JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Monday, July 6, 2020

Bibi-Gantz Coalition, Political Trick?

When will Israel have new elections?

Odd couple for sure. There's no humor in the present Israeli coalition of Bibi-Gantz, Likud and Blue and White plus the chareidim and a few others. Gantz's political career was founded on and focused on declaring Bibi Binyamin Netanyahu unfit for office and replacing him. But then, after three failed attempts to legally unseat him as Prime Minister, Gantz folded and accepted a deal with Bibi. Bibi trapped him with a newly invented title "Alternate" Prime Minister with all the expensive trappings of the office without any authority or responsibilities. When Gantz and his cronies offer opinions aka "alternative" policies they're accused of "interfering."

In the meantime, polls are showing Gantz and his remaining Blue and White Party dropping, while his former political partner, Yair Lapid, is now holding second place, aka head of opposition.

Politics is a complicated profession. Each country has its very own system, requiring wannabes to learn a complicated lexicon of skills to really succeed. There's no competition between the skills and experience of the Likud MKs with Gantz and his cronies.

Could the downward spiral of Blue and White have been the aim of Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu's offer to Benny Gantz all along?

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Ribonut, Sovereignty vs The Trump-Kushner Apartheid Terror Plan

Yesterday I was in Jerusalem and had a bit of time between appointments, so I made my way to the Women in Green's three day "Yes to Sovereignty over the Land of Israel, No to Palestine" conference.

It was good to feel that I was doing more for Jewish Life in the State of Israel than tapping on my computer keyboard, even though I only sat and listened to the speakers. Seeing women and men from all over the country who all agree that we can't play games with our sovereignty and security was reassuring.

Trump's "plan/deal" is a nightmare and diametrically opposed to his original stated policy. He should have stuck with his position that only the parties involved should negotiate, and there should never be an imposed/proposed plan by outsiders.

Now, his so-called Israeli Sovereignty sic requires American approval as if we're under his and Jared Kushner's rule.

The state of Israel is an independent country, and in June, 1967, we were threatened with total destruction by neighboring Arab countries. The results of the war those threats caused was the straightening out of our borders and the liberation of territory which had been used to attack Israel. All international historical precedent is similar situations is that the victorious country absorbs/annexes such territory, and that is what the State of Israel should have done as soon as Jordan, Egypt and Syria surrendered or ceased attacking. Incomprehensibly we didn't, and we've been suffering ever since.

Better late than never, it's the time NOW TO ANNEX ALL LAND ISRAEL HOLDS! If the Arabs don't like it they can leave. Simple.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Corona, COVID-19 Safe "Visits," Check Out Some Blogs

Take advantage of being home more for entertaining yourself on your phone, computer or tablet to read some blog posts. The blogs I follow are the independent ones, not those supplementing op-eds on the online version of various newspapers. Bloggers like myself writer our own material and mostly use our own photographs and graphics. We're not in danger of being "pulled" by antagonistic editors or in competition for prominence for a good spot to attract readers.

A fellow blogger made this graphic for me when I hosted
the 89th Havel Havelim, Jewish-Israeli Blog Round-Up
Some blogs are very personal, while others follow the news. There are food blogs, frugal blogs, book/literary blogs, photo blogs, religious blogs, and some have evolved into what can be best described as "internet magazines."

Years ago, there were frequent, often weekly, blog carnivals aka "roundups" in which the host offered a selection of links to blog posts from many other blogs. And every once in awhile I return to that genre. This is one of those occasions.

As is my custom, I'm just listing the blog post titles for you to click. Remember, I'm not responsible for the content of any blog post other than my own. If you have anything to say about the various blog posts, comment on the individual blog. And if there are any blogs you recommend, please let me know in the comments here, thanks.


Portrait of the Artist During LA Riots… Jew With A Gun
Mountains To Conquer, And Those Already Scaled
Simply Delicious Power Salad
Little Minyans Everywhere
The Past Three Months Have Been Harder Than I Realized
Forbidden, Allowed, or Obligated?
Where the ‘Woke’ Left Learn From and Defend Antisemites
The Tool That Is Twitter
Dangers of "Half" or "Partial" Sovereignty
Ears of Philosophy
Wisdom of the Fathers
Jewish Folklore and One of Its Lessons
The six week mark
Fantastic Israeli Second Hand Book Store
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz at Ancient Tel Shiloh

Which blog post did you like the best and why?

