Hamas War

Monday, February 28, 2005


A country that doesn’t respect and value itself and its citizens, won’t get the”world’s respect” .

Rabbi Wolf, zatz"l

Musings #102
February 27, 2005
The 18th of Adar Alef

An American Jewish Hero

This week was the first yartzeit (anniversary of the death of) a very special American rabbi. He wasn’t one of the “famous gdolim,” but his influence was no less vital to the Jewish world. When he and his family were still young, he took them to what was “the boondocks” of Orthodox Jewry, a community so lacking that others feared to tread or fled soon after arriving. Unlike many young rabbis, he didn’t use his lower-status pulpit as a stepping-stone to a “better job;” he transformed his tiny wisp of a congregation into a large vibrant Orthodox community.

In 1956 when Rabbi Ephraim Wolf, zatz”l, agreed to come to the Great Neck Synagogue, his sons were the only boys who wore kippot on the streets of Great Neck, and there were hardly any fully shomer mitzvot families. Today not only are there many more kosher restaurants than there were frum families, but there are also quite a number of additional Orthodox synagogues.

When Rabbi and Elaine Wolf moved with their two sons to Great Neck, the “experts” were predicting the demise of Orthodox Jewry. It’s ironic and fitting that this article about the growth of Orthodox Jewry came of the week of his yartzeit.
http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=77454 . Rabbi Wolf was one of those who changed the face and soul of American Jewry.

Rabbi Wolf welcomed my family to the Great Neck Synagogue when we moved to Great Neck in 1962, even though we were far from being Orthodox. He welcomed my brother and sister into the afternoon Hebrew School and me into the “Teen Club.” He sent his own two sons to the “Teen Club,” even though most of the members were public school kids like me, who knew nothing of Shabbat, kashrut and Jewish Law. We were also encouraged to welcome all of our friends to the activities, irrespective of their parents’ shul membership. All Jewish youth of Great Neck was welcomed to our activities.

Yes, the word “welcome” is the key to Rabbi Wolf’s success. Chabad (Lebovitch Chassidim) may get all the big publicity for bringing Jews back to Torah Judaism, but the real heroes are people like Rabbi Wolf. Rabbi Wolf welcomed us and accepted us and with no fanfare slowly built an Orthodox community. Youth activities were always supported by professional youth leaders and membership in NCSY. In addition he established a Jewish Day School and to guarantee that the students would arrive, he was the driver who picked them up in the morning and drove them home in the afternoon. Within two decades, the school had grown so large that it took over an empty public school building that was no longer in use.

Rabbi Wolf took great pride in those of us who had participated in the Teen Club activities. Over the years I’d hear reports that “Rabbi Wolf mentioned you in his sermon, again.” I’m not the only one who is religious today because of the opportunities Rabbi Wolf gave us. When we were young we had no idea that we were part of a Jewish revolution, but apparently Rabbi Wolf knew perfectly well what was happening. He had a vision and a dream and worked hard to bring it to fruition. That is why is was so proud of us.

I was privileged to attend the Jerusalem memorial assembly for Rabbi Wolf. As I listened to all the shiurim and reminisces by the family and the distinguished rabbis, I realized that I barely knew him. He did so many things for so many people in a way that seemed so effortless. When he spoke to me, it was as if he had all the time in the world.

It was also good seeing my old friends, Dahvid and Leah, his son and daughter-in-law, whom I’ve known since my early teens.

How could Rabbi Wolf be dead a year already? To think that he’d no longer be greeting me with “How wonderful to see you and your lovely family.”

May the entire family be blessed, and may I take this opportunity to thank Rabbi Wolf for all he did for me.

More information about Rabbi Wolf can be found on the memorial site established by the Great Neck Synagogue. http://www.gns.org/index.cfm

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Saturday, February 26, 2005


This is in bold as a cry of pain!

