It is always fascinating how people in different locations, of different professions, and of different mindsets may not realize how much they have in common until fate makes them cross each other’s paths.
There are many who fight lies, oppose untruths, and risk much to combat anti-Semitism. Yet how many celebrities manage to find the courage and stand their ground, risking all when confronted with the “follow the herd” mentality or stand tall, shout out the truth and be heard? Roseanne Barr is one such celebrity whose love for her People and the Jewish state is so profound that she battled and continues to combat against the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, BDS, which cunningly uses Human Rights trigger words to brainwash many, especially the youth to literally attempt to delegitimize and dismantle the Jewish state. But Roseanne’s powerful voice and great Zionist soul to present the truth and the rights of the Jewish People for self-determination has been heard and continues to be heard throughout the globe via Twitter.
Yet as she used her vast influence to impact on others, who would ever imagine that her efforts and those of a rabbi across the globe sitting, at his computer, working on and refining an app for Truth would ever cross paths?
The hour was late and soon all my files I created for my app, Fight BDS, would be lost. I had run out of funds to maintain, host, and upgrade my work, my app. Back in April 2014, I created the world’s first app to fight the lies of BDS. Within weeks the app was being used all across the globe, in Germany, the USA, France, Israel and even parts of Asia. The app had come just in time, especially as Operation Protective Edge was underway. Various media network lies and misrepresentations about Israel were being spread via BDS and their cohorts as fake truths and news.
In Germany, a wonderful young man, Eliyahu S Ya’akov, the founder of the IsraeliIDF, the Twitter spearhead force, who worked 24/7 to combat BDS, endorsed the app and created a network of people to spread the portability of “at your fingertips information” to prove to BDS supporters that their claims were false and anti-Semitic. Eliyahu’s passion for truth and love for his Jewish brethren was so great, that though he was desperately ill and aware his efforts might cause him a heart attack, he combatted social media day and night. Eventually, his heart did fail and he tragically died at the very young age of 28.
As the summer of 2014 rolled in, the media was brainwashing millions. So what was the next step in combatting BDS? I organized the march/rally, “Silence? Never Again!”. A march and rally that went through the streets of New York City and protested CNN and MNBC. Our amazing team, marchers, and the video crew that live streamed the event inspired many across the world to make their own rallies.
The year passed into 2015 and the need to return home to Israel and leave the exile forever had grown to the point that my family and I had to return. And so after many decades living in the USA, we returned in the summer of 2015. Only 102 days after our return in November of 2015, I lost my closest family member, the bedrock of my life.
Alone in Israel, I only had my work to carry me through my tragedy. It was then on March 28, 2016, that a ray of light appeared. I watched on social media the brilliant and impassioned speech of Hollywood icon, Roseanne Barr rip in shreds BDS. So taken by her speech, I was compelled to reach out to her. Soon we would converse via twitter about Israel and related matters. It was then I wrote an op-ed piece titled, “Roseanne Barr: How A Hollywood Great Chose Morality Over Personal Success” that was published in the Jerusalem Post.
During the months that followed, our conversations revealed to me how learned Roseanne was in Torah, Kabbalah, Midrash, Mussar, Jewish Philosophy and Jewish history. Not only did she embrace the fight against BDS, but she was and is a powerhouse of Judaic knowledge and spirit ready to put all personal comfort aside to save her People and protect G-d’s Holy Name.
By the Fall of 2016, a thief had stolen all my money and ruined my name. Things had gotten so bad that I could only afford five shekels a day for halva. Only on Shabbat, when I was invited to my friends, did I eat. It was six months of intense poverty, struggle, and shame. But I dared not tell anyone. Only three things gave me the strength to continue: my intense love to bring the Rock of my Life, the family member that passed, pride; my app to combat BDS, and my conversations with Roseanne. I never told her of my struggles. I was raised never to reveal my pain to others.
For weeks the hosting company that hosted my app was asking me to pay my bill. I had to pay them, the workers, and all that was associated with saving the files. I was growing desperate. I launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds. Weeks went by and the most raised was only $65. Twitter, Facebook, and the other outlets were not effective in bringing attention. Then suddenly I received a message from Roseanne. She has seen the GoFundMe campaign. “What is your bank account and routing number. I am sending you the money.” , she twitted me. I was stunned. I gave her the numbers.
As the clock was ticking and the countdown was nearing the funds had not yet arrived. I did not want to be rude and so I waited several days. But now there were only two hours left. I sent her a message inquiring about the funds.
“I sent the money.” wrote Roseanne. Then I checked and saw that the wire number was incorrect and that was why the funds did not arrive. Immediately I resent her the correct number. Desperate to save the files, she stopped her work schedule and got her assistant to wire the funds. We had missed the deadline by 30 minutes! The hosting company deleted all my files. Two years of painstaking work was gone.
I felt terrible and told Roseanne I could not take her money. I would send it back. Within seconds of my message, Roseanne wrote back, “No. Take the money. You go and rebuild the app.”
I was overwhelmed. She did not ask me to send her money back, but rather put her faith and trust in me to rebuild. I promised her I would.
It took time and money to redesign. To reformat. To rethink a new approach. And a new approach was realized, BDS BUSTERS MYTH BUSTERS. The app was more friendly, had a better look, more capabilities, and was more strategic in its approach to providing the user the means to combat BDS lies.
At the launching date in the spring of 2017, I asked Roseanne if I could tell the social media world that she had sponsored the app. She gave her blessings.
Since then, the app has been used and spread by others, especially the dedicated Uriel ben Avraham, the close friend of Eliyahu S. Yaakov, who took over the IsraelilDF. Every day more information is added to both the Google and iOS versions of the app.
Within those few months, I had learned not only of Roseanne’s intense spirituality, but I was literally saved by her generous, kind, and humble heart. She is truly a mensch, a Yiddishe mamma, a proud and caring Jewish warrior, who fights with body, soul, heart, and money against the evil of BDS. In so doing, she strives to protect her beloved People, her Jewish state — Israel, and Hashem, her G-d.
As my Holy Parents taught me, always show gratitude to those that help you. Roseanne, Thank you. You saved a rabbi and his app for Truth!
Please see iTunes version beginning the week of April 15