[yshavurah] Fw: 10 Minutes of Torah - Israel Connections

  • From: "Cheryl Levine" <clevineys@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Havurah Listserv" <yshavurah@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2004 07:13:15 -0500

Some interesting information about some interesting people
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Union for Reform Judaism 
To: 10 Minutes of Torah - Israel Connections 
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 4:09 PM
Subject: 10 Minutes of Torah - Israel Connections

                   December 8, 2004 Week 55, Day 3 25 Kislev 5765   
                  by Rabbi Janise Poticha
                  Chanukah, the Festival of Lights is a time for dedication and 
re-dedication. We have much to celebrate, not just the miracle of a tiny cruse 
of oil but the miracle of the existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish 
State. The song we sing each night of Chanukah: Ma'oz Tzur, actually consists 
of six stanzas, written by the poet Mordechai, whose name appears as an 
acrostic in the first letter of each of the first five stanzas. These first 
stanzas were written during the mid-thirteenth century. There is discussion 
surrounding the sixth stanza, whether it is original to the text or added three 
centuries later. The poet, inspired by the glow of the chanukah candles, 
recalls the redemption of Israel from Egypt, the Babylonian Exile following the 
destruction of the First Temple , Haman's threat of extermination in Persia and 
the terror of Antiochus, the Greek . Because of the vengeful nature of the 
sixth stanza, it was subject to much censorship by Christian authorities. It 
calls for Divine retribution, which to the modern ear may sound foreign.

                  When we look back at our history as well as look closely at 
much of the world's response to Israel and Jews today, it is no wonder that a 
song focusing on redemption, focusing upon illumination, lights our way. It is 
song that brightens the time of the winter solstice and strengthens our resolve 
to continue living and celebrating through our values.

                  As we reflect on Jewish history how precarious has been our 
minority existence, we are strengthened by our collective memory of heroes and 
heroines past and present.
                  Although there are many in our history, ARZA and ISRAEL 
MATTERS: Our Commitment to Israel has selected eight heroes/heroines. 

                  We ask that, each night, when you light your chanukiah, 
sing/say the blessings, sing several zemirot, you also read about one of our 
heroes/heroines. Save this information as you build your library of 
information. It will help you better connect with the Land of Israel! 

                  Theodore (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl
                  Theodore Herzl, the Father of Zionism, was born in 1860 in 
Budapest. He moved to Vienna in 1878 and studied law. After exposure to acts of 
anti-Semitism, in particular, the Dreyfus Affair, Herzl began to believe that 
the only way to ensure the survival of the Jewish people was to create a Jewish 
state. To spread his thoughts and to dissipate information about Zionism, Herzl 
wrote two books: Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) and Altneuland (Old New 
Land). In 1897, Herzl arranged the First Zionist Congress, where he was elected 
president of the Zionist Movement. Although Herzl died in 1904, over forty 
years before the creation of the State of Israel, the active role that he 
played in forming the Zionist Movement and his determination to spread the 
message of Zionism, set the movement upon a path towards a realization of its 
goals. "If you will it, it is not a tale." Herzl stated. 100 years later, we 
understand how right he was.
                  For more information on Theodore Herzl, click here.

                  David Ben-Gurion
                  David Ben-Gurion was born in Polonsk, Poland on October 16, 
1886. From an early age, Ben-Gurion was active in the Zionist-Socialist 
movement in Poland. In 1906, he came to Palestine, where he continued to be 
active in these areas. However, due to his participation, Ben-Gurion was 
expelled from Palestine in 1918. Known today as a statesman and orator, 
Ben-Gurion became the first Prime Minister of Israel in 1948. The early growth 
of the state occurred largely because of his persistence. He founded trade 
unions, oversaw construction of the water carrier, and encouraged individuals 
to settle through out the Negev, thus securing more land for Israel. Ben-Gurion 
lived by the values that he taught. Therefore, in 1953, he settled in Sde Boker 
in order to help perpetuate the growth of the Negev region. In 1973, he died in 
this area. Ben-Gurion's inspiring words and his incredible accomplishments 
still stand as an example for us today. As he stated, "We must make Jerusalem 
the center of the entire Jewish people. Jerusalem has always been and must 
remain the heart of the Jewish people." 
                  For more information on David Ben-Gurion, click here.

