Love of the Land

For the week ending 18 June 2005 / 11 Sivan 5765

Replacing Hate With Love

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The experience of the 2001 Durban Anti-Racism Conference held in South Africa, in which Arabs and their sympathizers did their utmost to communicate a lying legend of a demonized Israel, is not likely to be uprooted soon in that country.

This was one of the messages delivered by the new chief rabbi of South Africa at his recent inauguration. Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, who served as the spiritual leader of Ohr Somayachs Sunny Road Synagogue in Johannesburg before being appointed as the fifth chief rabbi of South Africa, is not only the youngest (33) to hold this position of leadership of the 800,000-strong Jewish community, but also the first to be born in that country.

Reflecting on his own experience and that of Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Goldstein told an audience, which included South African President Thabo Mbeki, that he envisions "a conceptual framework of Jewish unity on an African framework that ultimately derives from the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai."

"Proportionately," he added in a press interview, "we have the strongest baal teshuva movement in the world."

With the leadership of the new chief rabbi and the efforts of Ohr Somayach, there is real hope that a legend of love of the Land of Israel will replace the hatred demonstrated at Durban.

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