Placing a 9-11 call to G-D


If you watch or listen to the news it’s pretty depressing. Especially when it comes to what’s happening to the Jewish people. We have terrorist attacks in Paris and verbal attacks in the U.N. We have boycotting of Israeli goods and anti-Israel propaganda on college campuses. We have a President who swears he is the “first Jewish president” and then tries to tie Israel’s hands behind her back while playing footsie with Iran. The same Iran who wants to wipe Israel off the map. Anti-Semitism is back like a pox. A pox like the Middle Ages disease. A pox without any vaccinations. And it’s growing.

This has been coming on for years. And there are groups out there who have and are still trying their hardest to stop it. Groups like: World Jewish Congress, The American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, StandWithUs, The Israel Project. Very good groups. And yet the pox still grows.

Do any of you reading this remember how it was right before the Six-Day War? We knew that Nasser (the head of Egypt) wanted to “drive the Jews into the sea.” It was only 22 years after the Holocaust and we knew he wasn’t kidding. All Jews whether Reform, Conservative or Orthodox all over the world ran into their respective shuls and synagogues and prayed. They begged the Almighty to have mercy on Israel. They called out to G-d to help us. And you know what? You remember. He did!

When we were slaves in Egypt we cried out to G-d and he freed us. He saved us. And so it went all through history. When we were in trouble we cried out to him and he delivered us. When Haman showed up in Persia to destroy us, we fasted and wept and prayed. And again deliverance!

Well it seems that it is now time for us to make that call. I don’t care whether you are Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or that you think eating lox and bagels at Nate’n Al’s deli is very Jewish. If you are proud to be a Jew and you care about the welfare of Israel and Jews everywhere, you have power with the words that emanate from your mouth. Words you can say to the Ruler of the World.

At the end of this article I am going to give you some Tehillim you can say. But the truth is you can talk to Hashem in your own words. Every day, or at night before you go to bed. Ask him to help us. And really mean it. Like a 911 call you would make to save your child or friend. “Please G-d we do forget you and take advantage of the fact that you keep us safe and fed and sheltered. We rarely say thank you. But now please, please help us. Please protect us. Help us to remember that you are the only one who can save us. Please protect all Jews everywhere and defeat our enemies.”

Go ahead make the call. He’s waiting.

Tehillim #83: Oh G-d, do not hold yourself silent; be not deaf and be not still, O G-d. For behold, your foes are in uproar and those who hate you have raised their head. Against Your nation they plot deviously, they take counsel against those sheltered by you. They said, “Come, let us cut them off from nationhood, so Israel’s name will not be remembered any more! For they take counsel together unanimously, they strike a covenant against You – the tents of Edom and Ishmalites, of Moab & Hagrites, Geval and Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre. Even Assyria joined with them, they became the strong arm of Lot’s sons, Selah. Do to them as to Midian, as to Sisera, and as to Yavin at Nachal Kishon, who were destroyed at Eindor; they became dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Orev and Ze’ev; and all their princes like Zevach and Tzalmuna. Who said “We will conquer for ourselves the pleasant habitations of G-d.”…..So pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm…then they will know that You, Whose Name is Hashem, are alone, Most High over all the earth.

Tehillim #124: Had not Hashem been with us –let Israel declare it now! Had not Hashem been with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us. Then the waters would have inundated us; the current would have surged across our soul. Then they would have surged across our soul – the treacherous waters. Blessed is Hashem, Who did not present us as prey for their teeth. Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunters’ snare; the snare broke and we escaped. Our help is through the Name of Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth.

Suzanne Davidson is a pro-Israel activist and founder of The LA Pro Israel Rally Committee. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Journal and Aish.com.

Today my daughter got her first gun


Today, my daughter got her first gun. In the eighteen years since Ariella’s birth, there have been many things that I have aspired for her but I can honestly say that a gun has not been one of them. My daughter’s weapon came courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces. On December 10th, her long-held dream of joining the IDF became a reality and, in turn, my husband and I became the parents of a “lone soldier,” a serviceman or woman without any immediate family in Israel.

As parents, we hope and, indeed, expect that there will come a time when our child will move on to the next stage of his or her life. That’s as it should be. Yet, this move is something that is far greater in every way. Growing up in our Modern Orthodox household, attending Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and then YULA Girls High School, Ariella’s love of Israel was nurtured and strengthened both at home and at school.  However, her desire to do more than support Israel from afar crystallized during a B’nei Akiva summer program between her sophomore and junior years in high school. She didn’t say anything then but, towards the end of 11th grade, she started talking about joining the army. While my husband was immediately supportive, I was not.  I certainly wanted her to go to Israel but my preference was that she spend ten months studying in the seminary of her choice not 18 months as a soldier. I was very vocal in my opposition. I spoke with her principal and some of her teachers. Everyone said the same thing: Ariella has always been very mature for her years, this was not a rash decision and she had some very cogent arguments as to why this would be the best thing for her to do.  My last hope centered on the fact that her first choice university, Brandeis, stated very clearly that it would not grant deferrals of more than one year. After being accepted, however, she wrote what must have been a very persuasive email about her dream of becoming an Israeli soldier. The university agreed to give her a 2 year deferral. Her path was set and I realized that I needed to “get on board.” It wasn’t easy but I told her how much I admired her determination and her decision and my words were sincere and heartfelt. I am, indeed, very, very proud.

