AFSI's Memorial Tribute to Ze'ev Jabotinsky
 
AFSI's Memorial Tribute to Ze'ev Jabotinsky
on the 75th Anniversary of his death,
and a Commemorative Tribute to the
Gush Katif community on the 10th Anniversary
of the expulsion from Gush Katif

 

On Tuesday night, August 4, 2015, the 75th anniversary of the death of Ze'ev Jabotinsky in upstate New York, a few hundred people gathered in the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, NYC, to mark his yahrzeit, and also to remember the ten years since the expulsion from Gush Katif.

 

Cantor Zevi Muller of the West Side Institutional Synagogue, renowned for his great cantorial talents, led us in the anthems and sang a moving memorial prayer for Jabotinsky.

 

AFSI's Co-Executive Director, Judy Freedman Kadish, then took over the podium and, after noting that the program was dedicated to the memory of AFSI's beloved founder and Chairman, Herbert Zweibon, z"l, she introduced Mark Langfan, AFSI's present Chairman. Mark is well known and highly regarded as a frequent contributor to Arutz Sheva, a much sought after TV and radio personality, and of course, the map-maker. Mark referred to his most recent article in A7 where he explains that President Obama is NOT NAÏVE in his "deal" making with Iran. The entire charade is built on deception and the writing of a death warrant for Israel. He quoted Iran's Rafsanjani as saying that "Israel is a one bomb country." Langfan then brought out his map, copies of which had been distributed to the audience, showing the area around Tel Aviv, which, if hit with one bomb, would kill 3,000,000 Jews. With such destructive potential, tragically, the Iranian's analysis would be true.

 

Judy Freedman Kadish

Mark Langfan

Ronn Torossian, former member of Jabotinsky's youth group, Betar, former national President of Betar, North America, and presently the President and CEO of the highly esteemed 5W Public Relations firm, then delivered the keynote speech. He related five key principles of Jabotinsky to today's dangerous situation with Iran. He called the principles the guidelines for normal and healthy Jews today. The first was to love Israel and its people. He pointed out how we accept the unique dress habits of different sects, but decry the garb of the Hasidim. In 1908, Jabotinsky called this "the bitter root of our shame and suffering," that we lack tolerance and love for our fellow Jews. The second principle is Hadar. This can be translated to mean self-esteem, faithfulness, and Jewish pride. Jabotinsky stressed the need for reciprocity. If we give, we must also receive. The Jewish army is a necessity to underscore this point.

 

Barzel, iron, is the third principle. Recognizing that the world is anti-Jewish, the Jew must be courageous and stand up for himself. The fourth principle is recognizing that Zionism is moral and just. In 1911 Jabotinsky explained that there is no need for excessive apology (such as we see today when an Arab is the victim, as opposed to the countless Jewish victims of terror who go unrecognized). Jabotinsky's words were "Go to Hell," to those Jews who would constantly be bowing and scraping in apology. He preached the need to stand with others, or if necessary, to stand alone. Finally, the fifth principle is a belief in the indestructibility of the Jewish people. With a healthy fear of HaShem, the fighting Jew lay the railroad tracks to the future.

 

Ronn Torossian

  

Torossian's talk was received with a standing ovation. It was strengthening to have the proud and powerful words of Jabotinsky presented to us by a man who obviously has fashioned his life in that mold. AFSI is pleased to be able to forward Ronn's talk to all who are on our contact list.

 

Rabbi Avi Weiss was a surprise guest who agreed to give us a few words of encouragement. He spoke movingly about the recent death of his father, and described how his father had cried at the swearing in IDF ceremony for one of his grandsons. When asked why he was crying, he described the feeling of helplessness that he had as a child observing the oppression of the Jews of Poland. Today, Jews proudly serve in one of the best and bravest armies in the entire world, the Israeli Defense Forces. Rabbi Weiss also told of us his memories of being removed from Netzer HaZani, one of the 21 Jewish communities in Gush Katif, during that horrible time in August 2005. Despite the anguish and pain of the expulsion, there were many uplifting stories of faith and Jewish love that survived that "churban."

 

Rabbi Avi Weiss

 

Helen Freedman, AFSI's Executive Director, then spoke about AFSI's many years of devotion to Gush Katif. The AFSI Chizuk missions began visiting the communities during the years when they were being attacked with mortars and rockets. AFSI was there to offer support. We also visited the communities of Sanur and Homesh, two of the northern Shomron communities which were also evacuated during the expulsion. Freedman described her experiences in Gush Katif during the expulsion while staying with the Dror Vanunu family in Nevei Dekalim. These have left a permanent scar of pain in her memory. Freedman returned to Israel a few weeks ago to participate in special events marking the 10th anniversary of the garush. It was her great pleasure to see the construction of many new Gush Katif communities that have risen from the destruction. Unfortunately, there are still families living in temporary caravans or trailers, and many who are still unemployed. From 95% employment before the expulsion, there was 85% unemployment following the destruction. Brochures were distributed detailing the many ways that donors might choose to help the hundreds of Gush Katif refugees who need to be remembered. AFSI may be contacted for information regarding this issue: judy@afsi.org; jonathan@afsi.org.

 

Helen Freedman

 

A short film was shown, distributed by the Gush Katif committee, showing the past life in Gush Katif, the destruction in 2005, and the rebuilding that will not stop until every family is in a permanent home in a community that contains a synagogue, schools, and all that makes for healthy community life. That film is available for distribution and may be shown to all interested parties. Again, contact AFSI.

 

(Click on image to run the movie)

 

The program concluded with the singing of the Betar anthem. Charlie Bernhaut, noted for his devotion to the promotion of cantorial music, helped with the computer expertise necessary to project an old film of Jabotinsky and his contemporaries, along with the strong singing of the Betar anthem. The Betaris in the audience stood proudly and sang along while the rest enjoyed the moment of solidarity.

 

Singing the Betar Anthem

 


  

AFSI is proud to follow the principles of Jabotinsky and proud to present the annual Jabotinsky memorial program. We are grateful that this year, once again, we did justice to his name.

 

For more events, please see the list at the left column of this page.