By Chanita Teitz
The Bet El gala dinner was on Sunday night. Getting into Manhattan was smooth as far as the highway traffic, but once in the city it was ultimate gridlock. Since we left early to be there for pictures, we arrived on time.
About two weeks ago, at a dinner-committee meeting, they mentioned that the honorees should prepare their remarks and limit their speeches to under two minutes. I assumed that my husband, Akiva, would speak and I said that he needs to prepare something to say. Well, he had another idea: I should speak!
I thought my heart would drop. I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I really didn’t want to speak even though I have spoken for our shul and for our family at family simchos. But at a major dinner event, in front of over 1,000 people, this was not on my agenda. But Akiva enlisted our kids and even our grandchildren to convince me.
As time went on, I feared that he would begin speaking and then say something like, “I would now like to introduce my wife to continue,” and I would be caught on the spot. So I knew that I better prepare something. As I did, I got more psyched up to actually give over what I was thinking. Messages are the most important part of a speech or article. Giving your audience or readership something to think about is well worth the nerves associated with public speaking.
Following are the remarks I made at the dinner.
“I like to write my weekly column about current events. Tonight’s gala dinner is my number-one current event for this week. The ongoing news from Israel is frightening. As we celebrate tonight, we should keep in mind our brothers and sisters and their families in Israel who have been personally affected by the increase in terror attacks.
“Currently, there is a bill in Israel, the Jewish State bill that is causing a great deal of debate in and out of the Knesset. The bill states that Israel is the country for the Jewish people and even though the government gives equal rights to all its citizens, the dominant national character of the state must be Jewish. Those who oppose this bill claim that it is racist and undemocratic. That is because they see Jewish character and identity as just a cultural issue equal to other nationalities living there.
“Ketzaleh, I know that you and the other founders of the city of Bet El understood that to build a great Jewish city in the Shomron, it had to be built on a foundation of Torah. So you went to Bet El and started a yeshiva, and with the support of people like Mr. and Mrs. Eugen Gluck and others, the Bet El Yeshiva Center and all the institutions associated with it have grown to national prominence.
“Akiva and I are grateful that we have been zocheh to work with the dedicated members of the American Friends of Bet El and especially the entire devoted dinner committee who worked tirelessly to make this dinner a success.
“On behalf of Akiva and myself I want to congratulate our fellow honorees and thank our family and friends for joining us here tonight. Finally, we would like to thank the American Friends of Bet El for the honor of working together with you for the benefit of the people of Bet El.”
It is now less than a week before Chanukah. Antiochus also wanted to destroy the Jewish character of Eretz Yisrael by outlawing Torah and mitzvos and by assimilating the Jews into the Greek culture. Matisyahu and his sons knew that they were fighting a spiritual battle as well as a physical war.
This idea that Israel can be a purely secular and democratic country and still retain a Jewish identity is false. The Jewish State bill states the obvious—that Israel is first and foremost a Jewish country. And we are Jewish because of Torah. The Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and the Jewish nation are inseparable. But once we water down any part of our being, we will lose that identity.
It reminds me a little of King Henry VIII, who put himself above the Church of England. Democracy cannot be above Torah. Democracy can coexist with Torah, but if there is ever any issue that has a religious conflict, the Torah reigns supreme.
The Arabs living in Israel can have a better life than they would probably get in any Arab country but must accept that what is ultimately best for the Jewish nation overrides anyone else’s agenda. The Arabs must recognize our Jewish sovereignty. Years ago Meir Kahane predicted that would never happen.
As Israel is gearing up for new elections in March, I fear that if a Labor-led government wins the election, they will put democracy first. Right now, more than ever, we need a large bloc of the religious parties to work together to form a tight, right-wing government with Torah ideals ruling in a democratic state.
YTM Sends Letter of Chizuk to Families of the Three Kedoshim. Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe sent a letter with the divrei chizuk team—Aaron Cyperstein, Rabbi Aloni Russek, and Rabbi Daniel Pollack—that went on a mission to Israel. They met with the Frenkel family and presented the yeshiva’s letter to the families. To send words of chizuk to the families, e-mail email@example.com.
Chazaq Women’s Division Presents Head-Wrapping/Tichel-Tying Class. Finally learn how to tie a tichel! Hands-on demonstrations to boost your confidence, with a large variety of scarves and accessories to choose from. Have a scarf lying around and just don’t know what to do with it? Bring it with you and we’ll give you ideas. Date: Monday, December 15, 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Location: Beth Gavriel Center, 66-35 108 St. in Forest Hills. Super sale: all pashminas $8. Credit cards now accepted. For more information call 718-285-9132 or e-mail Info@Chazaq.org.
To Mr. Louis Taubenblatt, formerly of Kew Gardens Hills, on the petirah of his sister.
HaMakom yenachem eschem b’soch sh’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim.
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.