Monday, February 23, 2015

Cinematic Chofetz Chaim Corroborated

UPDATE: 2/24/14
I wrote to the University for information regarding this newsreel and here is their reply:

The film is silent 35mm nitrocellulose negative shot by a Fox News cameraman Hans V. Pebal. Mr. Pebal covered Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria for Fox News. The footage would have been shipped to Fox News headquarters on 10th Avenue in Manhattan where it was developed and edited. In 1980 the University of South Carolina was given a large part of Fox Newsreels and outtakes by 20th Century Fox. This particular film has attracted attention for many years.

Thank you,
Benjamin Singleton
University of South Carolina
Moving Image Research Collections

Wow. After all these years of debate what the Chofetz Chaim looked like, at 56 seconds into the clip, we now have cinematic evidence. Boruch Mechaye Hameisim!

other picture

picture discussion

Rare Video of the Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Hakohen (Radin) at the The First World Congress (Knessia Gedolah) of the World Agudath Israel the first major gathering of all the different sects of Klal Yisroel which took place in Vienna starting from Elul 3, 5683 / August 15, 1923/5684 and which lasted for ten days.

Hat Tip:

from ThePartialView blog comment by anonymous:

0:27 הג"ר אברהם צבי פרלמוטר אב"ד ורשא ונציג אגו"י בסיים
האדמו"ר ר' ישראל פרידמן מצ'ורטקוב 0:47
רשכבה"ג נשיא הדורות החפץ חיים זי"ע 0:57
מלווה בבנו מצד אחד ומצד שני נכדו הגר"א קפלן הי"ד 0:57
האדמו"ר מסוקולוב ר' יצחק זליג מורגנשטרן הי"ד 1:47
הג"ר אשר מיכאל כהן אב"ד באזל 1:57
הג"ר יהודא ליב צירלסון אב"ד קישנב הי"ד 2:05
הג"ר אלנן וסרמן הי"ד 2:22
ר' אשר מנדלסון מראשי אגו"י בפולין ונציג בסיים 2:28
הג"ר פנחס דר. קאהן אב"ד אנסבך 2:56
הג"ר טוביה הורויץ אב"ד סנוק 3:02
מורנו רבי יעקב רוזנהיים נשיא אגו"י 3:16
הג"ר אליהו יונג רב ג'ואיש סנטר ניו יורק 3:55
הג"ר מאיר דר. הילדסהיימר מברלין 3:16
הרב שפיצר נציג אגו"י מהונגריה 3:58
הג"ר יחזקאל סרנא אח"כ ראש ישיבת חברון 4:13
רבי משה בלוי מירושלים 4:28
הג"ר טוביה דר. לוונשטיין אב"ד ציריך 4:34

Update 2/25/15.  Amazing story in Hamodia...

The Orthodox community worldwide has been amazed and elated by the discovery of a rare film clip containing a crystal-clear image of the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, and numerous other Gedolei Yisrael at the First Knessiah Gedolah in Vienna in 1923.
Breathtaking as it is, the film has raised several questions in the community. Could it be authentic? Where was it until now? How did such a treasure get unearthed? Is there more to see?
“It is definitely authentic,” said Rabbi Moshe Kolodny, archivist of the Agudath Israel of America. “We knew that there was a film, and the second half, that shows Rav Yaakov Rosenheim, has been around for a while.”
Less than five minutes in running time, the film captures parts of the Knessiah Gedolah of the Agudas Yisrael. It begins with the arrival of Harav Avraham Tzvi Perlmutter, zt”l, the Rav of Warsaw, and Harav Yisrael Friedman, the Rebbe of Chortkov, zy”a, to the Knessiah.

About a minute from the start of the reel, the Chofetz Chaim, head bowed but unmistakably identifiable, walks briskly through the gates towards the building, flanked by attendants. It is most likely the clearest likeness — and certainly the only live image — that anyone in the last two generations has seen of the hallowed tzaddik.

Later scenes show the interior of the convention and a mixture of Rabbanim, askanim and others who flocked to the scene, in an unusually vibrant image of pre-War Europe.

The story of the film’s discovery centers on the determination of Yosef March, an amateur historian from Williamsburg, and more than 30 years of work by the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) staff at the University of South Carolina.

About eight years ago, Mr. March was searching the vast film archive of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., for original footage of Gedolei Yisrael. He stumbled upon a record of a film of the Knessiah Gedolah, but as per an agreement with the provider, the museum did not have permission to make the actual footage available to the public.

A few calls to the source, the University of South Carolina, yielded him access to the preserved image as well as the notes of the cameraman, Hans von Pebal. The notes, known as a “dope sheet,” give details of some of the figures shown in the film, which von Pebal presumably gleaned from bystanders.

Probably the most arresting lines read: “The famous 90-year-old Rabbi Jisroel Meieir (sic) Hakohen of Radin, also called Chofetz Chaim after his great work.”

