Rucheli's Writings

Readings, Ramblings, and Religious Rantings

Kohanim at the Kotel September 26, 2010

Filed under: My Blog — rucheli @ 1:24 pm
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We interrupt your normally scheduled programming (i.e. posts catching up on the last week) to bring you footage of the Birkat Kohanim at the Kotel from this morning.

Birkat Kohanim is a special priestly blessing that is given to the people by the Kohanim (descendants of the priestly line from King David and King Solomon) during major festivals. Twice a year, once during Sukkot and once during Pesach, thousands of Kohanim gather in front of the Kotel in Old City Jerusalem to bless the entire Jewish people.

What was absolutely incredible is that thousands and thousands of Jews from all walks of life were there for the blessing. From secular to Haredi, Ethiopian to converts, soldiers to the Chief Rabbis of Israel, all of us gathered together and davened the same service at the same time in the same place. This is very unusual for the Kotel, because usually hundreds of minyans are having separate services at the Kotel because everyone is scattered and from different backgrounds. But today we were able to use the loudspeakers since we are in the intermediary days of the holiday, and it echoed across all of Jerusalem. It was an incredibly moving experience, because no other time in the world we know today do so many Jews gather for the same holy reason. It’s by far the closest we can get to serving Hashem the way we used to in the times of the Temple, at least until Moshiach comes (bimherah beyamenu)!

Here’s a video courtesy of Yeshiva World News. Enjoy 🙂


Pope’s statement could be “too little, too late.” January 28, 2010

Filed under: The Orlando Judaism Examiner — rucheli @ 10:39 pm

Pope at Synagogue Just 10 days after Pope Benedict XVI visited the Great Synagogue of Rome (the first Pope to do so in 24 years), he also did his part on Holocaust Memorial Day this Wednesday by publicly denouncing the “horror” of the Shoah, and the “unheard of brutality” of the Nazi death camps.

Born in Germany during the Nazi regime, the Pope appealed “that such tragedies never repeat themselves.” He also called the camps “abhorrent and inhumane places.” Although this appeal was presented well, and offered a sympathetic remembrance of the “countless victims of a blind racial and religious hatred,” it falls on deaf ears for many members of the Jewish community. For some, it’s too difficult to take these comments seriously after the German-born Pope reinstated Holocaust-denier Bishop Williamson last year.

“It’s too little, too late,” stated one member of the Orlando Jewish community who wished to remain anonymous. Only time will tell whether the rift between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people will ever truly be healed. Until then, we can only hope and pray for unity among all human beings, and the coming of Moshiach!


The Jewish Response to the Haitian Crisis January 25, 2010

Filed under: The Orlando Judaism Examiner — rucheli @ 12:11 pm
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When a tragedy of such magnitude as the earthquake in Haiti occurs, one of the first questions is: Why?! Why has G-d let this happened? Why could he possibly let 200,000 innocent people die?!

As many people as these questions, just as many try to answer them. We’ve seen the phenomenon time and time again: with the tsunami in Southeast Asia and again with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. People use tragedy as a soapbox, a personal invitation to air their political, scientific, and religious complaints. All over television, radio, newspapers, and the internet, critics blame everyone from the United Nations to the college research students for “allowing this disaster to happen.”

But what is the religious view of something like this? If you rely on the media, you’ll get a sick and twisted response to that question. Because the media aims to sell their stories to the masses, they find a religious leader to come speak on the air that will cause uproar, either of support or condemnation or usually some combination of the two. The result is that there is usually some reverend, priest, or minister (the rabbinate is fortunately uninvolved most of the time) spewing hatred and “I told you so”s across national TV. “They died because of their sins” is sadly not an uncommon phrase to hear. So if this is the religious response, I for one am very glad that Judaism is often considered a way of life more than a religion.

That being said, the next logical question is of course, what is the Jewish response to a crisis like the one in Haiti? The answer to this question, like so many others, is found in the Torah. A few days before the earthquake, we read in that week’s Torah portion (Parshah Shemot, the first portion of Exodus) that the physical afflictions of the Jews in Egypt increase greatly prior to the story of Passover. Moses demands of G-d (yes, he can do that), “Why have you done bad to your people?!” And G-d, the all powerful and all knowing, dodges the question. Instead of answering, he simply tells Moses in the Torah portion read following the earthquake of Haiti, that the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) never questioned G-d the way Moses had. What does this teach us? Rabbi Shais Taub of the Chabad of East Milwaukee tells us of a lesson that our scholars impart. G-d is presenting to Moses another perspective, the perspective of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a perspective from which it is not even conceivable to ask such a question as “Why?!”, never mind try to answer it! G-d has a plan. To ask why He does one thing or another is like saying He doesn’t know what He’s doing. To go one step further and actually try to explain why tragedies such as this happen means that you truly don’t understand at all. It’s insulting to G-d, and even more so to the people who died as a part of the plan that we will never be able to comprehend.

In times such as these, the best thing to do right now is to stop talking about why disasters happen and just go DO something to make it better. That is the Jewish response to the Haitian Earthquake of 2010, and every other disaster and tragedy in G-d’s plan… so respond the right way and do your part. The word for life in Hebrew is Chai, and the word Chai has the numerical value of 18, so click HERE and donate $18 to save precious life in Haiti now.

For more info: Vist the Chai4Humanity website at



Coming soon… January 18, 2010

Filed under: My Blog — rucheli @ 5:35 pm
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Israelis help in Haiti

Israelis help in Haiti

I’m currently in the process of starting a Not for Profit organization called Chai4Humanity. This will be a Jewish charitable organization whose main purpose is to save and improve the lives of the victims of natural disasters such as the Hatian earthquake of 2010. Please continue to check back for updates. In the meantime, feel free to look around the website at We need your donations to help save lives, so please contribute today!


“Until When?” – A Poem in Memory of Avrohom Dovid Liberow January 13, 2010

Filed under: My Blog,Poetry — rucheli @ 9:52 am
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The following poem is dedicated to the blessed memory of Avrohom Dovid Liberow, who tragically died one week ago on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 or the eve of 21 Tevet 5770. Below the poem is the story of my connection to the Liberow family and the details of this tragedy.

“Until When”

I didn’t really know you well,
But then, I didn’t need to.
Knowing your family is enough
To know something about you.


Jewish pro-boxer Dmitriy Salita wants to leave religion out of it October 22, 2009

Filed under: Featured,Headline,The Orlando Judaism Examiner — rucheli @ 5:28 am
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Britain Boxing Khan SalitaOn December 5th, Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita will go up against the defending world champion for the WBA light-welterweight boxing title. The defender? A devout British Arab named Amir Kahn. But despite their vastly different backgrounds, Salita says he is “just focused on the fight.”

Dmitriy Salita is a 27-year-old naturalized American and a rising star both in and out of the ring. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Salita came to the United States with his family at the age of 9, where he discovered both boxing and religion. He is now a fully observant member of the Chabad religious movement. His life is a balancing act… (more…)


Pope to visit Rome synagogue amidst boycotts October 14, 2009

Filed under: Featured,Headline,The Orlando Judaism Examiner — rucheli @ 5:10 am

PopeYesterday the Vatican released a notice that Pope Benedict will be making his first visit to the synagogue of Rome on January 17th, 2010. This visit will take place amidst boycotts almost exactly a year after the Pope lifted the excommunication of Holocaust-denier British Bishop Richard Williamson, bringing Jewish-Catholic relations to an extremely low point.

What exactly is the Pope getting at with this visit? He will be only the second Pope to ever visit the Great Synagogue of Rome… (more…)