By Chanita Teitz
When I began writing this, the pope was in Israel. Few popes have visited Israel, and I questioned the purpose of his trip. When I checked his itinerary online, I saw an article at Time.com, dated May 22, “Pope Francis Visits Jordan, Israel and Palestine: Expect the Unexpected.”
I have read that the purpose of the trip was religious and not political, but the pope made a political statement when he met with President Abbas in Bet Lechem and called the Palestinian Authority area a “Palestinian state.” In fact, a picture on Twitter of the pope in Bet Lechem is captioned “Pope in Palestine.”
The pope saw the security barrier, the concrete wall that had to be built to protect Jews. An Arab journalist called the wall disgusting and asked the pope to help them end the occupation. I hope the pope knows that this “disgusting” wall is a protective shield and it is disgusting that it has to be there. I remember years ago going to Bet Lechem, to Kever Rochel, a small domed building sitting alone on the open road. We weren’t afraid then. Now we go to the kever and it looks like a fortress. And we don’t venture into the town of Bet Lechem at all.
In his speech upon arriving, the pope said that the situation is “increasingly unacceptable” and that “both sides need to make sacrifices.” Israel has made numerous sacrifices in human lives already. Only if the killing stops can there be peace.
What was the purpose of this trip? Was it to show an evenhandedness in the pope’s opinion about the Mideast conflict between Israel and the Arabs? His photo-ops seemed to be chosen to highlight the plight of the poor, occupied Palestinians.
He invited Abbas and President Shimon Peres to the Vatican in June to pray for peace. I hope that he shows them the Jewish loot taken from the Beis HaMikdash and being kept in the basement of the Basilica in Rome. Let Abbas see the proof that there was a Jewish Temple in Yerushalayim. And then let the pope return those artifacts to Israel.
And when they pray, please let it be outdoors and not in a church. And I would like to ask Shimon Peres to put on a yarmulke. How sad that the pope wears a yarmulke and the Israeli leaders don’t. There is a picture online taken at Ben-Gurion airport upon his arrival with the heads of the Jewish state greeting him. He was wearing a yarmulke and they were bareheaded. (To be fair, there was a picture taken when he visited Har Herzl with Netanyahu and Peres wearing yarmulkes.)
It is time for Israeli leaders to act like Jews, to demand what is ours with no excuses or apologies. All religions are welcome in Israel and all leaders are welcome, but on Israel’s terms, not theirs.
I am finishing this article on Yom Yerushalayim. I’ve posted a few pictures and videos on Facebook about Yerushalayim. As I wrote in a previous column, our kids need to know what happened in modern Jewish history. The Six Day War was a watershed, one of the most important events in Jewish history. Yerushalayim was united and under Jewish sovereignty for the first time in over 2,000 years. Soldiers were crying and dancing at the Kotel; Generals Dayan, Rabin, and Narkis marched into the Old City and to the Kotel; Rabbi Goren blew the shofar and recited Keil Malei Rachamim for all the soldiers who died defending and capturing Yerushalayim, Yehuda, and Shomron. It marked the end to the foreign occupation of our capital!
Unfortunately, this morning I saw two articles on Arutz Sheva about Arab attacks on tourists and students visiting the Old City for Yom Yerushalayim. One seminary girl was hit by a rock. Baruch Hashem the groups were accompanied by soldiers who got everyone to safety while running through a hail of stones and glass. Oh, for the days when we walked right through Sha’ar Shechem without any fear.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke Tuesday night at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook, promising that Israel would never again divide Yerushalayim, the heart of our nation. And Mr. Prime Minister, do not divide our country again; keep all of Yehuda and Shomron. There cannot be a Palestinian state in the heartland of Israel.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and inspiring Shavuos. Looking forward to a wonderful summer!
Bais Yaakov students love BYQ’s annual Color War. While everyone celebrates, the girls of grades 5–8 enjoy a spectacular day of song, dance, and sports. This year’s Color War teams were Yad, Regel, and Peh. Morah Pfeiffer opened the day and explained the theme, “Kol Atzmosai Tomarnah, Hashem Mi Kamocha.” The purpose of our guf, body, is to perform mitzvos and praise Hashem. Each team focused on the mitzvos done with its team name: tefillin, saying hello to others, aliyah l’regel, running with zerizus to do mitzvos, praising Hashem through tefillah, saying the berachah of Al Netilas Yadayim, etc. The girls learned the deeper meaning of their team names and taught it to the rest of the girls. The cheers were witty and upbeat, the theme songs were heartfelt and meaningful, the banners were true works of art, and the divrei Torah were interesting and informative. In the races and sports, the girls demonstrated skill and sportsmanship.
The 7th grade made an “everlasting contribution” of signs that will hang over the netilas yadayim station in the lunchroom. Each team’s contribution connects with its team name. They will serve as reminders to the girls of halachos connected to netilas yadayim.
In connection with the big idea of the day, achdus, the 8th grade prepared a special presentation of a song that incorporated the names of all three teams. They sang together, in their 8th-grade sweatshirts, which are blue, yellow, and pink. In truth, all the girls are winners, because they enjoyed working together!
Annual Women’s Shavuos Shiur at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel. The entire Queens community is invited to the annual women’s Shavuos shiur given by R’ Moshe Schwerd, on the topic of “The Mothers of Mashiach.” The shiur will take place on the second day of Shavuos, June 5, at 5:00 p.m. at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147th Street & 73rd Avenue, in the main shul.
Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association Town Hall Meeting. Tuesday, June 10 at 7:45 p.m. at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, 70-11 150th Street. Agenda includes library (Vleigh Place) construction update, upcoming elections, and other community issues. Attendance is free.
Queens Jewish Women’s Writer’s Conference. Sunday, June 15, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at Yeshiva Ohel Simcha, 141-41 72 Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Featuring Rabbi Paysach Krohn and Mrs. Etka Gittel Schwartz.
Follow your writing dream. “Everyone starts out as a poet. The real question is why do most people stop?” (William Stafford)
Often, women say they used to write or they once dreamed of getting published or working on their writing. Writing is a Divine gift. It’s a wonderful outlet. With this in mind, women writers of all levels—published authors, aspiring authors, or women who simply enjoy writing, are invited to the first Queens Women’s Writers’ Conference. Includes workshops, inspiring talks, and networking opportunities. Bring your creativity, a notebook or laptop, and lunch. The conference will include inspiring speeches, writer’s workshops given by Mrs. Chaviva Pfeifer and Mrs. Susie Garber, and an opportunity to network with editors and major Jewish publishers.
To register online, visit http://susiegarber.wordpress.com/conference-registration-2/; e-mail Susie Garber at email@example.com; or call 917-696-2433. Early-bird registration before June 10. v
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.