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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wrap the Grizzly Bear in a Towel!

The Parsha begins by discussing the rules of voluntary wars. The Torah is not against war and weapons but there are guidelines.

My former Monday night Chavrusa was once innocently carrying a sword down Granby Street when he was detained by the authorities. He had responsibly wrapped his sword in a towel but one of the obnoxiously nosy neighbors mistook the sword for a rifle and called the police. At the time, the police were frantically searching for the “beltway sniper”. For a tense fifteen minutes my chavrusa was compelled to explain that he was not secretly killing people and that he was late for his seder in Mishnayos. We had to catch up the next week.

I am totally for the right of citizens to bear arms. The fact that the police could stop a Jewish boy carrying two firearms (not to mention a sword) and let him drive away a few minutes later (to my house) says a lot about the country we live in.

At the same time, I will point out that he DID wrap the sword in a towel. Many responsible people carry guns, but you would never know. Even the military in this country do not walk around flaunting weapons off base. There is a certain reserve and sense of appropriateness when it comes to tools of destruction.

I can understand that in a country at war, like Israel, there is a need to carry weapons openly, but why does Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin have a DEAD Grizzly bear in her office?  I may vote for her, but I cannot begin to comprehend why it is fun to take a picture of yourself and your eight year old daughter with a bleeding moose. Did she wake up one morning and say “I must shoot a moose today and show my daughter how to tear it’s throat out”? She probably did.

(Admittedly, a vice president who shoots moose and bears would be an improvement over our current VP who shot his best friend, but that is besides the point). Americans are so proud of that heartwarming story of President Teddy Roosevelt who was too gentle to kill a bear in cold blood after his devoted aides tied it to a tree. It was so funny and special that it inspired the Teddy Bear. What kind of people are we if that is a sign of a gentle president? He was too gentle to shoot a tied up bear in cold blood. Wow.

We slaughter animals to eat and we carry guns for protection. I am seriously considering walking three blocks south to do kapporos on the front lawn of the PETA national headquarters. I have trouble, though, with a governor who spends her day at the office staring at the corpse of a one thousand pound animal who her father shot for fun.

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Posted on 09/07 at 10:26 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