Monthly Archives: April 2019

A Terrorist Tried to Kill Me Because I Am a Jew – Poway Chabad Attack

By Yisroel Goldstein
Rabbi Goldstein is the Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, Calif.

San Diego — April 29, 2019 … Today should have been my funeral.

I was preparing to give my sermon Shabbat morning, Saturday, which was also the last day of Passover, the festival of our freedom, when I heard a loud bang in the lobby of my synagogue.

I thought a table had fallen down or maybe even that, God forbid, my dear friend Lori Gilbert Kaye had tripped and fallen. Only a few moments earlier I had greeted Lori there; she had come to services to say Yizkor, the mourning prayer, for her late mother.

I went to the lobby to check on her. What I saw in those seconds will haunt me for the rest of my days.

I saw Lori bleeding on the ground. And I saw the terrorist who murdered her.

This terrorist was a teenager. He was standing there with a big rifle in his hands. And he was now aiming it at me. For one reason: I am a Jew.

He started shooting. My right index finger got blown off. Another bullet hit my left index finger, which started gushing blood.

After the massacre in Pittsburgh, we had a community training. Now that training kicked in. Somehow my brain directed my body to the synagogue ballroom, where the children, including two of my grandchildren, were playing. I ran toward them screaming “Get out! Get out!” I grabbed as many as I could with my bloody hands and pushed them out of the building.

One of our congregants that day, Almog Peretz, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, ran after me to help get the children to safety and took a bullet in the leg. His eight-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, took some shrapnel to hers. Then an amazing miracle occurred: The terrorist’s gun jammed. Two other heroic congregants — an Army veteran named Oscar Stewart and an off-duty border patrol agent named Jonathan Morales — rushed toward him and he fled.

The ambulances had not yet arrived. We all gathered outside. I don’t remember all that I said to my community, but I do remember quoting a passage from the Passover Seder liturgy: “In every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.” And I remember shouting the words “Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!” I have said that line hundreds of times in my life. But I have never felt the truth of it more than I did then.

Rabbi Goldstein, a victim of the shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue

I am a religious man. I believe everything happens for a reason. I do not know why God spared my life. I do not know why I had to witness scenes of a pogrom in San Diego County like the ones my grandparents experienced in Poland. I don’t know why a part of my body was taken away from me. I don’t know why I had to see my good friend, a woman who embodied the Jewish value of hesed (kindness), hunted in her house of worship. I don’t know why I had to watch Lori’s beloved husband, a doctor, faint as he tried to resuscitate her. And then their only daughter, Hannah, sob in agony as she encountered both her parents collapsed on the floor.



I do not know God’s plan. All I can do is try to find meaning in what has happened. And to use this borrowed time to make my life matter more.

I used to sing a song to my children, a song that my father sang to me when I was a child. “Hashem is here,” I would sing, using a Hebrew name for God, pointing with my right index finger to the sky. “Hashem is there,” I would sing, pointing to my right and left. “Hashem is truly everywhere.” That finger I would use to point out God’s omnipresence was taken from me.

I pray that my missing finger serves as a constant reminder to me. A reminder that every single human being is created in the image of God; a reminder that I am part of a people that has survived the worst destruction and will always endure; a reminder that my ancestors gave their lives so that I can live in freedom in America; and a reminder, most of all, to never, ever, not ever be afraid to be Jewish.

From here on in I am going to be more brazen. I am going to be even more proud about walking down the street wearing my tzitzit and kippah, acknowledging God’s presence. And I’m going to use my voice until I am hoarse to urge my fellow Jews to do Jewish. To light candles before Shabbat. To put up mezuzas on their doorposts. To do acts of kindness. And to show up in synagogue — especially this coming Shabbat.

I am a proud emissary of Chabad-Lubavitch, a movement of Hasidic Judaism. Our leader, the great Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, famously taught that a little light expels a lot of darkness. That is why Chabad rabbis travel all over the world to set up Jewish communities: I have colleagues in Kathmandu, in Ghana, as well as in Paris and Sydney. We believe that helping any human being tap into their divine spark is a step toward fixing this broken world and bringing closer the redemption of humanity. It is why 33 years ago my wife and I came to this corner of California to build a house of light.

