Franklin County Times
Jehovah’s Witnesses getting new building.
 
May 27, 2008 
Jonathan Willis

jwillis@franklincountytimes.com

There is a single wall standing on a large concrete pad at a site on Franklin 48, between Pleasant Ridge and Tharptown.

That will be the case until workers gather at the site on Thursday, June 5.

By the afternoon of June 8, worshippers expect to be inside a fully furnished Kingdom Hall.

More than 700 workers are expected to be in the area next week to help build a new Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses worship center.

Workers from across Alabama, Georgia and other states will take part in a quick-build by a regional building committee.

“Everyone will know their specific job when they get here and they will do it,” said congregation member Donnie Tharpe. “Nobody takes anything lightly.”

The congregation outgrew their old sanctuary just up the road and sold that building earlier this year.

Site work on the 21-acre tract of land where the new building is being constructed began more than a month ago.

A large parking lot and concrete pad is on place and ready for crews to begin work next week.

“We will have a working kitchen going all day to take care of everyone,” said congregation member Sheila Harvey.

Church members expect to cook between 6,000 and 7,000 meals over the course of four days. Church members are also opening their homes to provide places for the workers to stay.

“This project is financed by voluntary workers,” Harvey said. “Nobody gets a salary, we don’t take up a collection, and it’s all voluntary.”

The church pays for the materials, but volunteers provide all the labor, she said.

The congregation began to see a need for a new facility after a steady growth in Hispanic attendance. The church has two services each Sunday, with one being in Spanish.

“The Spanish service is growing so fast we need a bigger building,” said Ottie Sandusky, a church member who has been volunteering his time to work at the site.

The old church seated about 130 people, whereas the new facility will hold about 200, he said.

Tharpe said many people find it hard to believe that a building constructed in only four days can be well built.

“It’s built as good as one that takes six months to build,” he said. “When 600 or 700 people come together with certain assignments and the same goal in mind, it’s amazing what can be done.”

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Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Rabbi Shalom Schwartz
 
Being in Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the hopes and prayers of millions of Jews over the generations.
 
Jerusalem is referred to as the Holy City. The Torah says that there’s a special relationship that the Almighty has with this particular point in space. For most people who live in Jerusalem, and even most visitors, that translates to some sense of a special feeling or a special consciousness. What is this uniqueness all about?
 
Sometimes it expresses itself in the most unexpected ways. One day I was taking a taxi, and as soon as the ride began, the driver turned to me and said, “Teach me some Torah.”
 
“Is this the cost of the fare?” I asked.
 
“No, it’s the tip.”
 
I shared a few words of Torah with him. “Now it’s your turn,” I said. “We have a long trip left.”
 
And he proceeded to weave together a web of beautiful Torah, drawing from Kabbalah and other esoteric sources. He was really getting into it, and I started to worry about whether his attention was on the road. When he finally finished, I was in awe.
 
“Where do you get this stuff from?” I asked him.
 
“What do you think I do all day? I collect Torah.”
 
Welcome to Jerusalem! Where even the taxi drivers learn Torah all day!
 
Jerusalem: The Center Point
 
In so many places we find references to Jerusalem as the center of Jewish focus. We see it in our holidays when we say, “Next year in Jerusalem” at the end of our Passover Seder. We say it while dancing at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It’s that constant hope and prayer for Jerusalem.
 
Jerusalem is also the centerpiece of our prayers. Whether we’re standing in silent meditation, or thanking the Almighty for our food, we express a prayer for the well-being of this place. This city — and the mountain in the Old City which was the site of the two temples — is the point to which all of our prayers are also physically directed. Jews around the world face Jerusalem when they pray.
 
 
Jerusalem is the center of Jewish hopes, of Jewish dreams.   
 
 
People living in Jerusalem position themselves and their synagogues in relation to the Temple Mount. We all face this spot, wherever we are in the world. When we stand in silent prayer, we imagine ourselves as though we are standing in that place. This point in space is the center of Jewish hopes, of Jewish dreams; it is a place of reference. It is the site of the two temples which were a living reminder of God’s presence in the world. It was a place where anyone could go to get in touch with the transcendental. It was a place where they were reminded that there was something intrinsically meaningful in their lives worth striving to get close to.
 
