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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Obama On Cruelty

US President Barak Obama speaking in Buchenwald a few days ago made me think.

It’s important to remember that the perpetrators of such evil were human, and that we have to guard against cruelty in ourselves.

Indeed a powerful message. The Nazis were not demons from outer space that invaded the world for a few years and then somehow disappeared. They were humans! We are humans! Humans are capable of cruelty and unspeakable horror. The large-scale evil of the Holocaust was so extensive that it gave opportunity for the revisionists to claim that it is just incredible.

I wonder if there is not some light in that observation. Perhaps the human capacity to create unspeakable horror tells us just how powerful we humans are. 

Maybe by looking at the human potential for evil we can gain insight into how much positive might we humans have. Can one man or woman save six million? 

Posted on 06/09 at 04:55 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov HaberRabbi Haber has been a leading force in Jewish Outreach for the past 25 years. A founding trustee of AJOP, the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals, he was the founder and director of the Torah Center of Buffalo from 1980-1990 while serving as a community rabbi in Buffalo. From Buffalo he and his family traveled to Melbourne, Australia where as a project of Kollel Bais HaTalmud he founded the Australian Institute of Torah, a national outreach and adult education program. He directed that program from 1990-1995, at which time he was sought out as National Director of Jewish Education for the Orthodox Union in the United States where he created the Internationally acclaimed and highly successful "Pardes Project."

In addition to his duties at the OU, in 1996 he replaced Rabbi Berel Wein as the spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Torah in Monsey, NY. In keeping with the position of Congregation Bais Torah in the Monsey community, Rabbi Haber was involved in issues involving the greater Monsey community, and counseled hundreds of individuals in the surrounding area.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber is the founder and driving force behind TorahLab. Through TorahLab, Rabbi Haber is bringing together educational and media specialists to create dynamic learning experiences which will be accessible to adults of all backgrounds and levels. Rabbi Haber has published numerous articles and books and is a sought after international lecturer.

Rabbi Haber and his family are presently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he is the Rabbi of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted at