The Benevolent Builder: Rabbi Semah Levy Kadi a.h.
Fascinated by Courage of Consuls
Although I am not a member of your community, I read your magazine and find it very interesting. In particular I was impressed by the article “Courageous Consuls” [about heroic diplomats who saved Jews during World War II] in the Nissan (April) edition . I know Nehama Consuelo from years back, and she is an excellent writer, especially on historical issues. I found this article not only fascinating, but extremely touching, meaningful, and important.
A History of Preserving Our Heritage
The article about the Shaare Zion Congregation in your May 2012 edition was a well written piece of history about the beloved shul.
I believe that our other religious institutions in Brooklyn must have similar stories behind them, beginning with the very first one, the Magen David Congregation, on 67th Street. It would be heartening to read anecdotes about the visions, perseverance, struggles and successes of these other institutions as an affirmation of our community’s continuing commitment to religious teaching and worship, that provides a strong legacy for subsequent generations to follow.
Growing Up With Shaare Zion
The article about how Shaare Zion nearly wasn’t built was very interesting, thank you. Growing up in the 1970's and going to the “dome,” many of us have fond memories of the rabbis’ speeches, Torah dedications, attending services on the High Holidays, and the dozens of distinguished rabbis who came to visit at Shaare Zion over the years. As the article pointed out last month, Shaare Zion really is an icon of our community.
Remembering Our Pride in the Building’s Completion
So many memories returned as I read your article about the Shaare Zion Synagogue. I recalled the different stages of construction until the memorable day when the building was completed. I also remember the pride felt by our entire community at that time.
Carolyn Rushefsky did a very thorough and impressive job in researching and presenting the information, including the wonderful photos. Thanks for publishing this story, and I hope to see more like it in the future.
The Volumes on King David
Thank you for printing the article I wrote about King David. Of course, the space allowed in a magazine is hardly enough to scratch the surface in describing this sadik, and many points in the original draft had to be edited so it could fit the allocated space. In the interest of providing readers with a better understanding of King David’s greatness, I’d like to highlight just a few of the features that didn’t make it into the final draft.
One reason why King David is a figure with whom we closely identify is his famous work – the Book of Tehillim, which our sages compared to the five books of the Torah. Furthermore, the Gemara comments that when people quote the words of Torah spoken by righteous people, their lips move in the grave. We can therefore assume that David Hamelech’s lips are moving constantly, as a result of the words of Tehillim that are read at all times.
Through David Hamelech’s constant praise of Hashem, he reached lofty spiritual levels that no other righteous person achieved. He even earned the merit of reciting the blessing over the wine during the “feast of the leviathan” in the Messianic Era because he always praised Hashem, even when confronting difficult situations (Pesahim 119b).
King David forms one of the legs of Hashem’s Holy Throne, along with Avraham, Yizhak and Yaakov, making him the “fourth patriarch,” a status he earned by advocating personal prayer.
Additionally, David was the father and son of two of the four people in the world to never have sinned – his father Yishai and his son Kilab.
The Jewish Star is also referred to as a Magen David – Shield of David – and is the shape of the shield used by King David in times of war. The star contains six points which might perhaps represent the first six days of the week, whereas the star’s nucleus perhaps symbolizes Shabbat – the focal point of the week. Another fascinating aspect of the Magen David is that all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet can be found in the Star of David.
It is my hope that these remarkable attributes inspire readers to learn more about this great sadik.
Morris M. Mizrahi
The article, “The Sephardic Arbit Experiment” in the May 2012 issue states that “minha can be followed immediately by arbit during the hour or two before sunset.” This approximation alludes to plag haminha, which is exactly 1¼ sha’ot zmani’ot before sunset.
The article “Shaare Zion” in the May 2012 states that the first wedding in the dome took place on June 3, 1962, however, Mrs. Edward Beda informed us that she was married in the sanctuary of Shaare Zion on March 12, 1961.