Exciting as the discovery was, Mr. March had one problem: the Chofetz Chaim, and several others in the notes, did not appear in the footage the university showed him.

“Once I saw the dope sheet, I realized that they had the other half somewhere, and that they just had to look for it,” said March.

Looking for it was not as simple as it might seem. In 1980, MIRC received over 75,000,000 feet of news footage as a gift from 20th Century Fox. The boxes of fragile and deteriorating film contained reels of news clips ranging from 1919 to 1944.

“We have spent the last 20 to 30 years piecing together negatives,” Benjamin Singleton, MIRC’s production manager, told Hamodia. “It’s old and brittle. Putting all of them together has been like making a giant puzzle.”

MIRC has been painstakingly working to transfer the original films, kept in old boxes and held together with rusty paper clips, to computer memory that will preserve it. They have also been piecing together different parts of the film clips to make the collection into a usable archive for scholars and the public.

However, Mr. March was persistent in his push to encourage MIRC’s team to search for the missing half.

“I couldn’t imagine that we were going to find it. I have been doing this since 1980 and it is very rare that you find more pieces after a long period of time,” said Singleton, who himself seemed touched to have been part of the discovery. “He [March] called a few times every year for a good few years. He just had faith that we would find it.”

Singleton said that a combination of the sheer mass of material and its deteriorating state made the odds of locating the missing piece “astronomical.”

“I wasn’t always so encouraging,” said Mrs. Ruchie March, a writer and translator who carried on much of her husband’s email correspondence with MIRC. “After a little while, I was getting a little frustrated, but he wouldn’t give up.”

Von Pebel worked as Fox’s cameraman covering events in Germany, Austria and other central European countries. He sent hundreds of hours of footage over his career to Fox’s office in New York, where it was edited and selected for news reels.

“It’s clear from the film and his notes that he [von Pebel] had trouble with his camera that day; these were old crank cameras,” Greg Wilsbacher, curator of the Newsfilm Collections for MIRC, told Hamodia. “Sometimes these clips do rise to the surface and when they find their way to a community that appreciates them, it is a cause for celebration. Based on the notes, we now have the whole thing.”

In recent weeks, Mr. March’s persistence bore fruit. MIRC had been alerted by his consistent calls and emails to what they were looking for.

“It was an odd quirk that when we did the digitizing of this story we only had the first half, since the negative was in two parts,” said Wilsbacher.

The clip was found in MIRC’s routine examination of unviewed films. Soon after its discovery, the footage was mailed to Mr. March, who positively identified it as what he knew had been there all along.

“I am delighted you found Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan pictured in the newly found footage,” wrote Mr. Singleton in an email to March. “It took years of sifting thousands of pieces of film to find this footage. Frankly, I did not expect to find more footage. In my experience, this almost never happens. You always believe more footage would be found in this giant haystack.”

Singleton reiterated his feelings to Hamodia, saying that “finding the film fragment showing the Chofetz Chaim after all these years was, in my view, a miracle.”

Hamodia did its best to identify each of the many Gedolei Yisrael portrayed in the film. However, we ask our loyal readers to help us in accurately identifying all of them.

Further update Feb 25...Kikar Shabbos reports that a great grandson of the Chofetz Chaim speculates that the reason this video has aired now is so that the political parties in Eretz Yisroel make peace with each other.

Update 2/27/15

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hakirah Helps Humbug Hoaxer

I was somewhat surprised to see that Rabbi Michael Broyde has been posting Halachik essays.  These writings have appeared on the Seforim blog and most recently on Hakirah Volume 18.

Integrity has been all over the news lately.  Those who grew up in the era of Walter Cronkite can remember the authoritative voice that garnered trust. Yet even in our liberal land of everything goes, newscasters have been held to a higher standard.  The firings of Dan Rather and recent suspension of Brian Williams prove that lying is not acceptable for those who we place our trust in.

So someone who is willing to prevaricate, and attempts to alter history to further his agenda, especially an halachik agenda, to me that is an unpardonable offense, and no longer deserves a soapbox, be it blog or periodical.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Seattle Seahawks Superbowl Stumble

Many fine articles have been published in the past week vis-a-vis the Frum community and the Superbowl.

One pointed out how Frum organizations can no longer schedule functions during this event; and Chasunahs and Vorts suffer from participation during the sacred hours that the game is played.

Another article noticed how the Atheists have their own god, and that is the hallowed Superbowl Sunday, where nothing can keep them away from their fan-dom.

A third made mention of the fact that certain publications no longer allow Superbowl food specials to be advertised.

This year, the game certainly did live up to it's moniker, keeping fans on the edge of the seat until the finale. It featured two of the strongest quarterbacks in the game, a super offense vs. a super defense, and a spectacular catch of which the likes have not been seen in recent memory.

