Ian Silverman, Rabbi

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 I bid adieux to my colleague of now 14 years, Cantor Ralph Nussbaum. It has been a joy and an inspiration to work alongside him.

The parasha mentions three functions in regard to Abraham that applies to our Chazan Nussbaum. First, Abraham is a teacher–he even teaches God that so important is hospitality, it is even more important than a private meeting with God. Abraham runs from his audience with God himself to welcome his guests. Thus, Abraham is a teacher, even instructing God himself. Chazan Nussbaum is also a great teacher.

The portion of Torah also mentions that Abraham caers a feast–a mishteh gadol–literally, a festive meal. Customary at festive meals was instrumental and vocal music. I am not sure Abraham sung, but Cantor certainly has embellished and beautified our ritual with his melodies and his chanting. As a musician, as a soloist, as choir director, as teacher, as balabus, as administrator, Chazan Ralph has graced this community for 23 years. We are so very sad to see this relationship come to an end, but we are happy to have been blessed by so many years of his dedication.

I was intrugued when, at the Men's Club Dinner, the Past Presidents awarded him with a decanter and proclaimed him an honorary Men's Club President. It was, as one congregant said, “decanter for de cantor.” It is interesting, though, that there may be a word origin relationship, although I may be completely wrong, etymologically. The root of the wrod "decanter" is to pour, and doesn't a cantor also "pour" out his heart and emotions as his soul "pours" upward the thoughts and aspirations, the petitions and the praises of the congregation? Certainly it can be decisively said that our Cantor Nussbaum poured out his heart for his congregation, in so many ways— in teaching, in his Chesed projects, in his visits to the sick, in his tending to the mourning and needs of our members. He has poured out his energies in so many respects, and yet we saw a maayan mitgaber, an overflowing, continuing spring of energy. It is therefore appropriate that in his words, “excitment fill the air tonight,” as we honor this man, our excellent chazan, both for his professionalism and his menschlichkeit.

For the blessing of clear vision, we thank you
For the blessing of humor and kibbitzing, we thank you
For the blessing of professionalism, we thank you
For the blessing of love of children, we thank you
For the blessing of melody and musicality, we thank you
For the skills of prayer and Haftorah, we thank you
For the blessing of your wisdom, we thank you
For the blessing of love of Torah and being able to convey it, we thank you
For the steady hand of instruction to our adults, we thank you
For the welcoming encouragement as choir director, we thank you.

Baruch ata be voecha o varuch ata betzetecha, Blessed are you and Avrille.

May the blessings you brought as you came into our shul redound upon you in your exit,
May your retirement bring you recuperation, added strength and new horizons.
May it be blessed with the joys of your wonderful family and deep and etched fond memories of your work at ENJC, and many more years of vitality.

We are forever grateful to you, our beloved Cantor, and to this, let us say, Amen.

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Israel Items of Interest

KEEP CURRENT WITH THE LATEST NEWS IN ISRAELI ADVOCACY, THE DAILY ALERT HERE.

An Israeli company has developed a means to evaluate the freshness of foods. Read about it HERE.

Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision, offers an online software that can provide a second opinion on CT scans by analyzing the information and producing a medical report within 90% accuracy. Read about it HERE.

Film recommendation: Mekonen, the story of an Ethiopian Jew who makes peace with an emotional past and embraces his future in Israel, becoming a decorated officer in the IDF while remaining true to his African roots and culture.

Did you know that the first victim of 9-11 was an Israeli Special Forces Veteran who rushed the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11 to stop the hijackers, but was murdered in his attempt to stop these al-Queda terrorists. Watch a quick video, HERE. 

Read about a small guitar workshop in Jaffa, creating the finest instruments, HERE.

A PhD student at Hebrew University has won an award for developing a test to detect Parkinson's Disease. Read about it HERE.

Three years after publishing an anti-Israel letter in the medical journal, The Lancet, the editor admits he has deep regrets and has dedicated the latest issue to highlighting health care in Israel. Read about it HERE.

Read an article by Chris Coons and Marco Rubio from the Wall Street Journal, "Every Senator Agrees the UN Must Change," HERE.

