Working Charedim

March 1, 2015

The denial came very quickly. Former Eida HaCharedis (unofficial) spokesman Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim is featured in a Yesh Atid aTo Unify a Nationd promoting the idea of Charedim learning secular subjects (English and math) and getting jobs. He laments the fact that a typical 45 year old Charedi doesn’t even know the English alphabet!

Mr. (Rabbi?) Pappenheim denied that he has anything to do with the Yesh Atid ad and claims this was an unauthorized use of a video he was involved in for an entirely different project. I don’t really blame him for his quick disavowal of anything to do with them. I’m sure that he doesn’t want his head handed to him. Rafi Goldmeier made note of this ad on his blog, Life in Israel and adds that if what Mr. Pappenhiem said is true, he should sue. Perhaps.

But one cannot get away from the fact that the message he sent in the video was exactly the message that Yesh Atid sends. And yet when Yesh Atid sends that message they are called Amalek. Now it’s also true that Yesh Atid was able to legislate their views into law. In effect that forces a core secular studies curriculum upon them if they want continued government funding. But the idea behind the law is identical to what Mr. Pappenheim advocates: educating Charedim out of ignorance about anything besides Torah – so that they can get better jobs.

How ironic it is that the hated (by Charedim) Yesh Atid is on the same page about working Charedim with someone like Shmuel Papenheim, a man of Meah Shearim who was weaned on the Hashkafos of the Eida HaCharedis for whom he once was spokesman. There is no greater animosity between  2 Jewish groups than there is between the Eida and Yesh Atid. Read the rest of this entry »


A Hopeful Vision of Israel’s Future

December 10, 2014

by Tuly WeiszTo Unify a Nation

For those who care about the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish People, To Unify A Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel is a great and quick read. I read the entire book this past Shabbat in which Knesset Member Rabbi Dov Lipman outlines an inspiring vision for the Land and People of Israel in just under one hundred pages.

After reading To Unify a Nation I was left dreaming about the promising potential that lies in Israel and recalling fondly why I made Aliyah in the first place.

While Lipman’s book is eternally optimistic, it deals with Israeli society’s greatest challenges. He boldly addresses racism and the dignity of man, the role of religion in society, accepting all Jews, sharing national responsibility, Jewish pride, and the centrality of the Bible in Israeli society. According to the American born Knesset Member who is also an Orthodox rabbi, these values are all necessary ingredients for creating national unity in the Jewish State.

The book repeatedly calls for Jews to exhibit tolerance, spirituality, and solidarity. Lipman explains that, “I realized that polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people. All of our classic sources and basic logic dictate that the key to our success as a nation is unity.”

Knesset Member Lipman is uniquely qualified to address his English readers having grown up in a suburb of Washington D.C. and immigrating to Israel in 2004. Amazingly, he became a member of the Knesset in 2013, only 9 years after moving to Israel, proving to be a role model for all recent American immigrants to Israel.

Read the rest of this entry »


One Rabbi’s Take on Israel

July 23, 2014

By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz To Unify a Nation

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman has an amazing story. He was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, became a rabbi and educator, made Aliyah, and became the first American-born Knesset member in decades. Even more remarkable, he has quickly become a symbol for bridge building. In his early 40s, he represents a broad vision for what Israel could be.

His new book, To Unify a Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel is a must read for all concerned with the future of Israel. Less than 100 pages, the book can be read in just an hour or two. Significantly, President Shimon Peres wrote the opening statement, and Yesh Atid party founder Yair Lapid wrote the Foreword.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people” (16). In fact, it was on the streets of Bet Shemesh that he emerged in Israeli leadership. Many Israelis were horrified in 2011 when an 8-year-old Modern Orthodox girl was called a “whore” and spat upon while she walked to school, allegedly because her dress was not modest enough for the ultra-Orthodox. The terrified girl said that she was “so scared…that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting.” Rabbi Lipman stood up to protect the girls against the abuse. Rabbi Lipman also speaks out against religious coercion in Israel, seeks to build bridges between the religious and secular, advocates for the Ethiopian community and for the African refuges, seeks to transition the ultra-Orthodox into the army and workforce, advocates for vegetarianism and animal welfare, speaks out against corruption, argues for women’s rights, a pluralistic society. Read the rest of this entry »


Interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman

July 14, 2014

by TJC staffTo Unify a Nation

Two members of Knesset — Israeli Parliament — discuss their new books in English on TJC’s episode of Up Close.

First, MK Ruth Calderon, a secular Israeli who is also a Talmud scholar, talks about the new English translation of her book A Bride For One Night: Talmud Tales, in which she writes fictional accounts of some of the Talmud’s most provocative stories from her own unique perspective.

Then, MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, a fellow member of Calderon’s Yesh Atid party who originally hails from the United States and considers himself haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, discusses his new book, To Unify a Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel. Lipman has made a goal of bringing the more extreme sectors of the haredi community back to the center though education and career opportunities.

To watch highlights from the interview click here.

To listen to the full interview click here.