5 Iyar, 10 years Later.

I have wrestled with myself for the past three weeks about how to write about Moshe Klibanoff, z’l, whose teachings had a lifelong effect on me, yet who never wanted anyone write a word about him or give him credit for anything.

Moshe asked not to say that he was your teacher.

From Moshe’s point of view, he was not a teacher. He would only say that he shared Rebbe Nachman.

I first met Moshe as he wandered Jerusalem in 1970, looking for people whom he could share his translations of the PRAYER FOR PEACE.

Moshe dwelled on each word of the PRAYER FOR PEACE .

Moshe would say that the trauma in Jerusalem before the six day war had shaken him for life.

When Moshe saw people digging mass graves he asked what they were doing. “We are preparing for war”. “And who is preparing for peace”? When Moshe asked this , this was not a rhetorical question.

At the root of Moshe was his desire to be a “Tam”, and not a “Chacham” . So Moshe came to my home, once a week, for almost a year, to learn “ Chacham and Tam” from Rebbe Nachman for me and my friends. Moshe taught like no other person. Dwelling on each word, “creckzing” as he share Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, Moshe implored everyone to be a TAM first, and reject the temptation to be a Chacham.

The idea was that you could only achieve Chuchma after reaching Temimut

Moshe spoke of the command of personality transformation in order to be a Torah Jew. “Who am I???” Moshe would ask in tears. I can still hear Moshe swaying back and forth as we would read each word of the “Chacham and the Tam”, asking to put aside ego, ambitions, and our desire to out-do each other. I came away from that powerful year of study with Moshe with a changed course of direction – to study social work, not law or politics.

Moshe viewed life in Israel through the prism of Chacham and the Tam. He wandered with great sadness in the streets of Jerusalem during the dark days of the Yom Kippur war, crying for each soul lost.

Getting married in the months that followed the Yom Kippur war, Moshe’s soft voice remained a comfort to many, yet he never wanted to take credit for being the man who brought the comfort of Rebbe Nachman to a new generation, before Rebbe Nachman was popularized.

Moshe’s soul lives with Am Yisrael.

Who knows how many souls Moshe touched, with the prayer for peace that Moshe touched.

There were so many “I shall not forget” stories with Moshe. One of them was watching him become inebriated in my living room in Tzfat with Reb Gedalia on Purim in 1980. I can never forget the smile on Moshe’s face that Purim. That is the smile that I can see as I recall Moshe’s gentle spirit.

Moshe, I hope that these words do justice to your kind soul.

I have never struggled so hard to express these feelings.

Moshe, thank you for coming to Tfzat together with Yonah and Hannah Leah to bless the brit of our Bichor.

David Shaul Shmuel ben Pinchas and Miriam.


  1. Shalom David,
    I don’t know if you’ll remember me, but we knew each other particularly in 1970-1971. I was thinking of Moshe Klibanoff and googled his name and came upon your reflections on him which I appreciate. I didn’t know him as well as you clearly did, but I would run into him and speak with him during the four years I lived in Jerusalem in the first half of the 1970s. One thing that also fascinated me about him was that knew Allen Ginsberg when they both attended Columbia University (I was particularly interested in Ginsberg back then). I also became interested in Rebbe Nachman back in 1970-71 and I used to daven Mincha/Ma’ariv at a Bratzlaver shtibel not far from our apartment on 33 Rechov Ramban. I believe I saw Moshe there at least once. David, the last time I saw you was on Rechov Melekh George in 1993 when I had been on the first Arad Arts Project. Thanks for writing this piece about Moshe. Kol tuv, Mark Elber


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.