Inside Israel 11:13 AM 12/12/2013
Inside Israel 11:53 AM 12/12/2013
Inside Israel 8:53 AM 12/12/2013
The Tovia Singer Show
Tamar & Tovia Dynamite
David Wilder was born in New Jersey in the USA in 1954, and graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in History and teacher certification in 1976. He spent 1974-75 in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and returned to Israel upon graduation.
For over eighteen years David Wilder has worked with the Jewish Community of Hebron. He is the English spokesman for the community, granting newspaper, television and radio interviews internationally. He initiated the Hebron internet project, including email lists of over 15,000 subscribers who receive regular news and commentaries from Hebron in English and Hebrew. David is responsible and continues to update the Hebron web sites, portraying various facets of Hebron, utilizing text, audio, video and pictures. He conducts tours of Hebron's Jewish Community and occasionally travels abroad, speaking at Hebron functions.
David Wilder is married to Ora, a 'Sabra,' for 33 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 14 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
I’d already spent two years in Israel when I came back officially as an Oleh Hadash, a new Israeli immigrant. I remember it fairly well. January, 1978. Having finished university and done a stint on Kibbutz, the time had come to get serious.
The plane landed sometime in the early evening. I was by myself, had no family here, but a few friends. They probably knew I was coming back, but waited for my call.
Of course, coming over as an Israeli meant that I had to ‘go through the mill.’ Actually it wasn’t too bad. The normal filling in forms in the airport office of the ministry of immigration, and then waiting for the free ride to my choice of destination. I do recall raising my voice as the hours marched on, but was told, ‘savlanut, savlanut’ (which means patience). I didn’t have much choice. My Hebrew wasn’t non-existent, but certainly not good enough to express myself in any great detail.
Finally, riding in some kind of truck, I made it to a dormitory in Talpiot, Jerusalem sometime after midnight. The gate was locked and it took some time until the building’s Russian guard finally heard the doorbell and let me in. The housemother showed me to my room, where my new roomate was rudely awakened in the early hours of the morning. Eventually he forgave me and is today a friend living in nearby Kiryat Arba.
That was how it began. No bells or whistles, but an inner sense of pride - ‘Here I am, now I’m an Israeli.’ It was a good feeling.
Yesterday I ‘made Aliyah’ all over again.
We had friends who were coming over on the Nefesh b’Nefesh flight, bringing some 230 new Israelis to our homeland from North America. The Abrams family, from Atlantic City, New Jersey, were finally coming home.
This flight over was far from their first. The family has been visiting Israel for at least one month every summer for over ten years. A few years ago they almost made it a permanent stay, but were held up at the last minute. The real hero of the family are not the parents, rather their oldest daughter, Elana, who decided that Atlantic City really wasn’t the place for a ‘good Jewish girl’ to go to high school. So a few years she left the US for Israel, on her own, to attend a women’s school in Bnei Brak. She came to visit us in Hebron every now and again; we tried to ease her way as much as we could. But in reality, her success was her own. A month ago she finished, Bagrut (graduation examinations) and all, and is planning, a year from now, to begin medical school here in Israel.
Standard studies weren’t enough of a challenge, so Elana also volunteered with Magen David Adom, and rode around in ambulances in the middle of the night assisting people who needed help. When that wasn’t keeping her busy she starred on her school’s basketball team.
In about a month Elana will begin her ‘Shnat Sherut,’ a year of volunteer work religious women undertake in place of army duty. She will be continuing her work with Magen David Adom and emergency aid, based in Kiryat Arba.
And during her free time she’ll be helping her parents and siblings adjust to their new lives in Jerusalem.
A month or so ago my daughter, who’s just a year older than Elana, received an invitation to greet the family at Ben Gurion airport upon arrival of the Nefesh b’Nefesh flight. The plane was supposed to land at about 7:30 AM, and invited guests had to be there by 6:45. That meant we’d have to leave the house at about 5:00. A little early for me. But at the last minute we decided to go.
It didn’t take too long until the Terminal 1 hall was packed with others just like us, waiting to welcome the new Israelis. Having a press pass, I was able to wait only meters away from the shuttle buses transporting the people from the plane to the airport. About thirty Israeli soldiers in dress uniform lined the walkway, with live music creating an authentic holiday atmosphere. When the first bus pulled up they began playing ‘Hevenu Shalom Alechem’ with hundreds of people waving Israeli flags, singing and cheering. As the passengers stepped off the bus, they seemed to be stunned.
