Giborei HaChodesh for 2011-2012
B’Chirat Chofsheet (Free Choice)
Sandy Koufax (1935- ): One of the greatest pitchers in baseball who refused to play a 1965 World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur. To millions of Jews, Sandy Koufax became a symbol of Jewish pride.
EliezerBen Yehuda (1885-1922): Revived Hebrew from a language of prayer and Torah to a spoken language. Published the first Hebrew dictionary and created common language for people returning to Israel from around the world.
Cheshvan (Rainbow Day)
Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGashem (God Brings the Wind and the Rain: God in Nature)
Noah (Biblical): Noah and his family were chosen to survive the flood decreed by God upon the world for being corrupt and evil. God promised, through the appearance of the rainbow, never to destroy the world again with such an act. Since that time, the rainbow appears after a rain as a reminder of God’s promise.
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (1947- ): Author and Rabbi who wrote books for children about God in the world around us, such as God’s Paintbrush and In God’s Name.
Or La’Goyim (Light Unto the Nations: Setting an Example)
Abe Saperstein (1902-1966): Founder of the Harlem Globetrotters who provided opportunities for African-American basketball players excluded at the time by professional leagues.
Ilan Ramon (1954-2003): First Israeli astronaut and child of a Holocaust survivor, who understood his role in space as a representative not only of Israel, but also of all the Jewish people.
Mordecai Kaplan (1881-1983): Founder of Reconstructionist Judaism who believed that Judaism was a civilization, that is, not only beliefs and practices, but also language, culture, literature, ethics, and a social organization. He promoted the notion of a synagogue as a community center which offered not only religious services, but also family programs, sports and exercise. Kaplan also started the Bat Mitzvah tradition, beginning with this daughter.
Myriam Mendilow ( -1989): An Israeli school teacher who, disheartened by the lack of student respect toward the elderly, quit her job and founded Yad LaKashish (Lifeline for the Old), a place in Jerusalem where only the elderly and disable are employed, binding books and creating handiwork for sale.
Achila B’riyah U’Musarit (Healthy and Ethical Eating)
Magen Tzedek/Star of Justice (Rabbi Morris Allen): Expected in 2011, this new kosher label will assure purchasers that the company also conforms to ethical values in regard to treatment of workers, environmental impact, and fair business dealings.
Naftali (Naf) Hanau, Growth and Behold Foods (Current): Began a business of raising and selling pasteurized meats from animals who feed on natural foods. The company follows the strictest standards of kashrut, animal welfare, worker treatment, and sustainable agriculture.
Eishet Chayil (Woman of Valor)
Henrietta Szold (1860-1945): Founder of Hadassah, an organization for women that supports health and medicine in Israel. She helped found Youth Aliyah which saved thousands of children from the Nazis by bringing them to Israel.
Emma Lazarus (1849-1887): Poetess who wrote the sonnet engraved on the Stature of Liberty. Was vocal against anti-semitism, and openly supported the revival of Jewish life in United States and Israel.
Cherut (Freedom of Expression)
Natan Sharansky (1948- ): After being imprisoned by the Soviet government for being a Jew, Sharansky made Aliyah and is now chairman of the Jewish Agency, an Israeli based organization that connects Jews all over the world with their people, heritage, and the Land of Israel.
Israel Mayer Wise (1819- ): Founder of Reform Judaism who established HUC (Hebrew Union College) to ordain Reform Rabbis. Came to America from Europe and “reformed” Jewish practices, such as giving sermons in English and allowing men and women to sit together.
Naphtali Herz Imbar (1865-1909): An early pioneer in Israel, Inbar wrote the poem which became the hymn of the pioneers and eventually Israel’s national anthem called Hatikvah.
Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai (70 CE): When the Second Temple was destroyed and sacrifices could no longer be offered to God, Yochanan changed and saved Judaism by asking the Roman Empire to establish a center of learning and prayer.
Talmud Torah (Study of Torah)
Vilan Gaon (1720-1797): Known as the GRA (Hebrew acronym for “Gaon Rabbi Eliyahu”), he believed that the study of Torah is the very life of Judaism. He wrote commentaries on the Talmud, Mishhan, and TaNaKH. He also studied math and science.
