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Rabbi's Weekly Message

Dear Senator..

April 18, 2024

Friday, April 19, 2024

11 Nissan, 5784

Senator John Fetterman, DC

Congressman Ritchie Torres, DC

Journalist Douglas Murray, London

Entertainer Bill Maher, Los Angeles

Dear Senator John Fetterman, Congressman Ritchie Torres, Mr. Douglas Murray & Mr. Bill Maher,

I hope this letter finds you well. With only three days left until Passover, the foundational holiday on which the Jewish nation was born at the exodus from Egypt, I am writing to you to voice my sincere, heartfelt, gratitude.

I was raised in a Jewish, Hasidic, home in Brooklyn, New York, where my parents, my schoolteachers, my community, my mentor The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, of blessed memory, instilled in me the invaluable trait of being grateful to those who are good to you and to the world at large. From the street cop to the school principal, the taxi driver to the nurse at the doctor’s office, the subway conductor to the garbage collector, expressing gratitude is embedded in our Jewish DNA and is a basic tenet of our Torah.  

Over the past six months, since the horrific day of October 7th, I’ve watched in dread as segments of our society, even in civilized countries such as the USA, Canada, France, England, and Australia, have chosen to side with nazi-like terrorists who butchered, raped, beheaded, tortured, burned alive my fellow Jews in the name of Islam. It’s unfathomable and I refuse to sugarcoat it. Too many Imams in mosques from Manchester to Toulouse, Chechnya to Toronto, Beverly Hills to Dearborn, are spewing pure, unadulterated, Jew hatred. They are condoning the massacre of Jews, they are condoning the April 14th Iran missile attack on Israel, they are condoning the captivity of over one hundred remaining hostages in Gaza, including babies. They aren’t hiding; they are telling us straight up that Jews aren’t their cup of tea and that they want us all dead.

They scream words like “Apartheid”, “Genocide”, “Occupation”, “Ethnic cleansing” and other lies, when in truth, Israel is a country that is home to its indigenous Jewish population but also to millions of Muslims, Christians, Baha'is, Bedouins, Druze, and many other minorities. Due to our infinite kindness, not seen anywhere else in the middle east, Arab men and women have equal rights under Israel’s law and can rise to the highest seats of power, politically, judicially, militarily, and economically. There is no genocide in Gaza, there is no apartheid in Israel, you can’t occupy your own land, and there is no ethnicity being cleansed.

It's a lie.

As Winston Churchill said, “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”. Isaiah, the incredible Jewish prophet, said “Woe to those who say of the evil that it is good and of the good that it is evil, who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter.”.

Nothing new is under the sun!

We have people dressed in Kaifiya’s and masks, roaming the streets of America chanting things like “death to America”, “down with America”, “genocide Joe”, they are burning American flags, intruding rudely, and at times violently, at college campuses, local eateries, and now even at people’s homes. They attack police, get in the face of our elected officials with foul language, and spew vitriol on social media. Some of the same people who were rightfully upset when Americans marched in Charlottesville screaming “Jews will not replace us”, are now at the forefront of those seeking to replace the Jews. Without any basic feelings of humanity, they block access to airports, march by hospitals while screaming nastiness at cancer patients, and interrupt events to which they were not invited. They side with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ayatollah Khamenei; essentially tearing at the fabric of our civil society.

Yet, amid the chaos, amid the pandering media, there are voices such as yours that are clear, unequivocal, moral, and true. While the Sunny Hostin’s, Tucker Carlson’s, Cenk Uygur’s, Candace Owens’s, and Mehdi Hasan’s are out there vilifying the Jews and making Jew hatred acceptable in America, you are out there speaking truth, sharing facts, debating the issues, debunking the lies, and are standing with the Jewish people in their toughest time since the holocaust.    Despite the onslaught of abuse that you’ve endured, you haven’t surrendered to the mob and you’re choosing light over darkness. In a world of immorality and distortion of history, you recognize evil, hypocrisy, antisemitism, and acts of cruelty for what they are, and refrain from blurring the fine lines between self-defense and aggressive warmongering.  Standing with the Jews isn’t hip or woke, it's not “good for business” if all you seek in life is “likes” and “reshares”, but boy is it refreshing, and so encouraging, to know that you’re out there.

This Monday evening, April 22, we will usher in Passover. We will sit around our Seder tables and recount the history of our slavery to The Pharaoh, an Egyptian antisemitic tyrant, and celebrate G-d’s miracle of our redemption. Jews never forget our history, the good, the bad and even the ugly, all of our past comes together to make us who we are and guides us into the future. We remember those who hurt us, who betrayed us, and we always remember and celebrate those who could’ve ignored our plight but chose to stand with us in our time of need. Jews in America appreciate the gift that is the United States. We appreciate its freedom, we love our flag, and we are grateful for what it has given our community, namely the opportunity to worship freely without government interference or persecution. We don’t spit in the well that has quenched our thirst, and we don’t take our liberty for granted.

Mamre stood with Abraham in Canaan, Batya stood with Moses in Egypt, Hiram of Tyre stood with King Solomon, Charvona stood with Mordechai and Esther during the story of Purim, Cyrus of Persia stood with Ezra in his quest to return to Israel, Antoninus of Rome stood with his friend Rabbi Judah the Prince, the Grand Duke of Frankfurt was kind to the Jews of Germany, King Christian X of Denmark, Oskar Schindler, Chiune Sugihara, and Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, along with many other gentiles, stood with the Jews during the holocaust. Each of them, like you, saw evil and said, “not in our town”, “not under our watch”.

