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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Memory Of a Mensch, Earl Leslie Krugel

Tommorow we commemorate the birthday of Earl Krugel....At a time when Eretz Israel is under physical attack on a daily basis by the criminals of Hamas, the cowardly terrorist group, the murderers of babies and children, we pause to honor a man who gave his life for the Jewish people.

Murdered by a Nazi in prison, a shameful coward who sneaked up on the older man and slew him from behind.
This is the way of the anti-Jew.
The fear the Jew, they castigate him, because the light that shines from a Jewish soul casts it's brightest light on such evil little men, such as the vermin in Hamas, and the failures of men that populate hate groups such as Aryan resistance.
Earl was a grandfather, beloved by his family, and all who knew him.
Unlike the timid ambushers of Hamas and Hezbollah, who slay babies in their cribs , Earl was a man who boldly defended his people, aware of the possible consequences.

On Thanksgiving, it's a time for zikrown, for remembrance of a great man who paid the ultimate price  for his courage and humanity.

We at Earl Krugel Chai say a special prayer for you, Earl and Lola, and your family.

Baruch Hashem
I've included a letter we received about Earl from a few years ago which I feel captures some of his essence..


Earl Krugel (A letter From a Friend)
I met Earl at the Men's Federal Correction Center.
I was a Corrections Officer at the jail when Earl first arrived.

The first thing you noticed about him was he had some kind of inner strength, he didn't seem aloof, exactly, but it was like he had, I don't know how to describe it, (I'm not much of a writer) a power that he drew on out of himself.
The first day, during report, one of the other "C.O."s" told me, "That's Earl Krugel, a high profile case, David, he's the West coast Chairman of the Jewish Defense League."

I'd read about the case, of course, and the nickname, "Captain Krugel" popped into my head, so I always called him "Captain."
I found myself drawn to him immediately,
I was having some problems at home, I was separated from my wife, and Earl had a way of reaching out to people.
With all the legal problems he had himself, he spent his time counseling everyone around him, and he reached out to me, as well.

Late one morning I was doing rounds, I made a check next to his name and remarked, in "comments", "studying Bible, no apparent problems, adjusting well."
"How you doing, captain?" I asked.
"I am well," he said, lowering his leather bound Jewish Bible. "And you, David, how are you?"
Although, like I said, I found myself liking Earl immediately, as a trained professional I always did my best to appear impassive while conversing with inmates.
"I'm fine, Captain, just dandy."
He smiled a little and said, "Your words say one thing but your eyes say another."
I looked at him, "You're guessing. But you're right. It's my wife. Last night I went by to see her and there was a man there. I almost lost it. I could have killed the dude."
Earl got up and walked towards me. "There is a strength." he said, a slight smile on his lips.
"What are you talking about, Captain?" I asked.
His right hand shot out through the bars and grasped mine in a gentle yet vise-like grip.
I'd never seen a move that quick, yet I didn't feel threatened.
Something was flowing from him to me.
"Pull your hand away." He said.
I couldn't move.
"It's the strength of our people, our faith and our G-d." He said, and let my hand go.
"Our G-d?" I shot back. "You mean the one who let most of my family be tortured and murdered by the Germans in Europe?"
Earl's eyes were hooded but burning with intensity.
"You seek to know why.
You don't understand, so you turn your back on your faith, your people, your wife, and your
G-d." I started to walk towards the next cell. "Don't preach to me, Convict." I snapped.
Earl had a composure that was unreal.
"You don't understand the birth of a sapling in a Redwood forest. You don't understand the crash of waves on every beach in the world, one after the other. You don't understand the tears in the eyes of a hungry child. You don't understand the explosion of a supernova which pulls solar systems into the void and returns a million verdant planets, so do you now turn your back on the universe?"
I just looked at him.
"Your wife is coming back to you, David. Take her to synagogue, return to our people. Make babies. Be a light to the nations."
I spoke over my shoulder, cynically, "What are you now, Captain, a prophet?"
He grasped his bible from the bed and and gracefully lowered himself onto the floor of the cell, crossing his legs, the Book on his lap. "I am a man, David. A child of G-d, like you."

The next day there was a small riot in the day room. Two black convicts were beating Hell out of some poor white kid.
A phalanx of C.O.s headed towards the scene to break it up.
Earl emerged from a crowd of screaming inmates, grabbed the two black guys, one with each hand, and pulled them off of the kid.
"Enough!" he shouted.
A strange stillness descended over the inmates. The disturbance was over that quick.

Later, during rounds, I stopped by Earl's cell.
"Captain." I nodded, holding my clipboard.
"David." he responded, still sitting in what he later told me was the "Lotus position" on the cement floor.
I looked towards him. "Don't get involved in inmate situations, Captain, that's our job."
He smiled, "As you wish."
Earl stood up and stretched, doing some slow ballet looking martial arts movements.
I went on, "My wife called last night, Captain, she wants to try again."
He detected the joy in my voice.
" A man and a woman. Two people, one flesh. Treasure her, my young friend."

