The Greenwich Village Synagogue, also known as Congregation Darech Amuno or the Charles Street Synagogue notches a century of service to the community this Rosh HaShana. It is the place where life events are celebrated – baby namings, circumcisions, bar mitzvahs, weddings and, at the end of a life cycle, memorial services – and where, every Sabbath and Holiday, the Sanctuary echos with melodies of prayer in the ancient tradition that combines pleas with praise of G-D. Friendly and welcoming, it is a great place for beginners to reconnect to the faith of their fathers or start their own tradition. Even a single visit can lead to the pursuit of a transformative relationship with Heaven.
The Decline of Europe
After every fresh terrorist incident in Europe, we are told that the "suspect" had been on that nation's watch list. Fully half of French and Italian soldiers are on domestic anti-terrorist duty, yet the pool of potential "radical Islamists" is simply too large to keep under surveillance. Europe, to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities, always uses the term "suspect," even when the driver of a vehicle that had plowed into pedestrians has been shot dead at the wheel. With crossed fingers Merkel and Macron deny that there is a link between Islam and terrorism, both to quell rising anti-Muslim anger in their countrymen and in the hope that their Muslim citizens will ignore attempts to incite them. Childless themselves, and leading nations whose birthrate has fallen below the 2.1-children-per-woman needed to merely maintain their population, they refuse to admit that their immigration policies put both Germany and France on the path to Islamization, as their Muslim immigrants, whose high birth rates are no longer offset by the high infant-mortality rates of their countries of origin, find that their living and medical expenses are paid by their host countries, despite their open scorn for the West.
Fifteen years ago, a Turkish friend introduced me to a friend of his, a young woman born and raised in Germany. "Ich bin keine Deutsche. Ich bin eine Turke," she insisted in perfect German, continuing with "Ich hasse Deutschland!," and the future seems to be theirs; Frankfurt already has a majority foreign-born population. In the U.K. the list of dangerous, documented Islamists numbers 23,000, but there are only resources for monitoring 3,000. True, most Muslims lead ordinary, quiet lives, but young Muslim men seeking high purpose in their lives find in the Koran, the Hadith and the Sunna a clear call to glory and martyrdom, and the promise, after a martyr's death, of 72 heavenly virgins, heady stuff, and off they go to fight for ISIS and the Caliphate, Mohammed's instrument for world rule. Will Islam ever reform itself, as other religions have? The King of Morocco has convened a panel of Islamic scholars to study the possibility of reform of Islam. The complexity of the very question is apparent in the fact that their recommendations -- if any -- are not expected until 2030! "Why change one iota of Islam's sacred rules," a Muslim could argue, "when Allah has rewarded our obedience to those rules by bringing our domination of Europe within reach? We are not at Vienna's gates, but inside them."
Under the leadership of the EU Europe is committing demographic suicide. One can already visualize a future in which its great cathedrals remain only as museums, artifacts of a former civilization, if they are not actually converted into mosques by removing crosses and adding minarets. Parts of Europe will remain, Poland, for example, and Russia which has forged a modus vivendi with Chechnya, along with a diminished Vatican, but the Europe that was once the great bastion of Christianity (with its endemic anti-Semitism) is doomed by its own hand. Germany has far too much to ever expiate, but France, too, was more than passively complicit in the Holocaust, witness the suit by the French National Railway to be paid the train fares of those it transported to the extermination camps. BDS may be viewed as the death rattle, the last, disgraceful act of self-identity by Europe on its deathbed. BDS was the spur to Israel's turn to the East, celebrated by the warm embrace India's Prime Minister Modi received on his recent visit there, but greater Asia, including China, will prove equally important as an export market.
This year, at Shavuos we celebrated the 3,330th anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Among its 5,845 sentences, Pasuk 5,708 stands out for its promise of a universal ingathering of His dispersed people to a re-established, prosperous Israel; 5,708 was 1948! May HaShem continue to bless and prosper Israel, a phoenix risen from the ashes to the astonishment of a still-hostile world.
Herman Lowenhar, President