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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Anger Under Still Waters


Recent summers I've blogged about conversations my friends and I have while busy exercising in the local Shiloh Swimming Pool. Here's another in that unofficial series...

Don't let outer appearances fool you. Chubby, cheerful looking grandmothers and bikini-body youngsters have more on their minds than cooking for Shabbat or where to vacation. None of us around the pool have been immune from the pains and cost of Arab terrorism.

Instead of exchanging recipes, cute stories about the grandchildren, vacation advice etc we were getting reports of the medical situation of recent terror victims.

While trying to burn calories, stretch limbs and contract muscles, we were also talking "justice."

  • "All Arab terrorists should be executed."
  • "The Death Penalty must be enforced on all Arab terrorists who even just attempted murder."
  • "Why should the terrorists be released to try again?"
  • "Why are our taxes supporting convicted terrorists in hotel conditions?"
  • "Why was Adolf Eichmann the only person executed by the State of Israel? He was a bureaucrat, no worse than the Arab terrorists and those who support them."
  • "The Palestinian Authority's financial support of terrorist families must be stopped."

Yes, that's how we feel. We're angry, frustrated, worried and very disappointed that the State of Israel isn't doing what it should be doing to increase our security and stop Arab terrorism. Arab terrorism isn't an ordinary crime; ordinary laws and modern justice are ineffective against it.

There's a lot of anger beneath the surface, under still waters.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Memories, Soviet Aliyah to Shiloh


Way back when almost everything done in Shiloh was done by volunteers, I spent some amazing years on the Vaadat Klita, the committee that accepted and rejected and recruited new residents for Shiloh. I was truly privileged to have been on that committee when Soviet Aliyah was at its peak, and the masses of olim chadashim from the USSR were looking for new homes and lives in Israel.

This week I was reminded of those exciting days; I was very moved to hear how some of those now veteran immigrants remember me.

When I realized that I'd be home at the time of an Azkara, memorial ceremony at the grave of a neighbor who died a couple of years ago, it was obvious to me that I had to attend. The first of that clan came to Shiloh as a young married expectant couple looking for a clean, unpolluted healthy Jewish environment to raise their family. I was on the committee at the time, and we welcomed them joyfully. Soon they were joined by a newborn plus two more older generations and siblings.

As time went on, the young families left, and the older ones stayed on in Shiloh. At the cemetery, surrounded by young children, they talked about how much Shiloh means to their family and how glad and grateful they are to have been welcomed here.

We reminisced about the time when they first came to Shiloh. According to the normative criteria aka our standard instructions, almost none of the Soviet olim, immigrants "fit in," but we just couldn't turn them away. It felt wrong. So we consulted with the community rabbi who gave the perfect psak, answer according to Jewish Law and human nature:
"Accept all who want to live in Shiloh. Those who should be here will stay, and the others will leave when they're ready. It's important to show them full acceptance in their difficult adjustment period."
And that's what happened. Some stayed and some left. And quite a few of the elderly will be here until Redemption, since they are buried in our cemetery.

Later that evening I paid a shiva call to the family of another family of Soviet olim. Here too the first to come to Shiloh was a young family, followed by the older generation who have been the only ones living here for years already. The mourner was very happy to see me and told the now adult children that if it hadn't been for my support they most probably would never have been accepted to live in Shiloh. Again I told the story of what the rabbi had instructed us.

I was so touched. It had never occured to me that anyone found my efforts unforgettable and worthy of praise and thanks.

In my teenage years I had been very active in SSJ Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, and my helping the olim settle in Shiloh was a miraculous way to continue the dream. In the 1960s if someone had told me that hundreds of thousands Soviet Jews would be in Israel, and I'd be helping them in Shiloh, I'd have trouble believing it possible. But miracles happen.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Buttigieg's Butting in, Not Trump

Democratic presidential candidate calls US recognition of Golan ‘interference’ in Israeli politics
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, denounced on Tuesday U.S. President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights as an “interference” in the State of Israel and its politics.
No surprise, but the American Democratic Left is totally fokokt wrong, yet again. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the recent presidential wannabes doesn't understand simple terminology.