A Wedding Reminder
 
There is a custom of putting ashes on a groom’s forehead at the moment just before walking to the wedding canopy. This — and the broken glass under the canopy — are there to remind us of the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem. It’s a reminder that, as the Psalmist wrote, I put Jerusalem above my highest joys. [1]
 
For some this may seem like putting a damper on what is one of the greatest moments in a person’s life. The Rabbi gets up and says, “Let’s all remember the destruction of Jerusalem.” It seems so odd. But when you think of it in terms of the statement, “I put Jerusalem above my highest joy,” it simply means that there is further to go. At a moment when you have the great excitement of a wedding, and there is a profound sense of completion, you are enjoined to remember that the joy of life is not yet full. There are people who still suffer in the world. There’s a recognition that we haven’t yet gotten there.
 
How do we remember what there is? We remember Jerusalem. By breaking a glass, we remember that Jerusalem has not completed itself. All the Jewish people are not back in Israel; the Temple is not rebuilt. The spiritual center of Jerusalem hasn’t achieved its goal. Breaking this glass, and putting those ashes on the groom’s forehead at every wedding, serve as constant reminders. It’s as the psalmist wrote “If I forget Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning.” [2] That’s an astonishing statement. Somehow I’m missing my very strength for living and my ability to achieve in this world, if I forget what Jerusalem means.
 
Finding Focus
 
I used to work with Russian Olim (new immigrants to Israel). When they first arrived, they would be sent to centers all over the country to help them make the difficult transition into this new life. Understandably, many of them found the adjustment very challenging. Frequently, I heard that if they had been brought here to Jerusalem initially, it would have given them a focus.
 
One time, a Russian man was sitting in my office. As he gazed out at the Western Wall, he said, “I’ve been here for six months. I wish that when we first arrived, that we’d come here. Then I would have had a different perspective on all these six months of tribulations.” That same focus is what enabled the Jewish people to cope with the suffering of two millennia. It gave them a goal that allowed them to transcend the moment of suffering.
 
What is this focus? What is this goal and meaning?
 
I remember my grandmother describing to me her first visit to Israel. She told me how they got off the boat (this was in the ’50s), and she got down on the ground, and she cried. She kissed the ground. She felt the privilege of being in Israel after her entire family had been lost in the Holocaust. She knew that all of her eight brothers and sisters would have given anything to be in her shoes at that moment.
 
That sense of privilege is what pervades our discussion of Jerusalem. When we talk about a special focus and a special goal, we’re speaking about a reminder of the privilege of being back in this city, as the fulfillment of the hopes and prayers of millions of Jews over the generations. We’re talking about the awareness of the unique goal of the Jewish people in history, and the meaning of this place in our lives as an expression of that goal.
 
City of Peace
 
According to many, Yerushalayim (the Hebrew name of the city) comes from two words: Ir and Shalem. Ir means city. The second part is Shalem. It comes from Shalom, peace. City of Peace.
 
The word Shalem comes from the word to complete, or to perfect. Shlaimut in Hebrew, is to fulfill oneself, to achieve a level of completion in one’s life. Jerusalem is the City of Completion.
 
A city, “ir,” as Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch points out, is different from rural life. Rural life is more personal, more family-based. You are distant from your neighbors. You have your own farm to take care of. Urban life brings people into closer proximity with each other. There is an interaction of human beings with – hopefully — a specific purpose. In the Bible, cities began to appear when human beings wanted to produce that which they couldn’t produce separately. So, the combination of human ability, initiative, and experience creates the opportunity for the individual to create much more than he can make by himself. Thus, a city is the focal point of human interaction.
 
 
Jerusalem is a place to wake up to peace, an inner peace.  
 
 
The Hebrew word for city comes from the root which means “to wake up.” A city then is a place in which we can awaken our creativity and potential by interacting with other human beings in a way that we could not have if we were by ourselves. So, Jerusalem — Ir/Shalem — is a place to wake up to peace, an inner peace.
 
It’s very odd that the city of peace has been filled with strife for so many thousands of years. Perhaps it is a symbol of the struggle of humanity and of the individual, neither of whom have yet found that peace. As long as Jerusalem is in strife, we as humanity have not found a way to bring completeness and peace into the world.
 
This means that Jerusalem is also a point of reference; a measuring rod. It is a place to wake up to what that peace could be, both globally and individually. Individually, what parts of me are not yet at peace? Jerusalem is a place to consider what conflicts I still have, and that I need to resolve, with my past, with my future, with my family, and within myself. It is a place which provides the space and ability to regret the mistakes of the past and to move on. In it, the parts of the whole are somehow able to come together.
 
