14 April 2016 - 6 Nisan 5776 - ו' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ו
President Peres receives Spirit of Davos award E-mail

Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel was honoured at a unique ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January at a ceremony attended by hundreds of business and public leaders from across the world.

President Peres was awarded the Spirit of Davos award for his work in furthering peace, economics and technology in the world.

The Founder and Chairperson of the WEF, Mr. Klaus Schwab said, “A great leader in my definition has brains, he has vision, he has a soul and he has values and he has a heart which means passion and compassion. You have it and you have shown it again. In this spirit, and very exceptionally I have the great honor to give you an award for global leadership.”

“We felt we must do something special so have a Golden Bell and the text is President Shimon Peres a unique visionary and global statesman for tolling the bell of peace and harmony.”

President Peres thanked the WEF for the award and said, “This is the product of the Israeli effort, I am the humble recipient of it on behalf of the Israeli people. We have to use it in the Middle East to call the people to peace.”
Before the award ceremony President Peres took part in a special plenary with Mr. Klaus Schwab during which he addressed the major issues on the agenda in the Middle East today.

When asked whether Iran is serious about giving up its nuclear weapons programme, President Peres responded, “It will be serious if they didn’t build nuclear weapons but just saying so isn’t serious. Iran doesn’t need the P5+1 to stop the nuclear programme, noone forces Iran to build nuclear missiles. No-one forces Iran to support Hezbollah, which is today the greatest killer in Syria. If Iran continues with its current actions then they will see that the world won’t accept this dangerous behaviour.”

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Guinness World Record achieved for lowest altitude formation flight over The Dead Sea E-mail

Breaking records at the Dead Sea: 12 pilots flying six aircraft have been officially awarded a Guinness World Record for formation flying at the lowest altitude n the lowest place on earth, flying in an arrowhead formation over the Dead Sea, 422 metres below sea level.

This record breaking initiative was lead by Lt. Col. Dan Shion, a pilot and former fighter squadron commander of the air force. Following his army service he continued to fly as a hobby in a variety of ultralight aircraft. Shion decided to take up the challenge of entering the Guinness World Record with the flight recorded in Israel.

In order to achieve a Guinness World Record, a formation flight lasting more than one minute must be achieved at more than 355 feet below sea level.

Formation flying is when multiple planes are arranged geometrically flying close to each other in one route destination and accurately perform all the functions. It requires a high skill level of the pilots as even the smallest path deviation can result in an accident.

In addition to the risks incurred in formation flying at regular altitudes, there were also risks in his choice of destination, over the Dead Sea.

Flight over water often creates distortions in vision and perception about height and distance from the sea which again could lead to a disastrous mistake.

In order to accomplish this complicated flight a group of pilots were selected from the Israel Ultralight Association, and all barring one pilot were senior air force pilots and three of them served as combat wing commanders in the air force.

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The Rabbis of Today? E-mail

The “Holy Jew” of Pryzucka1 once said: “First there were the prophets, but God looked and saw that the situation was deteriorating and that the prophets no longer were what they used to be. Then prophecy ceased, and the prophets were replaced by the Mishnaic and Talmudic Sages. After some time, they too, began to go downhill, so God brought the Geonim, but after a while that reality also began to worsen. The Geonim were then followed by the great Rabbis, the Rishonim and the Acharonim, but they deteriorated as well. So God brought the Chassidic Rebbes. And now,” said the Holy Jew, “I see that this, too, is about to deteriorate, but I do not know what will come after that.”

This is a statement not only about the changes that take place in reality, but also about the fact that in every generation and every period the Jewish people always has leaders. I do not mean political leadership: there are political leaders with considerable power in their hands, but eventually even the memories of the greatest dictators fade and they become exactly like their myriad subjects who were, in their eyes, like the dust of the earth. What, for instance, is left from Nimrod, the supreme political leader in the days of our Patriarch Abraham? Perhaps a few legends, maybe not even that.

In the final analysis, it is not the political leaders who change the world. Alongside them there are always people who actually mold and form the inner essence, even when they have no official function. Unfortunately, the prophets were not political leaders; rather, they were like bystanders who served as targets for insults.

Even the Prophet Isaiah who was of obvious nobility – as is reflected in his high style, and confirmed by our Sages who say (Tractate Megillah 10b) that he was the king’s cousin – attests (50:6): “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Yet the prophets are remembered much more than most of the kings, and have also had much greater influence both in their own generation and in the times to come.

In every generation there are leaders. They may be prophets or philosophers, technicians or scientists, inventors of new contraptions or mass media figures. They are the ones who actually set the course of the world. The most basic question is – who is a real leader? And the pertinent question for our generation is: are the rabbis, the contemporary leaders of Jewry, truly the leaders of this generation?

In the past century, the role of the rabbi has undergone a major transformation. The reasons for this are numerous, some of which are economic. However, the fact is that today, the rabbi’s position as a consultant on Halachic matters is not very relevant. How many people actually turn to rabbis with questions about kashrut2?

Today rabbis are being asked to solve totally different problems: husband-wife or parent-child relationships, and sometimes also faith issues. As such, the rabbi, who is not a trained marriage counselor, psychologist or philosopher, is forced to answer them. Consequently, nowadays rabbis are, unfortunately, dealing mainly with issues for which they have not been properly trained, and rarely are they dealing with those areas for which they did receive the proper training.

How can a typical rabbi who married at the age of 19 and has been living with the same woman ever since, truly help someone who is involved in a relationship with his friend’s wife?

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