Interference is the noun of interfere:
interfereverb [ I ]B2 to involve yourself in a situation when your involvement is not wanted or is not helpful:
 UK  /ˌɪn.təˈfɪər/ US  /ˌɪn.t̬ɚˈfɪr/
That means when a foreign government, leader, NGO etc. affirms, recognizes, states agreement with a policy of another country, that isn't interference. But when a foreign government, leader, NGO etc. insists on a contradictory policy to that of a sovereign country, that is interference.

For example U.S. President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights shows proper diplomatic support and respect for the State of Israel, in contrast to the interference in internal Israeli affairs of Buttigieg who won't recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital City shows proper respect for the State of Israel, while foreign governments, leaders, NGOs etc. who refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital City are exhibiting interference in Israel's basic policies.

We Israelis are enjoying the fact that for the first time in the History of the State of Israel, the United States of America has a pro-Israel President.

Buttigieg doesn't know bupkis.

American Embassy, Jerusalem, celebrates United States Independence Day

Saturday, August 10, 2019

"Speedily in Our Days..." Tisha B'Av 5779, 2019


This year, this Tisha b'Av, the time we're supposed to be mourning the destruction of our Holy Temples, I find myself mourning the fact that the vast majority of the Jewish People have no plan to build the Third Holy Temple. 

As I read the words of Eicha, I began to feel that we're too accepting of our "victimhood," rather than pushing forward and living as Gd wants. Much of this feeling is the influence of the lectures I heard the other day in Michlelet Herzog (College) Tanach/Bible Program.

Only seventy 70 years passed between the destruction of the First Temple and the construction of the Second Temple. Now over two thousand years have passed since the Second one was destroyed, and  we still don't have a Holy Temple. More than seventy 70 years ago the State of Israel was established and more than fifty years since the IDF Israel Defense Forces liberated the Temple Mount in the stupendously miraculous 1967 Six Days War.

Just a few hours ago, on Shabbat we read the Torah, Dvarim:

רְ֠אֵה נָתַ֨ן יְ-ה אֱלֹ-יךָ לְפָנֶ֖יךָ אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ עֲלֵ֣ה רֵ֗שׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר֩ דִּבֶּ֨ר יְ-ה אֱלֹהֵ֤י אֲבֹתֶ֙יךָ֙ לָ֔ךְ אַל־תִּירָ֖א וְאַל־תֵּחָֽת׃
21- See, the LORD your God has placed the land at your disposal. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Fear not and be not dismayed.”
Nu? It's clear to me. We're supposed to be sovereign and build for the Jewish People in all of the Land of Israel, including the Holy Temple, the Beit Hamikdash on Har Habayit, the Temple Mount.
  • Gd gave us this Land for a reason.
  • Gd gave us the victories in 1948, 1967, 1973 and more for us to build a country for Jews.
We must not be afraid of foreign powers. They have no power over us. We the Jewish People are Gd's People.

May we accept Gd's gifts and use them properly

במהרה בימינו
Bimhaira yameinu
Speedily in Our Days

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Summer Bible/Tanach 5779 at Herzog College

Yesterday I spent the day immersed in Bible, Tanach at Michlelet Herzog, Herzog College in Alon Shvut. They offer a weeklong "festival" of study and touring. It's not cheap, but it's worth it for me. My summer vacation treats are membership in our local pool and spending one day at Herzog. I prefer that to a hotel or other "vacation."

This year enough* people signed up for the Shomron-Binyamin bus, which made traveling very easy.
I signed up for lectures according to the lecturers. Three are favorites from Matan, Dr. Yael Ziegler, Yael Leibowitz and Atara Snowbell, who no longer teaches there. They are my all time favorites, and if you ever have the opportunity to hear them, take advantage.

Herzog College Yemei Iyun, Bible Study Days offer classes and tours in Hebrew, English and French.



The organization, as usual, was excellent. This time my classes were only in two locations, two lectures, lunch and then the following three in a large "tent." Besides the bus, I signed up for lunch, which was also excellent. There was fish, plus a vegetarian alternative, lots of vegetables, salad, fruit and bread for those who wanted. There were hot/cold drinks in various locations, plus fruit, cookies and pastry throughout the day.

I must admit that the various lectures are all mixed up in my head. They covered similar overlapping topics and even quoted some of the same Bible verses.