Ezra (458 BCE): Ezra the Scribe brought Jews from the Babylonian Exile back to Jerusalem where he began the tradition of the public reading of the Torah, a tradition still continued today
Giborei HaChodesh for 2010-2011
Chesed V’Rachamim (Kindness and Compassion)
Judah (Biblical): Judah dissuades his brothers from killing Joseph. He promises his father Jacob that he will protect his younger brother Benjamin on their trip down to Egypt. When Benjamin is threatened with being enslaved, Judah insists that he be enslaved instead. This selfless act causes Joseph to fully forgive his brothers.
Lillian Wald (1867-1940) The “Angel of Henry Street,” Lillian started the idea of a visiting nursing service and employing nurses in public schools.
Cheshvan (Rainbow Day)
Kol Menai Tzvaiim (A Variety of Colors)
Yaakov Agam (1928- ): Agam is an Israeli sculptor famous for his colorful kinetic art -art that changes every time the viewer moves.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985): The “poet of 20th century art,” Chagall wanted his art to symbolize the experiences and feelings of life, as does poetry. He is famous for colorful paintings, murals, stained-glass windows, sculpture, ceramics, and theater sets.
Ometz Lev (Courage)
Hannah Senesh (1921-1944): Hannah was a Hungarian Jew who made Aliyah to Palestine. During WWII, she volunteered to parachute into Yugoslavia to try to save her fellow Jews. A poet, her words have been put to song and are still sung today (Eli, Eli).
King Christian X (1870-1947): King of Denmark who became famous for his alleged promise that if the Jews of Denmark were forced by the Nazis to wear yellow Jewish stars, all Danes would wear them.
Rofei Cholei (Healing the Sick)
Jonas Salk (1914-1995): A medical research scientist and physician who discovered the first safe cure against the disease called Polio. He tested his vaccine on himself and his family.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): Australian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. He studied dreams as a source of insight into the unconscious mind.
Shalom (Seeds of Peace)
The Abraham Fund: Organization dedicated to enhancing coexistence between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens. It supports camps, schools, villages, and programs that help Israeli Arabs and Jews live together in peace.
Seeds of Peace (1993- ): Organization that brings together 4000 teenagers from parts of the world that are in conflict to learn how to live together in peace. Seeds of Peace is based on the idea that people make peace, not governments.
Albert Kahn (1869-1942): Architect who designed the Fisher Building, General Motors Building and assembly plants for Ford Motor company. Kahn also built Reform synagogues, including Beth-El in Detroit.
Rodgers (1902-1979) and Hammerstein (1895-1960): American songwriting duo famous for their Broadway songs from Oklahoma! The Sound of Music, The King and I, and more.
Emanuel Ringelblum (1900-1944): One of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto underground who secretly documented what was happening around him by hiding information in milk cans that were found after the war. The secret archive was known as “Oneg Shabbat.”
Steven Spielberg (1946- ): In 1994, this famous movie producer established an organization to archive 52,000 interviews with Holocaust survivors from 56 countries in 32 languages. One of the most influential film personalities, Spielberg brought Holocaust education to the general public through his movie Schindler’s List.
Itzchak Rabin (1922-1955): Prime Minister of Israel who along with Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for their peace initiatives which gave Palestinians self-rule in Gaza and Jericho.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972): A rabbi and scholar who came from Europe to American to teach in the Rabbinical schools. He understood the teachings of the prophets as a call for social action and fought against the Vietnam War and for black civil rights. He joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in a civil rights march and said that “his feet were praying.”
Judah Touro (1775-1854): Left in his will hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Jewish college in New York, a Jewish hospital in New Orleans, and congregations and Jewish schools in 17 American cities. No one had ever given so much at one time to so many agencies and causes.
Maimonides/Rambam (1135-1204): Philosopher, physician, and Torah scholar, he developed the eight levels of giving Tzedakah from the highest (job training) to the lowest (giving unwillingly).