Manhigut (Jewish Leadership) Dinner in New York

Manhigut Yehudit's fifth annual gala dinner in New York drew 300 people with the common goal of providing authentic Jewish leadership for Israel.

Hillel Fendel,

Symbol of Jewish Independence
Symbol of Jewish Independence
Manhigut Yehudit held its fifth annual gala dinner in New York on Sunday night, drawing 300 people with a common goal of providing authentic Jewish leadership for the State of Israel.

Among those who arrived at the Sands in Atlantic Beach to take part were ZOA National President Morton Klein, Helen Freedman, former Executive Director of AFSI, Rabbi Benjamin Yudin of Fairlawn, Rabbi Hershel Reichman of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Tovia Singer of IsraelNationalRadio, and more.

Rob and Laurence Muchnick were the dinner's Guests of Honor, Esther Weber received the Eishet Chayil (Woman of Valor) Award, and Jack and Anna Berger were granted the Eretz Yisrael Award. A special tribute was made to the late Rose Mattus for her long running support for the organization.

Manhigut chairman Moshe Feiglin, who has run and plans to run again for Likud candidate for Prime Minister of Israel, spoke about the crises facing Israel at this time. He explained that there is a healthy connection between education and security in Israel - " Education is a key component of our security, yet a large number of inductees into the IDF have never been to Jerusalem. How can they defend what they don't know or understand?" - and an unhealthy connection between the media and the justice systems: "Ex-Prime Minister Sharon was known to be corrupt, but both the media and the courts overlooked it because they wanted him to carry out the Disengagement. The two systems back each other up in an unhealthy manner."

Feiglin also talked about the external threats facing Israel, and provided a common-sense approach: "Whatever happened to the simple concept of arising to kill he who comes to kill you? If someone constantly announces his murderous intentions towards you, from every stage and at every opportunity, then the moral thing to do is to kill him first."

International Manhigut Director Shmuel Sackett noted that when Feiglin ran for leadership of the Likud in December of 2005, "we only needed about 14,000 votes to change sides and he would have been head of the Likud." This is another indication of the steady progression of Manhigut's growth, "and as we grow, we see that our goal is within reach and victory is assured."

The keynote address of the dinner was delivered by Yishai Fleisher, whose wife and IsraelNationalRadio co-host Malkah and he were presented with the Lev Yehudi (Jewish Heart) Award. A short summary of his remarks:

"The Book of Esther recounts that when Haman was angered at Mordechai for not bowing down to him, he chose not to destroy Mordechai alone, but the entire Jewish People - whom he called 'the people of Mordechai.' But why did he use this term, when in fact the Jewish people of the time were in fact very different than Mordechai - he was strong and proud, and they seemed to be succumbing and flexible in their commitment, as seen by their taking part in the King's feast? The answer is that our enemies sense that Mordechai's important message is like an ember that can ignite all the rest of the Jews even though they may seem far removed from it. In this, Haman was right. Manhigut Yehudit is the same as Mordechai in this sense; people think it is extremist, but in fact it has the potential to ignite everyone - and it will.

"The State of Israel is undergoing great growth. It is the place where the majority of the Jewish People will soon be living, according to population statistics, and we see growth everywhere - new babies, new buildings, new neighborhoods. On the other hand, there is a lot of fear and a breakdown of values; Jewish Agency head Ze'ev Bielsky said recently that the agency would start supporting Arabs, and people like Shai Dromi, who shot a Bedouin burglar to protect his life and property is in jail. But this is our challenge: There is no way we are going to let this great Jewish enterprise - the State of Israel - careen off into the abyss! We will not let 'them' ruin our great country!

"People ask me whether I think Moshe Feiglin can succeed. The answer, of course, is that he certainly can succeed: The polls show it, articles written espousing his message, the Likud is coming back, etc. But can I guarantee it? That's something else. Only G-d can guarantee - but our job is to put our stock with the right people. Rabi Akiva supported Bar-Kokhba and turned out to be wrong, yet he's still considered one of our greatest teachers, because he sided with the right concepts: Torah, Jewish independence and liberty, and the Nation of Israel. The question therefore is not whether Feiglin will win or not, but whether YOU will - where will you put your money? Will you sit back and try to calculate the odds, or will you put your efforts on people who are staking their lives for this nationalist effort? This is our message: All is not lost, and we have to make sure to keep ourselves on the right track!"

Click here to hear Yishai discuss the dinner and the cause with IsraelNationalRadio's Alex Traiman (the last 12 minutes of the show).

The Master of Ceremonies was Gavriel Aryeh Sanders, a former evangelical minister and missionary who converted to Judaism and is now a radio showhost, religion columnist, and all-around spokesman for Torah-true Judaism. Joyous dancing was orchestrated by Aish Orchestra, with a guest appearance by singer Ira Heller.