Bentzion Chanowitz, President at Beis Yisroel Torah Gemach Jewish Loan Society, Brooklyn, New York

“The Jews in the diaspora have to follow what the Jews in Israel are thinking because they are front line.

The Interviewee – Bentzion Chanowitz, I run the Beis Yisroel Torah Gemach which provides Kosher primary and secondary Torahs to start-up Shuls and Chabad centers all over the world.  I will be turning 60 and for the most of my life I have lived in Brooklyn except for some formative years in Israel. This is why I like spicy food.

In your opinion, what importance, if any, does the existence of a Jewish state have to you personally and to Jewish people in general?

“If we are to believe that the Torah is a true document, then we want Israel to exist and as Jewish people this is our inheritance. I personally believe this.”

Do you feel committed in some way to defend the future existence of Israel?

“Yes and for now it is monetary and spiritually.”

Do you affiliate yourself with a specific denomination in Judaism? 


Do you feel morally responsible for Israel’s actions (such as its management of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)?

“We as Jews have to be forward thinking and be proactive against any party who wants to destroy us.”

In your opinion, what is the main thing Israelis fail to understand about the reality of being Jewish outside of Israel?

“You are asking the wrong question. The Jews in the diaspora have to follow what the Jews in Israel are thinking because they are front line.”

How would you describe Israel’s policy (formally and in practice) regarding its relationship with the Diaspora?

“I feel that they are acting like dogs looking back all the time to see where their master is. They should be looking forward like a lion.”

In your opinion, does Israel have an obligation to defend and help Jewish communities in need?

“Yes we are all brothers.”

Have you ever been to Israel? if you have, can you summarize your impressions from Israel?

“Yes many times. I would have moved a while ago because I have in Israel. The issue is that family dynamic don’t allow yet.

Can you tell us a bit about the Jewish community in your hometown?

“Very Jewish I live in Flatbush Brooklyn. All comfort for being the best Jew you want to be.”

If you could ask the Israeli readers of this project a question, what would it be?

“The Arabs are our cousins from a biblical perspective. That is where it stops, do you understand this concept, yea or no and why?”



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