Because we are obviously Jewish, identifiable by our black hats and beards, it has also meant that some of us have been targets before. Eleven years ago, my colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who ran the Chabad of Mumbai, India, were murdered with four of their guests. They were targeted by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba because they were Jewish. And over the years people I know have been harassed and assaulted by thugs in the neighborhood where I grew up, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in incidents that typically go unreported by the press.

In his vile manifesto, the terrorist who shot up my synagogue called my people, the Jewish people, a “squalid and parasitic race.” No. We are a people divinely commanded to bring God’s light into the world.

Joel Leyden – Biography

JOEL LEYDEN – Biography

Joel Leyden, a native of New York, has practiced international public relations, public affairs, crisis communications, journalism, social media and digital marketing for over 20 years.

Joel Leyden, whose Zionism goes back to working for HIAS, UJA-Federation, served as an Israeli war volunteer, has served as a senior media and cross-cultural communications consultant to the Israel Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism and Defense and the US State Department. Leyden served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces International Spokesperson’s Office, in addition to serving in the MAGAV Anti-Terrorism Unit, Combat Engineers, IDF Liaison Officer to the United Nations and co-created the IDF Cyber and Social Media Unit.

As an Internet and digital public relations pioneer, Leyden co-created Israel’s first commercial Website – NetKing in 1995.
In addition, Joel Leyden produced the first Website for an Israeli prime minister, established the first condolence Website for assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin[2], co-created the Israel Defense Forces Website, was the first SEO – search engine optimizer in Israel and serves today as both commercial PR / SEO and publisher of the Israel News Agency, Israel’s first on-line English news organization, Jewish News Agency and the United States News Agency.

Leyden has worked as an international media consultant for the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel [4], Shimon Peres, the office of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Israel Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Defense Forces [5][6] where he was awarded a commendation for his crisis communications work during Operation Defensive Shield.
When Israeli Astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003, Leyden prepared the first communications to the media from the IDF.

Leyden, a political centrist, has also served as a humanitarian officer at several IDF security check posts and promoted the concept [7] of improving relations with the Palestinians at one of the very few points of contact between Israelis and Palestinians – Israeli security checkpoints. Today, Leyden serves as the Executive Director of the Center Against Anti-Semitism and Jews Against Hate.

Joel Leyden also served as senior media advisor to the International Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers [8]where he succeeded in having former PA / PLO leader Yasser Arafat admit that he knew where the IDF soldiers were and provided the dogtag of Zaharia Baumel to then Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

On Facebook, Twitter and Google getting the word out (using a gas generator)
in Haiti 
on the humanitarian work that the Israel Defense Forces rescue
and medical teams were performing in saving lives.

Joel Leyden, who is a professional cross-cultural consultant and served as Director for Berlitz’s Middle-East Cross Cultural programs, has created dozens of local and international community and professional social media forums in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

During the IDF Operation Grapes of Wrath Leyden provided free Internet service to the hundreds of Israeli children who were confined to air raid shelters in northern Israel.

Joel’s professional social media work has a reach over 5 million worldwide.

Covering AIPAC for the Israel News Agency.

Joel Leyden, the father of three children, is a leading father’s and children’s rights activist in Israel advocating equal access and reforms in Israel’s gender bias family court custody laws and public child welfare departments for children of separated and divorced parents in Israel.
In 2008, Joel created the Family First party and ran for mayor of the city of Ra’anana, Israel.
He was not interested in securing the office, but as stated in the Haaretz newspaper, wanted to make father’s rights, children’s rights and the practicing of gender bias discrimination in Ra’anana’s Child Welfare department a campaign issue.

In the States, Joel Leyden was a media advisor to former New York Mayor Ed Koch, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Ted Cruz and today provides President Joe Biden with social media reach.
Joel Leyden coordinated several national media events with personalities including former President Ronald Reagan, Nixon adviser Henry Kissinger and holocaust survivor Elie Weisel.

Leyden served on the first board of directors of the Alzheimer’s Association in New York City.
As a former ski racer and licensed ski instructor, Leyden has promoted the Israeli Mt. Hermon ski resort. Joel Leyden was also responsible for coordinating the first marathon run through the streets of Jerusalem.