If shalem is inner harmony, and Jerusalem is a place to awaken to this, then waking up to Jerusalem means a recognition of what could be, and somehow a sense of what I’m missing in relation to that; where I have to go, and how to bring that about.
 
For generations, our ancestors have looked to Jerusalem as the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams as a people. We keep a reminder of it wherever we go — including in our prayers, and at our times of greatest joy — to help keep us focused on our goal in this world. When we speak of the special quality of this place, we are talking about its power to truly awaken us to the incredible potential of individuals and humanity to realize a true peace and completion that will come from realizing their potential. May we always keep the fire of Jerusalem alive and burning in our hearts.
 
Abridged from an Aishcafe.com class.
[1] Psalms: 137:6
[2] Psalms: 137:5
 
 

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo
 
What religious person does not feel traumatized at such a moment?
 
It has become very difficult to go to synagogue lately. Praying to God has become a real challenge. Watching China’s great misfortune on the news, seeing children buried under rubble and collapsed school buildings, and knowing that there are thousands and thousands more of them makes it hard to speak to the Creator in a gentle tone of praise and thanksgiving. By now, we know that 41,000 have died and millions have lost their homes and all that was dear to them. An incredible disaster has happened and it was not wrought by man, but by Heaven. What religious person does not feel traumatized at such a moment? Who does not experience a moment of rebellion against the Lord of the Universe? Who does not ask whether it is still possible to stay religious after such immense pain?
 
Shall we, then, ban Him from our lives, declaring Him dead and irrelevant? Consider Him a mistake in the thoughts of our forefathers? Would it help? Make more sense? Would it solve any problem? I have read many books, from Epicurus to Richard Dawkins, suggesting that I become a non-believer. Not impressive, too superficial; not enough soul and too much self interest.
 
 
Trying to understand God is like explaining a three-dimensional reality with the help of a flat surface.  
 
 
Once again, though, what the earthquake in China teaches me is that my understanding of God is far removed from the reality of His existence. I am forced once more to radically change my thoughts about God and admit my ignorance when thinking about Him. Trying to understand God is like explaining a three-dimensional reality with the help of a flat surface. I realize that there is a huge expanse beyond the shore of my reason. I am aware that there is a metaphysical murmur trying to penetrate my thinking, but it is unable to get through and stops halfway before it crashes my skull.
 
I live in infinite tension; I am a citizen of two worlds which make up my life. I see and sense God everywhere, but realize that I am blind because I cannot stop converting His realities into my opinions, my belief in Him into dogmas, and His sublimity into clichés.
 
In these two worlds, the overwhelming sense of God’s existence and the constant pressure asking me to deny Him become the foundations of my life. And in that land of many contrasts and paradoxes, I need to face Him and serve Him, being pulled in opposite directions of love and bitterness towards Him. My humble prayer, the sense of awe when I observe His magnificent world, and my need to thank Him for every breath of air He grants me mixes with my need to storm the heavens and shout a protest against Him as I carry the tears of millions of Chinese fellowmen, and so many others, and place them in front of His throne. This is my lot as a Jew.
 
God is more than existing. Existing is only His minimum capacity.
 
 
I will continue to speak to Him, argue with Him, observe His commandments, knowing that my wisdom is inferior to dust.  
 
 
He is more than existing, more than infinite, and more than timeless. He is not less than real, but more than real. When speaking about Him, I must become aware that I use words borrowed from the general sphere of human experience, words which do not fit into the world of faith. Faith, itself, is mostly starved of language. And so are my thoughts. They depend on language, and once I yearn for something beyond this, I am wordless and realize that my words and thoughts can only carry me until the moment I confront Him, after which they evaporate in meaninglessness since they need to convey that which is more than meaningfulness. If He would only exist, I would not believe in Him.
 

So, I will continue to speak to Him, argue with Him, observe His commandments, knowing that when I am confronted with calamity I am confronted with the knowledge that my wisdom is inferior to dust. I become aware that I cannot even endure the heartbreaking splendor of sunset, much less my meeting with Him in the pain of this world. So I will continue to pray and ask for mercy, for the Chinese and for all those who are living in pain and are helpless.
 

