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Phone calls in the middle of the night, overexposure to the seedier realities of life, and the pressure of spiritual responsibilities are just some of the factors that heighten the stress level of our servants at the pulpit. Are there tools today’s rabbis can use when they feel like they’re in a pressure cooker?
As the armed, angry mob swarmed the entrance to the ancient synagogue in Tripoli, ready to kill Dr. David Gerbi — the Orthodox Jewish psychologist who had spent the summer with the Libyan rebels and was even offered a spot in the new parliament — he realized that although Muammar Gaddafi was no longer around, the hated dictator had left his virulent anti-Semitic brainwashing as a legacy.
The Mile High City of Denver, is perhaps the last place one would look to uncover the story of a remarkable rav, a noted posek and a talmid chacham with encyclopedic knowledge of Toras nigleh v’nistar, and a scion of one of the great European houses of Chassidus. And perhaps that is why the isolated way station of Denver best suited Rav Bentzion Chaim Shloime Meshulam Zusia Twerski ztz”l, the previous Hornosteipler Rebbe, whose mission was to ignite the souls of Jews wandering in the American midbar.
The shuls from the now-defunct communities of southern Italy have seen several fates. Either they’ve been transformed into museums, the furnishings have been transferred to Israel or to other shuls within Italy, or they are in their original condition but rarely used. We originally came to Italy’s Piedmont region to perform brissim, but our visit wound up being an adventure in rediscovering the exquisite, abandoned shuls of the last centuries — left intact to tell the stories of their past.