Joel Leyden has worked with HIAS, the United Jewish Appeal, the Israel Forum, the Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Association for Missing Israel Soldiers and the Israel Export Institute, served as a senior editor at the Jerusalem Post [16] and as a media adviser to the Israel Government Press Office.

Joel Leyden covered the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks from New York City for the Jerusalem Post, Israel TV, Israel Radio English news and the Israel News Agency ([17]).

Leyden reporting for the Israel News Agency on the historic visit of
US President George W. Bush to Israel for her 60th birthday.

Joel Leyden founded the IsraelPr Internet discussion group. This group brings together over 200 public relations and public affairs consultants world wide who are able to provide various Israeli governmental ministries with real-time advice. He is also credited for creating and operating several non-profit on-line community support groups on Facebook for Israel’s Anglo community such as NewRaanana, Israel Anglo Singles, Israel Children , Israel Anglo Homes and Doing Business In Israel.

Leyden created the first global SEO political contest in response to the Holocaust cartoon contest sponsored by Iran’s best selling daily newspaper Hamshahri. [18] There were over 40 million Internet page views indexed by Alexa for this non-profit, SEO contest Website that Leyden built and mass marketed.

Joel Leyden is the Director of Jews Against Hate which confronts
anti-semitism and all forms of racism off and online.

Joel, a pioneer in Web 2.0, lectures on the development of Internet, digital marketing, digital diplomacy, crisis communications, reputation management, global security threats to Israel and the Jewish community in Israel and North America.

Leyden’s most recent project from January 2021 is, the largest, most successful Covid-19 vaccine advocacy organization in New England with a membership of over 25,000 reaching hundreds of thousands throughout the United States. Leyden is also the director of Israel Humanitarian Aid, providing food to homeless shelters and food pantries in the New York and Connecticut region.

Joel Leyden, who has university degrees in journalism, psychology and mass communications, resides in Ra’anana, a suburb north of Tel Aviv, Israel, Connecticut and New York.

Joel Leyden is available for speaking engagements –

contact Joel at

=== Global Media Talk About Joel Leyden ===

TIME Magazine

New York Times

Washington Post

Online Media Daily

FOX News

McClatchy Newspaper Group (30 newspapers in North America)

Jewish Week

Jerusalem Post

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Journal Enquirer

Hartford Courant


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Was Israel’s SpaceIL Beresheet Moon Mission A Success?

Play this song as you read the below feature.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 11, 2019 … Was the SpaceIL Beresheet moon mission a success?
On a scale of 1-10 – we would give it an 8.

The purpose of this mission was to have a successful launch and reach the moon. Beresheet successfully reached and held an Earth orbit. Beresheet successfully entered and held a lunar orbit. Beresheet was on target as it made a hard landing. It reached the moon after traveling over 3.4 million miles in its orbits around the earth and another 1 million around the moon.

Beresheet reached it’s target. Disappointing that the main engine and communications cut out on descent, and we will fix these and other bugs with Beresheet 2.0.

Have no doubt about Israel’s space industry. Israel has produced some of the world’s finest, most sophisticated satellites – for both weather and defense purposes.
All created by the government with an adequate budget.

Beresheet’s last photo, taken moments before the crash –
a selfie of herself – was a message for us all – keep dreaming, keep doing.


The greatest success illustrated by Beresheet is the respected Israeli asset of making a dream come true. Having vision and not letting go of it.

On a shoestring budget, we produced a spacecraft that reached the moon. Granted, not in one piece, but perhaps hundreds of which one day we can look back and hold one of those pieces, smile and say with pride – this is where our space journey started.

I was in uniform at the IDF Spokesperson’s office when Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon perished. It was truly a tragic day. Nothing can equate the loss of life. But this was different. Beresheet was a scientific experiment, a romantic dream that went mostly to plan, an experiment for which we will learn from and grow as we create Beresheet 2.0.

There was no loss of life. There was real achievement, sweat, limited success, much education and inspiration designed for every Jewish child to look up and say: “Yes I can, never give up.”

