Jew of the Week: Shlomo Goren

If Rambo Was Religious

Shlomo Goren

Shlomo Gorenchik (1917-1994) was born in Poland and moved to Israel with his family in 1925. He was noted early on as a wonder-child in his yeshiva, and published his first book on Judaism at age 17, going on to write fourteen other titles. In 1936, he joined the Haganah defense force, serving as both a sniper and paratrooper during the Independence War of 1948. Greater still, he led a unit responsible for perhaps the most dangerous military task: retrieving Jewish bodies from behind enemy lines. Rising through the ranks, he became General of the IDF, as well as its Chief Rabbi. In this position, he ensured kosher food and prayer services for soldiers, wrote a new military-appropriate siddur, and worked passionately towards integrating the various units and ethnic groups of the army. He was on hand at the capture of Jerusalem in 1967, and led the first prayers at the Western Wall. A strict Zionist, Goren consistently pushed for more settlements, viciously opposed any withdrawals, and even worked to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount. Post-military, he served as Chief Rabbi of Israel until 1983, and founded a yeshiva in Jerusalem which he presided over to the last days of his life.

Shofar at the Western Wall, 1967

 

Words of the Week

The free world makes a terrible mistake if we deceive ourselves into thinking this is not our fight… In the end, the Israeli people are fighting the same enemy we are: cold-blooded killers who reject peace… who reject freedom… and who rule by the suicide vest, the car bomb, and the human shield… Against such an enemy, I will not second-guess the decisions of a free Israel defending her citizens. And I would ask all those who support peace and freedom to do the same.”
Rupert Murdoch, Founder and CEO of News Corp., March 4, 2009