Photo Essay: For Zion I will not be Silent. US Rabbis Arrested

Three paddy-wagons of rabbis, students, and lay leaders were brought to Central Booking where they joined together in a spirited afternoon Mincah

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Baruch Gordon,

On April 17, 2007, some 50 Rabbis, students, and laymen staged a sit-in protest calling on the United Nations Secretary General to expel Iran from the international body for its threats to wipe the State of Israel off the map. The protest began with a demonstration at the Iranian mission to the UN, and continued with a march through the streets of New York to the Isaiah Peace Wall.

The day begins with a protest at the Iranian Mission to the UN
Photo: Stephen Belsky
 
Marching through Manhattan's streets
Photo: Stephen Belsky


It was under this wall bearing Isaiah's prophecy of world peace that the group of distinguished Jewish leaders acted on the prophet's declaration: "For Zion's sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be still." In a glaring act of civil disobedience, the US Jewish leaders sat down on the busy New York City sidewalk obstructing pedestrian traffic.

New York City police warned the activists to voluntarily clear the way or face arrest and charges of disorderly conduct. The Rabbis chose the latter option, and one by one, they were handcuffed and hauled away.

Three paddy-wagons of rabbis, students, and lay leaders were brought to Central Booking where they joined together in a spirited afternoon Mincha prayer service. They were later released.

The event was organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss' Amcha Coalition for Jewish Concerns. IsraelNationalRadio's Tovia Singer interviews Rabbi Avi Weiss. Click here to listen. [Download - rightclick]

All streams of American Judaism were represented. In the words of participant Rabbi Mark Ankcorn, "There were Orthodox, Conservative, Traditional, and Reform rabbis all in custody for protesting at the UN, and I was proud to be with them.

Arutz Sheva presents a photo essay of the historical event including videos and links to comments by participants.

 

The protest underway
Photo: Rabbi Mark Ankcorn
 
Police look on as protestors block full width of walkway
Photo: Yonah S. Berman


Photo: Yonah S. Berman

Rabbi Mark Ankcorn (far left), Rabbi Steve Burton (middle foreground)

Students from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah join the protest. Ben Greenberg (standing)
Photo: Yonah S. Berman

The American public looks on via the TV cameras as Jewish spiritual leaders begin to be handcuffed for the sake of Zion.

The arrests begin. L-R: Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg (in beige trench coat), Rabbi Avi Weiss, Rabbi David Kalb
Photo: Yonah S. Berman

Police bring Rabbis Avi Weiss (right) and David Kalb (left) to the police paddy-wagon
Photo: Azriel Genack

L-R: Rabbi Ronald Price, Rabbi Mark Ankcorn, Rabbi Aaron Rubinger being placed under arrest
Photo: Yonah S. Berman

L-R: Rabbi David Willig and Rabbi Pinchas Klein in their line of duty
Photo: Yonah S. Berman

Glenn Richter of Amcha-CJC with hand restraints
Photo: Azriel Genack
 
Proud student activists. L-R: Akiva Weiss, Ross Shapiro
Photo: Yonah S. Berman
 
Rabbi Aryeh Leifert chooses handcuffs rather than voluntarily leave the protest
Photo: Yonah S. Berman
 
Student protestors Yehuda Hausman and Avidan Freedman (with beard)
Photo: Yonah S. Berman
 
Rabbi Jason Herman being escorted to the police van
Photo: Yonah S. Berman
 
 
The handcuffed Rabbis are loaded into a police van
Photo: Stephen Belsky

Videos
Click here for video of demonstration. Video by Issak Geld, Uri Ruttenberg
Click here for video 2 of demonstration. Video by Yonah S. Berman
Click here for video of Rabbis singing "ashrei" in back of police van. Video by Rabbi Mark Ankcorn

Blog EntriesSteg writes: "I went to the protest expecting it to be corny… What does getting hauled away in handcuffs and getting a criminal record add? Now I think I understand… The protest wasn't corny at all — on the contrary, it was dramatic. It worked. It got under my skin. I was trying to be a relatively objective photographer, but I had to constantly fight my instincts and stop myself from cheering the protestors on…"
Read more (and view many more pictures)

Rabbi Mark Ankcorn writes: "I can’t begin to describe what a profound moment it was for me, learning Torah from some of the best rabbinic minds of this generation, while we were all in handcuffs in the back of a paddy wagon." Read more

Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg of Congregation Sons of Israel stated: "Iran trains terrorists to murder Israelis and insurgents to kill American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Just as these terrorists have kidnapped Israeli soldiers, so Iran has taken British soldiers hostage. Iraq has not paid the price; that must change. We turn to the world and say, take action! We say to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, kick Iran out of the United Nations." Read more

The arrested Jewish leaders (partial list):
Rabbi Mark Ankcorn, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation
Rabbi Moses Birnbaum, President, Long Island Board of Rabbis
Rabbi Steven Burton, Congregation Shaarei Shalom
Rafi Farber, rabbinical student, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Jeffrey Fox
Rabbi Avidan Freedman, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg, Congregation Sons of Israel, President of Union for Traditional Judaism
Ben Greenberg, rabbinical student, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yehuda Hausman, rabbinical student, Yeshivat Chovevai Torah
Rabbi Jason Herman, Congregation Beth Israel West Side Jewish Center
Rabbi David Kalb, CLAL
Rabbi Pinchas Klein, Mount Freedom Jewish Center, Chairman of Morasha
Rabbi Aryeh Leifert, Congregation Rodfei Sholom, San Antonio, Texas
Rabbi Ronald Price, Congregation Netivot Sholom, Executive Vice President of the Union for Traditional Judaism
Glenn Richter, former National Coordinator of Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry
Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Orlando, FL
Ross Shapiro, rabbinical student, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Uri Topolosky, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale
Rabbi Avi Weiss, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale
Rabbi Akiva David Weiss, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi David Willig Bayside Jewish Center

Dan Paley contributed to this story.






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