisenhower would later succeed Harry Truman as the 34th President of the United States.

Once again America stood at the head among the nations of the world in espousing the cause of Israel. The January-February 1949 issue of the UI Bulletin covered the story of the December 2, 1948 session of the Security Council in which U.S. Spokesman, Dr. Philip C. Jessup, delivered a stirring appeal urging Israel’s immediate admission as the fifty-ninth member of the UN. Dr. Jessup’s declaration indicated clearly where President Truman stood on Israel.

On March 4, 1949, the Security Council recommended Israel for admission to the United Nations. The vote, coming at about 5:40 pm (almost midnight in Israel) was 9 in favor, 1 against (Egypt), and 1 abstention (England).

David Horowitz would be present on May 11, the twelfth day of Iyar, 5709, at about 7:30 pm, when the United Nations congregated in its General Assembly Building at Flushing Meadows and admitted Israel as the 59th member nation. David summed up the prevailing emotions as the event unfolded: “It was a dramatic occasion. As the vote was taken, there prevailed an air of tense alertness, vigil and almost breathlessness. Even some of the most seasoned newsmen showed emotions that revealed their innermost feelings. Most of them, having followed the Israeli case from the very outset of the struggle, had hoped for just this sort of development. The vote, 37 in favor, 12 against with 9 abstentions, came as a sort of climax to a drama upon which the eyes of the world had been focused for a long time. For the Jews, the event seemed Messianic in scope.”

In the November 1949 edition of the UI Bulletin, there was a story on Herbert Hoover’s plan for Palestine. Hoover, a former US President (1929-33) and a Quaker, was known as “the great humanitarian” for his many relief initiatives that fed war-torn Europe during and after World War I and similar efforts post World War II. He had proposed a plan for the many displaced Palestinian refugees following Israel’s War of Independence.

Much could be written, and has been, regarding the refugee issue. For brevity sake however, the least one should know is an overview of the facts. The Palestinians left their homes in 1947-48 for many reasons. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, fleeing to neighboring Arab countries to await its end. Thousands more responded to Arab leaders’ calls to flee out of the way of the advancing armies and in a few cases the Israeli forces did expel Arab residents from villages, usually out of military necessity.

From census records, best estimates show that no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. Reports by the UN mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower figure of 472,000.

There would be no welcome mats in neighboring Arab countries for the displaced refugees and the UN would become essentially a welfare agency for the Palestinians.

Hoover’s proposal was that Iraq be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine. Quoting directly from Hoover’s plan: “In ancient times the irrigation of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys supported probably 10 million people. The deterioration and destruction of their irrigation works by the Mongol invasion centuries ago and their neglect for ages are responsible for the shrinkage of the population. My own suggestion is that Iraq might be financed to complete this great land development on the consideration that it be made the place of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine.

This would clear Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization.

A suggestion to transfer the Arab people of Palestine was made by the British Labor Party in December 1944, however, no adequate plan was proposed as to where or how they were to go. There is room for many more Arabs in such a development in Iraq than the total of Arabs in Palestine. The soil is more fertile. They would be among their own race, Arab-speaking and Mohammedan.”

The Hoover Plan was submitted to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine in December 1945.

Speaking in Kansas City on December 27, 1948, President Harry Truman made reference to the Hoover Plan as a possible settlement of the Arab refugee problem brought about by the war in Palestine. He viewed it as a way to relieve the plight of the refugees while also benefiting Iraq since Palestinians excel at both agriculture and construction.

The November 1949 issue of the UI Bulletin also included a full-page advertisement for David Horowitz’s autobiography “33 Candles.” It included a publishing date of November 1949 with a retail price of $3.50.

Israel was now a member nation of the UN and was ready to take its place at the big table. The alphabetical seating arrangement of the United Nations delegates at all committee meetings placed Israel in a rather uncomfortable position. Directly at Israel’s left sits Iraq, then Iran and India. At her right is Lebanon. These states, who voted against Israel’s admission into the World Body, seemed not to be too pleased with their immediate seating partner. The UN experience would lead to Israeli delegate Abba Eban making his famous observation, while commenting about the UN General Assembly: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”

The decade of the 1940s was one of immense change in every aspect of the human experience. Those living in our country at that time were a part of what has been called “The Greatest Generation.” David Horowitz’s life would become profoundly redirected.

United Israel World Union was founded as a world organization and Horowitz would begin a long and successful career as a United Nations Correspondent.

An impressive endorsement came from famous French author and playwright Edmund Fleg. Interviewed at his Paris home, Fleg stated that the advent of “United Israel World Union in the new World is without a doubt a sign of a new beginning in American Anglo-Jewish life. It is my sincere hope that United Israel will spread to all parts of the world. The idea has a message for tomorrow.”

It was a year of many accomplishments, but David Horowitz was about to close 1949 with an event that would change his life.

This is the fifth 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.