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Friday, July 18, 2014

Iron Dome: 75 Years in the Making

The following question was posed on the internet: What if Hamas overshot a missile from Gaza and it was headed toward a terrorist stronghold in the west bank or Lebanon? Would we use the Iron Dome to shoot it down?

There were many opinions and thoughts, but someone suggested that I skip to answer number 151 from our own Rabbi Yosef Friedman. He said, “This question is a Chilul Hashem”. In his inimitable style, he felt strongly that even to ask the question is an affront to the type of people that we are. We are against the indiscriminate killing of civilians, whether they are our friends or our enemies.

Everyone knows that the heads of Hamas are in a bunker below a hospital in Gaza. They probably know which hospital. Everyone also knows that while others are being told to act as human shields to save their houses, the Hamas leaders can be confident that Israel will not bomb their hospitals. I have been told that if there is a ground invasion it will be for that reason and that reason only. We refuse to bomb high rise buildings and hospitals. And they know that.
Last week’s Haftorah speaks of the frustration of Eliyahu Hanavi. He lost hope in the Jewish people but Hashem told him that the Jewish people will last far longer than he will.

That’s one of the reasons we set a seat up for him at a Bris. Let him come and see that we are still here. This is the Nitzchiyos – the eternal nature of the Jewish people.

Several weeks ago there was a demonstration of the Iron Dome here in Norfolk. I went together with my wife and we heard from Lt. Col. Gideon Weiss who is one of the Vice Presidents of Refael which is the manufacturer of the Iron Dome and soon the Iron Beam.

In addition to showing how the weapons worked to defend Israeli citizens and to change the war strategically, Gideon Weiss explained that Refael is a huge company with contracts all over the world. They recently bought a portion of Zeiss Optronik in Germany. Mr. Weiss showed us how during the war Zeiss Optronik forced Jews to work at making ammunition. He showed us a list of the Jews who worked at Zeiss Optronik and the sick “Identification Numbers” that they gave to each one of the workers.

Then he showed us a picture of his mother who is now living in Israel. The picture showed the number on her arm and it is clear that she was one of those forced laborers in the Zeiss ammunition factory. Today that same factory is owned by her Israeli son and is hard at work developing the technology that may have saved hundreds of Jewish lives over the past week.

The Jewish people have a staying power that is unparalleled. Even as wicked people are launching rockets at our brothers and sisters we are here celebrating another boy another girl, another Bris, and another community devoted to Hashem and His Torah.

Good Shabbos

Posted on 07/18 at 10:04 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at