The terrorists were hard at work in Tel Aviv, Friday night. Yes, Davka, Tel Aviv. and davka a night club
4 murdered and dozens injured
Is that peace?
Is it?
Now, what do the Arabs really want? Who's talking peace? And who's threatening whom? Can you believe what they say? Take a good look and a clear "think."

The country's in danger, and the Jews in YESHA aren't the enemy. We're just trying to be good citizens, loyal citizens to "G-d and country." Isn't that what they used to say in the states? That seems to bother some people. Our kids are in the most dangerous of the elite units of the army. Instead of valuing in them, the government is turning on them.

Israeli kids were once raised on the heroic stories of the founding of the kibbutzim and the "moshavot." Now they're embarrassed by them, except for us. We're still living the Zionist dream. And we're treated like enemies, while the real enemies are excused for murdering.

But on a lighter and more joyous note. Read about the wonderful kids here in Israel and what they wrote. There was an essay contest initiated and organized by Yoel Ben Avraham. Israeli students from all over the country sent essays. The winners were just announced.

May there be a Shavua tov and geula shleimah b'mherah b'yamenu!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two interesting new articles

No great surprise for us, but a real embarrassment for all the "brilliant sociologists," social commentators, and other self-proclaimed prophets. Popular knowledge for the past hundred years, ever since Jews began streaming, fleeing out of the shtetels of eastern Europe into enlightened USA, throwing off their hats, shaving the beards, cutting paot, pigging out on traif....
Everyone knew that Orthodoxy was going with their Yiddish accents. People were certain that by the 21st century Tfilin would be on display in museums.
But, surprise! READ THIS

Now, you should understand what "tzaddikim" the government is, showing their sympathy and sensitivity. Not only will they provide psychological services for the battered refugees, they're not going to drag people out their homes on Shabbat!

Oy, the Moshiach should definitely be on his way, G-d willing, but with our help.

An important news story

This is definitely an important news story. I didn't write it, nor am I personally involved. But I highly recommend that you read this .

Monday, February 21, 2005

New, Old, Ancient, All the Same

Musings #101
February 20, 2005
The 11th of Adar Alef

New, Old, Ancient, All the Same

Ok, I admit that I’m not a rabbi; I’m just a housewife, who teaches English and writes. I learned that there’s a Jewish Law that even if one of the “shofrot,” rams horns, used in the time of the Beit Hamikdash, Holy Temple, was found, it wouldn’t be considered kosher for ritual use today.

Rabbinic decisions are connected to the times in which they are made. That’s why I have a problem with a few of the responses to my feeling that we must rethink our “enthusiasm” to the present State of Israel. A few people said that my thoughts and, opinions, are wrong because of what the Rabbis Kook (both of them) poskened, taught. Now, I would never criticize what the rabbis stated about the times in which they lived, but even Rav Tzvi Yehuda passed to olam haba a generation ago.

Not to diminish anything those great rabbis taught during their lives, I wonder what they would say and do if they were alive today, when the State of Israel planning on dismantling Jewish communities, schools, yeshivot and businesses and jailing those who protest against it. I can’t help thinking of Shmuel HaNavi, Samuel the Prophet, the man who anointed the first King of Israel, Saul, and soon after, while Saul still reigned, he anointed David king. In a sense, the Rabbis Kook can be likened to Shmuel HaNavi, except for the crucial fact that they died at too early a stage in the story.

I strongly feel that we are in those times again. We are reliving the times when Saul was chasing David, trying to kill him and all who followed him. Saul was desperate to preserve his kingship and pass it on to his son Jonathan.

David wrote some of his most moving T’hilim, psalms, when he was trying to avoid Saul’s persecution and murder attempts. Every week when I learn more of those lines (at our Boker Limud Nashim, Women’s Study Morning taught by Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham), I’m more and more convinced of the similarities.