 

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

…one who occupies (”osek”) himself with Torah

-Ethics of the Fathers, 6:2

The term most often used by our sages to describe our involvement with Torah is not study, learn, practice, observe or the like, but osek (”occupy oneself”)–a verb usually associated with the act of doing business. Indeed, a life devoted to the study of Torah and implementation of its ideals much resembles a businessman’s occupation with his enterprise.

Consider this attitude: “I know that a crucial need exists for my product, and that my proposition constitutes the best value. I’ll be more than happy to deal with anyone who feels likewise and manages to get a hold of me.”

Sounds like a nice guy, but not much of a businessman.

Concern for one’s fellow man is usually seen as something to be enlisted or, at the very least, appreciated. If someone needs and wants to be helped, lend a hand. Otherwise, what can be done?

But Torah insists that you relate to all your positive endeavors as a business. Your knowledge, your values, your talents–do not line your coffers with them (what businessman keeps his capital in a savings account?) or offer them only to those who seek them from you or at least recognize their worth. Instead, as any self-respecting businessman would, do everything within your power to convince your fellow that he stands to benefit from what you have to offer.

 

Mobile Man

Another area in which business mirrors life is the importance of mobility.

To succeed in business, one must be on the move. Thus, when Moses blessed the Jewish people before his passing, Zebulun, a tribe of merchants, was given seaports in the land of Israel and blessed with the gift of mobility – a property as vital to the merchant of 3,000 years ago as it is to the businessman of today.

Stagnation is anathema to business. Despite the tremendous advances in the communications technologies, the 20th-century businessman still commutes, traveling to a place situated and equipped for business’s specific needs. From the office, he further ventures out to pursue business opportunities wherever they may present themselves.

In philosophy and temperament, the businessman must also be mobile and forward-looking. A person successful in business is a one who has learned to continuously progress and develop, to constantly finding new and innovative ways to optimally apply his talents and resources.

This is why commerce is a solely human endeavor. Of all G-d’s creatures, man alone has been blessed with the capacity for progress. Man alone strives upwards, forever seeking to improve upon his inborn traits, forever seeking to perfect himself and his world.

One who “occupy himself” with Torah, is one who applies this mobility to his moral and spiritual endeavors. To be osek with Torah is to commit oneself to the business of life.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I found this on Emes V’Emunah, and am posting it here since the blogmaster says it was meant for wide circulation.  This post hits home for me, since I’m a convert.  For me, this latest conversion controversy raises some questions, namely: How is this situation any different than the numerous situations involving those of us converted by rabbis who may head non-Orthodox synagogues that are located in small-town communities, but who themselves are observant according to Halachah? The small-town synagogues I’m referring to are often composed of both observant and non-observant Jews, and I can say as a convert that my rabbi made it a point to make sure that the conversion was al pi halachah, and I can also testify that, whatever my shortcomings, my kabbalat HaMitzvot was sincere and intended to cover everything, not just the Mitzvot I liked at the time.  The next question is, I think that, if people’s conversions have to be questioned, then it should be made as easy as possible for any problems to be resolved.  The whole situation, though, makes me sad and angry, and I simpathize and empathize with all those people who made it a point to seek out Orthodox batei din in order to avoid the problems that can result from Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist batei din.  I also can’t help but notice the irony that some of the very people who were quick to throw out Reform and Conservative conversions, especially conversions performed by traditionalist Conservative rabbis, due to the fact that they were performed by Conservative or Reform and not Orthodox rabbis, are now seeing conversions that they thought were beyond question, (I.e., Orthodox), thrown out as not Halachic.  But then, this latter thought is the synical part of me talking, and I hope that God will forgive me for thinking such sinful thoughts.  It saddens me to see so much distrust among the Jewish People, and I hope that we don’t have to have some sort of community-wide tragedy happen to cure us of the enmity and distrust that seems to be plaguing us.  On with the post.  I will try to translate any Hebrew terms, but if I miss something, please let me know and I’ll update the post to reflect the corrections. 
 
I was forwarded the following letter from a friend. It was written by a righteous convert. It speaks for itself and requires no further commentary from me. It has been edited for brevity and somewhat for style. But I believe it captures the essence of this woman’s message. And though it is still a bit longer than my usual posts it’s message is too important to ignore. – HM
 
Twenty-one years ago last week I was converted through a halachic Beis Din {rabbinical court; this author uses the Ashkenazi pronunciation} by 3 Orthodox rabbis. Their credentials and authority to do so would not be questioned. In fact, they are considered to have some of the strictest requirements for conversion.
 