Visit again.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The "Pilot Trip" That Went Very Wrong, Parshat Shlach Lecha

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week Shlach Lecha is basically about a "Pilot Trip" to the Holy Land that ended up being a disaster.

Gd had instructed Moshe to send out a very distinguished delegation of tribal leaders to divvy up the Land in advance of the big return. Today it's called a "pilot trip." Potential olim, those Jews moving to Israel, are encouraged to send an "advance team or delegate" to choose a suitable location, schools and even arrange housing. Of the twelve tribal leaders Moshe had sent, only Calev followed instructions exactly.
24But as for My servant Caleb, since he was possessed by another spirit, and he followed Me, I will bring him to the land to which he came, and his descendants will drive it[s inhabitants] out.
כדוְעַבְדִּ֣י כָלֵ֗ב עֵ֣קֶב הָֽיְתָ֞ה ר֤וּחַ אַחֶ֨רֶת֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וַיְמַלֵּ֖א אַֽחֲרָ֑י וַֽהֲבִֽיאֹתִ֗יו אֶל־הָאָ֨רֶץ֙ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֣א שָׁ֔מָּה וְזַרְע֖וֹ יֽוֹרִשֶֽׁנָּה:
Their mission wasn't to judge the pros and cons of entering the Land, just to be pragmatically prepared.

Today it's the same. Israel in just over seventy years has become one the most advanced countries in the world. Gd has helped us win our wars, because Gd wants all Jews to live here. Don't make the mistake of the ten tribal leaders who sinned. Be like Calev and Joshua. Pack your bags and stake out your place in the Holy Land, The Land of Israel.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz at Ancient Tel Shiloh

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, Gd willing we'll be back again praying together in Ancient Tel Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma.
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5780, ראש חודש תמוז תש"פ
Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
תפילת נשים בשילה הקדומה
8:30 Monday and Tuesday 22 + 23/06 'ימי ב' וג

All Invited כולן מוזמנות
info: shilohmuse@gmail.com פרטים
Yes, you read it correctly. I decided to experiment and invite for both days of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. It will herald one of those months that has the 30th day of the previous month and the first of the new one, both as Rosh Chodesh requiring Hallel, the Rosh Chodesh Musaf and Yaale viyavo...

I hope and pray that women will attend at least one of the Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

The chances are that face masks will still be required, even though our prayers are outdoors. We must take into account that there are senior citizens and others with compromised immune systems in our prayer group.

Ancient Tel Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma is a wonderful archeological site, and it's possible to arrange tours and other activities for visitors of all ages. For more information Phone: 02-5789122, visit@telshilo.org.il.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dangers of "Half" or "Partial" Sovereignty

Yesterday our local senior citizen whatsapp group was full of panicky posts trying to make sense out of the rumors, incomplete leaks, incomprehensible maps and news about possible "half-sovereignty," sic.

Deja vu the old United Nations Partition Plan, this partial or half-sovereignty will cause major inconvenience at best and more death by terrorism for sure. A splattering of Jackson-Pollock style splashes in the Land of Israel makes no sense. There's no legal, security or moral reason for such a thing.

"Half" or "Partial" Sovereignty will only fill more cemeteries 

Shades of Barack Hussein Obama and his predecessors, the latest threats by United States officials are no different from FDR's refusal to allow Jews fleeing Hitler to get refuge in America and Truman's State Department which had recommended not recognizing the Jewish State in the UN vote.

Nothing has changed. We're on our own, and we're best off like that. Remember that the State of Israel had no foreign allies during the Six Days War, and that was the best. Let the world butt out, including Trump and Kushner.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Synagogues Reopening in Israel

For the past couple of months, outdoor uncrowded aka keep your distance minyanim, Jewish Prayer groups, have been gathering all over our neighborhood and other places in Israel. That's because synagogues have been closed, padlocked even. From what I've heard, this has been the situation in Israel and all over the world. Too many people have caught the dreaded corona virus, COVID-19 when at religious gatherings.

As the rate of infection began to lessen here in Israel, outdoor prayers became permitted with masked (not everyone followed that rule) attendees standing a couple of meters from each other.

My husband favored the minyan in the park across the street. Besides the location being so close to the house, it's comfortably shaded and even has a few benches. Though he brought a chair or stool for the longer prayer services.

