I was listening to Rabbi Dr Ari Berman’s Investiture speech last night as the 5th President of Yeshiva University with interest and awe. As I wrote about on my IsraelB website, I thought it was an outstanding presentation that reflected what a really great asset Rabbi Berman is to the Jewish world.
As well, as being a first class scholar and intellectual, he is a highly articulate and well respected figurehead who deserves our support. Furthermore, whilst he was living in Israel I had numerous conversations with Rabbi Berman and he is a real mensch and as we would say, ‘a good bloke’.
The 5 ‘Torot’ he laid out as the principles he perceived should underlie YU – Torat Emet, Torat Chayim, Torat Adam, Torat Chessed and Torat Tzion were I thought very relevant to Judaism in the 21st century and I really connected with them.
Furthermore, in the ‘Torat Tzion’ principle, Rabbi Berman, as he did in other places, highlighted how YU would bring closer its ties to Israel with joint programmes at Yeshiva and University level. He also mentioned how proud YU would be of its students who made Aliyah, studied here and fought in the IDF.
My point is this, if Rabbi Berman really believes in what he said, that ‘ We are no longer living in Exile- We have returned to our Homeland’ , why on earth is he standing saying all this in the middle of New York?
It was quite ironic that Rabbi Berman said, that in 1956 HaRav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik was standing in exactly the place as he was quoting from, ‘Kol Dodi Dofek’, which is an awakening call for American Jewry to embrace Zionism and return to live in Israel.
Rabbi Dr Berman – We are now living in 2017, 61 years after Rav YB Soloveitchik stood in the same place you did when you made your speech. Have we not moved on? Yes, indeed we have, so why not bring American Jewry back to Israel with the rest of us. Why not live up to Rav Soloveitchik’s challenge, put the theory into practice, and now bring Yeshiva University to Israel.
Yeshiva University has so much to give and just think how much Israel would have to gain. As you yourself said, ‘We are no longer living in Exile – We have returned to our Homeland.’ Genuine leaders are judged and remembered by their actions, not their words.
Rabbi Berman – Join in the real fate and destiny of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. The Jewish People have moved beyond, the ‘Torah Umadah’ ( Torah and secular knowledge / world) model of Yeshiva University, to the,’ Torat Eretz Yisrael’ ( Torah in the Land of Israel) model. That can only be actualized by living here in Israel.
Rabbi Berman – Come back home and bring Yeshiva University with you. You will all be most welcome – I’m sure Nefesh B’Nefesh would be more than happy to put on some extra flights for you!