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Rabbi Lawrence S. Zierler
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My two experiences with Ariel Sharon

Local rabbi recalls his meeting with the larger-than-life leader

Local | WorldPublished: 17 January 2014

I had the opportunity to be with the late Prime Minister Ariel (Arik) Sharon on two occasions.

The first was at an Israel Bonds Rabbinic Cabinet mission to Israel in January 1992 and the other was as part of a United Jewish Communities National Mission a decade later. In the first instance he was then the Minister of Housing, and I asked him a question about the settlement blocks. His response, in his inimitable way, was to immediately instruct one of his assistants to provide all of us with maps to better illustrate the answer he was about to give.

This was typical Sharon. As a military strategist he lived his life in large measure according to his maps. He always traveled with multiple sets in tow, especially when speaking to the press or visiting delegations like ours. In the words of the Talmud, not then explicitly said by him but clearly intuited, “aino domeh shemiah l’reiyah,” — “there is no comparing the power of something seen to that which is merely heard.” So we went home with a sample of Sharon cartography in our carry-on luggage.


Parshat Behar-Bechukotai - The sabbatical year’s shine on Sinai

Published: 07 May 2010

New resource for the holiday

Published: 22 March 2010

Few scholars have been able to communicate with equal efficacy in both the beit midrash and the pulpit. Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm has long excelled at both.

A “rabbi’s rabbi,” he enjoys renown both as a talmudic luminary and a masterful darshan. When I received semicha from him 25 years ago — and in subsequent conversations over the years — he has always left me with the same charge and challenge: “Go be ‘me-chadeish.’” Bring novel dimensions to your deliberations.


Parshat Va’eira

Published: 15 January 2010

Sukkot: The oys and the joys

Published: 02 October 2009

Parshat BaMidbar - A tradition too heavy to bear

Published: 22 May 2009

If we are taught in Pirkei Avot that 13 is the age of mitzvot or religious obligation (ben shalosh esrei la’mitzvot), then it seems clear from the opening verses of this week’s sedra of BaMidbar that 20 is the true age of responsibility.

“Me-ben esrim shanah vama-alah kol yotzai tzava be-Yisrael” — 20 years and older was the age designated for all able males to serve in the military protection of the then-nascent Jewish people. It is, therefore, no strange irony that in our own time the Israel Defense Forces find young Israelis — male and female, I might add — of the same age cohort, serving in the defense of their country. While it is the case that gius, the military draft, is at age 18, it is so because it is the post high school age and a time when young people have yet to develop full executive function and are still able to be molded and re-socialized by their superiors for the necessary behaviors and roles of a military force.


Parshat B’Shallach

Published: 06 February 2009

“By the Rivers of Yore and Lore”

Bodies of water loom large in general and biblical history. Somehow, turning points seem to happen on the banks of a river or overlooking the sea. In the biblical tradition, the first liberation account, a model for others to come, took root at the crossing of the Red Sea.


The street as theater: Footloose in Jerusalem

generalPublished: 06 June 2008

Street signs in Jerusalem. From "Jerusalem: Step by Step"

I take little for granted when I walk the streets of Jerusalem. Despite frequent visits in years past, the opportunity I shared with my wife and three children a few years back had me regularly taking to the city's famed streets and alleyways. On those many occasions when I crossed the town by foot, I was easily taken in by my surroundings. I could easily find fault in the degree of debris and the sense of discard and wasteful abandon that the public visits upon the capital city's poor pavement. Writ large in the daily dust and dirt is a lack of concern given to environmental care and esthetic issues. Still, I would find a sea of new sights and delights that I navigated and explored with my children en route to their schools each day.


Another 75th milestone: The rest of the story

generalPublished: 22 February 2008

The current Jewish Center of Teaneck buildling (upper right) and the Center's congregation celebrating New Year's in 1933.

If the ability to share and chronicle the story of Jewish life in Hudson and Bergen counties began 75 years ago with the establishment of The Jewish Standard as our area's principal Jewish paper, then the beginnings of Jewish organizational life in Teaneck, perhaps its leading community, also then began with the establishment of the Jewish Center of Teaneck as the community's first Jewish house of worship.

Joy Zacharia Appelbaum notes in "The History of the Jews of Teaneck" (1977) that the center began with High Holy Day services in 1933. Its wandering but uninterrupted development took a path of progress with the congregation's first home in Israel Doskow's art studio on Elm Street, then in a store across from the municipal green, onward to the Masonic Hall (the former residence of Bernard and Minna Lippman) on Monterey Avenue, and after that to the state troopers house on Queen Anne Road.

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