Posts Tagged ‘Zionism’

Satmar Head Blames Parents for Murders

July 3, 2014

This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.

Aaron Teitelbaum (YouTube screenshot)

Aaron Teitelbaum (YouTube screenshot)

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s burial of Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, New York, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, pinned the blame for the teens’ murders on decisions made by their Orthodox Zionist parents

In a speech the rabbi gave at the local yeshiva on Wednesday, the anti-Zionist Teitelbaum attributed the victims’ deaths to their having lived and studied in the West Bank, an area he characterized as being inhabited by “predatory animals” and “barbaric murderers.”

“They [the parents] caused the deaths of their sons and they must do teshuva for their actions,” the rabbi said bluntly.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Herzl Magic

April 3, 2014

This article was first published in The Jerusalem Report magazine.


Herzl memorabilia collector David Matlow (photo by Leah Boyd)

When Toronto attorney David Matlow was 12 years old, he and his good friend, Barry Simon, wrote a play for their seventh grade class in Jewish day school. They called it “The Hall of Zionists”, modeling it after “The Hall of Presidents” attraction at Disney World. Matlow remembers being Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his friend playing Theodor Herzl.

For most people, such a school assignment would be something forgotten years later, or if it were recalled at all, it would just be a fond childhood memory to look back on. But for Matlow, it is the moment he points to as the beginning of his lifelong fascination with anything and everything to do with Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism and the visionary of the State of Israel.

Overthe last 41 years, Matlow has gone from being a middle-school student playacting a Zionist leader to becoming the world’s leading private collector of Herzl memorabilia. He owns between 2,500 and 3,000 Herzl-related items. He is not sure of the exact number, but people in the business tell him that of the handful of private Herzl collections in the world, his is the largest.

The rest of this article can be read in the April 21, 2014 issue of The Jerusalem Report. It is online, but behind a pay wall.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Club Z

September 20, 2012

This article as first published as “Club Z puts some zip into learning about Israel” in JWeekly.

Knowing that Club Z is a group for 12- to 16-year-olds in the Bay Area, you might think that the “Z” stands for “zipline,” “zany” or even “zine.”

Nope. It stands for Zionism.

Club Z is a project of the Rimon Club, a Peninsula-based group founded a few years ago by Minsk native Masha Merkulova to promote pro-Israel education and advocacy locally. Rimon Club also promotes speakers hosted by other local groups.

Her desire was to create a “fast-acting” organization that could respond quickly to a current issue, perhaps by bringing a speaker to the area with only two to three weeks notice. And an unabashedly pro-Israel speaker, at that.

“I feel that a lot of organizations shy away from strong Zionist speakers, or speakers with a polarizing point of view,” Merkulova explained. “There’s too much of a desire to please everybody and not to offend.”

Now, the Rimon Club’s main focus is Club Z, which got off the ground last fall. Merkulova, a labor and delivery nurse, runs the program with help from other parent volunteers.

This year there are 29 registered participants, up eight from last year, and most of them are children of Russian immigrants and attend public schools. The 14- to 16-year-olds meet twice a month and the 12- to 13-year-olds once a month in donated space at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.

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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.