Sunday, September 9, 2018

Erev Rosh Hashana Shearim Newsletter

My Dear-Dear Friends,

A last minute communication. Apologies, but last week I underwent a surgical procedure in the hospital and couldn't pull myself together to sit down by the computer.

So, first of all, the year we are about to end was not the most pleasant for the State of Israel, with our borders on flame, or threatened by flames, both South and North. We fervently hope and pray that the New Year holds better prospects for us. We yearn for peace and quiet and cooperation for ourselves, our children and future generations. We did not return to our Land to fight, but to create a society that will contribute to the improvement of the human condition here and everywhere. First and most of all that's what we yearn for... And also for inner peace among ourselves. Though we were born of twelve tribes, that does not mean that we have to be endlessly split into twelve, or six, or three camps, rejecting each other. We COULD respect and embrace each other, though differing in opinion, ideology, taste and preference. If the seed of Jacob cannot attain peace within the family, how could we hope for peace with the seed of Ismael? And then with the Teutons and Slavs, with the Francs And Anglos, and more and more.

In a more intimate circle:

We are praying for health of our loved ones. We are praying for comfort and consolation of those of our friends who suffered Losses in the year and years gone by. May they find the healing balm that best suits their pain. We are praying for wisdom to enjoy each and every day, to see the beauty of the flowers, to accept the thorns that come with the roses, to learn to embrace the flowers and to shield ourselves as much as possible from the unavoidable thorns.

Dear Friends, I embrace you all with love, and ask for your forgiveness if I ever hurt you. Our Tradition tells us: "There is no Tzaddik who sins not". I do not think that I would want to hurt anyone deliberately, but I don't see myself as a Tzaddik, so please, keep no grudge against me.

A word about Shearim Netanya:

Its now thirty years to the founding of that organization. I hope it can continue into the forseable future - as long as Olim can benefit by it. I am asking for your support. Our financial donors dropped off. In our High Holiday prayers we state that TZEDAKAH helps us to overcome the hurtffullness of the decree. ("Utshuva, Utfila, Utzedakah --- Ma'avirim et ro'ah hagzerah") If you can afford it we would appreciate your help, with thanks and Deep gratitude. Checks can be made payable to SHEARIM NETANYA, POB 2695, Netanya 42126. (Note added by PRIMER: From the United States, tax deductible contributions may be made by sending them through Hands On Tzedakah (, 2901 Clint Moore Road #318, Boca Raton, FL 33496, and specifying the contribution should be directed to SHEARIM NETANYA.)

SHANA TOVA to you and all your loved ones. SHALOM to the whole People Of Israel, SHALOM to the State of Israel and all its loyal citizens.

With deep fondness,

Rabbi Ervin, Hadassa, Aiton, Liel and Daniel Birnbaum & their children

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Yale Zussman's Latest Recommendations

Here are a few items to keep you busy; the theme is looking to the future:

Does Israel have a strategy for Gaza?
Yossi Kuperwasser
Aug 19, 2018

Reviews Israel's goals and methods for attaining them. There is a strategy for the short- to medium-term only.
Abbas's Responsibility for Gaza Crisis

by Bassam Tawil
August 21, 2018

Tawil attributes Abbas's current strategy to concerns that Trump's "peace plan" will envision separating Gaza from the PA territories. It is my sense that this separation has always been the key to finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, so if that is part of the so-far unseen Trump plan, he is on the right track.
Jerusalem Post
AUGUST 30, 2018

Identifies the candidates for successor and what each might mean for the future.
The Last Days of Syria and the Non-Interventionist Catastrophe

Noah Rothman
Sep. 7, 2018

Recaps the errors that brought us to the current situation, then surveys where we might be headed: Not pretty.

Let me take this opportunity to wish my Jewish readers a Shanah Tovah.