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April 26, 2012 3:32 pm

10 Great Jewish and Israeli Quotes

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Photo: www.judaism-guide.com.

The Jewish people are known as the people of the book.  For me, as a Jew, a father, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, a proud Zionist, and a Betari there are so many quotes which I enjoy and guide me in business and life  and I wanted to share them.

Anyone who has ever visited my Public Relations Firm sees the walls filled with quotes.

As follows are some of my favorite Jewish and Israel quotes:

·        “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Jewish People Live):  A beautiful rendition of this exists in a BBC recording from April 1945 of survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  Survivors sang what would become the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah and ended with “Am Yisrael Chai.”  Through it all the Jewish people live.

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·        “If I am not for myself who will be for me? Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Simply act.  Don’t think and fret too much. Act and get things done.) – the Jewish scholar, Hillel

·        “All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all.” “If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?” –  Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

·        “Ani ma’amin be-emunah shelemah” (“I believe with perfect faith”) – Rendition of Maimonides’ thirteen-point version of the Jewish principles of faith

·        “If you were there and the Romans or the Babylonians were about to destroy Jerusalem and you had the power to do something about it, would you sit and mourn and cry? Or would you turn the world upside down to change history? So what is stopping you? Overturn the world today!” – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Chabad Rabbi

·        “…If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.” “All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” –  Mark Twain, Harper’s Magazine, 1899

·        “One man’s candle is light for many”  – Talmud on Shabbat

·        “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” – Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

·        “And when a Jew comes to us, especially a young Jew, he stands up and announces before the whole world: `I demand justice, and if I do not get it, the world will be transformed into a wasteland. In a place where I am a king among other kings – there the idea of progress will be realised. But if it is my fate to be cast outside of the framework, then I do not care if the rest of you go up in flames. And I will even help with this. There is no redemption for the world if I have no part in it. In the beginning, God created my demand. This stance, whether or not one finds it attractive, is a stance worth living, suffering and fighting for.” (This teaches me to always fight for what is right and do the right thing – Believe in yourself and persevere). –  Ze`ev Jabotinsky, August 1940

·        “People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake.  Actually, the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes.”  – Rabbi Noah Weinberg

(If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy reading The Top 10 Living Tough Jews, Top 10 Jewish celebrity role models, or the Top 10 Living Communicators Who Influence Change.)

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm and author of PR Book “For Immediate Release.”

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  • RENE WERNER

    THE BEST

  • John Dunston

    I’d like to receive your regular mailings please

  • FOZLE RABBIE

    GREAT THINGS I AM LEARNING STEADILY.CHANGES MY LIFE THINKING.THOUGHTS,IDEALOGY AND GEAR ME UP TO BE PERFECT HUMAN BEING.

  • FOZLE RABBIE

    i do always read and write all the famous quotations.THIS SELF-STUDY GIVES ME SPEED AND SPIRITS TO BE A PROPER HUMAN BEING.MY THEME IN MY HEART-I DEMAND JUSTICE, AND IF I DON’T GET IT-THE WORLD WILL BE TRANSFORMED INTO A WASTELAND.THIS TEACHES ME TO ALWAYS FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT AND DO THE RIGHT THING BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND PERSEVERE. ZE’ EV JABOTINSKY [ MY IDEAL PERSON ]

  • Ranie

    i’m searching for quotes that are very significant for/from judaism.. but i only found one here.. all of them are good but i’m looking for specific ones that almost living with its history..it’s a kind of my school report.. hope you guys could help..thak you..

    • Penny Weiss

      Mark Twain on the Jews

      If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

      His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.

      The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmaties, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

      –Mark Twain, September 1897

      ALSO….
      (Letter from President John Adams to President Thomas Jefferson: PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS said the following:)
      “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.”

  • frania

    By the honoring of these people one sees the character of the author. One sees what is important to him, what he values. It is an honor to read Ronn’s article. As it is an honor to have someone that does not cast off , make nothing of these noble people. Ronn shows alot of who he is. And it is all good.

  • Lisa

    Great list. I’d add “If I forget thee O Jerusalem…”. Enjoyed this list by Ronn Torossian of great jewish quotes.

  • JewishJewy

    “There is no redemption for the world if I have no part in it. In the beginning, God created my demand.” Love this quote from Ze’ev Jabotinsky – The Jews need to remember it more. What a great list. Shabbat Shalom and thank you Ronn Torossian for this list.

  • Greg

    You know… I have to admit I was hoping for something more substantial. I thought, maybe something from Hertzl, kind of commemorate the anniversary, that sort of thing. But reading through the majority of these, to quote Isaiah, “… there is no light in them.”

    The Prime Minister’s quote… Gideon and the 300 with him, how did they turn their enemies against each other?

    What good is the candle if all in the room are blind? Refuse to see? “…Who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not”

    Possibly you were just going for ‘catchy and/or well known’ like “10 great quotes from The Princess Bride.”

    • Jonathan R.

      Greg: are you a half an idiot or a full one. Why dont you write something you stupid idiot. Jews all love to criticize and give their 2 cents – this man spends time on it and you criticize. Go lock yourself in a room you idiot.

    • Greg

      Jonathan, what… kind of like you? How is your criticism of my comments different? Because you’re defending the author? Honestly, how hard is it to copy and paste quotes? Yes, he compiled the list, and like his list of “top ten living tough Jews“, some agreed, some disagreed… didn’t see you jump into the fray there…

      If I am an idiot (half or otherwise) it would be for thinking that folks would be more bothered by my being critical of the content of the quotes themselves, than voicing disappointment that the author didn’t cite quotes with more substance.

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