Apparently the new regulations permits men to pray indoors, but not women. The advantage is that the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Section will also be available for the men allowing them to spread out even more.

Gd willing a refuah shleimah, speedy and complete recovery for all the sick and the end of this corona virus, COVID-19 ASAP.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Parshat Shavua Bahar, The Connection of Shmitta to Mt Sinai

I'm certainly not competing with the venerable and respected Rashi, but a half a century after making aliyah, moving to Israel, I definitely see a strong connection between Shmitta and Mt Sinai.

The connection between Shmitta and Mt Sinai is very simple. It's the paramount centrality of the Land of Israel to the foundation of Torah and Mitzvot. Since there are mitzvot that can only be observed in the Land of Israel, all Jews should be living here.

Vayikra - Leviticus - Chapter 25

1And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying,
אוַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה בְּהַ֥ר סִינַ֖י לֵאמֹֽר:
on Mount Sinai: What [special relevance] does the subject of Shemittah [the “release” of fields in the seventh year] have with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? However, [this teaches us that] just as with Shemittah, its general principles and its finer details were all stated from Sinai, likewise, all of them were stated-their general principles [together with] their finer details-from Sinai. This is what is taught in Torath Kohanim (25:1). [And why is Shemittah used as the example to prove this rule, especially since the very fine details are not even specified here (Sefer Hazikkaron)?] It appears to me that its explanation is as follows: [At the plains of Moab, Moses reiterated the majority of the laws of the Torah to the Israelites before their entry into the land of Israel, this reiteration comprising most of the Book of Deuteronomy. Now,] since we do not find the laws of Shemittah [“release”] of land reiterated on the plains of Moab in Deuteronomy, we learn that its general principles, finer details, and explanations were all stated at Sinai. Scripture states this [phrase] here to teach us that [just as in the case of Shemittah,] every statement [i.e., every commandment] that was conveyed to Moses came from Sinai, [including] their general principles and finer details [and that the commandments delineated in Deuteronomy were merely] repeated and reviewed on the plains of Moab [not originally given there].
בהר סיני: מה ענין שמיטה אצל הר סיני, והלא כל המצות נאמרו מסיני, אלא מה שמיטה נאמרו כללותיה ופרטותיה ודקדוקיה מסיני, אף כולן נאמרו כללותיהן ודקדוקיהן מסיני, כך שנויה בתורת כהנים. ונראה לי שכך פירושה לפי שלא מצינו שמיטת קרקעות שנשנית בערבות מואב במשנה תורה, למדנו שכללותיה ופרטותיה כולן נאמרו מסיני, ובא הכתוב ולמד כאן על כל דבור שנדבר למשה שמסיני היו כולם כללותיהן ודקדוקיהן, וחזרו ונשנו בערבות מואב:

2Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to the Lord.
בדַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֤י תָבֹ֨אוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י נֹתֵ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם וְשָֽׁבְתָ֣ה הָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַֽיהֹוָֽה:
a Sabbath to the Lord: For the sake of the Lord, just as is stated of the Sabbath of Creation (see Exod. 20:10) [i.e., just as every seventh day is a holy Sabbath day, acclaiming that God Himself rested on the seventh day and thus acclaiming that God is the Supreme Creator of all existence, likewise, man must rest from working the land on the seventh year, for the sake of God, not for the sake of the land, so that it should gain fertility by lying fallow for a year]. — [Sifthei Chachamim ; Torath Kohanim 25:7]
שבת לה': לשם ה', כשם שנאמר בשבת בראשית:

3You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in its produce,
גשֵׁ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ תִּזְרַ֣ע שָׂדֶ֔ךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹ֣ר כַּרְמֶ֑ךָ וְאָֽסַפְתָּ֖ אֶת־תְּבֽוּאָתָֽהּ:

4But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest a Sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field, nor shall you prune your vineyard.
דוּבַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗ת שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה לָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה שָֽׂדְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔ע וְכַרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תִזְמֹֽר:
Yes, I understand that for even the most Torah observant and learned Jew living out of the Land of Israel, the Laws of Shmitta appear theoretical and even irrelevant. This was certainly even more so a thousand years ago, the time of Rashi, when nobody could seriously envision fruitful Jewish agriculture and a Jewish State in the Holy Land, Land of Israel. Christian crusaders had been invading and destroying much of the Land of Israel in the name of their god. Jewish Life was under attack all over the world, especially in the Holy Land. Christian and Muslim theologians needed to prove that Judaism was dead and they were the god appointed replacements. Of course, they would then have to fight each other for the ultimate title.

