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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 1, 2003 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5763

Elijah the Prophet also had an amputated limb

By RABBI HILLEL GOLDBERG


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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Aron Ralston of Aspen amputated his arm to save his life during a climbing accident a few months ago in Moab, Utah. This reminds me of the story of Tuvia Ariel.

I first printed it on Nov. 24, 1989, shortly after I became the first person to witness him stand in a . . . let me not give away the story. I titled it, "7-4-0-2." You'll see why.

Tuvia's story was reprinted from the paper of which I'm the executive editor, the Intermountain Jewish News, in Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul, edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Dov Peretz Elkins. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR).


As a child growing up in the Bronx, the last four digits of Terry Noble's phone number were 7401. Coincidence: When Terry was assigned a social security number, the last four digits were 7401. And years later, when he found himself as a volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel — where he now called himself Tuvia Ariel — he worked with a carpenter whom he respected. The carpenter was a wiry, solid man, dedicated, the silent type. Ariel learned that he was one of the few who had escaped Auschwitz alive, that he then joined the Polish partisans, then the British Army. It sent him to Palestine, where he deserted to join the Palmach, the Jewish fighting force, and helped Israel win her independence in 1948.

Quite a history.

But more than awe piqued Ariel's curiosity about this survivor's experiences in the Holocaust. Ariel had read the number tattooed on his arm. The last four digits were 7401.

"Don't talk about it!" Ariel recalls the carpenter telling him forcefully, painfully. "I lost my whole family, my mother, my father; there was a brother in back of me, a brother in front of me — I'm the only one left. Don't bring it up again!"

Ariel didn't.

Except once.

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Tuvia Ariel is a man with many stories. In fact he is a story: the man who was Bob Dylan's adviser for some time and who arranged for kaddish to be recited for Abbie Hoffman; the man who put in a stint at Yale Law School and was a soldier in the US Army in Israel during the 1956 Sinai war.

I was told in advance how colorful Ariel was, but nothing prepared me for the likes of a comment he made one hour after I met him on Friday afternoon. I knew he had a new leg. I knew it was a breakthrough for him. But who gives thought to such things? Who wonders what it is like to be without a leg, or with a new one?

Praying in the synagogue on Friday, I sensed nothing unusual as the afternoon service came to an end. Suddenly, Ariel approached me, almost in tears. "This is the first time in my life I prayed the Eighteen Benedictions, the Shemoneh Esrei, standing up. I have never been able to address the Alm-ghty like any other Jew, beginning the prayer by taking three steps forward, ending it with three steps backward . . . "

As follows:

Ariel was raised in a secular home, in which the Shemoneh Esrei was not recited. Then he went to Israel to volunteer. In 1967, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, he saved his life by cutting off his own leg as it got caught in a machine he operated on a kibbutz — a machine that sucked his leg into its grinder and from which the rest of his body escaped only by his quick and gruesome self-amputation. A little over ten years later he became a religiously observant Jew. By then he was rotating between a wheelchair, crutches, and artificial legs, which, however, could never keep him standing still long enough to pray the Shemoneh Esrei.

Then, that Friday, he did it. After walking home (only three blocks), he choked up again, "That's the longest I've walked in twenty-two years."

He was fitted with a new leg only shortly before — the day the Berlin Wall crumbled. He found his new leg innocently enough. Ariel was in the United States at the beginning of 1989 on a business trip. He saw a television commercial, featuring a new kind of plastic developed for spacecraft, also used for artificial limbs. The commercial featured amputees engaged in vigorous basketball, not from wheelchairs, but standing up, running, passing, even jump-shooting. A regular game.

Not with people amputated below the knee, but above the knee.

Ariel thought to himself that seeing this was like seeing a grandmother, who had died long ago, suddenly walking down the street. When he lost his leg twenty-two years earlier, he never thought he would see himself live normally again — and here were people just like him, playing basketball.

He inquired and was directed to an advanced prosthetic clinic in Oklahoma City. For above-the-knee amputees the old system had the stump rest on the prosthesis, which caused pain and circulatory problems and often did not work well, sometimes not at all. Using the new, flexible, rubber-like plastic, the new prosthesis grips the stump, which not only relieves pain and circulatory problems, but also better channels the energy and movement of the stump into natural, leg-like movements.

Even in advance of receiving his own leg, Ariel was not satisfied to give himself new life. He wanted it for all above-the-knee amputees in Israel. So he had a long talk with the prosthetists in Oklahoma City about bringing this technology to the Holy Land. They agreed to train Israeli prosthetists in Oklahoma City and to travel to Israel to train Israeli prosthetists there, provided only that Ariel supply the plane tickets.

Ariel's goal reached even beyond making the technology available in Israel. He aspired to establish a "Hebrew Free Limb Society" to provide a limb to the amputee as a loan, until — only a person like Ariel has the right to make this pun — "the amputee gets back on his feet."

Strictly speaking, it is not idealism that motivates Ariel. It is something more — his sense that he has been designated as a messenger of the Alm-ghty. He has reason to think this, for it happened once before. The way he sees it, his years of suffering now make him a messenger again — to help those whom the world forgets. Why is he certain he has been a messenger once before, thus able to be so once again?

Ariel volunteered on two kibbutzim. The one where he lost his leg preferred him to leave the country. He was an embarrassment to the kibbutz. But Ariel would not leave Israel, no matter what. It took him about five years of various struggles to get into tourism school; somehow, between cars, crutches, and artificial limbs, which kept him in pain and then went bad altogether, he remained a tour guide for fifteen years.

Toward the beginning of his career, when he was low man on the totem pole, he was assigned to pick up tourists at the international airport in Lod and to bring them to the main office, whereupon an experienced guide would take over.

One day he picked up an American, ostentatiously wealthy, ostentatiously dressed and mannered. Even crude. Ariel could not bring himself to be friendly, so he was formal. Halfway from Lod to Jerusalem, the tourist, a perceptive man, yelled, "Pull over!" Ariel pulled over. The man barked, "You think I'm just a materialistic, superficial American tourist, don't you? Well, I've paid my dues!" He yanked up his sleeve to show Ariel a number tattooed on his arm. Ariel looked, almost went into shock, and before he knew what was happening the tourist was saying, "I lost my whole family . . . a brother in front of me, a brother in back of me . . . " Ariel's mind burned.

The man's face was florid. Ariel calmed himself, saying simply: "Was your brother's name Simon?" The red face turned white. "We're turning around, I'm not taking you to Jerusalem."

Ariel made a u-turn and drove one-and-a-half hours to the kibbutz where he had worked with the wiry carpenter, near Afula. The psychic noise in the car was palpable. Ariel finally reached the kibbutz and then the carpenter shed. He saw his former supervisor for the first time in ten years. Without introduction, he said simply: "Was your brother's name Reuben?"

His face turned white.

Ariel returned to the taxi, unloaded it, told his American tourist, "Come. I am bringing you to your brother."

He led him to the carpenter shed, did not enter — did not want to infringe on the privacy of the moment — then made a u-turn and drove to the entrance of the kibbutz. He stopped, and he wept.

Why?

When he had seen the number tattooed on the tourist's arm, the last four digits were 7-4-0-2.

Tuvia Ariel died in Israel in the year 2000.

Sometimes I think he was Elijah the Prophet.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Hillel Goldberg is Executive Editor of the Intermountain Jewish News. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Rabbi Hillel Goldberg