To very superficially summarize, the lectures were about the era between the two Holy Temples, Ezra, Nechemia and Jeremiah.

Each of the five lecturers/speakers have different styles, and I really enjoyed the fact that they went over similar subject matter in their individual ways. The era is so similar to today:

  • aliyah
  • intermarriage
  • assimilation
  • "Who's a Jew?"
  • To build or not to build a new Holy Temple?
  • True or False Prophets? Who's really speaking in the name of Gd?

An added bonus was seeing lots of friends, many I've known since I was a teen. I also got to meet people I've been in touch with via facebook and other social media.

The growing popularity of the Tanach, Bible is further proof that we're preparing ourselves for the Third Temple and the Moshiach. They are connected, and I believe that we have to change, be ready, prepare ourselves and the world. It's not the job for the Moshiach to change us.  Gd willing we will work harder to make ourselves better, do Teshuva, repent and utilize the gifts Gd has been giving us, like the Land of Israel.

במהרה בימינו
bimhaira biyameinu
speedily in our days...





*last year it was cancelled for the day I needed due to insufficient registration

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Chodesh Ellul Tov, 5779, September 1, 2019


Rosh Chodesh Ellul, 5779, and the opening of the Israeli school year will both be September 1, 2019. I guess that means young mothers and teachers will be too busy to pray with us at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. We had a nice size group of various ages Rosh Chodesh Ellul, B"H. The turnout varies from month to month.


Ellul is a very special month in the Jewish Calendar. It's the month before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Ellul is the time for heightened Teshuva, Repentance, before the gates close on Yom Kippur. Of course we're always supposed to do teshuva and not wait. Nobody knows when death or incapacity will come. Ellul is an extra important time to pray in Judaism's holy sites of which Shiloh is a major one.

Shiloh was the location of the Mishkan, Tabernacle which predated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by close to one hundred years. For 369 years Shiloh was the Capital, main city for the Jewish People. It was in Shiloh, at the Tabernacle where Hannah prayed to Gd for a son who would lead the Jewish People from the anarchy of the time of Judges. Hannah's son was Samuel the Prophet, who annointed our first two kings, Saul and David.

Archeologist are active and busy in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, discovering the ruins of Biblical age buildings and the city wall, which confirm the Biblical narrative.



As an archaeological site which welcomes tourists, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, is constantly updating. There are all sorts of user friendly high tech activities to explain life in Biblical Shiloh. A visit is enjoyable and informative for all ages.

Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, Ellul, Sunday 1st of Ellul, 5779, September 1, 2019 at 8:30am, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. For more information email me shilohmuse@gmail.com, subject: Rosh Chodesh.

תפילת נשים בראש חודש אלול תהיה יום א', א' באלול, ,8:30 1-9-2019 בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה. לפרטים נוספים , shilohmuse@gmail.com subject: Rosh Chodesh.

We pray traditionally, silent prayers silently, and Hallel is sung together. We hope more women will join us at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Hebrew Grammar's The Key, Masei מסעי Parshat Shavua

I must admit that I love grammer, Hebrew Grammar and English, too. But it's Hebrew grammar which is most important. There are so many hidden messages in words, and an enormous amount of words can't be easily translated. The name of this week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week,  Masei מסעי, is one of those words.



Generally people translate Masei מסעי as "journeys." The Sefaria online Tanach/Bible translate it as "march" which is a drop closer. The letters מסעי all have meaning. The root is סע travel. The word is a plural noun, signified by the י at the end. And I see the מ as conjugated in the verb form הפעיל which "activates" or "forces" the linguistic root. When you add that all together, you have a forced march/journey, which makes sense. 

The so-called "journeys" the Jewish People took in the wilderness were not of their choice or timing. They didn't just wander around out of boredom or curiosity. Gd signalled, and they moved; then Gd signalled and they stopped.

