Category: For Goodness Sakes


English: Jonathan Pollard, U.S. Navy I.D. pict...

BI-PARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL LETTER CALLING FOR POLLARD’S RELEASE UNITES AMERICAN JEWRY

Jewish Leaders Thank Congressmen Engel and Smith for Spearheading Unprecedented Bi-Partisan Effort

As an historic bi-partisan “Dear Colleague” letter is being circulated in the U.S. House of Representatives in support of clemency for Jonathan Pollard, a coalition representing the full spectrum of American Jewry has united to urge Members of Congress to sign this urgent plea to President Obama, and to express its gratitude to the lawmakers who initiated this extraordinary bi-partisan effort. Representatives of the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jewish movements have issued written pleas to lawmakers, as well as to their respective constituencies, to generate support for this unprecedented effort to free Pollard. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ), both of whom are veteran members of the House of Representatives, are soliciting signatures on a letter to President Obama, which urges the President to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served. The letter marks the first time Congressional Democrats and Republicans have joined forces in an effort to secure Pollard’s release.

“Acting on the broad consensus of its member organizations, the Conference of Presidents has long supported humanitarian interventions to gain clemency for Jonathan Pollard now in his 27th year of imprisonment,” said Richard Stone, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “The Congressional letter led by Rep. Engel and Rep. Smith and joined by a large bipartisan group of their colleagues is an important initiative. We urge our member organizations to reach out to their members and affiliates to secure as many co-sponsors as possible. The growing number of elected officials and leaders of all faiths who have called on the President to grant clemency is a recognition that Pollard has served longer than anyone for a comparable crime and it is time for him to be released,” continued Stone and Hoenlein. “On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, with membership of more than 1800 Reform rabbis, we write to request your support for clemency for Jonathan Pollard and to urge you to join a letter to that effect to the President, currently being circulated by Representatives Eliot Engel and Chris Smith,” wrote Rabbi David Saperstein, the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in a letter to Members of Congress. “Mr. Pollard has been imprisoned for 27 years, one of the longest prison terms of any American ever convicted of spying for an ally of the United States. Our reason for supporting clemency for Mr. Pollard’s sentence is not out of a belief that he is innocent, but instead is motivated by a need for fair and just criminal sentencing….[W]e urge you to join this call for clemency, asking the President to act with mercy and grant Jonathan Pollard long-overdue clemency,” continued Rabbi Saperstein. 

“Reps. Eliot Engel and Chris Smith are co-sponsoring this letter to President Obama urging him to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard,” wrote the Rabbinical Assembly, which is the international association of Conservative rabbis, in a letter to its membership. “The RA has passed four resolutions most recently in 2011 urging the President to release Mr. Pollard from prison. He has served 27 years, the longest sentence ever given for spying for an ally. We ask those of you residing in the US to communicate with your representative asking him/her to sign the letter being circulated by Reps. Engel and Smith.” “We write on behalf of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, to request your support for a grant of clemency to Mr. Jonathan Pollard. Specifically, we urge you to co-sign the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to the President currently being circulated by Representatives Engel and Smith,” wrote Dr. Simcha Katz, President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the International Director of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, and Nathan J. Diament, Director of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America’s Institute for Public Affairs, in a letter that was sent to Members of Congress. “As Reps. Engel and Smith state, Mr. Pollard broke the law and deserved to be punished for his crime. However, his health is reportedly declining – he has recently been hospitalized for kidney and gallstone problems. It is also clear that Mr. Pollard, who has already been in prison for 27 years, has served a disproportionately severe sentence. The Orthodox Union has joined with others in the Jewish community to state that we believe the time has come for the President to grant him clemency.”