My desire to be a Jew was preceded and nurtured by years of study. My desire to be a Jew was not based on love for any man or for money, prestige or power. It was – and is – purely out of love for G-d and the truth and wisdom of Torah. Never, ever have I felt that it was hard to be a Jew. Quite the contrary, I cannot fathom how I would live the full, productive enriched life that I lead had I not accepted upon myself to live a life of Torah and mitzvoth which I strive to do every single day.
 
In the last 21 years, I have been blessed with many and varied good teachers. I have sought them out, begging and bugging them for their time and knowledge to teach me halacha, Tanach {the Hebrew Bible], and the many other rich sources of Jewish wisdom. I have invested heavily to do so: A large library consisting of thousands of seforim [literall, books; this term refers to books containing “words of Torah,” or, Jewish religious teaching} that are opened and studied; a vast tape and CD library of shiurim [talks] by various rabbis and rebbetzins [Yiddish: the formal title for a rabbi’s wife]; and several trips to Israel for the sole purpose of immersing myself in learning.
 
Speaking of children, my 13 year old daughter is and has always been enrolled in Orthodox Jewish schools. So has my 10 year old son who is currently in what would be considered a “Chareidi” track of more intense Torah learning. Both children are good students, B”H [an acronym for “Bezrat Hashem”, or, with the help of Heaven}. Both children present us with report cards that speak of their middos tovos [good character traits] and strong derech eretz [literally, the way of the land; idiomatically, good manners].
 
During our 15 years of marriage, my husband and I have supported, to the best of our ability, various Torah institutions both in N. America and in Israel, with our time as well as with our money.
 
In a few weeks, my family and I are moving to the West Bank where we intend to raise our children, enroll them in Chardal-oriented schools, and live out our lives as Torah observant committed Jews.
 
And now, for absolutely no reason, no crime committed, a group of rabbis who have never met me or my children wish to throw a dark cloud of suspicion and doubt over the legitimacy of our Jewish souls.
 
Why? How?
 
The Beis Din who converted me 21 years ago is considered Chareidi. Its Vaad HaKashruth is recognized by all major Kashruth bodies. Its conversions have never been questioned and their converts have married into mainstream Orthodox Jewish society. This Vaad initially appeared on “The List” – the list issued by Israel’s Rabbinate of Who is Recognized to Do Conversions, or some paraphrased equivalent title.
 
However, for various ugly reasons which have to do with one person’s desire for revenge, the Vaad who converted me 21 years ago was now removed from The List.
 
A discussion and meeting with Rabbi Shlomo Amar by my rabbi resulted in assurances that “they were looking into it and, in any event, all conversions prior would be retroactively recognized”.
 
So, according to Rabbi Amar, I’m still a Jew and so are my kids. That is – until the next rabbi comes along and decides something else.
 
At what point do my children and I no longer have to even think that somebody would unilaterally and arbitrarily remove the cloak of Torah and Jewish identity out of our definition? How many years – 30, 50, 100 – never?
 
Does this mean that if I ever speak a drop of lashon hara [forbidden speech], or some of my hair peeks out from under my tichel [headscarf], or my elbows become uncovered, or I wear my sandalim without socks, – that I must reckon with someone’s claims that this is sufficient evidence to disclaim my Jewish soul? These are not dramatic questions.
 
Much is written in our literature about the convert. Yevamos 47b tells us that a convert is as injurious as “sapachas” -a scab – to the Jewish people. The reason is two-fold but for diametrically opposed reasons. On one hand, “shekal Yisrael aravim zeh b’zeh” – all of Israel is responsible one for the other (Shavuous 39a). So, my sin will hurt you (but my mitzvah will help you, too).
 
On the other hand, Tosafos cites several sources that teach something else: Because a convert can be more exacting and meticulous in their mitzvah observance, the bar is raised in judgment for the born Jews which could result in less favorable judgment due to the increased relative standard of expectation.
 
So one may argue, why not nip these potential problems in the bud and refuse to accept any converts – no matter how sincere and righteous?
 
Well, this was tried at least once but with disastrous consequences which accompany the Jewish people to this day, even “in every generation”(Shemot 17:16).
 
The prospective convert was Timna. This woman understandably admired the lot of Yaakov’s house – wealth, their ability to prevail over their enemies, the shem tov of this illustrious family. And she desperately wanted to marry into Yaakov’s family. Yaakov had a good reason for rejecting Timna, princess daughter of the Chief of Edom, for Timna mistakenly attributed all of these blessings to the roll of the dice. She wanted to be part of it.
 