Israel's medical clowns- they cheer up sick kids, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and alleviate depression. They are Jews, Christian Arabs, and others. Watch a YouTube video about them HERE.

Learn about the connection of Jews with Israel, the decades-long quest of Israel for peace with it's neighbors, the failure of Palestinian leadership to turn conflict into coexistence, and the contrast between the fate of Palestinian and Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict, HERE. 

Women of the IDF video

 

Rabbi Silverman's Suggested Sites to See

Membership of the UN Human Rights Council, elected to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights," includes: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iraq, Burundi, Afghanistan among others. See the list and why it's laughable, HERE.

Read Alan Dershowitz' article recounting his debate with Professor Cornel West of Harvard on the topic of the BDS movement HERE.

The US has sent only $60 million of the its $125 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinians while re-examing the way the UNRWA operates and is funded, and to urge other nations to contrigure more. Read about it HERE.

The UN provides funding to Lebanon from the US for its Palestinian population, but nearly 1/4 of the Palestinians Lebanon claims are not there. Read the story HERE.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has contacted US Attorneys and Homeland Security following a speech by Imam Ammar Shahin in California, who used his pulpit to demonize Jews and call for their destruction. Similar screeds were delivered at mosques across the US and Canada. Read about it HERE.

On January 20th Women across the country will again march in support of basic human rights for women and all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation. You are invited to march with a community of Zionists feminists, Zionists for Women's Rights, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read the words of Golda Meir, from 41 years ago, on the Palestinian issue. At the time, her arguments were belittled, but in retrospect, we see her incisive wisdom, HERE.

Read a Times of Israel blog describing how Christians across the Middle East are in danger from radical Islamists, except in Israel, HERE.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team which will investigate individuals and networks providing support Hezbollah and pursue prosecutions in any appropriate cases. Read about it HERE.

The Board of Directors of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy voted to hold their 2019 international conference in Tel-Aviv, but a petition has been circulated protesting this decision and calling upon the organization to reconsider. Please sign the petition supporting academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas HERE.

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has asked the State Department to stop referring to Israel's presence in Judea-Samaria as an "occupation," but the State Department has refused. Read why Ambassador Friedman is correct HERE.

Palestinians are destroying important sites of the Herodian era. Read the story HERE.

Are the people of Iran protesting economic and employment issues, or something deeper? HERE.

Urge your congress people to stand with the Iranian people as they oppose Iran's corruption, disregard of human rights and support for terrorism, HERE.

UNICEF is blacklisting the IDF as violators of children's rights, basing their criticism on biased information. Read HERE.

Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies has become an "academic epicenter for anti-Israel political activism, as well as the promotion of academic boycott of Israel and its mother [BDS] movement..." Read the New York Daily News article HERE. 

Several performers have been receiving pressure to cancel their shows in Israel. It is crucial at this time that artists hear from those who support artistic freedom and the power of the arts to build bridges. Please sign the petition HERE.

Tarek Fatah writes inthe Middle East Forum that Muslims need to be more honest about Jerusalem's role in its history. Read the article HERE.

Read a Newsweek article by Rabbi Marvin Hier that explains why Abbas is telling the world that the survival of the Middle East is at stake with Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, HERE.

Imam Aymen Elkasaby, in the US (New Jersey) on an R-1 visa, is calling for all Muslims to engage in violence against Jews as a religious obligation. He should be deported. Read about it HERE.

CNN's Jake Tapper criticizes the countries that condemned the US on Jerusalem at the UN. Watch the video HERE.

Teen Vogue has shifted from its focus on fashion and become political. In an article last week, the magazine promoted Hamas and it's call for people to resist Trump's announcement about Jerusalem. Read the article from Camera  HERE. Write to voice your outrage with Teen Vogue HERE.

Linda Sarsour, the controversial Muslim activist and self-proclaimed feminist, has been accused of covering up and threatening women in her Brooklyn office who alleged sex-abuse in the office, according to the New York Post. Read about it HERE.

Learn the proper protocol to handle Palestinian activists on campuses as exemplified by Georgetown University HERE.

A video about all the wonderful aid Israel provides worldwide, that will bring a tear to your eyes HERE.

 

 

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