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel, which has more than 25,000 member families and approximately 140 branch synagogues throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel, noted that the National Council of Young Israel has also been working to generate additional support for the “Dear Colleague” letter. The National Council of Young Israel has been intimately and actively involved with Jonathan Pollard’s plight for approximately 20 years, and has been one of the vocal and most ardent supporters of the movement to free Pollard. Rabbi Lerner communicates regularly with Jonathan Pollard and his wife Esther, and is considered by Jonathan to be his clergy. The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard stands united with the coalition of American Jewish leaders in urging people across the United States to contact their Congressional representatives as soon as possible to request that they sign onto this historic bi-partisan letter. People can go online to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ in order to identify their Congressional representative and get his or her contact information. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rabbinical Assembly, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and the National Council of Young Israel strongly encourage their members, congregants, and rabbis to call their representative’s Washington, DC office and ask to speak to, or leave a message for, the representative’s Chief of Staff and let them know that as one of their constituents, you are asking them to sign onto the bi-partisan Engel-Smith “Dear Colleague” letter that is circulating in the House of Representatives, which calls for clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard has spent more than 26 years of an unprecedented life sentence languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The median sentence for this offense is 2 to 4 years. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense. Pollard received his life sentence without benefit of trial, as the result of a plea agreement which he honored and the government abrogated. Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has severely deteriorated after nearly three decades in prison. 

Shira’s note: Please voices out there, shout and be heard!! Do Something About It!! Let’s get Jonathan out. Let’s pray for his soul….

——————————————–

IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis: Website: www.imra.org.il

 

I wrote these while at a restaurant this morn. I was inspired by the environment I put myself in.

I have no title for this one; maybe you can name it for me. It’s about eating:

Strapped in gluttonous revelry

Looking beyond the bondage

Tastes begotten, glorious infusion

It’s a mixed up world with plastic plates and

Confinement of plastic booths

Each and for every stomach-bellied lies

Masticate in each other’s pleasures

Enabling the famine

Delight the hunger

Happy Thanksgiving

On the other hand (name this one too!):

Touching, feeling, delight

Harvesting the joy of thanks

Always grateful for the gifts

Notwithstanding greed of others and ourselves

Keeping faith above reason

Single prayer for simple pleasure

Giving eternal in one’s course

Inviting spirits as below, so above

Victory a word in breath, pushing through our lips

Intriguing to understand and be aware

No one is alone

God is calling, cherish, thanks, and give always

Here’s to us all, bad and good. It’s time to elevate ourselves to an already higher cause. Time to move on and time to make a difference in your life as well as others, especially the not-so-fortunate souls.

August 5, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aaron Troodler

As the bi-partisan movement to free Jonathan Pollard continues to gain momentum, former Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida recently wrote to President Obama and asked that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached). Congressman Wexler‘s letter is especially noteworthy in that he is a close friend of President Obama, who regularly consults him on issues relating to the Jewish community.

Jonathan Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. “The purpose of this letter is to advocate that Mr. Pollard be held to the same standards of punishment for his actions as others convicted of similar crimes,” wrote Congressman Wexler in his letter to the President.  “Mr. Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for disclosing classified information to an American ally. In fact, he is the only American citizen convicted of such a crime to be sentenced to more than 14 years in prison. Currently, the punishment for such a crime is set at a maximum of ten years.” “Having spent over 25 years in incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, and having expressed remorse for his crimes, it is my humble opinion that Mr. Pollard has served sufficient time – both  terms of punishment for his crimes and in terms of deterrence to would-be perpetrators,” continued Congressman Wexler. “I therefore ask that you consider asserting your constitutional authority to grant clemency for Mr. Pollard.” Congressman Wexler is currently the President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, which works with leaders and policymakers in the United States and the Middle East, including the Obama administration, to help reach a just and comprehensive peace that will bring an end to the Arab-Israeli
conflict. Congressman Wexler served as an advisor to President Obama on issues relating to Israel and the Middle East during his 2008 presidential campaign. He continues to work with the President today through his work at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. In addition, it has been reported that Wexler is a member of a team of high-profile in the American Jewish community who have been tapped by the President’s campaign advisers to assist him in responding to criticism of his stance on Israel during his upcoming presidential campaign. Wexler’s letter is particularly timely, in that earlier this week, Jonathan Pollard underwent an urgent surgical procedure after suffering from intense pain caused by problems with his kidneys, gall bladder, and high blood pressure. In addition, earlier this week, Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts addressed the Members of Congress about Jonathan Pollard’s case. In what is believed to be the first speech about Pollard on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Frank called on President Obama to heed the numerous calls to free Pollard.