My friends were on one of the last shuttles arriving at the terminal. I’d been filming video and photos of the festivities, but when I saw Ken and the others step off the bus I couldn’t really control myself. I ran over to him, grabbed his hands and started dancing, around and around and around.
Earlier in the morning I’d interviewed an NBN member, who told me that whenever he participated in these events, he had tears in his eyes. Well, he wasn’t the only one.
Watching the event, I could only look back and remember my Aliyah experience over thirty years ago, put myself in these people’s shoes, and say to myself, “Welcome to Israel.”
Just watch the expressions on their faces - that says it all!
This is our consolation. We are here. We are in Israel, we are in Hebron, we are at Ma’arat HaMachpela. We did not fade away and die
This past week I found Shabbat morning prayers at Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron to be particularly poignant.
There were three separate minyons taking place simultaneously. To my left, in the hall memorializing Ya’akov and Leah a family from Jerusalem celebrated their son’s Bar Mitzvah. The room isn’t very large, and it was packed from wall to wall. When the thirteen year old finished chanting the weekly Torah portion, festive singing filled the building, arousing joy even in the other, adjacent services. A piece of candy bounced off of my chair, outside that room and was quickly swiped by a child sitting nearby.
To the right of the central courtyard was another group of people praying, according to the Sepharadi traditions. They were also in the midst of a celebration; A fresh chatan and kallah, bride and groom, were in attendance. The young couple had married only days before, in the Machpela garden courtyard, outside the magnificent monument above the caves of the Forefathers. There too familiar sounds of delight reverberated throughout the building.
I sat in the courtyard, surrounded by festivity, but also lost in thought. As the Torah reading concluded, a familiar Hebron resident, Yossi Lebovitch, approached the podium, and taking the Torah scroll in his long arms, began reciting “El, Maleh Rachamim,” a special prayer repeated at the time of a yartzheit, the annual memorial of a relative’s passing.
Yossi’s resounding voice rose above the joyous celebrations of the other groups as he prayed for the soul of his murdered son Elazar, killed eight years ago this week, on the eve of his twenty first birthday. A soldier at the time of his death, Elazar was chauffeuring a newlywed couple, a close friend of his, to Hebron for the traditional Shabbat post-wedding party. A few kilometers outside of Hebron terrorists opened fire on his car, hitting and fatally wounding him.
When Yossi Lebovitch finished the short memorial for his son, he continued, again repeating the ancient prayer, this time in memory of sixty seven Jews slaughtered in Hebron eighty-one years ago this week, in the summer of 1929. Men, women and children were tortured and massacred by their friends and neighbors. Three days later the survivors, some of whom were saved by Arabs, were expelled from the city, bringing about an end to a Jewish community thousands of years old. A small group returned in 1931 but were evicted in the spring of 1936, being told that the Mufti, Haj Amin El Husseini, who led the 1929 riots, was again inciting against the Jews and their safety could no longer be guaranteed. From 1936 until 1967 Hebron remained Judenrein.
Every year, on the eighteenth day of the Hebrew month of Av, people gather at the martyr’s plot in the ancient Jewish cemetery to mourn those killed decades ago.
The weekly Haftorah reading, from the prophet Isaiah, on the Shabbat preceding this anniversary, begins with the words, “Nachamu Nachamu,” “consolation, consolation.”
Where is our consolation?
My wife and I hosted, this past Shabbat, close friends of ours who live in Kiryat Arba. We’ve known them for many years and have spent much time together in the past. But this time was extra special.
Why so? My friend Shlomo is a Cohen, of the traditional ‘priestly caste.’ It is well known that Cohanim are forbidden from entering cemeteries, and for that reason Shlomo had never visited inside the building atop the caves of Machpela, despite his living in Kiryat Arba for about 25 years. However, lately, due to certain technical structural changes in the building, Rabbis have ruled that it is now permissible for Cohanim to enter this holy site. So, on Shabbat morning I escorted my friend, for the first time, into Ma’arat HaMachpela.
I cannot fathom the feelings of a person accessing this sacred site for the first time, but I could visibly see his excitement and emotions. It was a very special moment. Later I asked him what he felt, worshiping for the first time inside Ma’arat HaMachpela. He responded, “I remember the first time I went to the Kotel – the Western Wall, and this was certainly no less than that. I remember then feeling, ‘we are here – Am Yisrael is here.’ And that is what I felt now, at Ma’arat HaMachpela. The Jewish people are here, really here.’
