Grapevine: Rabbinical conversation

It’s impossible to tell how much business was lost and how many people were discomfited because of the marathon.

j'lem marathon, at jaffa gate_370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
j'lem marathon, at jaffa gate_370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
join Shula Zaken in celebrating the circumcision of her grandson Lior, the son of Natalie and Roi Zaken, were former finance minister Avraham Hirschson, MK Tzachi Hanegbi and former MK Esterina Tartman, who can all empathize with Zaken’s courtroom plight.
Hirschson was convicted of stealing close to NIS 2 million from the Histadrut labor federation while serving as its chairman. He was sentenced to over five years in prison plus a hefty fine, and was released after more than three years.
Hanegbi, after a four-year trial for election bribery, fraud and breach of trust, was eventually found guilty of perjury. Although cleared of the other charges, he was nonetheless charged with moral turpitude, and had to suspend himself from the Knesset.
Tartman had received disability points in her salary because she claimed she could work only four hours a day, when she was in fact physically fit. She also lied about her academic qualifications, which were posted on the Knesset website.
THIS PAST Tuesday, Chicago-born Rabbi Berel Wein, author, documentary filmmaker and spiritual leader of Jerusalem’s Hanassi Congregation, celebrated his 80th birthday, after earlier in the month celebrating the birth of a great-grandson. The congregation will celebrate his birthday on Wednesday, April 9, which coincidentally is the date of the 93rd birthday of one of Jerusalem’s most beloved native sons – Israel’s fifth president Yitzhak Navon, whose Hebrew birthday is on 1 Nisan.
ONE OF Wein’s many activities is to hold a Saturday night conversation with a well-known rabbinical figure. Last Saturday night, he chose to speak to Rabbi Nosson Kamenetsky, a highly respected rabbinical authority and personal friend.
Both are of Lithuanian background and the sons of famous fathers.
Kamenetsky, who was himself born in Lithuania, is the son of the late Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, a prominent figure in North American Jewish theological circles, and Wein is the son of the late Rabbi Zev Wein, who served as a rabbi in Chicago for 51 years. The fathers of the two rabbis had studied in Lithuania and Poland under some of the most eminent rabbis of their time, and Wein and Kamenetsky had also studied under prominent rabbis in the various yeshivot they attended.
They spoke about what had prompted their respective fathers to come to North America, and how the yeshiva world has grown and changed. The two give a completely different dimension to the norm.
Forget about politicians and tycoons – the names they dropped were only those of famous rabbis, such as Shimon Shkop, the rosh yeshiva of the esteemed Sha’ar Hatorah in Grodno; Rabbi Chaim Zvi Rubinstein, Wein’s maternal grandfather; Rabbi David Lifshitz, Kamenetsky’s father-in-law; and Rabbi Shalom Pinchas Wohlgelernter, who as an American Army captain in the immediate aftermath of World War II, sought out Holocaust survivors in the American zone to bring them food and clothing, and later scoured Eastern Europe to find Jewish children who had been saved in convents or by individuals.
It was on Wohlgelernter’s recommendation that Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky had been retained as spiritual leader of a congregation in Toronto, where he remained for some years before moving to New York. He had initially come to North America in 1937 to raise funds for the Slobodka Yeshiva, where he had studied for many years. Armed with a pile of receipts for donations received the previous year, the elder Kamenetsky prepared to meet with donors in America. After introducing himself to the first person on the list, he gave him a receipt for $50 and asked the man to donate the same sum again. The man demurred that he had given only $25 the previous year. Realizing that the receipts had been fabricated in the hope that donors would not remember what they had given previously, Kamenetsky promptly resigned as fund-raiser.
However, he needed money to support his family, so he decided to remain there a little longer. In March 1938, he was celebrating Purim with some other rabbis from Lithuania when Hitler marched into Austria. This was a red alert for Kamenetsky, who immediately stated he was bringing his family to America, and advised the other rabbis to act accordingly. As a result, the families of all those present were saved.
Indeed, Nosson Kamenetsky, his mother and his siblings arrived in America in September 1938, just a year before the outbreak of the war.
RETIRED GOVERNMENT Press Office photographer Moshe Milner feels naked without his camera, and went out early Friday morning to photograph the Jerusalem Marathon. He was frustrated because by 8:45 a.m., he found very few runners on King George Avenue and none in its Keren Hayesod Street extension. Yellow-vested marathon staff had almost nothing to do.
A little earlier in the morning, opposite the Yeshurun Synagogue, a presumably self-appointed cheerleader kept jumping into the path of the few straggling runners who went past, screaming “Give me five.
Keep running!” Obviously, no one had told her this might shatter their concentration.
There’s no logic in Jerusalem, said Milner, finding it ridiculous, as did other Jerusalemites, that bus transportation along part of certain routes could not be resumed once runners were no longer in the area.
Elderly people struggled with shopping trolleys, and tourists were wheeling their luggage. Bicyclists and motorcyclists traveled the route of the marathon without anyone stopping them, and some motorcyclists actually used the sidewalk, which is precarious enough for pedestrians when they have to avoid bicyclists.
Apparently, the delivery vans for Israel HaYom did not get to Jerusalem in time, so there was no sign of the familiar red-suited distributors. However, after having been absent from the newsstands throughout the preceding week due to a labor dispute, Ma’ariv was available on Friday.
Many stores, including coffee shops, were closed, and the few that were open had less than a handful of patrons. Generally, most downtown coffee shops are already well-populated by 8 a.m. on a Friday.
It’s impossible to tell how much business was lost and how many people were discomfited because of the marathon, but perhaps the municipality will learn in time for next year – and move the marathon to one of the large forest areas leading to the entrance to the city, or to an area near Givat Ze’ev.
Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, who interviewed Mayor Nir Barkat, who ran in the marathon, said she couldn’t participate in any marathon because they are all on Fridays – and that’s when she has her live broadcast.
THE JERUSALEM Marathon resulted in yet another triumph for Kenya, with three Kenyans taking first, second and third places, just as happened in the Tel Aviv Marathon at the end of February.
The winners in both cities ran in record time.