Congressman Wexler represented Florida’s 19th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms, from 1997 until he retired in January 2010. During his time in Congress, Wexler served on the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also chaired the Subcommittee on Europe, and was a member of the  on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. During his tenure in Congress, Wexler was known as an effective and well-respected leader, who was named one of the “50 Most Effective Legislators in Congress” by Congressional Quarterly. Congressman Wexler was also an outspoken advocate for the strong bond between the United States and Israel, and a leading proponent of Israel’s right to self-defense and the need for a just and comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Wexler served in the Florida Senate
from 1990 to 1996. Congressman Wexler’s letter to President Obama comes in the wake of numerous calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent government officials, high-ranking
individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders:

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, and former  Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard’s release.  Henry Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard’s sentencing, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served. Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of  Pollard’s sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard. In addition, a wide array of American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of
State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, Congressman Allen West of Florida, former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani,
Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, former Republican Senator Steve Symms of Idaho, former Republican Congressman Matthew Salmon of Arizona, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, well-known Christian leader Pat Robertson, Pastor John Hagee, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also sent a letter to President Obama calling for Pollard’s release. In addition, several months ago thirty-nine members of Congress submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter led by Congressman Barney Frank in support of commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence. Further, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders sent a letter to President Obama in January 2011 in which they called on the President to commute Pollard’s sentence.

Jonathan Pollard recently wrote a letter containing a personal appeal for clemency to President Obama, which was hand-delivered to the President by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres also raised the issue of clemency for Pollard in a recent White House meeting with President Obama.  Despite numerous pleas by Israeli leaders and people throughout the United States and Israel, President Obama recently refused to grant Pollard “compassionate leave,” which would have enabled him to visit his ailing father, Morris, on his deathbed, and rejected countless appeals asking the President to allow Pollard to attend his father’s funeral following Morris Pollard’s death. Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.  Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his  case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.

The following is the text of Congressman Wexler’s letter to President Obama:

July 25, 2011

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, DC 20500

Re: Jonathan Pollard

Dear Mr. President,

I write to you in order to join the long list of Members of Congress, former administration officials, Nobel Laureates, diplomats and religious leaders asking you to grant clemency for Jonathan Pollard. This letter does not seek to diminish the significance of his crime, nor does it wish to dispute the conditions under which the sentence was originally passed. The purpose of this letter is to advocate that Mr. Pollard be held to the same standards of punishment for his actions as others convicted of similar crimes.  Mr. Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for disclosing classified information to an American ally. In fact, he is the only American citizen convicted of such a crime to be sentenced to more than 14 years in prison. Currently, the punishment for such a crime is set at a maximum of ten years.  Having spent over 25 years in incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary  confinement, and having expressed remorse for his crimes, it is my humble opinion that Mr. Pollard has served sufficient time – both in terms of punishment for his crimes and in terms of deterrence to would-be perpetrators. I therefore ask that you consider asserting your constitutional authority to grant clemency for Mr. Pollard.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Warmest wishes,

Robert Wexler  President, S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace

Shira’s note: This one stumps me in that I am angry as to why Mr. Pollard has not been freed under this administration. Some would conclude that Obama is directly using Mr. Pollard as a political pawn in his political world. It is certainly pathetic that he has not answered the overwhelming chorus to free him. Obama’s proponents would conclude and indeed have opinions in backing this decision, which would fringe as anti-Semitic. Yep, I said it. What is the answer if not that? I have written to Jonathan and have prayed for him in that he will be freed and see the beauty that he deserves to see. He has done his time. It is time for Obama to let him go.  Go here: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/ get the info you need. Write to him, support him, and pray for his freedom anon.  Here’s his address:  Jonathan Pollard #09185-016; c/o FCI Butner; POB 1000; Butner, NC 27509-1000

Well, here’s the gist, my website shira1111.com has expired for the fact that I didn’t have much traffic, or at least as much as I wanted, and decided to bring my poetry and writings here. It’s basically starting out from scratch and will take time. In the meantime, I will continue adding the usual, educational news along with my new articles on global issues.  S.