A hundred and fifty years ago the Zionist Movement brought a new relevance to Shmitta and all other Torah Commandments, mitzvot that can only be observed in the Land of Israel. Close to three years ago I reviewed Rebels in the Holy Land - Mazkeret Batya - An Early Battleground for the Soul of Israel, which tells of how the pioneers who established Mazkeret Batya risked everything to revive the mitzvah of Shmitta.

Poskim, rabbis who are considered as qualified/learned to make decisions based on the Torah, must look seriously at the new realities of today and not base their decisions on Jewish Life of a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, before the Establishment of the State of Israel and even before Israel's miraculously victory in the Six Days War. The Establishment of the State of Israel and the post-Six Day War were major game-changers for the Jewish People. Gd gave us the Torah to be lived in our world, not to be rooted to the past. We are now sovereign in the Land of Israel, and it's time for all Jews to come home. Otherwise, you may miss the boat.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Likud Voters Voted Bibi But Got Benny Gantz

This is my local synagogue, locked and blocked during the corona lock-down. This is used for illustrative purposes only. BTW it may remind you that during the corona crises, Naftali Bennett has worked hard, efficiently and effectively for the health of the State of Israel.
Israel's new government, soon to sworn in, led yet again by Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu will have an outrageously large number of ministers to satisfy/tempt/pay off the politicians and parties Bibi wanted in his coalition. Chareidi party leaders were even surprised at how easy it was this time to get the assignments they wanted. In addition, Blue and White's Benny Gantz was given crucial positions which had been promised to the Right, meaning Likud or Yemina. According to reports Gantz has veto power.

Something stinks.

Yemina leaders Naftali Bennett and crew have spent the past few months working hard showing their loyalty to the bloc Bibi had been touting. But what did Yemina get from Bibi? Zilch! Nothing. The publicized offers aren't even worth mentioning, so insulting. There seems to be something "personal" in it. One can insult and malign Netanyahu as Gantz has been doing the past couple of years, and Bibi will forgive. But if someone works hard and well and is a generation younger, Bibi feels threatened so "off with his head."

Quite a few people wanted Yemina but voted Likud. What a shame. They got the other Binyamin,  Gantz instead of Netanyahu.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Good Corona COVID-19 News is Conditional

Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu made a major announcement last night that Corona  COVID-19 restrictions will be eased-not erased here, but...

Yes, but if three things happen, we'll be back to the lock-down.
  1. 100 new cases of Corona  COVID-19 in a day, not counting those returning from abroad or living in one of the high risk communities. 
  2. Doubling of new cases of Corona  COVID-19 within ten 10 days.
  3. The daily number/count of those seriously ill with Corona  COVID-19 is two hundred and fifty 250.
This makes sense to me. Gd willing, 1- wear a mask, 2- keep one's distance and 3- basic good hygiene will keep us all healthy.

We must still be masked, or the virus will spread, and we'll be back to lock-down restrictions. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Disgusted With The Latest Coalition News in Israel

I really am disgusted, and that's why I haven't blogged about it of late. I had been hoping that Bibi-Likud would have just made a tighter coalition. He could have made Gantz beg, certainly not offer so many ministerial posts and power.

Would you prefer another round of elections?

To be perfectly honest, I would have preferred a fourth round of elections.

Considering all that's going on with corona aka COVID-19 and security, the State of Israel is doing so much better than other countries.

My guess is that the Judicial is conspiring against Bibi, and he needs the backing of Gantz and crew. Latest news is that Mandelblit says that Bibi Netanyahu is legally permitted to form a new government. That's after Bibi got Gantz, Ashkenazi and Labor to join up with him.

Something stinks. It's that simple. Eventually we'll find out more of what's behind this.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת is Not Leprosy!

Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת is not leprosy!

I'm glad that the Chabad Tanach editors just transliterate the word Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת rather than misleading people into thinking that it's a medical condition.

Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת doesn't exist today. For those who like to equate it with all sorts of skin diseases and conditions, sorry but you're totally wrong.