In the IDF we have one word to describe today’s Beresheet mission. That word is Kadeema.
To move forward with all that we have learned and prepare ourselves for the next mission.
As Israelis, we do not fail. We may hit bumps, but we get right back up and move forward – with a Beresheet smile. And we say Kadeema! – Joel Leyden, Publisher,

Israel: Spacecraft Will Land On Moon April 11


By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 6, 2019 … Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) – Israel’s first spacecraft to land on the moon, has entered lunar orbit and is on an “excellent” track, according to data from the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineering teams at their control room in Yehud, Israel.

During its lunar orbit, Beresheet will be at its nearest point to the moon (perilune) at 470 km (292 miles) from the lunar surface, and the farthest from the moon (apolune) at 10,400 km (6,462 miles).

Beresheet is scheduled to land on the moon at about 11 p.m. Israel time on April 11.

A more definite time will be announced in the next few days. During the coming week, SpaceIL and IAI will conduct a series of intense maneuvers with the spacecraft in preparation for the landing.

During the critical Lunar Capture maneuver, when the spacecraft entered the moon’s orbit from the Earth’s orbit, Beresheet provided dramatic pictures of the moon while activating its engines.

Beresheet, built by SpaceIL, a nonprofit in Israel, is the first privately funded venture to send a spacecraft into orbit from Earth. SpaceIL was originally aiming to win a $20 million Google Lunar X Prize as the first private robotic craft to set down on the moon, but the deadline passed last year. SpaceIL pushed on even without the monetary incentive.

“Our luck is still holding, and we’re going to make it,” said Morris Kahn, an Israeli telecommunications billionaire who provided financial backing to the mission.

“After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon’s gravity,” said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby. “We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I’m convinced our team will land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud.”

Beresheet is equipped with a high-resolution camera to capture panoramic views of the landing site to help scientists better understand the area. The Israeli spacecraft also carries a small “time capsule” loaded with photos and cultural artifacts, including a copy of the Bible engraved on a coin-size disk.

If all is successful, SpaceIL will join just NASA, the former Soviet Union and China in successfully landing a spacecraft on the moon.

Ariel Gold – American Jihadist

By Herb Brandon
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — March 31 … Why is Ariel Gold banned from entering Israel?

One can easily find the answer on Twitter or Facebook. Just look for someone yelling that Israel is a criminal, Apartheid state responsible for dozens of massacres, torturing sweet, Palestinian babies and creating dark sandstorms.

Ariel Gold, national co-director of US extreme left-wing activist group Code Pink and an advocate of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, holds a Masters degree in Social Work.
She knows how to professionally manipulate public opinion. Gold knows how to incite Palestinians to violence and terrorism.

The official reason given by Israeli security is that she supports the BDS movement.

The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti and asserts that it “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

Fact: BDS was designed to destroy Israel. They do not propose a two state solution. They do not propose a peace plan. Rather, they are known for chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” In other words, kill the Jews.

Major Jewish organizations, including the ADL, condemn the BDS movement for an anti-Zionist position which masquerades for anti-semitism.

Ariel Gold, claims to be Jewish. She even posts a photo of herself at her son’s Bar-Mitzvah.
But not to far from that photo is another of Gold standing next to the Western Wall.

No, Ariel Gold is not praying. Gold and a fellow Code Pink member unfurled a boycott Israel banner at Judaism’s ancient, most holy site, to declare that the Western Wall and all of Jerusalem is occupied.


Rules and laws don’t seem to apply to this Master’s of Social Work.

In November 2015, Gold was arrested while participating in a Palestinian riot. In March 2015 and 2016, Gold was arrested for blocking the entrance to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) annual conference. In June 2015 Gold was arrested again and charged with trespassing during a protest.

In 2015, Gold coordinated a 5-week U.S. speaking tour for Palestinian propagandist and provocateur Bassem Tamimi, whose U.S. visa has since been revoked. The tour was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, FOSNA, and IFPB.

Gold brought Tamimi to a third-grade classroom in Ithaca, New York, where he encouraged grade-school children to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.” An investigation by the Ithaca City School District determined Tamimi’s anti-Israel presentation to the 8 and 9-year olds to be “politically skewed” and “inflammatory.”