But Timna did not acknowledge or understand the Divine Hand and benevolence in all of Yaakov’s blessings. This was a serious spiritual flaw that Yaakov could not tolerate in the spiritual gene pool – and he rejected her. The relentless Timna found another way – she married Yaakov’s nephew, Eliphaz – son of Esav, Yaakov’s brother. The marriage was consummated. The child born to Timna and Eliphaz was Amalek. .
 
Yaakov had good reason to reject Timna – after all, believing that our blessings are just life’s random gamble is outright kefira! But Chazal do not commend Yaakov – they chastise him!
 
Yaakov should have at least tried. It is possible that his efforts would have been in vain. This woman may have never changed. Or Amalek would have arisen anyway. But Yaakov would not have been blamed for it. If only he had not rejected her!
 
Let’s direct our attention for a moment to Shemot 23:9 – “Do not oppress a ger; you know the feelings of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Mitzrayim.”
 
Then, look at the very next pasukim, 23:10 – 11: “Six years shall you sow your land and gather in its produce. And in the seventh, you shall leave it untended and unharvested, and the destitute of your people shall eat, and the wildlife of the field shall eat what is left; so shall you do to your vineyard and your olive grove.”
 
The conversion machloket is occurring in a shmittah year – the very mitzvah discussed next to the mitzvah of not oppressing the ger! Is it too bold to respectfully suggest that the great rabbinical leaders of today give us some guidance as to whether there is a connection here?
 
Shemot 22:20 warns against oppressing the convert. The next pasuk, 22:21 gives the same warning regarding widows and orphans. And right next to that, 22:22, gives a very, very scary admonition without mincing any words: “If you dare to cause him pain – for if he will cry out to Me, I shall surely hear his outcry. My wrath will blaze and I will kill you by the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children orphans.” There are some opinions that this Divine wrath also extends to those who oppress gerim.
 
If Gerim today are needlessly oppressed causing them untold agmas nefesh, just what kind of Divine wrath can Klal Yisrael expect? The Ibn Ezra comments that the Divine wrath will not be directed just toward the individuals who commit these wrongs but against the entire community!
 
Recently, a very kind-hearted, learned, and well-intentioned friend casually remarked, “What’s the big deal? The worst that can happen is that you will have to convert again and your children will also have to convert.” It most certainly is a big deal. As it stands now, my son is a Levi – my daughter can marry a Cohein. A new conversion would deny my son his spiritual status as a Levi and my daughter would be prohibited from marrying a Cohein. Why should they be deprived and stripped of these characteristics?
 
As we enter into Shavuos this week, when we read Megillas Rus, let us remember that this extraordinary woman was the great-grandmother of Dovid Ha Melech. There was a major machloket concerning Dovid HaMelech’s Jewish ancestry and legitimacy as a kosher Jew called into question by those who did not properly understand the halacha concerning a Moabite vs. a Moabitess – Ruth’s ancestry. Had they not been challenged, the Davidic dynasty would have been lost. The sparks of Moshiach would have been extinguished.
 
This horrible machloket had the power to derail forever the mission of the Jewish people. Today’s machloket on Jewish legitimacy is no less grave.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

The author wishes to remain anonymous
Edited by Shmuel Greennbaum
Printed with Permission of http://www.PartnersInKindness.org

I was sleeping at my mother in law’s house while I was on vacation in Egypt. One night at two o’clock in the morning, I heard a scream and then a member of the family woke me up and told me that my mother-in-law was dead.

I went to her bedroom and found her laying flat on the floor, not breathing, with several panicked family members surrounding her, even my husband was crying because he thought she was dead.

At that moment, I remembered a television show I saw where someone was administrating CPR. I got my strength, and I started doing what I saw. To everybody’s surprise, she started breathing. When the doctor came, he said without what I did she would have died before he arrived.

After that incident, I decided to learn CPR, so I could save peoples’ lives. So far, I have taken two classes for CPR and I have taught it to people in my mosque.

One my former students came to me some time after taking the class and told me that her son had swallowed an object one day. She tried in vain to remove it, until she did what I showed her in my class and she was able to save her son’s life.

I thank G-d for this knowledge that I was able to teach people to save the lives of others.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.