Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Letter to My Brother!

A letter of support to Rabbi Kotel Da-Don from Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser of Brooklyn

When kindling the Menorah in the Mishkan, there were three steps that elevated the Kohen to be high enough to reach the wicks for lighting. Aharon HaKohen was very tall and he did not need the additional height that the steps provided. Yet, we learn that he did indeed use these three steps. The question is, why he used the steps if he didn’t need to.

The three steps allude to Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim -- Torah, the service of Hashem and benevolent acts of kindness. Aharon, being the Kohen Gadol, a leader of his people, wanted to demonstrate that true leadership is not merely a political appointment, but rather he is to be a guide, a mentor to the people and a leader who will constantly be involved in these three areas of Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim.

I write this article and dedicate it to one of my colleagues, a very dear friend, who serves as Chief Rabbi of Croatia, the Honorable Rabbi Kotel Dadon, shlita. Rabbi Dadon is the first Chief Rabbi of Croatia since the Second World War when Rabbi Shalom Freiberger was killed al Kiddush Hashem.

During the war, Rabbi Freiberger was deported together with the members of his community when the Nazis invaded. Their long train ride ended at Auschwitz. Upon leaving the train the Rabbi and his community were herded through the gates of the camp. Rabbi Freiberger saw his people being manhandled and treated inhumanely. He could not be silent and walked to the Nazi officers and pleaded with them to please treat these people like human beings. Everyone stood and watched breathlessly as the commanding Nazi officer took out his gun and shot the sainted Rabbi Freiberger in cold blood, point-blank. The thousands of eye witnesses and the Rabbi’s community, will never forget the example that Rabbi Freiberger showed to them in life and in death, may Hashem avenge his blood.

For the decades after the war, the remnants of the Croatian community went without a chief rabbi, recovering from the heavy losses that they sustained during the Second World War, as well as the more recent civil war that so affected the entire region. It was as if Hashem performed an open miracle when the community received word that there was an outstanding, young rabbi, an accomplished lawyer and community askan, one of the leading alumni of his yeshiva, who had agreed to listen to and observe the Jewish people of Croatia. Upon his first trip to the capital city of Zagreb, Rabbi Kotel Dadon immediately won the hearts of the people. He impressed everyone as an accomplished Talmud chochom and scholar. He is a sincere and genuine humanitarian, a sensitive and giving and a person to whom all people could relate: the young and the old, the traditional and the non-traditional.

The community made an offer to Rabbi Dadon immediately, beseeching him to become the chief Rabbi of Croatia, and move together with his distinguished Rebbetzin and little children to Zagreb. There were many obstacles; however, as it had been decades since Croatia had a rabbi. Where would he live? What resources would he have locally? How could he begin to educate a generation that had almost slipped by unnoticed to the rest of the world? Where would his children be able to attend school? With whom would they play? Would it be possible for a Rabbi to really live in Croatia?

The community pulled together and exerted super-human efforts to make sure that the Rabbi, if he should decide to accept their offer, would be made comfortable in every area of his life. It seems as though the prayers of the Holy martyrs were finally answered and Jewish Community of Croatia would not remain an orphaned people. Rabbi Dadon graciously accepted the mantle of leadership of Chief Rabbi of Croatia. The entire community was euphoric. Many couldn’t believe that they would finally have a rabbi, someone to confide in, someone to look to in times of need and times of joy, someone who could guide them.

At his installation as Chief Rabbi, there were many great rabbis and dignitaries from around the world. I will never forget the first time that my partner Eliezer Allman and I met Rabbi Dadon. It was the fulfillment of a dream that we have had ever since we became involved in communities of the former Yugoslavia years ago. Our attachment to the Balkans is a very deep one and we feel a special kinship with all of the communities in the region. The relationship that has developed with the Rabbi can be compared to one of the closest of brothers.

Rabbi Dadon has literally turned the community around, and he and his family have given new life to the community. For the first time one can go in the streets of Croatia and hear children singing Modeh Ani from the classrooms of their new Yeshiva Day School. Record crowds are in attendance for Yom Tov programs. Plans are underway to reconstruct the main synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis. The Rabbi has represented the Jewish community on every level of society. He has brought Croatia to the forefront, and has succeeded in touching the lives of thousands of people.

The Rabbi organized the dedication of a sefer Torah and personally saw to it that over 250 organizations, businesses and dwellings affixed, for the first time, Mezuzas on their doors. He has organized a host of Shabbatonim, adult education programs and has authored a masterful book on Judaism, specifically for the benefit of his community. He has brought a high standard of kashrus and shechita to the area. He has reached out to all segments of the community, extending to them his guidance, counsel and help wherever needed and necessary. He has conducted Jewish weddings and Bris Milas, for the first time since the Holocaust.

It would be impossible to list the numerous accomplishments thus far of Rabbi Kotel Dadon. In short, he has raised the banner of Torah which now flies proudly over the Balkans.

To my shock, I have just been informed that literally overnight, a small group of purported atheists have deviously gained power on the Community’s board, and have conspired to remove Rabbi Kotel Dadon from Croatia. These people are of questionable origin and have stealthily crept in to try and take over the Jewish community. The threat is most serious. It has become apparent that the war that they wish to wage is not only against Rabbi Kotel Dadon, it is against the very Torah itself. They want to remove all traces of religion from the Jewish community. It is hard to imagine that during the holy time of our preparations for Kabbalas HaTorah, such an insult to the honor of Torah can take place.

I join rabbinic leaders throughout the world in crying out against this outrage. I join with thousands of people the world over in saying to Rabbi Kotel Dadon: “We support you! We are with you and we will never allow you to be any place other than on three steps that you stand on as the Chief Rabbi of Croatia: Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim”.

