Sunday, September 16, 2007



I am reprinting this letter I received from Jonathan Pollard.

At the time he had been imprisoned for five years. He has now served over twenty five years in prison for a crime (spying on behalf of an ally) for which the usual sentence is but two years.

I thought it had gotten lost in the course of my many moves, but I recently rediscovered it in a box that had been in storage for many years. It was apparently meant to be published only now...


Marion, IL

Dear BB,

I can't even begin to tell you how deeply touched I was by your kind words of encouragement and solidarity. At this point in time, such sentiments are literally worth their weight in gold to me. I can only hope that when this nightmare is finally over I'll be able to thank you personally for your uncommon decency and compassion.

Although the past 5 years have been a living hell for me, I have nevertheless been able to draw strength from the realization that there are indeed Jews like you, who are simply not prepared to write me off as "expendable." True, the response of the so-called Jewish establishment has been less than sympathetic to our plight.

But as long as there are individuals such as yourself within the local Jewish community I know that I will not be forgotten. And it is that fact, perhaps more than anything else, which confirms our indissoluble unity as a people. So you see, even amidst the tragedy of this affair there is still some solace from which we can take comfort.

For the record, I want to state quite clearly that I love this country very much and would never do anything to jeopardize its security. But I also feel that, as a Jew, I have an additional responsibility to safeguard our ancestral homeland. After all, if Israel were to fall, G*d forbid, none of us would escape the consequences.

Perhaps Leon Uris put it best when he declared that "every generation of Jews since the fall of the Second Temple has been both blessed and cursed with the commission of doing what is necessary in its lifetime for the survival of our people." This is why, when I saw what Caspar Weinberger was trying to do to Israel by withholding all that crucial information from her, I felt compelled to act.

Certainly, I was scared and greatly troubled over the legal implications of my decision. But when it came right down to it, I just felt that I had no other choice but to accept a level of personal risk commensurate with what was at stake. And if the truth be known, I'd rather be rotting in prison than sitting shiva for all the Israelis who could have died because of my cowardice.

Granted, I broke the law and deserve to be punished. But I don't believe that one necessarily has to condone what I did in order to recognize the the patently prejudicial nature of my sentence. After all, this is still a country where the courts are expected to dispense proportional justice, not political vengeance.

Above all else, though, I suppose the aspect of this affair which concerns me the most is that virtually all of the major Jewish organizations in this country failed to appreciate the fact that my case was a window into the government's actual intentions towards Israel. Admittedly, members of the American Jewish establishment should not be condemned out of hand for their "occasional" lack of omniscience. After all, they, too, are only human. But surely someone from an organization like B'nai B'rith should have been perceptive enough to recognize that the government's deliberate sensationalization of my case was part and parcel of a larger scheme to undermine Israel's reputation as a loyal ally.

Did AIPAC stop and wonder why the Defense and State Departments were so ready to use this affair as a pretext for purging their ranks of pro-Israel sympathizers? Did Hadassah question why Caspar Weinberger was so outraged over the fact that Israel had become "too strong" as a result of the information I provided her? How can it be, that not even the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs seems to have been troubled by the Justice Department's obvious attempt to create a wider espionage conspiracy involving additional members of the local Jewish community?

Nobody even bothered to ask why vital intelligence which was supposed to have been given to Israel under the terms of a bilateral agreement (Memorandum of Understanding-ed.) with this country had been illegally embargoed! Simply put, if more people had just taken the time to sit down and think about the obvious warning signals emanating from this affair, instead of burying their heads in the sand, it's at least possible that we could have done something to to reassert the centrality of Israel in America's global strategic lineup. But that would have required the existence of a national leadership which could be concerned with more than the protection of its own narrowly defined collective self interest.

These might sound like harsh words, but somebody has to wake the Jewish community from its slumber before our leadership sells Israel down the river. You know, cowardice is a reprehensible thing, particularly when it's practiced by individuals who can afford to show a little backbone. Then again, perhaps I'm expecting too much from an "Exilarch" which has obviously forgotten that complacency is but the first step along the road to ruin.

Of course, if our self-elected spokesmen want to worry about how my actions might have compromised their status in this country, well, let them worry. As far as I'm concerned, these trembling "Kaiserjuden" are beneath contempt- and that's putting it mildly. Don't misunderstand me- patriotism is is a fine and noble thing, but not when it's cynically employed as an excuse to justify an American Jew's refusal to to protect the lives of his "foreign" brethren. When this occurs, patriotism loses its civic virtue and becomes, instead, a Golden Calf that the assimilated Jew embraces out of fear and desperation.

Perhaps this would explain, then, why my local detractors condemned me with such unbridled ferocity. You see, to them I represented far more than just a simple "misguided" individual. In a very real sense, these apostles of neurasthemia, as I like to call them, regarded me as a reaffirmation of our traditional concept of Achdus, which they condescendingly reject as being "tribalistic" and a threat to our perceived reliability as loyal American citizens.

In its place they would evidently prefer to see a more "progressive" type of Jewish nationalism which, from what I can determine, would be predicated on both the permanency of our North American community and its near Biblical equivalency to Israel. Now I realize that given the events of 50 years ago this type of naivete borders on the suicidal. But the siren of assimilation can be quite alluring, I suppose, particularly for those American Jews whose concept of Zionism doesn't extend beyond their pocket book.

