One could have had three or four breakfasts this past Sunday and then moved onto several brunches and lunches and finished the day with other types of activities that also included some type of repast. Nina’s mother always said that one cannot “tantz oif alle simchas,” but this community seems to think that most living here have super powers that allow them to float from one event to the other.
For the moment we wish to concentrate on one of the most outstanding programs we have attended since our arrival in this community, and that was the Magen David Adom presentation that took place at Congregation Beth Shalom, and the outstanding message the program delivered.
We had never heard former Ambassador Ido Aharoni speak. His powerful message was loud and clear and resonated with everyone there. He recalled that as a child growing up in Israel there was no Pepsi Cola (how ironic it is that within the past few years Pepsi became the purchaser of Soda Stream, the well-known Israeli company). He informed and reminded everyone that there is still no Marriott Hotel in Israel. Recently a Ritz Carlton opened in Herzliya. It is a member of the Marriott brand but nowhere will you see the name Marriott. Without the BDS and way before anyone ever heard of it, the world was boycotting Israel and many companies still do. He offered great one-liners from Golda Meir when she was the prime minister. He related a story of how Golda was taking the mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt, on a tour of Tel Aviv and proudly showed him the architecture of many of the buildings in the city as well as the Mann Auditorium, which is part of the Habima Square cultural complex. The chancellor was very impressed that the Israelis had chosen to name their primary home of culture after a German author—Thomas Mann. Golda looked at him in surprise and mentioned that the building was not named after Thomas Mann. It was in fact named after Frederick Mann. When the future chancellor of German asked Golda what Frederick Mann had written, she answered, quite calmly, “A check.”
Guy Caspi, Magen David Adom’s director of HAZMAT exercises, operational training and mass casualty response, shared his thoughts and showed a short movie and slide presentation describing the work that MDA does on a daily basis. Interestingly and most significant was the message that MDA does not discriminate who it helps when its services are needed. Every ethnic group in Israel is served and we all watched on the screen as an Arab driver involved in a bad accident was serviced by Magen David Adom.
Sarri Singer, a former resident of Lakewood, New Jersey, whose father has been serving on the New Jersey State Senate since 1993, detailed in full her gratitude to Magen David Adom as they were the first to attend to her when she was a victim of a terrorist attack in 2003. While sitting innocently on a bus as it was receiving passengers outside of the busy Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, terrorists attacked the bus. While she survived this horrific incident, 17 people died and at least 100 people were injured. That she so calmly shares her message is startling, and her gratitude to MDA is understandable. We were mesmerized by her words. She is dedicating her life to “giving back” and sharing with everyone as many times as possible the fact that she will never forget the first person who attended to her after she received significant injuries. It was the lady from Magen David Adom who kept assuring her that she was going to be fine. She also wishes to share with others the realization that one can move on with their life after such a devastating experience. She has founded an organization “Strength to Strength” to offer services to victims of terror.
There were several other speakers present, and forgive us for not mentioning them all. However, Senator Bob Menendez cannot be overlooked. He shared his staunch feelings of support for Israel, which he has shown over the past 30 years as both a congressman and senator, and he has a total lack of tolerance for any form of anti-Semitism.
We are not sure that we necessarily would have given such a lengthy review of the MDA event if we were not totally incensed by the media attention and publicity given to the “maybe” 20 ridiculous protestors who stood on the wrong street (which is where they had a permit to stand) chanting and wearing PLO flags wrapped around their bodies. We are not surprised that the leader of the pack seemed to be a Jewish man married to a Muslim woman. Standing next to these outstanding citizens in the midst of their protest were two chassidishe individuals, who it was decided were card-carrying members of the Neturei Karta. Their presence certainly does not surprise us as in Montreal, when once a year there was an Israel Day demonstration in the midst of the downtown area with approximately 5,000 people in attendance, there was always a pocket of what we must assume are cousins of the two gentlemen who blessed us with their presence here in Teaneck. Once again, as is the case of what we saw here, the media in Montreal would focus on the group of chasidim. Their pictures were taken and placed on the front page of every newspaper in Montreal. The 5,000 supporters of Israel, laden in blue and white, were totally overlooked. That was not a picture-perfect moment.
We wish to dedicate this entire article to the wonderful program that the organizers of MDA produced. To Esther and Elie Katz, who chaired the event and have themselves donated an ambulance to Israel in memory of Rabbi Joseph Feinstein, z”l (Esther’s father), whom we had the pleasure of knowing many years ago, we salute them for choosing to advocate for such a deservant organization. While none of us should ever need the services of MDA, in the world we live in today, their services are being used on a regular basis. Unfortunately it is not only for attacks on innocent civilians: they cover the ground for any traumatic act that occurs.
The media needs to know what stories should be covered. We are sorry we did not see anyone from the Bergen Record or northjersey.com at this wonderful event. Their coverage was primarily of the “heated protest” that took place outside. Too bad they did not realize that what counted was what took place inside the building.
Kol hakavod to everyone who was in attendance.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick
Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected]