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Jan 12, 2009

"Achdus HaTorah" intro a smashing success!

The crowd started coming in slowly on a Saturday night in which everyone always has something better to do. The fact that so many people were about to show up to this event testified to the great desire for such communication between communities, along with the great curiosity to see what it is all about and who would be participating and who would not. heck, people are people and we all want to know!

The beis medrash pretty much filled up with what looked to me like 250 or so people.After some light refreshments, the program was introduced by the organizer, Ari Rosenstein, who also closed the evening.

The programs conception was described as being a:
1. A master community clearing house of all shul information regarding shiurim and chavrusahs - who is looking, who is available to learn, who can give a shiur, who is looking for a shiur, etc. Take the efforts of each tzibbur and share it with the others. It will strengthen the torah learning, and tie the community together. The clearing house will be updated via a website and group lists. Each shul is encouraged to post this information in their shul newsletter and on their boards.
2. Create a schedule of a rotation of Rabbonim to speak at different kehillos over the coming months. With different rabbonim sharing different perspectives, strengths, etc. it will expose the kehillos to different styles and again, improve the appreciation and understanding of different "rabbinic styles".
3. Develop a community "Siyum Hatorah" involving each tzibbur. The intention is to divide up Shas Bavli, Yerushalmi, Mishnayos and Tanach by kehilla, and have a community wide siyum next year.

Over people 100 filled in their names to on forms that were distributed to get involved. Other ideas are being considered and added to the program, and a database is being created of all the names received. The communication process will begin shortly...

Rabbi Copperman led off with some pirkei tehillim for the soldiers and residents of the south.

I don't really want to describe what the rabbonim said, because I am sure to remember inaccurately, and would not want to attribute my incorrect perception of their words as their intention. but I'll do it anyway.

Rabbi Danny Meyers spoke about the importance of communication between the kehillos. Communication is good even if it is critical, because at least there is communication, and that basic level is good.

Rabbi Malinowitz spoke about this unity being one of accepting others as part of klal yisrael, even when they are of different opinions and ideas than you. As long as they are within the range of Torah, they are klal yisrael and we need to accept their way as acceptable.

Rabbi Perlstein said that each Jew serves Hashem in his own way. Some through learning, some through chesed, etc.. and it doesn't always have to be easy. The more we push ourselves, the greater our reward. Even a 10 minute seder at the end of a hard day can count like a whole day of learning if that is your focus. He spoke to the women too - saying shema, benching, etc..

Overall, just that such an evening could happen, with so many people from so many different shuls, with the rabbonim from the different shuls, sit together and talk, made the evening a great success.

Hopefully the zchus of the event, and the future events that will bring us all together, will serve us well in these times of crisis, both financial crisis and the war crisis.


  1. Why do women have to say shema?

  2. Here are my thoughts on the event:

    Having all those rabbonim sitting at the same table was an incredible accomplishment.

    It was an excellent idea to have Rav Copperman lead Tehillim first.

    Ari Rosenstein spoke very well and passionately.

    Rabbi Myers was great in bringing up our achdus with the soldiers. But I wasn't so thrilled with his idea that criticizing is a good sign of communication. Still, his speech overall was great.

    Rav Malinowitz - I am a big fan of his in general, and his speech was mostly very good and realistic. But I was very disturbed to hear him refer to Perlstein as "the Rov of Ramat Bet Shemesh." R. Malinowitz certainly doesn't view him that way, so he probably said it in order to motivate him to behave. Still, I don't think that this was worth the offense that it caused many people, nor perpetuating a lie.

    Perlstein - there was nothing wrong with any of his sentences. In fact I was very impressed to hear him praise Rav Malinowitz, even thought Rav Malinowitz once condemned him from the pulpit after the notorious park incident. But the whole thrust of Perlstein's speech showed that he was completely missing the point of the evening. The point was achdus, and Torah is a method to obtain it. Perlstein instead viewed the goal as being mekarev the baalei batim to learn more, with talk of achdus as being a tool for him to be able to address everyone and give them some mussar.

    I was also disappointed by the VERY low turnout from the Gra and Chanichei. It's not Ahavat Tziyon and Menorat HaMaor and Beis Tefillah who need to learn about Achdus, it's the Gra and Chanichei.