First of all, in Biblical times, the people asked Shmuel to make them a king, “like all other nations,” (First Samuel, Chapter 8.) “Like all the other nations” so clearly reminds me how the Zionist leaders were so insistent on getting the approval of foreign countries, and how they celebrated, even today, the UN vote on the 29th of November, commemorated on the goyish calendar date. And to this day, major national decisions are made, not for what’s best for the State of Israel, but how will the goyim see us. Now, in the Divine Plan, which was no secret, there was supposed to be a king, but he wasn’t supposed to be “like all the nations.”

I have to admit something that annoys or makes some people uncomfortable, the more I learn about King Saul, the less I think of him. Now, as I’m writing this, I reread Chapter 9 in the First Book of Samuel, just to make sure that my impressions are based on the text. And it just confirmed my previous feelings. Saul was chosen more for his physical attributes, “…from his shoulders and upwards, he was taller than any of the people.” (First Samuel 9, 2) I can see that line illustrated with the classic portrait of the early kibbutznik, tall, handsome, broad-shouldered, his sun-bleached hair in a natural pompadour crowning his forehead.

Just read the chapter for the narrative. You don’t see a leader, just a well-behaved son of a prominent family, the handsome, pampered son of a “man of valor,” thrust into a position for which he was unprepared and unsuited. So it’s no surprise that later on when Goliath taunts his army, Saul is paralyzed and doesn’t react. Young David, the “Cinderella” son of Jesse, arrives with some food for his more important brothers, hears Goliath, takes out his slingshot, and kills him.

I call King David the “Cinderella,” because, like the Fairy Tale character, he was from a distinguished family, but treated like a servant. His brothers were raised to be national leaders, but he was kept out, sent off to be a shepherd. Now read Chapter 16 in The First Book of Samuel. Again, the similarities are really spooky. I see our hilltop youth in the description of young David and the fear of today’s regime echoes in Samuel’s as he tries to avoid G-d’s orders. “And Samuel said, ‘how can I go? If Saul will hear of it, he will kill me.’” (First Samuel 16, 2) Think of the government ministers “holding onto their seats” rather than defying Sharon.

Reading our once and forever history book, the Bible, we learn that because he didn’t follow G-d’s commandments, Saul loses Samuel’s backing in one of most pathetic scenes in the Bible and secular literature. The once kingly Saul crying, begging, pleading and grabbing Samuel’s cloak, willing to do anything just to remain king (First Samuel 15, 22-35.) It ends with G-d being sorry for ever having had appointed Saul king.

My writing, even at its best, can’t compete with the compelling narrative of the Holy Bible, so I suggest that you read it in whatever language is easiest for you to comprehend.

If we continue to follow our ancient history, then our troubles won’t be over for a while. It took quite a few years for David to begin his reign over the entire Jewish Nation. Our struggle is far from over, but as long as we follow G-d’s commandments, b’ezrat Hashem, t’hiyeh Geula shleimah, b’mheira, b’yameinu, With G-d’s help, there will be a complete redemption in our day, soon.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA

excellent link

I want to thank Baruch Kraus for sending this excellent link about anti-Semitism. It's very well done and hopefully will convince those not yet convinced.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Party Time

Party Time!
Biur Chametz is helping us celebrate our One Hundredth Shiloh Musings at this week's Hevel Hevelim . Take a look!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I Hope It's Not True

For the past few weeks, there have been rumors that the Israeli government is recruiting foreigners to "beef up" the "demolishing, destruction, transfer, &^#%&#^%$&^#$%&#* squad."

Read this , though on an empty stomach. Does anyone know more?

Friday, February 18, 2005

What's really in that new law...

There aren't too many people who read the fine print, or who read the complete and entire "Disengagement Law." There is one, and I trust him, David Badein. Read what he says about it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

polling about the poll

The Arutz 7 site has a poll asking people's opinions about whether or not, a referendum. As you know, I'm totally against one, and there's an option that I agree with.

How about voting? I won't tell you what to vote for, and you can comment here, since there's no comment option on the poll.

And if the issue's important to you, then send the link out to others.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I Don't Want To Say This, But...

