Thursday, March 31, 2011

Twin Peaks: Itamar’s Mayor Knows The Blessing And Curse

Fogels’ friend comes to the U.S. to explain the beleaguered town.

The (New York) Jewish Week  Tuesday March 29, 2011
Article by Jonathan Mark - Associate Editor

From the highest elevation in Itamar you can see everything but the future. On a clear day, says Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, Itamar’s mayor, “We can see the three seas”: the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean and the Kinneret (Galilee). To the west, “We can see Gerezim and Ebal,” the twin mountains linked in the Bible to “the Blessing and the Curse,” but untrained eyes can’t tell one from the other.

To be the mayor of Itamar is to be the mayor of a yishuv, a settlement of about 160 homes deep in the rocky Samarian highlands, where more Jews have died from Palestinian bullets, knives and bombs than have died of old age; 22 murdered Jews in the last 10 years, including five members of the Fogel family on March 11.

Three weeks ago, Goldsmith was in shul on a Thursday night, studying Gemara, when he looked to his right and saw his friend, Rav Udi, a teacher in the local hesder yeshiva. Rav Udi had some 24 hours left to live.

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