I have been officially invited to be on the Bnei Baruch News Portal. I am so happy at this opportunity. On top of the other newsworthy items about all the stuff I’ve posted, there will be additional posts regarding world crisis issues and informing what I can to others. It’s all about information that we need to make a difference. Thanks for reading! S.

p.s. My first summary follows this post.

Jonathan Pollard #09185-016

FCI Butner

Butner, NC 27509

The Honorable Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Via Hand-delivery

April 1, 2011

Dear President Obama:  I am writing to you with faint hope in my heart as Jewish people the world over are preparing for Passover, the Jewish national holiday of freedom.  With the help of President Shimon Peres, G-d willing, this letter will reach you personally.

I write to implore you, Mr. President, in the wake of numerous calls by senior American officials urging you to commute my sentence to time served, and in light of the official request by Prime Minister Netanyahu, to please send me home to Israel now, in time to celebrate my first Passover in freedom in 26 years.

After serving more than a quarter of a century in some of the harshest prisons in the American penal system, I have had a great deal of time to think and to regret. As you are likely aware, I have expressed remorse publicly and privately on numerous occasions and in various documents. Let me take this opportunity to do so once again and to state unequivocally that I am genuinely and sincerely sorry for the offense that I committed in passing classified information to Israel. My actions were wrong and I deeply regret that I did not find a legal way to act upon my concerns for Israel.  As part of an official appeal to you for my release made earlier this year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also apologized for the operation and expressed remorse on behalf of the State of Israel. I am grateful that the State of Israel has taken this step to assure the United States that such actions will never again be repeated.

As you are also aware, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, in recent letters to you, have indicated that my continued incarceration is unjust.  I defer to their professional  gratefully.  Similarly, I deeply appreciate the principled statement of former Secretary of State George Shultz, who wrote to you that the people who are best informed about the classified material that was passed to Israel favor my release.  He referenced, Messers Woolsey, Deconcini and Michael Mukasey amongst them.

The prominent American leaders who have recently appealed to you  to commute my sentence to time served (to whom I am also deeply indebted) include: US Former Vice President Dan Quayle, Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey; Former White House Legal Counsel Bernard Nussbaum; Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Head of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; Former Secretary of State George Shultz; Former Head of Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis Deconcini; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb; Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Former Deputy Attorney General Phillip Heymann; Republican Leader Gary Bauer; more than 500 American Religious and Communal  Leaders of all denominations; Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree; Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr; Congressman Barney Frank along with 39 congressional colleagues; Homeland Security and International Security Adviser, former Congressman Lee Hamilton;  Dr. Henry A. Kissinger; Senator John McCain; Congressman Michael Grimm; 100 New York State legislators; and the Reverend Pat Robertson. (A summary of “Notable Quotes” is attached for your convenience.)

A common theme expressed in these appeals concerns the disproportionate nature of my sentence. Again, I deeply appreciate the expert opinions which state that while I deserved to be convicted, my sentence is grossly disproportionate to the offense committed and that I have served far more time than others convicted of similar offenses. I defer to those officials named above who are far better qualified than I am to make the case on these issues.  For my part, I hope that my own personal appeal may touch your heart and elicit a compassionate, humanitarian response to my heartfelt request to be sent home to Israel for Passover, the holiday of freedom.

My devoted wife, Esther, whom I met and befriended as a teenager, has been faithfully doing everything she can to help me and to bring about my freedom. She has led the struggle for my release for 2 decades, sacrificing her life and her health in the process. She has also had to wage a relentless battle with cancer concurrent with her efforts on my behalf, without the help and support of a loving husband by her side. When she married me in prison years ago, she never imagined that after more than two decades the honeymoon she dreamed of would still be delayed. Mr. President, as much for her sake as for my own, I beseech you to please send me home now, to the first happy holiday that the two of us will ever have.  In a similar vein, after more than a quarter of a century in prison, 7 years in solitary, and much of the time in harsh conditions, my health has dangerously deteriorated. I am in dire need of medical attention and care.  In light of the above compelling health and family reasons, and with the principled support of so many senior American officials, I implore you to act expeditiously to commute the more than 25 years that I have already served in prison to time served.

