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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thirteen Million Pennies From Heaven

One often is surprised by the little tidbits one can pick up in the news. Yes, we will be posting about the Shalit deal and about a brewing Agunah controversy. But perhaps, because this is also important, and perhaps because especially during these times it is uplifting and important to hear of projects like this run by teachers who have brains, understanding and imagination we are going to talk about 13,000,000 - Thirteen Million - Pennies.

"I want anyone who donates to hold a handful of pennies and imagine that they are holding the terrified hands of the humans who were marched into the gas chambers," Hood said.
The article in the Jerusalem Post, 13 million pennies collection to honor Holocaust victims, tells us the number 13,000,000 is to represent each person killed in the Holocaust. It leaves us with an understanding that there is still excellent education going on in Jewish schools. The article tells us:

The project was inspired by Whitwell Middle School in east Tennessee, which set out in 1998 to collect 6 million paper clips - representing each Jew who died in the Holocaust - and received several times that number.

The Tennessee students decided to collect paper clips because they discovered that paper clips were invented by Norwegians and that Norwegians wore them on their lapels as a silent protest against Nazi occupation during the war.
The 14 students have collected 65,000 pennies so far. 13,000,000 pennies is a long way to go. And yet whether they reach their goal or not, my respect and appreciation goes to the teacher and students at Temple Israel in Akron Ohio.

But that number. 13,000,000. It rings in my head. It is beyond imagination. It is beyond understanding. It is beyond anything that I can fathom. 13,000,000 people killed by a nation gone blood crazy because they listened to a pathological sick spawn of the devil. They saluted him and followed him. 13,000,000! And that does not count the soldiers that were killed. Some say the number 35,000,000 is more realistic when talking about World War Two.

13,000,000! And we have idiots in Iran, idiots released from Vienna jails, idiots even in writers forums claiming that the freedom demands these people are allowed to deny the Holocaust and spread their hatred and venom. 13,000,000. Just think about that for a moment. 13,000,000.

Thank you children in Temple Israel. Thank you teacher of their class, Ms. Hood. Even an old battlefield medic living in Jerusalem has to be reminded from time to time about the important things in life. It is good to be given perspective. It is even better to know it comes from 14 children who have learned while living in peace their legacy and history. It is important to know the lessons and history of the Holocaust will not be forgotten.

And dear reader, I beg you to remember, 13,000,000 pennies begins with just one. And even one life taken by the Nazis is simply one life too many.

And so the next time you see some idiot defending the right for someone to deny the Holocaust - from the head of a country to some poor hate ridden fool on a forum board - flick him a penny.

Indeed, flick him a penny from Heaven.

Posted On: The View From Jerusalem

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Teddy Kollek - The Passing Of A Giant

Teddy KollekTeddy Kollek, at 95 died yesterday in his beloved city of Jerusalem. Teddy Kollek will be eulogized by many politicians and friends. Teddy Kollek deserves every single praise that is given him and then some. Teddy Kollek was a giant - a person whom fate placed at the right time and right place for all the right reasons. Teddy Kollek built modern Jerusalem.

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."There is so much to say about this giant among men. But let me just talk as a person who never met him but lived in his city. Yes, Jerusalem was his city. Teddy, as he was wont to be called and not Mayor Kollek, single-handedly built modern Jerusalem. There was nothing too small or too large for his imagination. There was no such thing as "impossible". When it came to Jerusalem this former Mayor who remain seated at the head of Jerusalem for 6 terms made Jerusalem and everything in it - his number one priority.

He was a politician of a different age. A different outlook. He actually did something. He forever left his imprint upon this city. There are no words other than these. Teddy was Jerusalem and Jerusalem is Teddy.

I was saddened to hear of his passing. I was saddened in an inexplicable way. Teddy had little to do with the papers and news during the last 10 years. But everywhere one went, from the Israel Museum to the middle of town; from the Old City of Jerusalem to Ramot and Ramat Eshkol - Teddy was there. It was Teddy. Jerusalem belonged to him.

"Jerusalem's people of differing faiths, cultures and aspirations must find peaceful ways to live together other than by drawing a line in the sand."

Teddy Kollek

He also worked hard and tirelessly for pluralism within this difficult city, housing every religion and belief that the world has to offer. He remained friendly with Jew & Arab & Christian & Moslem. He did not accept injustice. He built magnificent edifices and made sure the streets were cleaned. He was a Mayor of the city, or as Ed Koch called him, the "Mayor of Mayors". The following is from the Haaretz Paper - Legendary Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek to be laid to rest in J'lem.

Born near Budapest, Kollek grew up in Vienna. In 1935, with Nazi Germany threatening to take control of Austria, Kollek moved to British Mandatory Palestine, helping to found Kibbutz Ein Gev.

In 1952 he became part of group of close advisors to Israel's founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion, a circle that included Shimon Peres and other figures of what would become the modern Labor Party.

Taking office two years before the 1967 war that formally united the Jewish western and Arab eastern halves of the holy city, Kollek transformed the landscape of Jerusalem, spearheading a green belt in the west which includes parks, the prestigious Israel Museum, a botanical gardens and a biblically themed zoo. In recognition of his major public works projects, the city named the modern soccer arena he envisaged, the Teddy Stadium, after him.
I think to me, Teddy embodied the verses from Psalms (Tehillim):

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

Teddy was Jerusalem. Jerusalem was Teddy. There is no greater epitaph one can give this giant of a man.

He will be sorely missed. And Jerusalem itself, the people and the city, the thousand year old rocks; the synagogues, churches and mosques all mourn the passing of this man. Jerusalem weeps for the loss of one of its greatest guardians.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of life


Posted On: The View From Jerusalem

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Snow In Jerusalem & Hermon

Taking a vacation from The View From Jerusalem was a good thing. I needed it. It is not that the news got better or worse, it was just the need to breathe without pressure.

Has anything changed? Has anything remained the same?

Snow In JerusalemWell it snowed in Jerusalem and other parts of the country. For those of you used to snow that is not a big deal. But snow in Jerusalem, no matter how little, is always a cause for fun and excitement.Snow in Hermon It also means that there will be skiing up in the Hermon. Another great idea for all if you can afford it.

I am going to leave this post with just these pictures. Why? Because I want to hold that vision of white soft peace for just a few minutes. I want to treasure it. So no, this is not going to be some opinion about this or that. I just want a post about nothing at all. A post about Snow.

A post about the white snow and memories of snow past. When I used to walk with Pop on the streets of New York holding his hand, and catching snow flakes on my tongue. It was such an innocent world for me - such a wonderful, peaceful world.


Posted On: The View From Jerusalem

The Chronicles of the Children of Heaven The View From Jerusalem T3 - Teddy's Techie Tips Cobwebs Of The Mind Help! I Have A Fire In My KitchenTeddy's Writing Mania