    Putting these disappointments aside, it was a positive start, a great first step. Kol hakavod for the initiative, which couldn't have been easy, and hopefully this will lead to better things.

  3. one thing you should know about Rav Malinowitz is that he is extremely medakdek in the words he uses. One of the reasons his speeches on shabbos are so long is because he is so medakdek and is carefully picking which word to use.

    Rav Malinowitz did not say "Rov of Ramat bet Shemesh" when referring to Rav Perlstein. He said "Rov in Ramat Bet Shemesh". I paid attention and I noticed that.

    Rav M is extremely medakdek in his words, and I am 100% confident that the choice of words he selected was intentional.

    Unfortunately I cannot ask him, because he flew to the US yesterday, but I am 100% sure of what I just said above.

  4. Rafi, I am sure you are right. But it makes no difference. The fact is that 248 people understood him to be saying that Perlstein is the mara d'asra.

  5. 248? is that an official count? nobody told me a specific number...

    anyway, I think that "248" people heard Rav M specifically not use the words "mora d'asra", which is the title Rav P is normally introduced by wherever he goes, when introducing Rav P.

  6. I said 248 because you said 250 people were there, and you and me know that he didn't call him the mara d'asra. I bet virtually everyone else thinks that he called him that. What on earth does "THE rov in Ramat Bet Shemesh" mean, anyway?!

  7. We want Achdus and unity!

    As long as:

    1. There are no concerts in the Park

    2. 'We' get the mikva on Dolev

    3. The Mehadrin Eruv is 'ours'

    4. Lemaan Achai slowly disappears

    5. The new Kanion on Dolev follows our rules

    6. No frum political parties run in elections besides Gimmel

    With merely following these simple instructions -- I can ASSURE you that we will have full peace and unity in RBS.

    Solly Perlstein

  8. I was kind of disappointed in the light refreshments

  9. What's this about the new kenyon on Dolev? What are they trying to do with it?

  10. Execellent initiative..kol hakavod to those organizing it!

    I was very impressed to see Lema'an Achai strongly represented at this gathering.

    Afterall, they and Rav Solevechik have been the victims of any lack of mutual repsect and achdus in our community.

    Then again I am not surprised as Lema'an Achai is a model of mutual respect and achdus in RBSA.

    Let us hope that this will be a major step in the right direction!

  11. there are rumors that an attempt was made to control what kind of businesses can open in it and what kind of products can be sold in it. I personally tried to find out more about it and could not find any info other than denials...
    the only paper that wrote about it was keren or, and I was told that it is highly likely they made it up, as they had some axe to grind.

  12. Let's not forget that the kenion is directly across from the mikve which has now changed hands.

    This will give them even more influence over the kenion.

    The idea is to "take over" areas which are historically mixed and dominate.

    (ie Masuos Moredechai...Dolev is not exactly the most appropriate place for a shul with a more yeshivish/charedi flavor)

  13. I was not sure what the point Rav Perlstein was trying to make. But I had to leave in the middle to be at a different event I was invited to. i thought maybe he would be getting to the point later, but from what I asked of others, he never spoke about the specific topic of the evening. i guess he just wanted to give a shiur.

  14. If we're talking achdus then we seem to have missed a few kehilot in the neighborhood that are needed to realy have achdut:
    1)Mishkenos Yaakov
    2)Kehilat Ben Tzvi (end of Micha - Dt"L)
    4)Ramat Shalom
    6)Beis Avraham
    7)Eidot Hamizrach shuls etc.

  15. as was initially announced, it was getting big and cumbersome. they decided to concentrate on starting out with the main anglo shuls. Later they will expand to other shuls, including the hebrew speaking shuls.

    tofasta meruba lo tafasta.

    if they had to include everybody to start, maybe it would never have gotten off the ground. This way, they made it smaller, but got it off the ground, and will add more shuls as time goes on.

    It sounds reasonable to me.