Musings #100
February 16, 2005
The 7th of Adar Alef

I Don’t Want To Say This,

This is really hard and traumatic to say, but could the “Chareidim” be right in their attitude towards Zionism and the State of Israel? It’s starting to seem like Zionism is a lot like socialism, great in theory but horrific in practice.

I’m no expert in Chareidi rationale and philosophy. It has never interested me, never attracted me. What interests me now is just their attitude towards Zionism. Many of us who are religious Zionists in our practice and patriotism are feeling raped and plundered. First I was going to write, “stabbed in the back,” but it’s not like that at all. When my timing is bad and I catch a glimpse of the evening TV news, it’s more like a gang rape. You’d think that the greatest danger to Israel and to world peace is the Israeli “yemin hakitzoni,” the “extreme right wing.” And then you see teenagers being beaten and dragged by hefty police. Night after night, the same clips.

And then they put the same interview with the same husky, zaftig policewoman in a hospital bed, from where she booms, in a strong voice how some “extreme right wing demonstrator” kicked her in the chest. The TV announcer stresses how seriously injured she is, but her full, strong voice makes that hard to believe.

If you were wondering why all those terrorists are being released it’s to make room for the real dangers to society: fifteen-year-old kids. Yes, over a dozen high school students, some as young as fifteen, in the tenth grade, girls, yes; girls were imprisoned for a number of days. Some may have been even younger, but I know for a fact that there were fifteen-year-old girls locked in jail.

The EXPULSION Law includes draconian punishments, jail terms for those who actively protest or try to return to their homes, gardens, farms and businesses. This law was written by the same people who declared illegal and immoral all political activity by followers of Meir Kahane, who proposed a transfer of Arabs. Maybe I’m stupid, but I just don’t understand why it’s immoral to “transfer” Arabs, but it’s perfectly fine, and immoral to protest, the “transfer,” evacuation of Jews from their homes.

If I’m already admitting things, I’ll be honest and say that I never was a fan or follower of Rabbi Kahane, nor of his murdered son, but the first I ever heard of democracy not being consistent with Judaism is from something he wrote. Now, as you know, I have written numerous times of the danger of democracy. There are things that are too essential to be the subject for polls. And the majority is not always right.

The past few evenings when I viewed our youth, our future, being pummeled, pushed, shoved and beaten by the police, I felt, physically felt, their patriotism to the state being smashed to smithereens. It was a horrible sight, and the verbal incitement against them and us by the TV announcers was terrifying.

They announced, warned, reminded the viewers, over and over ad nauseum that today’s atmosphere is just like before Rabin’s assassination. Considering all of the questions concerning the involvement of the Shabak (Israeli secret police) and its star operator, Avishai Raviv, it makes me dread what they have planned for us now. For those who need a reminder of that story, here’s a link from Israel’s Media Watch that will give a comprehensive explanation.

Now, back to Chareidim and Zionism. From my understanding, they look at The State of Israel as just another foreign government. They take what they can get from it and obey whatever laws they consider relevant. Considering how the government is treating us, maybe we should re-think our relationship with the state. That doesn’t make us disloyal, just less “enthusiastic.”

We must concentrate on our primary belief and loyalty to G-d, the Torah and settling our Land.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Monday, February 14, 2005

any other favorites?

If you have any others to recommend, please let me know. You can link to my archives from the sidebar, but many were written long before I started blogging.

And I have to decide what to do with Baile Rochel. She's itching to get out, unless I just let her join me-ander.

Celebrating 100! Not to be forgotten, #42

Musings #42
March 30, 2004

Let Them Be Afraid Of Us!

It’s really beginning to get to me. Every time Israel finally does something right and kills a terrorist, the media, the security forces and government, and now even ordinary citizens go into a panic.

For instance, last week we killed a vicious, unrepentant terrorist, the man behind the murders of many innocent Israelis, and instead of saying: “May that be a lesson to you, all of you who even think of harming us, we’ll get you, too!!!!” What do the nebbichs do? They panic! In the media all we heard was the wailing of this country’s “leaders:” “Oy, yoy yoy, now they’re really going to get us. They’ll take it out on us in revenge. Gevalt.” Gevalt is right! People were terrified. This is spookier than “The Twilight Zone.”

