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Press Releases
October 2, 2000

Young Israel Calls on All Jews to Heed Warning on Temple Mount From Malcolm Hoenlein

The leadership of the National Council of Young Israel has called upon the entire Jewish community to heed a call by Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, criticizing efforts "to take away or compromise Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount [in Jerusalem] and turn it over to the jurisdiction of the United Nations or the Palestinian Authority," and challenging every Jew to take action to stop it.

Shlomo Z. Mostofsky, the National President of the National Council of Young Israel, and Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the organization, announced that they have asked that Mr. Hoenlein's statement be read from the pulpit of every one of the over 150 Young Israel member synagogues throughout North America during Rosh Hashanah prayer services this weekend. They added that, "there can be no doubt that such a courageous call coming from Mr. Hoenlein, who is privy to the latest diplomatic developments at the highest levels, as well as one of American Jewry's most respected senior communal professionals, must mean that the danger of losing the holiest sites of the Jewish people is very real and imminent."

Mr. Hoenlein's statement said: ""I believe that, in future years, all of us will have to answer to our children and grandchildren when they ask us why we did not do more to stop the giving away of the Har HaBayis. The holy city of Jerusalem, and particularly the Temple Mount, has been the birthright, the geographical heart and the spiritual soul of the Jewish people for 3000 years. It is the place towards which Jews everywhere in the world turn to pray three times a day. It is the Zion to which we have yearned to return to from exile for millennia.

"In 1967, when Jerusalem was reunited, and especially the Temple Mount was returned to Jewish hands, we all rejoiced as we witnessed a true miracle in our time -- these holy places coming back to the Jewish people. As the Torah says, we have been entrusted with Israel as a 'morasha.' It is ours only in trust for future generations, to protect and to enhance. What we have witnessed of late is the history of the Jewish people turned into myth, and the myths of others turned into history.

"On Rosh Hashana, we will read 'Akeidas Yitzchak,' the account of Abraham's test of faith, when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. That took place on this same holy site, the Temple Mount. Our essence as a people is embedded in the bedrock of this mountain.

"For decades we have worked to keep the UN out of Israeli issues. Can anyone now seriously consider giving the Security Council oversight, or any say, in the control, custody or sovereignty of our most sacred site? The solemn pledge by Jews throughout the ages, 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem...' must not be allowed to ring hollow now."

The National Council of Young Israel is the parent organization of the Young Israel movement, with over 150 member Orthodox synagogues throughout North America and 60 in Israel.

Rabbi Aaron S. Tirschwell
Associate Executive Director; Director of Synagogue Services
National Council of Young Israel
3 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011
212-929-1525, ext. 112
(fax) 212-727-9526; email:

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