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Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, dean who led Yeshiva U seminary through period of growth, dies at 94

(JTA) — Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, who as dean of the rabbinical seminary at Yeshiva University for 37 years oversaw a period of enormous growth for the Modern Orthodox institution, died Jan. 16. He was 94.

When Charlop was named dean of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Y.U. in 1971, it had 154 students. When he retired in 2008, it had 340.

Charlop was also on hand for a transition in American Orthodoxy, training American-born, college-educated rabbis to succeed the European-trained rabbis who had held pulpits and led yeshivas through much of the 20th century.

“When I first came to Yeshiva as a student” in the 1940s, “almost all of the roshei yeshiva were European-trained” and many lacked university degrees, he told the New York Jewish Week in 2008, referring to the top scholars on the RIETS faculty. In 2008, he said, over 90% of RIETS faculty trained at Y.U., which offered undergraduate and graduate degrees in addition to ordination.

Charlop saw the transition as a fulfillment of the Y.U. philosophy, “Torah umadda,” or Jewish and secular learning, which posited that Orthodox Jews should take part fully in general society without compromising on their religiosity.

Charlop wanted RIETS “to be a place of intense Torah scholarship,” Chaim Bronstein, an administrator at the seminary, recalled in a tribute upon Charlop’s retirement. However, “he did not want our students and roshei yeshiva to remain in an ivory tower. He wanted them to go out into the community. He wanted to produce rabbis who can relate to the broadest range of Jews throughout the country and throughout the world.”

Charlop was himself a pulpit rabbi, having been given a lifetime contract in 1966 at age 36 by the Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx, New York. Charlop led the synagogue through a period of declining fortunes in the Bronx and the flight of many of the Jews from the neighborhood to the suburbs and other neighborhoods in New York City.

“On Rosh Hashanah, 1977,” he told the New York Jewish Week, “we sold 875 seats” in a main and overflow service. “In 1978, we lost 40 seats. By 1985, we didn’t need a second service. The next year it was less. The next year, it was less than that. We still have many members but few in the neighborhood.” The synagogue closed in 2015.

Charlop was considered an authority on Torah and Talmud and lectured in American history. His scholarly essays include “The Making of Orthodox Rabbis” for the Encyclopedia Judaica and “God in History and Halakha from the Perspective of American History” for The Torah U-Madda Journal, a Y.U. publication. Charlop was also editor of three novellas on Torah and Talmud by his late father, Jechiel Michael Charlop, a Jerusalem-born rabbi.

Aaron Goldscheider, the former rabbi at Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation in New York’s Westchester County, recalled visiting the dean’s office and studying the writings of Charlop’s grandfather, Ya’akov Moshe Charlop, a disciple of Abraham Isaac Kook, the chief rabbi of Palestine.

“[S]itting in Yeshiva University, a bastion of Lithuanian learning, I was treated to a glimpse of the more mystical world of study characteristic of Rav Kook and his protege Rabbi Charlop,” Goldscheider recalled in the acknowledgements of his book, “Torah United.” “It is impossible to put into words my feelings of gratitude for those precious weekly meetings. They were a source of inspiration at the time and continue to carry me until this day.”

After his retirement, Charlop served as dean emeritus and special advisor on yeshiva affairs to Yeshiva University’s then-president Richard M. Joel.

Zevulun Charlop (pronounced khar-LOP) was born in the Bronx on Dec. 14, 1929. His father had arrived in New York in 1920 and after his own ordination at RIETS served as a pulpit rabbi in New York, Canton, Ohio and Omaha, Nebraska. In 1925, the elder Charlop returned to New York and became the rabbi at the Bronx Jewish Center.

Zevulun attended Yeshiva Salanter in the Bronx and Talmudical Academy, which would later be known as Yeshiva University High School for Boys. He earned degrees at Yeshiva College and Columbia University, and was ordained at RIETS.

Charlop once said that his ideal Y.U. would be “a yeshiva like Volozhin,” a legendary seminary in what is now Belarus, and a university like Columbia. But he would also note wryly that the Vietnam War turned out to be a great recruiter for Y.U., at a time when rabbinical students could earn a deferment from the draft.

Charlop inherited an activist streak from his father, who was one of the organizers of the 1943 “Rabbis’ March” on Washington, D.C. protesting inaction during the Holocaust. Charlop himself led his synagogue in supporting integration during the civil rights movement and various Jewish causes, including the fight for Soviet Jewry and support for Israel. But there were limits to an Orthodox rabbi’s role, he told the student publication Kol Hamevaser in 2012, when Y.U. was facing competition from activist rabbis who sought to liberalize Modern Orthodoxy’s approach to women’s roles and other issues.

“Turning a yeshiva into a big tent can be a dangerous thing; if we start lessening our inward Torah focus then we may start neutralizing learning and, rahamana litslan, yir’as shamayim [God have mercy, our fear of heaven],” he said. “In order to be able to sustain the multifaceted world that we have here in Yeshiva, we have to be deeper in the core. So long as we know that in this process we may be willy-nilly, lightening the thrust of our Torah learning, then widening the tent cannot be achieved. Rather, we must widen and, indeed, deepen our Torah learning and kiyyum ha-mitsvos [fulfill the commandments] at the core.

Charlop served as president of the American Committee for the United Charities in Israel, General Israel Orphans Home for Girls in Jerusalem, and the National Council of Young Israel rabbis.

His survivors include two sons, Rabbi Alexander Ziskind Charlop and Rabbi Zev Charlop, and six daughters, Peshi Neuburger, Leebee Rochelle Becher, Annie Riva Charlop, Shoshana Schneider, Zipporah Raymon and Miriam Reiss. His wife, Judith, died in 1999.

The post Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, dean who led Yeshiva U seminary through period of growth, dies at 94 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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