Bassem Tamimi has exploited young children as political props in staged confrontations with Israeli soldiers. In 2011, he was jailed for organizing violent rallies and inciting minors to commit violent crimes such as rock-throwing.

When interviewed following the public outcry over Tamimi’s presentation, Ariel Gold compared Tamimi to Martin Luther King and called the public’s response “an attempt to silence Palestinian voices.”

Her blood libels know no limit, no borders.

She quotes Prime Minister Netanyahu for saying: Israel is a state for Jews only when in fact Netanyahu stated: “Israel shares a love of freedom and democracy. We cherish individual rights and the rule of law. We don’t judge people by the color of their skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation.”

But the one thing that really gets to thousands of Israelis, Jews and Christians worldwide is Gold calling Israel an Apartheid state. One South African who lived through Apartheid had an immediate response on Twitter:

Replying to 
I live in South Africa, you do not know what Apartheid is, You are a Disgrace to Black South Africans and an Instant to them that suffered under Apartheid! Left is not Liberal

8:11 AM – 31 Mar 2019

Gold does not respond. She throws rocks, talking points and soundbytes and disappears.
The Israel News Agency asked her for comment. She refused.

So what is it that attracts hundreds of Jews online – from the Israeli government to global citizens to subject themselves to her verbal abuse and lies?

Ariel Gold is an attractive women. She has a soft smile. And she says she is Jewish.
Using the fact that she was born Jewish and has a Jewish sounding name, she is the classic wolf wearing sheep’s clothing.
So as family, many try to reason with her, debate her and even curse her.
Most psychologists would suggest – ignore her.

In fact, many believe that she suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.
She talks, she lies, she posts dozens of photos and videos of herself but never listens and rarely responds.

You can ask her if the Western Wall is occupied, describe the massacres and criminal acts that Israel is responsible for, illustrate examples of Apartheid, what borders does she suggest and all one receives is: “End the occupation, end the suffering, end the criminal acts.”

For us at the Israel News Agency, we witness hundreds of online attacks on Jews and the Jewish state.
We know Israel is not perfect, but then again we do not practice Apartheid, we do not gun down innocent civilians attacking the Israel Gaza border security fence, we cherish life, we don’t use our children as human shields.

What sets Ariel Gold and the Jewish Voice for Peace apart from Israel and the global Jewish community are the words: “Jewish”and “Peace”.

Ariel Gold, Code Pink, BDS, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow extreme Left wing groups are neither Jewish nor advocate peace. They want Israel to remove all security barriers and allow Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS and Hezbollah to fulfill their open declarations of removing the hearts of all the Jews and to create a Palestine for Muslims only. That is true Apartheid.
These are the words of Jihad. Holy war against Jews and Christians.

Gold recently attacked a person who responded to one of her many blood libels on Twitter.
The person she targeted turned out to be a terror victim. She had been walking with a Christian friend in a forest in Israel when an Islamic terrorist repeatedly stabbed them both. Her Christian friend was thought to be Jewish and a fair target and bled to death in that forest.

Kay Wilson, who survived being stabbed 13 times, had the following response for Ariel Gold.
I believe her response represents thousands of Jews around the world who are proud of the only democracy in the Middle East and ashamed of those who call themselves Jews as they incite anti-semitism and terrorism:

“Massacres in Gaza”? You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading heinous lies. Grow up, stop seeking attention like a 5-year old. It’s very unbecoming. Oh, go ahead and block me too.”

Ariel Gold poses with the extreme Jewish organization
Neturei Karta,
which advocates the death of all Jews in Israel.

Ariel Gold who spits on the Western Wall, supports Iran and her terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, threatens the Jewish state with BDS and ignores Jewish victims of terrorism, needs to be blocked by us all. She is a Jihadist. There is no debating with her. Only the block button on Twitter and Facebook. As several, global news media channels practice not to mention the name of a terrorist to provide them with fame and glory, we must do the same here.

As a matter of professional practice I always suggest to engage.
Engage with respect in a polite manner. Attack the issues, not the person.
When you come across Jihadists such as Gold, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow and there is no room for dialogue – move on.  Do not give them the attention, the public relations they so badly beg for.