The bottom line, is that if Israel is to survive she must be protected not only by a resolute, well equipped army, but also by a dedicated corps of Diaspora Jews who are unafraid to do whatever is necessary to defend our homeland whenever and wherever her vital interests are threatened. I know what you're probably thinking right now: My L*rd, he's resurrecting the dual loyalty canard once again! Well, so what if I am? We are but dust to the world, dust to be scattered and stepped upon - nothing more. So let our timid spokesmen go off and proclaim their undivided allegiance to whomever they feel compelled to serve. I certainly can't stop them from engaging in such humiliating behavior.

What I can do, though, is continue to speak out on the desperate need for American Jewry to commit itself unreservedly to the defense of Israel and her hard-pressed people. After all, what is the alternative? To look the other way? Well, I simply couldn't have lived with myself if I'd done that. I've spent virtually my whole adult life studying our people's bloodstained history, and if there's one conclusion I've reached it is that unless we are prepared to ACT on behalf of our endangered brethren, then we will surely lose what little control over our destiny we have managed to salvage from the horrors of Exile.

Granted, my enemies have hysterically repudiated such views as being "subversive." That's alright. I'm well aware of the fact that I ruffled the feathers of certain overly sensitive American Jews by what I did for Israel. But as I see it, a few bruised egos were a small price to pay for the continued safety of 3 million Jews. And if some people want to consider this aberrant thinking, then pity them, not me!

In any event, let me just thank you once again for your principled support. Believe me, it's appreciated more than you could ever imagine.

kol tuv,


Copies of Jonathan Pollard's letter to me are available for verification purposes.
Email me, Rabbi Baruch Melman, at

See the facts re his case at


It is crucial to call and write to the White House immediately and consistently every day to create enough pressure from the grass roots level to make this an issue that won't just go away.

This is the Dreyfus Case of our generation. We must act now. Perhaps your one call will make the difference that will tip the scales of justice in Jonathan's favor.

Here is the number for the White House: 202-456-1414

Please call every day between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Who knows? Maybe YOUR call will be the one that tips the scales and sets him free!

The highest form of a mitzvah is one that is performed secretly.

For those who wish to secretly and anonymously fulfill the mitzvah of rescuing Jonathan Pollard from a life sentence in solitary confinement after he's paid his dues for breaking the law and admitted he broke the law and deserved to serve time, but whereas others who havebeen found guilty of spying on behalf of an ally on average only served a two year sentence, Jonathan has already served twenty five years in a tiny cell, cut off from virtually all human contact, and is very ill from diabetes. In return for pleading guilty he was promised a lenient sentence. Also, the charges against him were never fully disclosed to his defense attorney.

He is merely asking for proportional justice.

To help free him is a pure act of compassion and kindness.

The mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim, Redeeming the Captive, is one of the holiest mitzvahs one could ever do.

James Woolsey, former director of the CIA has said, "My view is that 20 years is enough...I think the close relationship between the US and Israel as fellow
democracies is also a consideration, and at this point I think he's served long enough."

Please call the White House every day between 10 AM and 4 PM. The number is 202-456-1414. Or the direct line: 202-456-1111. Say that "the president should commute Jonathan Pollard's life sentence to time served and that twenty years in prison long enough and that he should be free considering that others who have committed the similar offense of spying for an ally have on average only served two year prison sentences. I would like to see proportional justice. Thank you."

If you do this, helping him get his life back, I swear to you you will be written in the Book of Life.
-Rabbi Melman



Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

moshav band live at mexicali blues


What mind is it?

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
-Eleanor Roosevelt


"If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix..... If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal..........." Rebbe Nachman of Breslov



Beta Israel - Ethiopian Jews - The Ingathering from Without


Palestinians of Jewish origin - The Ingathering from Within


Holy Wedding at Makhpela, Tomb of our Fathers in hevron - Music by Pey Dalid


Mariane Paradise and The Gan Eden Project sings of the Unity of All Creation from Jerusalem














Reb Zalman on Jewish Renewal


Let There Be Peace

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

- anonymous
"Perhaps the greatest force in the entire universe is compounded interest."

- Albert Einstein

the last hoshana rabba with reb shlomo and me playing together the week before he took off in '94


bob marley - one love 6:13 (6 MINUTES 13 SECONDS) and exodus


Tisha B'Av 5765 Katif Expulsion


Children of Sderot - The Daily Terror and Nightmares


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On Schlomo's magnificent 13th (Bar Mitzvah) yahrzeit in Heaven




Larry David wants to Save the Planet


Havdalah Ceremony on Moshav Meor Modiin in Central Israel


Alpha blondy from cote d'ivoire sings his love of Jerusalem in Hebrew and French all over the world

When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.- Abraham Joshua Heschel
The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is to not be afraid.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"The greatest thing in the world is to do somebody else a favor." - Aish Kodesh
"As you want G*d to give you a chance, give everyone else a chance to also begin again." - Shlomo Carlebach

About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!