Rav Pinchas Saltzman, the rav of the Jewish community in Moldova, authored an article on Kikar Shabbos on Monday, addressing a figure that the Moldovan community used to take great pride in – Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman, who was born in Kishinev, Moldova.
“The words of MK Liberman at the press conference against the Chareidi community was a step up in the degree of incitement against the Chareidi community but more than that it was a betrayal of his heritage as a Kishinev native and former resident of the Moldovan Jewish community,” Rav Saltzman wrote.
“Liberman boasted more than once about his connection to a figure greatly admired by him, Rav Chaim Zanvil Ambramowitz z’tl, the Ribnitzer Rebbe. He often mentioned the fact that he merited to receive a bracha from the Rebbe at his bris milah and later at his bar mitzvah.”
“Liberman expressed his admiration for the Ribnitzer Rebbe in a column he published after the first elections in April. He told how he went to the Rebbe’s kever in Monsey before the court verdict for his sentence and how he felt relieved after he said a tefillah and left the Rebbe’s kever.”
“The Ribnitzer Rebbe’s persona very much characterizes the Jews of Moldova. On one hand, he fulfilled the Torah and mitzvahs meticulously even under the threat of the Soviet regime and would perform brissim and shechita despite the risk inherent in these acts. On the other hand, he was famed as a ‘ba’al mofes’ who also worried about the day to day needs of his community – every single one of them.”
“Like the Ribnitzer Rebbe, other great rabbanim in Moldova were renowned, like the Shtefaneshter Rebbe and HaRav Yehuda Leib Tsirelson.” (Rav Tsirelson was the crown rabbi of Kishinev, later the Chief Rabbi of Bessarabia, a member of the Romanian parliament, and a prominent Jewish leader and posek. Rav Tsirelson was one of the signatories of a letter by 300 Russian rabbanim against the Beilis affair and was among the group of rabbanim who founded Agudas Yisrael. Later, when Bessarabia became part of Romania, he was appointed as Chief Rabbi and developed the local chinuch system from kindergarten to a yeshivah, at which the future Ribnitzer Rebbe learned as well as the future Rebbe of Bohush.)
“Throughout the generations, the Jewish community in Moldova served as a symbol and example for all the communities in the country. The Orthodox community – Agudas Yisrael – which was active for 106 consecutive years even under Communist rule, existed in harmony with Mizrachi, the Tzioni organizations, and even with the Hungarian Karaite community which was also active in Moldova.”
“Every Jewish child in Kishinev who is educated in the Jewish schools in the city or hears from his parents, knows that in order to deal with the outside dangers we must stand united and remember that the shared goal of all members of our community is that it will be good for the Jewish people.”
“More than once I encounter the difference between those who were educated by the Soviet system and strive for victory at any price and those who were educated by the Jewish local schools and know that disputes aren’t conducted within the community.”
“The Jewish community in Kishinev who respects Avigdor Liberman and sees him as one of its successful sons finds it difficult to accept his scathing words against the ‘extortionist Chareidim.’ His fierce hatred of the Chareidi community and his repeated vilification of them is the complete opposite of the legacy he was educated in – the light of the Ribnitzer Rebbe and the special path of the Jewish community in Moldova.”
“As one Moldovian to another, I call to MK Liberman – your political survival is not worth the war within the community. Stop.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)