Chazal, our sages tell us that "Gd first creates the cure then the disease." The cure and diagnosis of Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת was by the Kohen, Priest from the Beit Hamikdash, Holy Temple. Once they Priests no longer functioned in such a way, then there was nobody to even diagnose Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת. So without a diagnosis/cure, the condition could no longer exist.

Yes, it's that simple.

I believe that the early christian theologians and Bible translators found it necessary to give the condition a medical name. Since they did this after Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת no longer existed they had to make it look like it was something current. Also, theologically they had absolutely now way of relating to Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת.

Maybe when we have the Third Temple, Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת will return.

Monday, April 20, 2020

What Do You Think? 4th Elections or Will Bibi Gather 61+ Or Will Bibi and Gantz Make a Deal*?

*When I wrote the post below just an hour or so ago, I didn't even think there was a chance that Bibi would trust Gantz. Honestly, I wouldn't trust him. But it looks like they actually will sign some sort of agreement for an emergency/unity government.

Rather crazy here in Israel. You'd think Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu had enough to do trying to make the safest possible policies for the citizens and residents of the State of Israel during "corona crisis." Whether Bibi wants to or not, he's still just an "interim" Prime Minister, since he hasn't officially formed a coalition.

Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party have fallen apart. Ditto for the party Labor's Peretz had formed with Orly Levi. Naftali Bennett and what remains of the NRP seem to change with each election. But Bibi and the Likud have been pretty stable, though Gidon Saar did try to usurp the top spot. You may think that usurp isn't the correct word, but the timing was totally bad, and I lost any respect I had for Saar. I feel that his challenge was bad for the Likud at a time when loyalty was needed.

So, what do you think? Will we have to go to elections yet again, or will Bibi manage to gather enough stray MKs to present a government coalition of 61+?

Please write your vote in the comments, thanks.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Israel, The Only Jewish Country, Model Seder on National Television

Israel's President Ruby Rivlin

Model Seder, 5780, 2020, Channel 11
Model Seder, 5780, 2020, Channel 11
Wednesday, soon before Passover, 5780, 2020, began, there was a lovely, traditional "Model Seder" on Israel's Channel 11. Various entertainers, plus Israel's President Ruby Rivlin "beamed in" participated in a national Pesach Seder.

It's in times like this when we're reminded that Israel is the only Jewish country in the world. Granted that it's too easy to complain; people sure do.

I was going to blog about politics. But in these difficult corona, COVID-19, times, I really think it's better to write about something good and encouraging. In addition, when Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu explained the corona lock-down restrictions, he related them to the Passover holiday and family observances.

Let's look at the good and our blessings. One thing for sure, modern technology has made these restrictions much easier to bear. What do you think?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Simple COVID-19, Corona Life Saving Measure: Wear a Mask!

Surviving and being a good neighbor/citizen in the time of COVID-19, Corona requires wearing a mask. You don't need to spend money to get a mask. If everyone masks up, we'll all be safer and healthier!

You don't need to spend money on a fancy manufactured mask. I've cut up ripped sheets.

Here's my husband in one of my scarves

The "masked bandit" look is the rage nowadays, though too few people are following the rules.

I keep a bag of scarves and large pieces of cloth on the doorknob, on the inside of the front door.

When we come back home, we put the "mask" in the laundry and wash our hands with soap and water.

Since we live in a private house in Shiloh, which is rather rural/suburban, we don't need to be in a dangerous elevator or closed stairwell to leave home. This is a safety luxury that not all people can enjoy. I honestly don't know what I would do if leaving home was more dangerous.

As a senior citizen who does everything in my power to stay fit and healthy, walking isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. When I see adults and children out without masks, they are endangering everyone's health. Young people can carry the virus and infect others without any symptoms at all. It is necessary to wear masks, no matter how "good" you feel.