  16. A letter was distributed at the event- for those who haven't seen it, it's been posted at

  17. I am a big fan of Rav Malinowitz.

    I was therefore surprised to hear him apparently promoting the idea of creating social bariers between different groups of RBS children.
    Words to the effect "achdus doesn't mean all sharing the same opinions. For example of course one should keep one's children away from other types of children who may be a bad influence on them."

    I understood this to be promoting the right-wing chareidi policy of keeping their kids from playing with dati leumi kids.

    Did anybody else catch what Rav Malinowitz said??

    And what did he mean by it?

  18. I noticed it, but did not think that is what he meant. To know what he meant specifically you will have to ask him.
    I understood his words to be flexible - every parent has red lines of hashkafa that he or she does not want the kids exposed to. whether it is a family that has a television in the house for one set of parents, might be a spudik instead of a homburg in the hatbox for another set of parents.

    Every set of parents can decide what hashkafa they want their kids exposed to and what hashkafa they do nto want their kids exposed to. but just because you do nto send your kids to someones house because of their hashkafa does not mean you should reject their way as being part of klal yisrael.

  19. RBSer, why ths disprespect to "Perlstein" ? Is that the achdus you want everyone to have to the "Myerss" and the "Malinowitz's" out there?

    Maybe RSZP feels that the best goal of any asifa, achdus oriented or not, is more torah learning and chesed. Why is that called missing the point? Maybe YOU missed the point, and that blind acceptance isnt called achdus, its called naievte

  20. There is NO shul called mishkenot yaakov.

    There is a community, headed my ravGoldstein which is called mishkenos yaakov. There are a few hundred families and a number of different shuls which comprise the "schuna"

    Rav Goldstein was invited to come to the asifa and declined. Strognly, from what I have heard. if you want like more info, perhaps you should ask him directly. he is a VERY nice man, and i am sure he can explain why he is against this idea.

  21. Maybe RSZP feels that the best goal of any asifa, achdus oriented or not, is more torah learning and chesed. Why is that called missing the point?

    All the rabbonim are fans of torah learning and chesed, and all spoke about it. But the point of the asifa was achdus. And Rav Perlstein did not make any reference to that, nor show any sign of being interested in it.

  22. I just checked out the link to
    This is clearly not posted by the achdus organizers - who is behind this???? They are blasting the rabanim in the neighborhood for caving in to mikva craziness -- is any of this true? We need a post addressing this issue!

  23. This is Ari Rosenstein, the organizer of the event. I would like to clarify a few points:

    1. My estimate was about 300 attendees, based on the Beis Tefillah seating capacity, and 50 women in the Ezras Nashim

    2. I collected over 160 names from the sign up sheet, representing TWENTY shuls. They are listed below:

    Ahavas Shalom
    Ahavat Tzion
    Aish Kodesh
    Beis Tefila Yona Avraham
    Ben Tzvi
    Chasidei Biala
    Bnei HaYeshivos
    Chanichai Yeshivos
    Kehilas Shivtei Yeshurun
    Kehilat Ahava VeSimcha (Carlebach)
    Lev Hatorah
    Maases Mordechai
    Menorat HaMaor
    Ohr Barama
    Ohr Shalom
    Pnei Shmuel
    Zichron Moshe

    3. From the beginning, Rav Perlstein viewed this event as a way of strengthening Torah in the community. Of course he understood the bigger purpose of Achdus - he knew ahead of time every single Rav who would be in attendance. He chose his words to focus on Torah, as the other speakers focused on the community.

    Either way, it's a fine line between building the community through Torah, or building Torah through the Community. Take your pick, as long as we do it together!

  24. One additional point - there were handouts by someone calling themselves "RBS Achdus" regarding the mikvah. I would like to clearly state this was IN NO WAY related to this event and did not receive approval to be distributed at the event.

    I cannot verify the validity of that letter in anyway, and even have reason to believe it was in fact inaccurate, based on my conversations with most community rabbonim over the past 2 months.

  25. 3. The Mehadrin Eruv is 'ours'

    What does that mean? do they throw stones at anyone else that has the audacity to carry in it?
    I'm sure the guys who work hard to keep it up would appreciate your help. so you have nothing else to do other than waste your time demanding everyone should be like you or else they don't want achdus maybe give the eiruv guys a call and do something productive for the community


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