Yet sadly for the Seahawks, the entire season and game was lost due to an incredible blunder. What an incredible Mussar can be learned from this. Just when you think you are invincible, when the Hail Mary gods have smiled upon you, remember that it is the one and only true GOD who runs the show, and this year he is smiling on the East Coast.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bochurim Begin Borsalino Boycott?

Borsalino Tip: LifeInIsrael

Years ago, when the price of Shtreimels went sky-high, one of the Chassidishe Rebbe's told the manufacturer's that if the price doesn't stabilize, he will remove his own Shtreimel. Perhaps we can do the same for the Borsalino?

Will the boycott travel across the Atlantic?

A group of Chabad bochurim in New York are trying to garner support to join a boycott that originated in Israel over the rising prices of fedora hats.

Organizers are saying that prices of the Italian made Borsalino hats have risen by $50 in the last 5 years, bringing the price of the typical Yeshiva student's hat in Israel to $274.

Petitions going around in Yeshivas in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak are threatening to stop purchasing hats if the prices don't drop. According to Makor Rishon newspaper, some 10,000 people signed.

"Borsalino is telling us that it's a luxury item and the price doesn't have to be cheap, but they know the truth - that everyone still buys it, not only a select few," one organizer said.

"It's a common product and there is no reason the price should be so high," the person added. "A manufacturer raises prices to increase profits on a product that isn't selling well, but if the masses are buying this excuse doesn't exist."

Regular consumers of the hats made of felt from Belgian rabbit are Lubavitcher chassidim, and students of Litvish and Sephardic Yeshivos. Other chassidic groups wear hats with beaver finish or a fur shtreimel.

Recently, bochurim in a Chabad Yeshiva in New York have asked their 'hanhala' administration if they would be allowed to join the boycott and start wearing a flat cap, also called a casket hat.

Borsalino tip to Daily Reyd via CoLive

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Roshyeshiva Resigns Regarding Rift (Rav Aharon Schechter resigns from Moetzes)


I am surprised that this has not been more widely reported, but several blogs are reporting that Rav Aharon Schechter, member of Moetzes has resigned his position. It seems that the Agudah position had been not to get involved in the Machlokes in Eretz Yisroel, regarding whether to sign up for the draft or not.

Rav Shmuel Auerbach has directed his students not to, while the leaders of Bnei Brak are not so vehemently opposed.

In any event, the current Yarchei Kallah sponsored by Agudah, where RSA had been invited to say a Shiur in recent years, did not invite him this year.

Regardless of whether one agrees with RSA or not, RAS feels that the Agudah should not be choosing sides.

Let us hope this is resolved soon, and that we keep the EY Machlokes in EY and off our shores.


Update: 01/15/2015 -Rift Rectified. Roshyeshiva Re-signs.

The Partial View is reporting that Shalom has been restored and the resignation has been withdrawn. link

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dialogue Dissects Dubious Dogma - Volume 5 Fall 5775/2014 - Dialogue For Torah Issues & Ideas

Dialogue I
Dialogue II
Dialogue III
Dialogue IV

A Private Conversation - penned by R' Aharon Feldman, offers Hashkafic insights into the recent War in Eretz Yisroel. RAF explains why we can be pro-Israel yet anti the present Israeli government, simultaneously.

The New "Orthodoxy": Open to What? and The Reincarnation of the Conservative Movement, by RAF and R. Avrohom Gordimer respectively, dissect why the "Open Orthodoxy" of YCT is totally un-Orthodox.

May Orthodox Rabbis Permit Women to Don Tefillin?, by R. Meyer Twersky explains why ignoring the Rama's ruling on this issue is contrary to Halacha.

The Corporeality Which Never Was by R. Aharon Lopiansky casts doubts on whether R. M. Taku really believed in a corporeal deity.

Aquatic Perfection: The Fascinating World of Fish and Water, by R. Eytan Feiner is a fascinating essay on this rare topic. It is well documented with a wide array of footnotes.

Educating the Child Jewishly by R. Moshe Einstadter shares insights into Jewish Chinuch.

Where is the Passion? authored by R. Dovid Sapirman tackles a topic that many do not want to speak about, namely allowing youngsters to discuss questions of Hashkafa in an open forum.

Halachic Decision Making: The Factors Involved by R. Moshe Walter.

Moral Resistance in the Concentration Camps by David Adler (Posthumous).

Poor Review: Do Scientific Journals Have Sufficient Oversight? by Yoram Bogacz, is a delightful read that describes the poor process of peer review. [I love the title!]

My only complaints are that there was such a huge time gap in between issues and that there was only one letter to the editor printed in this edition.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mechaye Meisim Metziah - Mamash!

Seen on many blogs. Thanks to TheJewishSongs for posting this to Youtube.

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