                  Hanna Rovina
                  Hanna Rovina was born in 1889 in Warsaw, Poland. In 1917, she 
joined a Hebrew speaking acting company called Habimah. During the time that 
she participated in this group, Hanna acted one of her most famous roles, the 
part of Leah in "The Dybbuk." In 1928, she immigrated to Palestine with the 
entire Habimah company. There, she was given the title, the "First Lady of the 
Hebrew Theater." While acting in Palestine, she played a number of different 
roles. In 1956, she received the Israel Prize for The Theatrical Arts. Hanna 
Rovina passed away in 1980.
                  For more information on Hanna Rovina, click here. 

                  Yael Arad
                  Yael Arad, the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, was 
born in 1967. At a young age, Arad began to participate in Judo. Her success 
increased over the years, culminating in her win of the Silver Medal at the 
Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. As a model for women and all Israelis, Arad is 
now a member of the Israeli Olympic Committee. 
                  For more information on Yael Arad, click here. 

                  Golda Meir
                  Israel's first female Prime Minister, Golda Meir, was born in 
Kiev in 1898. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1906 and settled in 
Wisconsin. Active in a Zionist group as early as high school, Golda decided to 
make aliyah to Palestine in 1921. After holding several governmental positions, 
including working as an emissary in the United States, Meir became the head of 
the Jewish Agency's Political Department. During the War of Independence, she 
was responsible for much of the fundraising that occurred in the United States. 
Golda Meir continued, after the war, to serve in the government, working 
alongside top political leaders like David Ben-Gurion. In 1969, after the 
sudden death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir became the new Prime 
Minister. During her administration, she faced the challenges of the Yom Kippur 
War. In 1974, Golda Meir resigned her position. Then, in 1978, she passed away 
and was buried on Mt. Herzl. 
                  To find out more information about Golda Meir, or click here.

                  Chaim Weizmann 
                  Chaim Weizmann was born in 1874 in Russia. Before immigrating 
to Palestine, Weizmann lived in Great Britain, where, due largely to his work, 
the British signed the Balfour Declaration. In 1948, with the founding of the 
State of Israel, Weizmann became the first President of the new country. 
Through out his life and political career, Weizmann raised awareness of the 
Zionist cause and was a key fundraiser. Although elected a second time to 
Presidency in 1951, Weizmann was unable to complete his term, due to illness. 
On November 9, 1952, Chaim Weizmann passed away.
                  For more information on Chaim Weizmann, click here.

                  Judah Leon Magnes
                  Judah Leon Magnes was born in 1877 in California. He studied 
to be a Rabbi at Hebrew Union College, and served in several congregations in 
the United States before coming to Palestine in 1922. He was one of the 
founding members of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became its President in 
1935. Magnes was a strong proponent of the establishment of the State of 
Israel. But, instead of supporting the creation of a solely Jewish state, 
Magnes believed a bi-national Arab-Israeli state should be founded. He also 
proved to be a humanitarian, by assisting Jews who had escaped to Turkey during 
World War II.
                  To find out more information about Judah Leon Magnes, click 

                  Dr. Helena Kagan
                  Helena Kagan, named the "First Lady of Israel," was born in 
Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1899. At the young age of twenty-one, Helena became a 
doctor. Determined to make a difference in the world, she decided to come to 
Palestine in 1914 to help build the Jewish state. Since women were limited in 
the extent that they could practice medicine in the Ottoman Empire, Dr. Kagan 
opened a small clinic. Although many doubted her abilities as a doctor because 
she was a woman, she soon proved her talent. During World War I, Dr. Kagan 
worked as one of the head doctors at Hadassah nursing clinic. She later became 
director of the pediatric division, first at Bikkur Holim Hospital, and in 1918 
at Hadassah Hospital. Additionally, she performed research, created welfare 
centers for Jews and Arabs, and published scientific papers. In 1958, she 
became the first woman to receive the Freedom of the City of Jerusalem Award, 
and in 1975, she received the Israel Prize. She died in 1978, just prior to her 
90th birthday.
                  For more information on Dr. Helena Kagan, click here

                  Rabbi Janise Poticha is ARZA's director of Israel Matters: 
Our Commitment to Israel and AZRA's Rabbinic COuncil. She is also the rabbi of 
Temple Sinai of Massapequa, NY.

                  For more Israel-related material: ARZA Web site 

                        SAVE THE DATE!!

                        Union for Reform Judaism
                        Summer Kallah 2005

                        Tuesday, July 19 through Sunday July 24

                        Franklin Pierce College
                        Rindge, NH

                        For more information.
                        URJ Department of Lifelong Jewish Learning
                        E-mail: educate@xxxxxxx 
                        Or Phone: 212.650.4087

                        For more information and recommended reading go to: 
                        URJ Press.  

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Judaism - 
                  Department of Lifelong Jewish Learning. Visit our Web site 
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