Once we arrived in the Land Gd promised us, we were to stop and build and stay. Here's how the chapter ends:
וַיְדַבֵּ֧ר יְהוָ֛ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֖ה בְּעַֽרְבֹ֣ת מוֹאָ֑ב עַל־יַרְדֵּ֥ן יְרֵח֖וֹ לֵאמֹֽר׃
In the steppes of Moab, at the Jordan near Jericho, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
51
דַּבֵּר֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֲלֵהֶ֑ם כִּ֥י אַתֶּ֛ם עֹבְרִ֥ים אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃
Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
52
וְה֨וֹרַשְׁתֶּ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵ֤י הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ מִפְּנֵיכֶ֔ם וְאִ֨בַּדְתֶּ֔ם אֵ֖ת כָּל־מַשְׂכִּיֹּתָ֑ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־צַלְמֵ֤י מַסֵּֽכֹתָם֙ תְּאַבֵּ֔דוּ וְאֵ֥ת כָּל־בָּמֹתָ֖ם תַּשְׁמִֽידוּ׃
you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy all their figured objects; you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish all their cult places.
53
וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּ֥ם אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וִֽישַׁבְתֶּם־בָּ֑הּ כִּ֥י לָכֶ֛ם נָתַ֥תִּי אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ לָרֶ֥שֶׁת אֹתָֽהּ׃
And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have assigned the land to you to possess.
54
וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם֩ אֶת־הָאָ֨רֶץ בְּגוֹרָ֜ל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹֽתֵיכֶ֗ם לָרַ֞ב תַּרְבּ֤וּ אֶת־נַחֲלָתוֹ֙ וְלַמְעַט֙ תַּמְעִ֣יט אֶת־נַחֲלָת֔וֹ אֶל֩ אֲשֶׁר־יֵ֨צֵא ל֥וֹ שָׁ֛מָּה הַגּוֹרָ֖ל ל֣וֹ יִהְיֶ֑ה לְמַטּ֥וֹת אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֖ם תִּתְנֶחָֽלוּ׃
You shall apportion the land among yourselves by lot, clan by clan: with larger groups increase the share, with smaller groups reduce the share. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. You shall have your portions according to your ancestral tribes.
55
וְאִם־לֹ֨א תוֹרִ֜ישׁוּ אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָאָרֶץ֮ מִפְּנֵיכֶם֒ וְהָיָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תּוֹתִ֣ירוּ מֵהֶ֔ם לְשִׂכִּים֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וְלִצְנִינִ֖ם בְּצִדֵּיכֶ֑ם וְצָרֲר֣וּ אֶתְכֶ֔ם עַל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם יֹשְׁבִ֥ים בָּֽהּ׃
But if you do not dispossess the inhabitants of the land, those whom you allow to remain shall be stings in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land in which you live;

56
וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּמִּ֛יתִי לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לָהֶ֖ם אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃ (פ)
so that I will do to you what I planned to do to them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Israel's Right United, Right?

Israeli Politics is complicated


It seems that Shaked, Bennett, Peretz and Smotrich have done their pragmatic best to unite their political parties for the upcoming elections. And I'm even happier to see that Moshe Feiglin isn't part of the bloq.

I have no doubt that this hasn't been easy. The NRP is now headed by a political newbie who doesn't seem to have a clue, and there's bad blood between the parties. But for the good of the State of Israel they've figured out how to make a coalition of sorts and run as one party.

They haven't yet published the exact Knesset list, but I'm glad to see that Matan Kahana is included. I was very impressed by him when he spoke in Shiloh a few months ago.

I want a strong Right wing party to the Right of the Likud in the Knesset. Like a strong magnet, it should pull the Likud Rightwards.

Matan Kahana, who may be #7 on the "joint Right list"

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Kenes Shiloh Conference #8 Stupendous!

I really enjoyed the Kenes Shiloh Conference #8 this past Thursday. I arrived early enough to make the tour. The tour for us ended at the newest attraction, which is a high tech illustration of life in Ancient Biblical Shiloh by the Canaanite Wall, where the enormous food jugs had been discovered about forty years ago. One of them is on display in the Israel Museum.

There were some really great talks at the conference part of the event. Highlights for me were listening to Scott Stripling, who has been leading a "dig" in Shiloh for the past three years, Reut Ben-Arye, a homegrown archeologist, and Dr Brachi Elitzur.

I wouldn't dare attempt to summarize or explain anything said there. All I can do is post some pictures I took at the conference and recommend that you visit Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.  Enjoy.