Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Last Public Talk Was At Brandeis University

Marc B. Shapiro writes: See here A few days before his death, Rabbi Meir Kahane spoke at Brandeis.  I think it was actually his last public talk before the night he was killed.  For a video of Gopin confronting Kahane see here at 24:20, 31:50, and 43:05, and 56. Gopin starts to speak extensively at 1:02:45. The man standing next to Gopin is Dr. Aryeh Cohen, who also briefly served as Orthodox advisor at Brandeis. He now teaches at the American Jewish University. See here.

DF comments: The Kahana video really makes one pause, for many reasons. You see his repulsive antagonists, including that idiot Gopin, shouting that land for peace was the solution. Yet here we are, almost 20 years later, and you still hear leftists claiming land for peace will work. The human mind must have an infinite capacity to believe in fantasy.

It makes me think also how obnoxious it is for 18 year old kids to publicly challenge a man nearly three times their age. No embarassment, no recognition that they are dealing with a man who thought about their juvenile attacks 30 years before they were born. Not long ago I was thinking how overly obsequios yeshivah bachurim are to their rebbeim. Maybe they are, but this video is a good corrective to see the other side is just as bad.

NACHUM LAMM WRITES: DF, like I said, check out Gopin’s blog. *He* still believes in all this nonsense, perhaps now more than ever.

"nearly three times their age."

He was more than that at the time.

You have to love how Gopin refers to him as "Meir," and R’ Kahane casually replies, "Nu, ‘Meir,’ OK, ‘Meir’ it is," and keeps on referring to Gopin, the much younger man, as "Rabbi."

Gopin’s buddy at least laughs at R’ Kahane’s jokes at their expense; Gopin seems to be frozen.

The absolute best is the little question and answer session on the Sanhedrin:

Kahane: Is Judaism democratic?

Gopin: [Silence. Crickets chirp. Titters from the audience.]

Kahane repeats the question.

Gopin: Well, the Sanhedrin made its decisions via a vote of the majority…

Kahane [as if he hadn’t heard that clearly]: What was that? A vote?

Gopin [not getting it]: A vote of the majority…

Kahane: A vote?

Gopin: The Sanhedrin made its decisions…

[Now, citing the Sanhedrin here is a giant non-sequitor if not a perfect concession, and a bunch of possible responses bubbled through my head. But Kahane, bless him, nailed the perfect response on the spot.]

Kahane: And how many non-Jews sat on the Sanhedrin?

Gopin: [You can’t hear the crickets only because the audience is laughing too loud. He tries a bit more, but the argument is clearly over. Come to think, Gopin lost the argument the second he called Kahane a Nazi; Godwin’s Law had just been invented, but Kahane sums it up pretty well in response.

Just checked out Lopatin’s page. Didn’t expect much from him, considering his most famous congregant(s), but…I just gotta wonder what it is about Maimonides graduates and Rhodes Scholars who really get into Islamic studies and develop Stockholm Syndrome.

Reason number one modern Orthodoxy has problems catching on with some (especially in Israel)? Lunacy like this.

Things were not always so great at Brandeis.
My brother Nate was there from 1969-1973 and was essentially the only student with a kippah the whole time.. There were a sprinkling of other Orthodox students male and female. with a number of Baale teshuva. In 1973 things started to change.
There were also several orthodox students in the NEJS graduate program several of whom have become well known scholars and academics.
A elderly rabbi Rabbi Mann acted as the kashruth supervisor . Kosher food was available and there were Shabbat services as well as Sabbath meals.
But essentially the atmosphere and the administartion was more interested in attracting non Jewish students (like the daughter of Hugh Hefner Christy) than Orthodox ones.
You are correct about rabbi Albert Axelrod. My brother found him helpful open minded and kind.
The Bostoner rebbe was active on the campus at that time and some students traveled to Brookline for Shabbath. There certainly was no orthodox rabbi on campus but several faculty were ordained rabbis.
Why the picture of Rabbi Twersky, was he always bearded or was the beard grown after his father died.Does his beard make him greater than lets say his brother in law in Israel who is clean shaven ?
Twersky was obviusly a great academic scholar but calling him Talner rebbe takes away from his real and primary identity which was professor and scholar not rebbe.
I do hope that the MO community does not fall into the same trap of our right wing brothers and create mythical figures. Rather celebrate the greatness of the scholars we admire.It would be interesting to see a critical and frank discussion of the relationship between Dr. Twersky and his father in law as well as the whole Twersky family in Brookline (Talner branch).
Lew Lehrman the almost governor of NY if he was almost governor then Dukakis and McGovern were almost president of the USA. Lehrman lost in a landslide and his cadidacy was of a sacrificial nature as the GOP put him up as he funded his own campaign. I believe he owned a chain of drug stores. His greatest moment was visiting the bobover rebbe and some moron put a shtreimel on his head.

ARYEH WRITES: Gravatar As someone who was at Brandeis as a student during part of Dr. Shapiro’s (I know he would want me to call him Marc, but I am giving him his due kavod) tenure as well as another that of another Orthodox advisor, I would echo all of the stories mentioned here. There are several other interesting stories about Orthodox life at Brandeis that may be worthy to point out.

1. Orthodox students chartered a club through both Hillel and the student senate which was initially called BOG, Brandis Orthodox Group, but quickly became BOO, the Brandeis Orthodox organization as it still known today. It under the aegis of BOO that the Beit Midrash was opened.

2. The Kosher cafeteria at Brandeis is I think failry unique. It is operated in the same dining hall as an unkosher cafeteria. All students, regardless from which kitchen they get their food, must keep their food on a tray. No food is allowed on the tables. During my time, this was enforced by the then elderly Rabbi Mann and volunteer kosher cops (student committee).

3. I agree with Dr. Shapiro that the NEJS faculty resources, along with the fantastic library and archives, are underappreciated by undergraduates.

4. I recall the issue of the Torah procession slightly differently. The issue was raised, debated, learned and the shailah was asked. However, I thought the practice became that a man would carry the Torah on the men’s side to the back. At the back there was a table. The Torah was placed on the table, and then picked up by a women who carried the Torah on the women’s side. I recall the limiation on the teshuva being the unique kiruv nature of college.

6. The horrendous terorist murder of Allysa Faltow A’H who was on a junior year abroad program shacked the community badly.

5. Since my graduation, I know that Chabad has established a growing presence just off-campus.

Finally, with respect to Rabbi Lopatin. I davened in that shul for a few years when I was living nearby. At the time, he did not hold like this, but held that Birchot HaShachar was not to be said out loud by the Baal Tefilah. The Ball Tefilah said out loud "Baruch Atah" so you knew davening started and then picked up only with the ending of the full paragraph, thus avoiding the "issue".

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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