My release in time to celebrate Passover at home in Israel with my beloved wife would be a welcome gesture of friendship to the Israeli people, an act of solidarity with a staunch and long-time ally of the United States, and a deeply compassionate and humane gift of life to my wife and me.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Pollard

Beit Shemesh

Image via Wikipedia

Israeli boy, Daniel Viflic, Dies from Anti-Tank Missile Attack on School Bus Dear Community Members, Ten days ago Daniel Viflic, 16-years-old, was critically injured by an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas in Gaza at a school bus in the Negev region in Israel. He has been fighting for his life since the attack and lost his battle on Sunday. Daniel’s father, Yitzhak Viflic, who sat at his son’s bedside in his final hours, said “I would like to thank all those who prayed for us and supported us from around the world. I just ask that we are left in peace. Daniel struggled for his life and was calm when he passed away.” Chief of Pediatric ICU at Soroka Medical Center, Professor Shaul Sofer, said on Sunday: “Unfortunately Daniel passed away this afternoon. We were not surprised by his passing – he arrived in critical condition without blood pressure after being resuscitated onsite and within a short time his brain stopped functioning.” Hundreds of people attended Daniel’s funeral on Sunday night in the outskirts of Beit Shemesh. “It’s hard to believe he’s not here. I thank all those who came and all the support from the religious and seculars alike, even from Arabs and Bedouins. It’s not thanks to us, it’s because Daniel was an exceptional child,” his father Yitzhak said. As we gather with our families during this holiday to share and educate our children about our history, we must remember that freedom does not come easily and educating our children is at the core of our Passover rituals. At Sha’ar Negev School, the principal believes that education, freedom and peace begin with what we teach our children. Yet while his teachings focus on peace, an innocent Sha’ar Negev student died in this vicious attack. May his memory be a blessing to all of us and a reminder to all of us the important Jewish value of Tzedakah – supporting Jews in need around the world. To support your fellow Jews through the Allied Jewish Federation’s programming, please donate now. Enjoy this precious, holy time with your families. Thank you. Doug Seserman President and CEO.

Shira’s note:  As sad as this is to us all and something some families would  rather not see or hear at all, it still needs to be shared.  There is a spark in all of us, and although another one is gone from us, his memory will forever shine upon us.  Please consider contributing to AJF in his name.  May we continue to hold our freedom sacred.  Buena Pesach.

Scuola Greca

Image by bazylek100 via Flickr

In Hebrew, Pesach reads ‘a talking mouth.’  Pesach celebrates freedom, first and foremost – freedom of speech.  Baruch HaShem…Thank G-d for all that we have as a democracy here in the States. On this holiday and always may we become united in our power of speech to increase the Divine, benevolence and beauty in balanced equilibrium.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Wednesday), 13.4.11, in cooperation with Communications Minister Moshe Cahlon and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, launched the Inscribing the Tanakh website http://www.mybible.org.il/ (in Hebrew). Amos Rulnick, founder of the Bible Valley non-profit association also attended the event.

Prime Minister Netanyahu chose the first verse for the site: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) Minister Cahlon chose “A Song of Ascents: I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains; from whence shall my help come?” (Psalms 121:1) The goal of the project is to restore the Tanakh to the entire public and bring it closer to the public at large in Israel. All of its books appear on the site and each person may choose the most significant verse for him or herself and note the reasons for the choice. Upon completing registration, each participant will receive a certificate attesting to his participation. The launch of the Hebrew website is part of a global project run by the non-profit association, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, in the framework of which hundreds of thousands of people from around the world, of all faiths, are copying the Bible in their own hand. (Click here for further details: http://www.biblevalley.org/ .)

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he chose Isaiah 2:4 because this was prophets of Israel’s goal for the entire world: “While the Tanakh has a universal aspect, it is, first of all, the Jewish People’s book of books. The Tanakh conquers with its ideals, faith and unique character. No other book can compare to it. We hope that one day peace will prevail among all nations and nation will not lift up sword against nation.”

Thank you, Mr. Tom Brady, for sharing your wonderful life stories and being an inspiration.