That is our consolation. We are here. We are in Israel, we are in Hebron, we are at Ma’arat HaMachpela. We did not fade away and die, despite a two thousand year exile, despite the destruction of the primary symbols of our essence – the Temple, Jerusalem and Jewish independence in our land. We suffered exile after exile, torture and death at the hands of persecutors and crusaders, but refused to give up. Culminating, of course, with the most horrific moment, that being the Holocaust, and the most uplifting moment, that being the creation of the State of Israel.
This is not only solace; rather it is our response to the evil perpetrated against the Jewish people for thousands of years. Standing next to the graves of the dozens of martyrs slaughtered in Hebron, eight y one years later, we can truthfully declare: we are your consolation, we have come home, the Jewish people are here, in Hebron.
The annual 1929 - Tarpat memorial service will take place in Hebron
this Thursday - 18 Av - 29.07.10
at five o'clock in the afternoon at the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron
See the new Ma'arat HaMachpela Visitors pamphlet
Photos from today's visit by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hagar of Viznitz
Please pray for Yisrael ben Chana Sarah (grandson of Rav Dov Lior), following an auto accident
Many years ago I came across an English-speaking soldier serving in Hebron. After talking for a while I invited him to a Shabbat meal at our home in Beit Hadassah. After those few hours together, I was so impressed, that I wrote an article about him, which I titled 'Zionism is not dead.' (See below.)
Little did I know that that young soldier, putting his life on the line in Hebron, not yet even an Israeli citizen, would later become famous, starring in the internationally acclaimed program "Tuesday Night Live."
Today, together with Jeremy Gimpel, Ari Abramowitz is making history, or perhaps better put, telling history the way it really is. And not just ancient history. These two men are using television as a tool to 'spread the word,' and they do it very well. They've interviewed countless people, including yours truly, on their show, and have developed an expertise second to none. I can but recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to see them live in Houston. I have no doubt that following this show you will be delighted that you attended.
Here is an American from Texas, sitting next to me in Hebron, wearing an army uniform, 20 ye
Here is an American from Texas, sitting next to me in Hebron, wearing an army uniform, 20 years old, telling me that he is willing to put his life on the line because of "Zionism.'
ars old, telling me that he is willing to put his life on the line because of "Zionism.'
With blessings from Hebron,
Here is an American from Texas, sitting next to me in Hebron, wearing an army uniform, 20 years old, telling me that he is willing to put his life on the line because of "Zionism.'
P.O. Box 8643
Zionism is not Dead
by David Wilder
February 12, 2000
Last week, touring with a couple of Americans, I stopped off at the ancient Ashkenazi cemetery in Hebron. This cemetery was used primarily by the Chabad-Lubuvitchers, who arrived in Hebron beginning in the early 1800s. The most prominent person interred at the cemetery is Menucha Rachel Shneerson Slonim, granddaughter of the Ba'al HaTanya, the founder of the Chabad movement, and daughter of the "Middler Rebbi."
The entire cemetery was razed to the ground between 1929 and 1967. However Menucha Rachel's gravesite was restored, due to the generous help of Rabbi Yosef Gutnick. Unfortunately, Arabs in the area constantly desecrate her grave because the Israeli security forces refuse to post guards at the cemetery. They also prevent Jews in Hebron from guarding the site 24 hours a day.
However, every afternoon a group of men study Torah in the small courtyard adjacent to the actual cemetery. During those few hours a small contingent of Israeli soldiers are posted there, to protect them from any Arab attacks.
While we were there last week one of the soldiers, hearing us speaking English, approached us and asked us where we were from. It turns out that this soldier, named Ari, is from Texas and has been in the army for seven months. We talked for a little while and then continued on our way.
This morning, during Shabbat prayers at Ma'arat HaMachpela, I noticed him, asked him where he was eating lunch, and invited him to my home for a Shabbat meal. He agreed and met me at Beit Hadassah an hour later.
During lunch he told us that he is not yet an Israeli citizen. Ari is participating in a program called "Machal" which, translated into English, is a program for non-Israelis who wish to voluntarily serve in the army. Ari, 20 years old and a student at Yeshiva University in New York, did four months of basic training and another 2 months of military exercises. He is now in Hebron and will soon be heading off on another assignment. Three months from now he will take off his uniform and study in a Hesder Yeshiva for another 3 months, before wrapping up the program.
I asked him why he wanted to serve in the Israeli army, even before he declares citizenship, (which he eventually plans on doing). His answer, in one word, was "Zionism."
Here is an American from Texas, sitting next to me in Hebron, wearing an army uniform, 20 years old, telling me that he is willing to put his life on the line because of "Zionism.' In the ensuing discussion he told me that he is aware that many Israelis look for ways to avoid serving. He also expressed disappointment that most of the fellows in his unit serve, not for ideological reasons, but because they have no choice. Even so, Ari is happy that he is here, doing what he is doing.