Earl and I grew closer over the years. I was relieved, though saddened, when he was sentenced and assigned to what was considered a "nice" prison, as prisons go.
I went to wish him well as they called his name to roll up, but was called to another wing for an issue over there.
I almost missed him.
I trotted back to Earl's cellblock and saw him for what was to be the last time.
"Captain, Captain!" I yelled as Earl headed down the stairway, a saint like expression on his handsome face.
I broke and ran as he looked back vaguely in my direction.
In a minute he'd be gone and I'd never see him again.
I caught him as he stepped off of the metal stairway and put my hand on his arm.
He turned around and looked at me.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
"What?" he asked, softly.
"Good luck." I said, and hugged him fiercely.

They took him away and I never got to see him again, but I will never forget that remarkable man.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Israel to continue hold on PA tax funds

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel will maintain its freeze on transferring taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner Cabinet of eight ministers in a meeting Sunday decided to continue the suspension that began early this month, shortly after the Palestinians were admitted as a full member of UNESCO, the U.N.'s scientific and cultural agency. The suspension will continue, according to Haaretz, due to new movement between Hamas and Fatah to form a unity government.
Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority about $100 million in tax payments collected on the Palestinians' behalf each month.
The defense establishment, including Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, has called for the payments to be reinstated. Israeli security services reportedly have argued that withholding the funds, which go in part to pay Palestinian police officers, could hamper security arrangements in the West Bank.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are strongly in favor of withholding the funds.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Dershowitz Defends Israeli Prisoner Exchange


Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz defended on Thursday Israel’s decision to secure the return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part and parcel of Israeli democracy, something that he said Western observers do not take sufficient care to understand.
Dershowitz made the remarks at a talk alongside Rabbi Jonathan H. Sacks, the chief religious leader of British Jews, and said that Israel’s decision to agree to a swap represents a vital democracy insofar as the movement to secure Shalit’s freedom was a popular one that was led by his family and carried out in the court of public opinion.
“No matter what we may think in the halls of academia ... ultimately, the decision has to be made by Israelis,” Dershowitz said.
Many observers have criticized Israel’s choice to release a large number of prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s return, a decision that many say will lead to further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips. Dershowitz pushed back against American criticism of Israeli policy by saying that American critics of Israel do not adequately take into consideration Israel’s status as a democracy, which he said entitles it to a greater degree of independence than some of its critics grant.
In the wake of the exchange, Dershowitz and Sacks both said it was important for Israel to retain its Jewish identity even in the hailstorm of conflict, adding that the long-standing tension between Israelis and Palestinians should, in principle, be able to lead to a sense of understanding between the two peoples.
Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz defended on Thursday Israel’s decision to secure the return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part and parcel of Israeli democracy, something that he said Western observers do not take sufficient care to understand.
“If 
Dershowitz made the remarks at a talk alongside Rabbi Jonathan H. Sacks, the chief religious leader of British Jews, and said that Israel’s decision to agree to a swap represents a vital democracy insofar as the movement to secure Shalit’s freedom was a popular one that was led by his family and carried out in the court of public opinion.
“No matter what we may think in the halls of academia ... ultimately, the decision has to be made by Israelis,” Dershowitz said.
Many observers have criticized Israel’s choice to release a large number of prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s return, a decision that many say will lead to further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips. Dershowitz pushed back against American criticism of Israeli policy by saying that American critics of Israel do not adequately take into consideration Israel’s status as a democracy, which he said entitles it to a greater degree of independence than some of its critics grant.
In the wake of the exchange, Dershowitz and Sacks both said it was important for Israel to retain its Jewish identity even in the hailstorm of conflict, adding that the long-standing tension between Israelis and Palestinians should, in principle, be able to lead to a sense of understanding between the two peoples.
“If there is anyone on earth who should be able to understand Jewish struggles, it’s Palestinians,” Sacks said. “And if there is anyone on earth who should be able to understand Palestinian struggles, it’s Jews.”
Dershowitz said that while the conflict is headed in the wrong direction politically, it is moving in the right direction intellectually.
“It can’t be based on ‘it’s our home’ or ‘it’s your home,’” Dershowitz said. “It’s the home of both people and both people have to live in peace with each other.”
Both Sacks and Dershowitz, two highly vocal advocates for a Jewish state, recognized the difficulty of the conflict. For all their expertise on the matter, neither Sacks nor Dershowitz had a clear view of whether the effort to achieve peace is progressing in the right direction.
Both men said that there was an inevitability to the tie between the Jewish people’s history and today’s Israel. Because Jews are unique in their perpetual homelessness, Israel remains a product of Jews’ history of trauma and expulsion, Sacks said.
“Jews discovered that there was not one inch on the face of the planet that they could call home,” Sacks said.
“It’s hard to see how, in a world in which there are 56 Islamic states and at least 82 Christian states, there isn’t room for one Jewish state,” Sacks added. “Whatever criterion you use, Jews have a right to this very small space.”

Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel

Never Again!


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