Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Understanding Pnina Peri

Different copies of this clip have gone viral in Israel lately:

What's happening here?

An Israeli woman mocked a Chabad rabbi at Ben Gurion Airport as he helped another man don tefillin.

The woman, whose actions were captured on a cellphone video posted on Facebook, mocked the men, laughing and screeching on Monday morning as they practiced the religious rite. She yelled at them in Hebrew to “move because you are bothering me” and asked rhetorically, “Why are you doing this here? There are people here.”

Several people in the terminal ask her to tone down, but instead she became louder.

The video, which has had more than 300,000 views since Monday, was posted by Gad Kaufman, the businessman who put on the tefillin with the help of the Chabad rabbi manning a booth at the airport.

Kaufman, who was leaving Israel for a business trip, wrote a post in the Hebrew with the video.

“An amazing incident took place this morning at the airport, when I was politely asked by a Chabad man if I wanted to put on tefillin,” he wrote. “I said yes, and then a woman with a crazy look jumped up and started cursing, harassing and disturbing! It is really shameful that being a Jew in this country means being persecuted by leftist Bohemians. If I were a Muslim or a Christian, would it be more legitimate for her …?”

The woman was identified by the Israel National News website as Pnina Peri, the head of the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland. Peri, who formerly taught at Israel’s Sapir Academic College, is an expert in multicultural theories. Her husband, Yoram Peri, served as president of the New Israel Fund, which supports left-wing causes, from 1999 to 2001.

Many of the responses to the video criticized the woman for her actions. Several also praised the Chabad rabbi, identified by Channel 20, a religious news station, as Rabbi Meir Herzl, the director of the Chabad House in the Jerusalem suburb of Pisgat Zeev, for his restraint in not responding to her.

The lady has been throughly criticized for her behavior on Israeli social media. I would like to offer my insight into her unseemly behavior.

This lady has a pure and holy Jewish soul. When she saw a Jew happily accept the opportunity of performing the mitzvah of tefilin, that Jewish soul was aroused. That made Ms. Peri feel very uncomfortable. It is something that she has probably been educated to suppress. This outburst was just her way of stamping out this arousement of her holy Jewish soul.

One can certainly learn a lesson from this embarrasing clip. As the Mishnah states,

"Contemplate three things, and you will not come to the hands of transgression: Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds being inscribed in a book."
What will be with me when my time comes, and the heavenly tribunal will show me all of the "clips" where I am the star?
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