Here are the Israeli regulations:
Going Out to Public Space
  • Going out in public is not allowedexcept for one of the following purposes:
    • Going to and returning from the work place, as permitted by regulations
    • Purchase of food, medicines, essential products and receiving vital services
    • Receiving medical service
    • Blood donation
    • Receiving welfare services
    • Providing medical or other assistance to another person
    • An individual, or people who live in the same household, may go out for a short time and up to a distance of 100 meters
    • For purposes of immersion in a women’s mikveh with a prearranged appointment.
    • Transfer of a minor to educational facilities, solely for children of essential employees and special facilities (in accordance with Public Health Ordinance order)
    • Transfer of a minor, whose parents live separately, by one of his parents to the home of the other parent
    • Transfer of a minor whose guardian must leave for an essential need where there is no responsible person to watch the child
    • Legal processes
    • Demonstrations
    • Going to the Knesset
  • A distance of at least 2 meters must be maintained between two people in public and at work.
  • In public one must wear a protective mask, covering the nose and mouth. It is recommended to use a home-made cloth mask or a regular mask, fitted over the nose and mouth. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Counting The Omer, Easier Than Trying to Calculate The End of Corona Lock-down

Here we are a week before Passover aka Pesach, and this used to* be the season when we'd sign up for various reminders to help us remember to Count The Omer, Sefirat Ha'Omer, the seven weeks, forty-nine 49 days between the second night of Passover and the Eve of Shavuot.
*Why did I write "used to?"
I wrote "used to," because today when most everyone has some sort of cell phone with alarm clock, you can just set your phone to be your daily alarm.
This method is fine on week nights, but it doesn't work Shabbat and the eve of the last night of Passover. I came up with a simple method that works for me.
I hang up a sign across from where I like to sit in the living room. As you can see, before  Shabbat or the holiday, I write the number of the Omer I must count. I've found that to be a very reliable reminder. 
Counting the Omer was one of the most difficult mitzvot for me to observe in the early decades of my being Torah observant.

When I became religious in the mid-1960s, there was no reminder system. Only men who went to the synagogue every night to doven/pray Ma'ariv with a minyon had it as their easy to remember routine.

I didn't succeed in counting the Omer until our son-in-law came on the scene and signed us up for reminders with the cell phone company he was then working for. It was around the same time email reminders had begun, but I didn't check my email as often as I do now. So email wasn't the best, just better than nothing.

Maybe I'm the only one who has already lost track of how many days/weeks we've been on this corona lock-down, living with what was once unimaginable restrictions. Not only don't we know when it's going to end, we're constantly being warned that the noose aka restrictions maybe getting tighter.

Most people can adjust to something difficult when they know how long it will last. But even with all the complicated computations and guesswork the experts have been coming up with, there are too many unknowns to factor in for any accuracy. Another issue is that the virus is affecting various countries differently.

We must combine strict obedience and "letting go." There certainly is an inconsistency in that. But that's how we must live in the near future. We must make our efforts, mask ourselves when outside and stay inside as much as possible. Instead of doing our own shopping and choosing the choicest fruits and vegetables, we send in our orders and thank the staff of the local store. It's a new life for us.

Trust and faith are all we can control.

Chazal, our sages tell us that the plague, epidemic, which caused the death of thousands of Rabbi Akiva's students ended Shavuot. That's one of the reasons we count the Omer until then.

Gd willing we'll celebrate the end of this modern plague במהירה בימינו bimhaira biyameinu, speedily in our days.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Good News: Blue and White Disintegrated

Many people are describing Benny Gantz joining a coalition with the Likud and the disintegration of Blue and White as:
"Gantz blinked first."
Gabi Ashkenazi at Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by Batya Medad
But I really think that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "I'm too busy running the country in these difficult times" actions, ignoring Gantz was even more powerful than the classic "staring contest." Honestly, how long can even a political newbie/lightweight like Benny Gantz stare at a blank wall?

I also wonder if Gabi Ashkenazi had anything to do with Gantz's finally giving in. Ashkenazi is the only one of quartet to be joining Gantz in the coalition.
Gabi Ashkenazi at Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by Batya Medad

Gabi Ashkenazi at
Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on
the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by unknown. That's me with
the pink gloves.
As you can see in the photos, there was a time when Gabi Ashkenazi and I cheered together for the same football team.  Our sons were top players together on the IFL Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions, that's American tackle football. He liked to sit right behind us, and never put on "airs." At the time Ashkenazi was head of the IDF, but he made time for cheering the team.

At this point most Israelis are sick and tired of all the political bickering and shenanigans, and we certainly don't want more elections.

The corona virus aka COVID-19 lock-down is causing us enough stress, and here in Israel, even the less Torah observant want to prepare in some way for Passover. Few people have sympathy for the MKs and party leaders who are looking for ways to gain political power during these difficult times. Even those who didn't vote for Bibi/Likud are impressed by how hard his team is working to get us through this epidemic with minimal casualties.  Other countries are in much worse shape.

