Update: Excerpt of Interview with Rabbi Pesach Lerner

Elliot Resnick - The Jewish Press - July 26, 2017

JEWISH PRESS: You are obviously deeply involved in this controversy, but you are also very close to Jonathan Pollard, having spent years trying to get him released from prison. How is he doing today?

RABBI LERNER: I try to visit Jonathan once a week and I speak to him at least once a day. Two years ago, we didn't think he'd come out alive and today he's living with his wife in Manhattan. So, relatively speaking, he's doing excellent.

On the other hand, he's still restricted. He has a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., he has to wear a GPS 24/7, he can't leave Manhattan, and any computer he uses - personally or professionally - has to have software installed in it by the government so they can see what he's doing. What company wants to hire you if the government is watching what everybody is doing?

And there's no sense to these restrictions. How does 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. make a difference? In theory, he can meet me for lunch at a restaurant and hand me anything he wants. He can mail a letter. So what's this curfew about? And why do they have to know where he is? Let him report every week. What are they afraid of? He has no passport. He's recognizable. He can't go anywhere.

JEWISH PRESS: You said you speak to Pollard once a day. What are those conversations like?

RABBI LERNER: He's very bright, very sensitive, reads a lot, walks a lot, has an opinion on a lot of things, and his opinions are usually on target. He's not bitter or angry. He wants to move to Israel. He wants to go on with his life. He has a lot of things he wants to do. If you met him, you would never know he spent 30 years in the harshest prisons.

Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn't give somebody a test he can't meet. Jonathan Pollard was given ultimate tests, and Hakadosh Baruch Hu guided him all the way through. He's a living miracle to what man can do.

  • Read Full interview with Rabbi Pesach Lerner