Grapevine: Family ties

Stories of family relationships -- from criminal activities to heartwarming ventures.

Haredi extremists burn haredi IDF soldier in effigy (photo credit: HAIM GOLDBERG)
Haredi extremists burn haredi IDF soldier in effigy
(photo credit: HAIM GOLDBERG)
LIKE FATHER, like son. Yolish Krauss, CEO of the Eda Haredit, who on several occasions has been accused of anti-Zionist incitement, received a presidential pardon in July after serving less than six weeks of a five-month sentence for tax evasion, due to the severe financial hardship his absence caused his family. At the time, Krauss was the father of 16 children, and his wife was in an advanced state of pregnancy with their 17th child.
One of his sons, David, was involved in the burning of national flags and effigies of IDF soldiers in Mea She’arim on Lag Ba’omer. Several people were arrested for the offense the following day but were subsequently released. David Krauss was wanted for further questioning. Initially Krauss, 21, went into hiding, but three weeks ago, after police left a summons at the Krauss home, he decided to give himself up so as not to cause his family any further distress. He was promptly placed under arrest, and the police are determined to charge him and other extremists with incitement.
ALTHOUGH IT has been gentrified since the days in which its Black Panther Movement hijacked milk bottles from the wealthy houses in Rehavia and deposited them in the doorways of the poor, Musrara is still essentially the neighborhood of Moroccan immigrants, even though immigrants from elsewhere have purchased or rented apartments there. But now there seems to be a takeover by members of the Ger Hassidim, who have not only invaded the Moroccan Immigrants Synagogue but have also prevented regular congregants from entering by blocking the entrance and putting padlocks on some of the doors. They’ve also created some serious damage to the interior, despite the fact that the building is a heritage site.
The owner of the building is very angry not only because of the criminal behavior of the infiltrators but also because he has been fined by the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. Avi Moyal, who chairs the Musrara Community Council, is a regular congregant, whose grandfather was among the founders of the congregation. The Ger Hassidim want to establish a yeshiva on the premises, but the congregants, who have very little in common with them, don’t want them there and, if necessary, will take the matter to court.
ON THE other hand, when the Chabad Rechavia congregation outgrew its premises around the corner from the Great Synagogue, the executive of the latter allowed Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg, the director of Chabad Rechavia, to use the basement of the Great Synagogue for Shabbat and Holy Day services. Although there is much more space there than at the Chabad Center, here too, both the men’s and the women’s sections are full every week.
The popularity of his congregation has not prompted Goldberg to start charging for seats. On the contrary, as he has done in previous years, he has put up notices around the neighborhood, informing people that there’s a complimentary seat for them at the Chabad services. Goldberg wouldn’t dream of trying to take over the Great Synagogue and frequently voices appreciation to its executive for allowing Chabad to conduct its services there. There’s also a beautiful Sephardi synagogue on the ground floor, just inside the entrance.
MOST FAMILIES rack their brains about turning the milestone birthday of their most senior member into something really special. The same thing happened with the family of former champion sprinter Avraham Hoffman, who lives in Jerusalem and will soon be celebrating his 80th birthday. What could the family do that in some way reflected his life? They decided to run in relay formation in the International Bible Marathon from Rosh Ha’ayin to Shiloh on Friday, October 6, during Succot, taking the route of the biblical runner from the tribe of Benjamin.
Hoffman began his running career at age 15, when he walked into the YMCA just before a race and asked if he could participate. Organizers told him that he was too young, but he was so eager, that they finally gave in and allowed him to run. Needless to say, he won the race. His son Yirmi is hoping that Avraham will be able to run the last leg of the marathon. Meanwhile, other members of his family are extremely enthusiastic about running in his honor.