Each of you will be remembered for defending the Jews, G-d’s chosen people, during this time and not cowering when humanity needed clarity. Senator, your unwavering support for Israel is awe-inspiring. Congressman, even in the lion’s den you stand on principal like Daniel. Douglas, while the anti-Jewish media tries to play gotcha and invents facts, you are the beacon of light and sanity in the United Kingdom and beyond. Bill, though your jokes about religion isn’t my genre, your lucidity and humor on the situation in Israel is admirable and appreciated. You, along with people like Dr. Phil, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Megyn Kelly, Bono, Meghan McCain, and Chris Rock will be remembered for your unwavering support of the Jewish people and our homeland. I know that the pressure is hard to withstand, but you guys are strong and must remain strong.

We don’t want a temporary ceasefire for the terrorists to rearm and murder more Jews, we want a lasting peace, which will only happen when our hostages come home and when schoolchildren in Gaza are taught to love the “other” and not to commit Jihad for a trip to “heaven”. It will happen when our media stops propping up and giving a platform to those who hate, and would murder, every Jew, Christian, homosexual, “infidel”, and American citizen, if they had their way.

Like you, I don’t agree with every decision of the Israeli government. I also don’t agree with every decision of our government, the French government, the Italian government, or the Madagascar government. You don’t have to agree with a government to defend its people from annihilation. First, they said “we are not against Jews, just against Zionists in Israel”. Then they said, “We are not against Jews, just against all Zionists”. Then they said, “We are not against Jews, just against any Jew who doesn’t condemn the Zionists”. Then they said, “We just hate all Jews, because they are a cancer on our society and have too much power” and we will disturb their Sabbath services, their kids’ schools, and we will use megaphones to interrupt any Jewish event on college campuses.

The Jews will be ok. We always survive and we will survive this time too. It will be tough, but we shall overcome. Yet, it’s the non-Jews who should worry, because while they always start with the Jews, they never stop with us. Hate is hate is hate, and if you don’t stand up to it when it’s the Jews who are attacked, don’t expect it to go away. You don’t have to be Zionist to stand with Israel, just like you don’t need to be African to stand with the people of Sudan, you don’t need to be Haitian to stand with the people of Haiti, you don’t need to be Alawite to stand with the people of Syria, and you don’t have to be a Native American to stand with the Crow.

To stand with Israel requires you to be a healthy human being, with a stable mind, a heart for goodness and a soul that seeks to better our fractured world.

As we drink our four cups of wine, eat Matzah and Maror (bitter herb) and recline in royalty celebrating our freedom, I will toast a L’Chaim to the four of you who have utilized your platforms to fight for the Jews and who will be spoken about for millennia in recognition of your historic role during a challenging era.

Don’t change your mind, don’t cower, don’t back down. You have G-d (sorry, Bill), light, and morality on your side and the Jewish people will never forget.

Hope you’ll come to visit us in Bozeman soon!

Have a blessed summer and continued success,

Rabbi Chaim Bruk

P.S. Bill, I was just reading about your mother who was Jewish (which means that you are Jewish), but that you didn’t know that until you were in your teens. It doesn’t take away one iota from your objective support of the Jews.

Shock and Awe!

April 12, 2024

Chavie and I just looked at each other in amazement, smiling, our hearts filled with Nachas. Last Shabbos, on which we blessed the month of Nissan, after four hours in Shul for prayers and Kiddush lunch, we headed home for family time. As we sat in the playroom, Menny piped up and said that he wanted to say Tehilim, Psalms, as is customary on Shabbos Mevarchim. Putting his Legos and soccer balls aside for thirty minutes, he read the first five Psalms with exactitude, with only minor corrections. Though he enjoys his studies with Rabbi Mendel Mitz, his awesome Hebrew/Torah tutor who lives in Argentina, he’s never volunteered to read before, and it was breathtaking to see him read these prayers with competency and vigor.

Out of the blue.

In this week’s Torah portion, Tazria, we read about a women’s purification process post childbirth, and, when having a boy, the circumcision of the newborn on the eighth day. Judaism instructs us on how parents should behave when expecting a baby, how they should interact during labor and delivery, what a baby should and shouldn’t see/hear/experience even when just a newborn, and the obligation to be the role model for our children from day one into adulthood. Our kids watch our every move, and it’s our role to act with holiness, morality, and ethical behavior, and not expose them to spiritually harmful sights. It’s our role modeling that holds the key to the education of our child/ren. Children are educated in a variety of ways, but none more important than what they see and hear at home.

There’s a part of me that wishes that my children had a local Jewish Cheder, day school, enveloping them in the atmosphere of Torah every day of the week. Yet, when Chavie and I moved out west we knew that we wouldn’t have a local school, being the biggest challenge for Jews living in rural America. I always lived with the words that my Bubbe Esther emphasized time and time again “the ultimate education of a child begins and ends in the home. Schools can build on the home vibe, but without a healthy home, schools can’t do much”. When Menny sat near us reciting Tehilim so beautifully it was a reminder that our kids see us more than they give off, and their values will come from those to whom they look up to, not those who preach to them.

Kids see everything; let’s try not to give them nightmares!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be!

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Chabad Lubavitch
Of Montana

1610 Ellis Street Suite 2B
Bozeman, MT 59715

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