Grapevine: A packed house

When Malcolm Hoenlein speaks at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue he attracts a full house.

Central Synagogue on Lexington Ave
Photo by: BEN G. Frank
AS A rule, when Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, speaks at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue he attracts a full house and then some. Last Saturday night, there was a large audience, but there were also a lot of empty seats, because there was some interesting competition down the road at the Hanassi Synagogue, where Rabbi Berel Wein was interviewing Rabbi Benji Levene, who is known to be a great raconteur – even when he’s not talking his grandfather, the legendary Rabbi Aryeh Levine.

One of the stories he told which was not about his grandfather was that during the Six Day War – when there was a call for volunteers to go to Israel, because so many Israeli men had been called up to serve in the army – Levene, who was a student at Yeshiva University, decided to answer the call. The problem was that his passport had expired.

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