I call out with the voice of my pen to all of the distinguished readers of the Jewish Press the world over -- to all who are in the Torah camp -- to please e-mail your feelings of encouragement and support to Rabbi Kotel Dadon, the Chief Rabbi of Croatia, at:
jcz@zg.htnet.hr
I thank each and every one of you for your time and effort in this matter. May we hear good news and celebrate many simchas in Klal Yisroel.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Jo David writes: "My name is Morris Waters, my father was a Frenchman named Maurice de la Fontaine, & my Polish grandfather was Moish Pisher."

Oder so:
"Kennst du eigentlich den reichen Maurice de la Fontaine?"
"Ja, ich kannte ihn schon als er noch Moritz Sprizwasser hiess."
"Und ich kannte ihn bereits als er noch Moshe Pisher hiess"

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judenrat ovo ne objavlja na svom blogu, pa eto, ja cu
Slavko

Unitl now I kept quiet.

We used to be friends. I admired you for your knowledge, intelligence and the very extraordinaryway of reasoning. We also bonded as buddies in the very trying times when we first came to Israel, and had difficulties to adapt to the new world.

But... Slavko I had serious doubts about your integrity and honesty from the very beginning,and yet, went into denial as many other of our friends, except seems to me I was the only one always forgiving and finding excuse for you.

NO MORE.

I wish to remind you, how one evening in a coffee house in Tel-Aviv, Mirjam, me, and you in the uniform of IDF, when you nonchalantly said "I am leaving, and came to say good-by". You told us the most incredible and outrageous story, how you convinced your commanding officer to return your passport, and let you go back to Yugoslavia, marry the girl, whose parents saved your lives during WW2, bring here to Israel and you will continue your Army Service when you return 2 weeks later. He believed you.

You left. DESERTED THE ISRAELI ARMY and did not come back. Slavko, did it ever occur to you, that you damaged the carreer of that military man, that he might have ben punished, or lost his rank, because he trusted you? About 20 years ago, Victor and I visited my family in Zagreb and we met. You were at that time The President of the Jewish Community, but things did not go so well for you. The Board did not want to renew your mandate. Their complaints were that you enjoyed the prestige and status of celebrity, but did not deliver your duties, were never available, and developed "The art of dolce far niente" , in the affairs of the Community.

Then you had a brilliant idea. (Victor and I were still in Zagreb) You called for a meeting of the Board and told them, that Victor promised to the Jewish Community a donation of $20,000, if they elect you as President for another term. And indeed, they did. After a few hours, Dunja the secretary called: "I am coming to pick up the cheque". We had not even the slightest idea what she is talking about. I told them "Victor never promised such thing, it is a fabrication".

Slavko, you are an interesting personality. A master manipulator, a cheat, with not even the slightest evidence of any conscience or principles Don't kid yourself, I read you like a book. I blame you, and only you, for building up the hatred in your community, for being an untrustworthy mentor to Mr. Mesic, who can never in a million years understand the complexity of an ORTHODOX mind. He said something that can never be unsaid and will follow him everywhere and forewer.

Wait, just wait, when Ely Wiesel gets involved in your wrong doings. I am working on it. You Slavko a secular Jews (or maybe you changed your orientation and denomination?) stand by an uneducated, non speaking Hebrew Rabbi (turned kosher chicken farmer and dealer) A SHREWD SIMPLETON who cannot be a spiritual leader to a secular Community. Slavko what is your agenda? Don't worry it will come out in the worst way. I am working on it. And now for some DESSERT, something about your beloved SHAS.

It is not a secret any more that KOTEL has full support from Shas and is their follower.

1.They have introdduced a "gender-separated" bus line in Jerusalem.

2.In Feb. 2004, they wanted to issue regulations for "modest dress" for women in the Knesset. (and you know what that means).

3.They have banned kids to visit divorced parents if Shabath is broken.

4.In Dec. 2002 Shas minister Dahan proposed a bill in the Knesset that secular Jews should not be permitted to immigrate to Israel.

5.In June 2003 a couple was not permitted entry into a supermarkt run by
Shas people, since not "modestly dressed".

Want more Slavko? Here is more.

Shas is a Middle Ages institution, and your Kotel comes from this society, which policies he certainly tried to promote in the Zagreb Community. He is a Missionary. Even the Religious Kneset Member Hanan porat accused them of "primitivization of religion".

Their mentor Rabbi Ovadia a week ago declared that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment, because they did not study Torah.

Cursing openly attorney Neeman "He has spiritual cancer"

" " Attorney General Harish "May his home be destroyed"

About Knesset member Aloni "On the day she dies we have to rejoice and have a party"

Explaining the Holocaust as being the result of the sins of Jews against God.

In March 2005 he cursed Sharon "that the Holy One Blessed be, He will give him one blow, and that he'll die and not get up".

He said all that publicly and in the press.

Slavko, think how low you descended and took with you down an honest, but uninformed President.

You destroyed your Community, not your son, because you are responsible, because you ARE the CONDUCTOR OF THIS PATHETIC ORCHESTRA.

You are trying to blow to bits honest, illustrious, prestigious, high class members in your Jewish Community. Have you forgotten that we Jews take care of each other, we are family, we perpetuate a tradition. What an ugly lesson to the larger Community in Zagreb? Lessons that we learned if stick together!! Under your auspices you succeeded to bring shame to the Jews of Croatia.

After all.... why am I surprised... with your genes and DNA you could not help it.

You know very well what I mean.

Esti

10:38 PM  

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