Helping Jonathan Pollard

Zalman Bass - The Five Towns Jewish Times - June 7, 2007

In a recent talk, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger of Congregation Shaaray Tefila of Lawrence related that Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin was asked what was most striking to him about Sefer Yonah. Rabbi Shapiro replied that it was the words of the shipmaster to Yonah: "Mah lecha nirdam-Why are you sleeping?" (Yonah 1:6).

Truthfully, aren't many of us asleep when it comes to Jonathan Pollard? What have most of us done in his behalf? Probably, precious little.

Jonathan Pollard has been languishing in prison for over 22 years. His release is long overdue. An individual who has been wide awake concerning Jonathan Pollard is Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice-president of the National Council of Young Israel. Rabbi Lerner has been involved with Jonathan Pollard for over a dozen years. He has visited him in prison on many occasions, and has done a yeoman job in actually pushing for his release and pardon.

Among Rabbi Lerner's recent accomplishments in this regard was his influence in having Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, and Rabbi Leib Shteinman, shlita, from Eretz Yisrael write letters to President Bush in Jonathan's behalf. He also prevailed upon Agudath Israel of America to issue an urgent proclamation that the Jewish community contact the White House (202-456-1414).

In that vein, the Young Israel of Ocean Parkway (1781 Ocean Parkway, between Kings Highway and Avenue R in Brooklyn) has scheduled a program for Sunday, June 10 at 3:00 p.m. Scheduled speakers are Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who will give an update on Jonathan Pollard's situation, as well as Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, who is to speak about the great mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim (freeing prisoners) and how it relates to Jonathan Pollard.

The program is open to men and women, with separate seating. Admission is free. Everyone who can attend is urged to do so.