Ariella left for Israel at the end of August and spent the next several months acclimating to the country and going through the lengthy process of joining the army as a foreign volunteer.  Finally, the paperwork was complete, the tests taken and she had her date of induction.

On December 9th, the night before she was to report to the Tel HaShomer military base, she wrote the following: “Tomorrow my whole world changes. Tomorrow I enter adulthood. Tomorrow I put on the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces and become a soldier in the Jewish People’s army. It boggles my mind and sends my stomach into a gold medal-worthy gymnastics routine. I don’t know anything for certain, yet I know for certain that almost nothing will be the same anymore. Tonight is my last night of the kind of comfort I’ve known being under the care of an adult much older than myself for eighteen and a half years. Tonight is my last night waiting for the day I become a soldier. Tonight is my last night being the person I am right now, at this very moment. I don’t know how I’ll change, but I hope and think I will, as I run and crawl down this new road.” 

This is indeed a new road, a very new road and it is my deepest hope and prayer that it will be a road filled with everything that my daughter aspires for it to be and more. May HaShem watch over her and each and every one of her fellow soldiers in the “Jewish People’s army.”

City of Hope: A match made in … Israel


When Joseph Mandel went to City of Hope in Duarte after his diagnosis with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in 2009, he remembers his doctor giving him a very clear message: “If we don’t find you a donor — like, in a year — you might not be here.”

“I was praying every day that they would just find somebody,” said Mandel, 63, of Woodland Hills. “When I put on tefillin, I would always say, “Please HaShem, help me; find somebody for me.”

Somebody turned out to be Nevo Segal, an Israeli who signed up for the international Jewish bone marrow donor registry in 2006 when he enlisted in the Israeli army. Mandel, the son of a Holocaust survivor, finally had a chance to meet his donor on May 10 as part of the 37th annual Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Also meeting each other for the first time at the event were an 8-year-old boy and his 34-year-old British donor.  

For Segal, 25, who was raised in Ramat HaSharon but is currently studying in London, coming to Los Angeles to meet the man he saved in 2010 gave his role additional meaning.

“Until now, it was like a distant entity,” Segal said. “But when I heard that he survived, finally seeing him is great.”

After Mandel received the terrifying diagnosis in 2009, his family immediately began running bone marrow registration drives across Los Angeles at synagogues and churches, including at Stephen S. Wise Temple and the Chabad Jewish Student Center at USC. 

The five-year survival rate for AML is only about 25 percent, and Mandel has worked hard to make sure that he’s in that group. An avid outdoorsman, he minimized how much television he watched, exercised daily, lifted small weights and created a digital spreadsheet to keep track of the 35 medications he had to take while fighting leukemia. Although the risk of relapse is there — Mandel still has to regularly undergo blood tests — he has regained his strength and even recently went on a skiing trip with his family.

Because transplant recipients must be nearly identical matches with their donors, family members provide the best odds of being a match. But in Mandel’s case, there was no familial match. That meant that he had to rely on international bone marrow registries. The one that saved his life was Ezer Mizion, which has partnered with the Israeli army to collect genetic samples. 

Originally, the registry matched Mandel with Segal’s sister, Rachel, but Nevo was chosen later when it was discovered that he, too, was a perfect match and that he would be a better fit because he and Mandel were male.

Ann Mandel, who already had a husband and a daughter die of cancer, spoke about her son’s survival with a wide grin at the recent City of Hope event. She said that the day her family was notified that a match had been found, before anyone received a call, she had told her daughter that she felt good news was coming.

“I was very excited when he got the match,” she said.

Showing a group that gathered around her the strength that runs in the Mandel family, Ann Mandel rolled up her left sleeve to display the numbers tattooed on her arm from her imprisonment in the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

Today, even after the successful transplant, the Mandels continue to host bone marrow registration drives. One of Mandel’s daughters, Falicia, runs drives in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Signing up for the registry merely requires a cheek swab, and donating marrow can be as simple as donating blood.

For Joseph Mandel, the Israel connection is not restricted to the man who saved his life. His wife, Rachel, was born in Israel. They had planned to travel to Israel for their 30th anniversary in 2010; when that was canceled because of Mandel’s illness, they went in 2011 instead.

“Israelis always have each other’s back, no matter what,” Mandel said at the event that brought him together with Segal. “He had my back.”