Following his stint in the army, Ari plans to continue his higher education here in Israel. Having already begun in the United States, it would be easier to continue there. This he knows. But he also understands that it is more important for him to be here. He doesn't want to 'get stuck' in the United States. The only way to be sure of being here in Israel is, very simply, to be here.
Ari didn't have a lot of time to spend with us. Duty calls. He left us, before we finished the meal, to begin another eight hour tour of duty. Not easy, standing in one spot for eight hours at a stretch. It is just as difficult, perhaps, to patrol for eight hours. But Ari left happily, knowing that he is fulfilling a mission - not only his mission, but the mission of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.
Speaking before he left, I told Ari and the others at the table that I feel a spiritual uplifting being in the presence of such people, people who don't speak about what should be done, but actually go out and do it. Ari doesn't talk about ideals, he practices them. He doesn't look for excuses why it is too difficult to implement the ideals. He does what has to be done, easy or hard. Sure, there are disappointments - but they are not impediments to implementation; rather they serve to spur you on, looking forward, figuring out how to do more, how to improve.
There are those who say that Zionism is dead and buried - Zionism being the movement of the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. On the face of it, witnessing the opposite of pure Zionism, seeing Jews separate themselves from the Land of Israel piece by peace, that hypothesis seems to be correct. But being with Ari for a couple of hours left me knowing that Zionism is not dead. Maybe Zionism is in a deep slumber, perhaps even hibernating. But as long as there are people like Ari in the world, people who understand a simple truth and live accordingly, not for their own benefit, but for a common good, the common good of the Jewish people in Israel, one must reach a conclusion that Zionism is not dead. Ari is a living example.
ISRAEL’S #1 HIT TV SHOW “TUESDAY NIGHT LIVE” COMES TO THE U.S.
HOUSTON BASED EVENT EXPECTED TO KICK OFF U.S. MULTI-CITY TOUR
JERUSALEM—Israel’s smash hit “Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem,” the first ever Jerusalem-based English television show to broadcast internationally, is set to take their telecast to the U.S., filming a series of “ Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem across America” shows from different cities, starting with Houston, Texas on August 10th at 7:00pm at The Westin Galleria Hotel (5060 W. Alabama).
Hosted by internationally recognized TV and radio personalities Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel, “Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem” sends a message of inspiration, truth, and unwavering dedication to the land of Israel in each of its shows. In Jerusalem, the show regularly sells out to an audience of people across different faiths, nationalities, and religious backgrounds, and now they plan on taking TNL to every state in America.
The duo, commander and soldier in the IDF reserves, started the English language variety show to project the beauty, wisdom, and celebration of the Jewish People who have finally returned to their Homeland after 2,000 years. It is a platform for notable politicians, educators, activists, entertainers, and everyday people on the streets of Jerusalem to show the land of Israel through their perspective. The Houston show will include top musical performers and entertainment, as well as a one-on-one interview with Congressman Louie Gohmert (R). Tickets cost $18 and are available for purchase by emailingHouston@thelandofisrael.com.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIVE IN HOUSTON
“As Americans who moved to Israel we wanted to highlight Israel’s unparalleled contribution to the world”, said host and co-founder Ari Abramowitz. “By bringing a taste of Israel to Texas, and to places throughout America, we are sharing a celebration of Israel with the people that support us, and showing the world we stand together.”
“Our show was started out of a deep frustration that no matter how beautiful and exemplary our actions are, much of the world media will spin, distort, and lambast us. We have the right to be proud of our inspiring work in Haiti – and we deserve more than the dark and perverse accusations of organ harvesting and abuse” says Ari.
“We even offer help and assistance to our mortal enemies, like Iran’s earthquake, but they refuse and say they would rather die than accept help from the Jews” Gimpel adds.
“While the conflict has long been at the center of the media’s attention, the concept of the show is to shift the focus for the world to see the beauty of the people and our heritage and take pride in everything Israel has to offer,” added host and creator Jeremy Gimpel.
Launched in 2008, “Tuesday Night Live” (TNL) is the first ever Jerusalem based English television show to broadcast to the world. With over 53 episodes in just three seasons, TNL has become a household name in Jerusalem and a cultural phenomenon throughout world. The show celebrates and rejoices in the rich culture and experiences life in Israel has to offer through features including interviews with politicians, newsmakers, spiritual leaders and everyday people, along with musical acts, funny street segments, and more. The show is dedicated to inspiring the world and empowering the Jewish people. www.TheLandOfIsrael.com.