On Religion

Salt Lake Tribune - 02/06/1999
A Jewish scholar takes a closer look
   ...Lenowitz's book, which retails for $45 and can be ordered through Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, concludes with a profile of the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of the Lubavitch hasidic movement in Brooklyn, N.Y.
   Followers of Schneerson, a survivor of both Soviet and Nazi persecution, credit him with miracles and prophetic gifts.
   Schneerson's death in June 1994 did not end his messianic candidacy. His followers believe he will be resurrected to complete his mission.
   Indeed, it is with some of Schneerson's adherants, the Chabad Lubavitch congregation in Salt Lake City, that Lenowitz regularly prays. Their synagogue at 1433 S. 1100 East is within walking distance of his home, he says.

Salt Lake Tribune - 07/16/1994
Jews for Jesus: an Inherent Contradiction?
   ...``We believe it is against the teaching of Judaism and the beliefs of the Old Testament for one to believe in Judaism and Jesus Christ at the same time,'' says Utah Rabbi Benny Zippel, a conservative Orthodox Jew. ``As far as Judaism is concerned, they have no validity, or religious or moral integrity.''

Salt Lake Tribune - 03/18/2000
Jews, Muslims Find Some Common Ground
   ...Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City's Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch Bais Menachem synagogue said better relations are possible if  Jews and Muslims follow a simple maxim: "Religion cannot be stuffed down people's throats.
   "It must be dealt with delicately, with sensitivity and respect for a person's feelings and beliefs," he said. "This is crucial to survival of any society."

Salt Lake Tribune - 03/25/2000
Sunday Hymn: Workin' on the Railroad
   ...If the Utah Transit Authority could have offered a light-rail spur to Mount Sinai nearly 3,300 years ago, would Moses have paid a shekel to travel up and down the slopes to receive the Ten Commandments?
   Perhaps, unless the summit meeting fell on the Sabbath. After all, it is the fourth commandment that exhorted Israel, the original Sabbath people, to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
   "On the Sabbath, the answer is clear, no, he would not," Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City's Chabad Lubavitch Bais Menachem synagogue said with a chuckle.
   "In the Torah we are clearly instructed that we are not allowed to ask of another to perform an action which we ourselves would be forbidden to perform. Also on the Sabbath, it is forbidden for us to travel — whether by TRAX or private vehicle," he said.
   ...As for Zippel, for whom Sunday is the day after the true Sabbath, the issue would be moot if not for what he sees as a possible issue of consistency. If you call a day the Sabbath, it should be observed as such, he suggested.
   "I believe that 'consistency' is a key word in any religion," he said. "If you start allowing things when they suit you and forbid them when you don't need them, that is considered playing around with your religious beliefs."

Salt Lake Tribune - 05/02/2001
Baptism Commitment: LDS Try to End Unauthorized Work for Jews
   ...Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City's Orthodox Bais Menachem Chabad Lubavitch synagogue was astounded to learn the hero of his own sect  --  Ba'al Shem Tov, an 18th century Polish rabbi who founded the Hasidic Jewish movement  --  had been baptized a Mormon.
   "The basic ingredient for a conversion to any religion is the perfect knowledge and perfect consent of the person who is converting to abandon his or her previous faith in order to embrace the new one," he said.

Salt Lake Tribune - 04/14/2001
Jewish Groups Offended by  'B.C.' Comic
   ...Rabbi Benny Zippel, spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Menachem in Salt Lake City, said Friday the comic strip was "doubly offensive" for its content and because it is directed to impressionable minds of youngsters.
   "It is a vicious attempt to replant in their minds and hearts the rotten seeds of crude bigotry, intolerance and egotistical triumphalism," Zippel said.

Salt Lake Tribune - 02/24/2001
Finding Friends on Either Side Is Difficult
   ...Rabbi Benny Zippel, of Salt Lake City's Orthodox Jewish Chabad Lubavitch Bais Menachem synagogue, finds the terms "Messianic Jew" and "Jews for Jesus" oxymoronic.
   "Could you possibly conceive in your mind the existence of a Muslim for Jesus, or Buddhist for Allah, etc.?" he said. "As far as Judaism is concerned, the concept of a Jew who accepts Jesus as messiah is completely inconceivable and unacceptable."

Deseret News - Saturday, December 2, 2000
Religion is going high-tech
   ...That sentiment is echoed by Rabbi Benny Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, who explains that his Orthodox Jewish congregation eschew any use of electricity or even battery power during their Sabbath.
   Yet the rabbi said that doesn't mean his congregation avoids technology, by any means. In the Talmud, chapter 6 Mishna 11, it reads: "All that the holy one, blessed be he, created in his world, he created solely for His glory." Therefore, "everything that we find around us in this world was created to enhance and to glorify God's name. If by divine providence we find around ourselves satellite dishes, the Internet, Palm Pilots, Web sites, obviously we derive a lot of benefit from them, but we must say the main reason they were created was to exalt and glorify God's name. . . . It's incumbent on every Jew to connect modern technology with modern Judaism and to enhance modern Judaism with modern technology."
   Still, everybody needs a break, the rabbi said, and the Jewish Sabbath provides a time for removing oneself from being engulfed by circuitry and reflecting on simple spirituality.
   "Six days a week we do it, one day a week we don't."

Deseret News - Sunday, April 15, 2001

Anti-Semitic? Critics, defenders assess 'B.C.' cartoon

    ...Rabbi Benny Zippel of Congregation Bais Menachem in Salt Lake City called the cartoon "an obscene attack on Judaism." Even worse, said Zippel, "it is geared to the innocent, impressionable minds of youngsters. It is a vicious attempt to replant in their minds and hearts the rotten seeds of crude bigotry, intolerance and egotistical triumphalism." 

Deseret News - Sunday, December 18, 1994
Easter Questions Bring Troubling Answers
    ...Teacher: ``Let me draw an analogy and then ask about teaching about Christianity or any religion again. We are in the middle now of the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday that begins the 25th day of Kislev and commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after its defilement by Antiochus of Syria. The temple rededication requires that oil lamps burn for eight days, and there was only enough oil for one day. The lamp was lit anyway and miraculously burned for the required time.
    ``During this current celebration Rabbi Benny Zippel lit the first candle of Hanukkah at the ZCMI Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Each evening for the eight days of Hanukkah, one of the candles of the Menorah will be lit by the mother or oldest daughter in Jewish homes around the world. They will all remember the miracle at the temple rededication.

Deseret News - Saturday, August 2, 2003
Visions of hell

      ...Orthodox Jews believe that everyone, even the most saintly, must first dip into a river to be cleansed after their death. "It's more about cleansing than settling scores," explains Rabbi Yossi Mandel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah. "But no one stays more than 12 months." Those who haven't been properly cleansed don't go on to hell but go instead back to earth to wander, he says.