It's Friday, and corona/COVID-19 or not, Shabbat will be in a few hours. May it be peaceful and healing.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Travels With Sushi, A Fable, Genre: Harry Potter

I'm going to tell you the truth. I almost didn't take up the offer to accept Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind by Eduard Shyfrin for reviewing. It was described as a children's book that explained "maths and quantum physics" in a unique way. In all honesty, that's neither my specialty nor interest. I have grandchildren who are more talented and knowledgeable about sciences than me, so I had an ulterior motive for taking the book. As soon as I finish writing this book review, I'm going to find a way to pass it to them.

To my great enjoyment and utter surprise, I discovered that Travels with Sushi is much, much more than a children's "science book." It's a fable about the Jewish People, our enemies and the Bible. There's no way I'm wrong about this. Many of the characters have names and characteristics similar to biblical figures. Yes, it can't be an unintentional coincidence. In a addition, they play similar roles in both narratives.

Aaron and Stella, the brother-sister pair are the main characters. They love and eat sushi, but they don't eat it with shrimp. Hmm what does that make you think of? This Aaron, like the biblical one, partners up with a sibling. But instead of brother Moses, he works with sister Stella. Could the name Stella come from the biblical Esther? Maybe.

Travels with Sushi includes lots of magic, which should attract the Harry Potter fans. Aaron and Stella end up in a mysterious frightening, dangerous world after eating special sushi. There's a Supreme Ruler and a Book and the "good guys" being attacked; BTW they don't eat shrimp. Aaron and Stella must rescue them before their memories are stolen.

The reader follows Aaron and Stella around as they together and separately outsmart the Black Queen and the Mushi. The White Queen is the good one, and they're helped by other characters, including Josh and Valeb. Could they be modeled and named for Joshua and Caleb of biblical fame?

Pretty much locked down in my house because of the corona virus, I see streets, parks, playgrounds here in Shiloh are hauntingly empty. This short passage from Travels with Sushi was very apropos to what's going on around me.

I must say that I truly enjoyed reading  Travels with Sushi. For those of us attracted to character and plot, the physics and math don't stand out. It's suitable for older children, precocious younger readers and makes a great book to read to your children, too. I also recommend it for an EFL book report, so it'll be sent to my grandchildren, Gd willing.

Here's an interview with the author Eduard Shyfrin and the facebook page.

  • Publisher: White Raven Publishing (October 3, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912892154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912892150
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Letter to The Jerusalem Post: Shocked by Yaakov Katz's Op-Ed

Editor's Notes: Politicizing a health crisis

From the first few lines of Yaakov Katz's op-ed in Friday's paper, I was sure he'd mention the old standby "Don't change horses mid-stream," but instead he attacked the Likud and not Blue and White. Maybe Katz doesn't quite understand the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis that is endangering the State of Israel, and most of the world.

Compared to most countries, Israel is doing an extraordinarily good job in keeping things under control, bringing back stranded citizens and caring for the ill. This isn't a time to change governments, even if Blue and White had received many more Knesset seats than Likud. We all know that not only didn't they receive as many as Likud, but Gantz had promised not to add the Joint List to his coalition. The only ones playing politics in this time of national and international crisis are the supporters of Benny Gantz.

If Gantz and crew really cared about the State of Israel at this point they would have immediately gone to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and offered to join an Emergency National Unity Government in any capacity needed for the sake of the citizens and residents. But they haven't. They and their followers are the ones playing politics, caring only for their personal egos and ambitions. 

Batya Medad

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Facebook Rescinded Ban

former title:
According to Facebook, One Can't Mention Biden's Age

I'm in shock. According to Facebook I've gone against "community standards." All I did was share an article from The NY Post, The best and worst of Joe Biden put on display during whirlwind day by John Podhoretz to facebook and write:
It's a real shocker for me. For over a decade I figured there'd never again be an American Presidential race in which both candidates are older than I am. Joe Biden is 7 years my senior, while Donald Trump is only 3 years older than me, four years younger than Biden. If Biden's elected, he'll be over 80 before his four years as POTUS are up. In case you're wondering, Bibi is just a few months younger than me. And I'm happily retired. Why should they all want the pressure after 70?
What's wrong with it? I don't see any "spam" in what I wrote. I'm almost 71, not a kid, so why can't I mention age?

What do you think?