There’s only one way to deal with a bully. Never show fear. Recently I’ve been humming and singing to myself, one of my favorite songs from my childhood.

“I Whistle a Happy Tune”

Music: Richard Rodgers

Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

“Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm Afraid.
…. The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well! …
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid. …
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are”

To win this war, we have to make a very important decision, that we want to win it, and we want to totally defeat the Arab terrorists. And as the fitness instructor, who trained one of my sons before he went into the army, always says: “HaKol b’rosh.” “It’s all in the mind.”

They should be afraid of us!!

Batya Medad, Shiloh

Celebrating 100! From just over a year ago #32

Musings #32
January 30, 2004

All Face Jerusalem

Recently I find myself waiting at roadsides and junctions just before the sun begins to hide under the horizon. I notice others, who should be eagerly and alertly scanning all passing cars. Instead, regardless of which direction they need to travel, whether north, south, east or west, they all face Jerusalem.

They ignore the passing cars and concentrate on their prayers in the final moments of the day when a Jew can pray Mincha. It is better to pray in a minyan, a quorum of ten, but if the choice is a solitary prayer on the roadside, or none at all, one should just pray where one is.

Jews are commanded to pray three times a day, Shacharit in the morning, Mincha in the afternoon and Arvit (Ma’ariv) in the evening. The Jewish day is divided. The prayers must be said in their proper time; if one is inadvertently missed, the following is to be doubled.

Judaism is both separation and synthesis. Our days are not only divided by a sun-powered clock, but there are different types of days, Kodesh and Chol, Shabbat and the weekdays. In addition to our days, our food is divided into categories: meat, dairy, parve (neutral, can be eaten with either meat or dairy,) and the forbidden. At times the material and physical pleasures are commanded, and at other times they are forbidden. We feast and we fast, all at times commanded by Jewish Law. There are blessings for before eating and after eating. There is even a prayer to be said after urinating and defecating. It reminds us that these systems are essential for life, and we must thank G-d that they function.

Judaism recognizes human frailty, and it commands us to repent and begin anew. The Messiah, Mashiach ben David, is to be descended from a long line of great people who admitted their mistakes, learned from them and went on to better things. None of us is perfect. We all have our roles. If we find ourselves on the wrong path, we must stop, admit our mistake and take the right one. We are responsible for our lives.

As the pale, afternoon sun begins to metamorphose into brilliant, luminous orange, their prayers are finished, and they look for a ride.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

Celebrating 100! Short, sweet and probably forgotten, #30

Musings #30
January 18, 2004

It All Depends on Where You’re Sitting

I overheard my husband ask our local rabbi something. Should he “bensch gomel,” the prayer thanking G-d for surviving a dangerous situation, in the name of someone, who was almost in a car accident. The rabbi replied that it if she really felt endangered, then she should say it herself. After my husband finished, I approached the rabbi, “But Rabbi, a few years ago, when I was sitting in the back seat, and an Arab taxi rammed into it, certainly, definitely dangerous, you told me that I should not ‘bensch gomel.’ You said: ‘I was driving, and I didn’t feel that we were in any danger.’”

Behind the steering wheel, the rabbi felt safe, in control. My neighbors and I in the back seat, though unharmed, were shaken in more ways than one. I was sitting next to the young man who had killed the terrorist who had run me over only a couple of years earlier.

When we look at the same thing, we all see something else. Living here in Shiloh, I feel peaceful and calm. I enjoy the views of the hills, the sunrise over Shvut Rachel to the east of us, my neighbors’ gardens and the wonderful people who share all of that and more with me. I’m on the roads everyday, in almost any vehicle offering me a ride. I felt safest when we marched to Jerusalem, the intimacy with the Land gave a strength from a different dimension.
As I travel the road of Jewish history, I am calm and confident, like my rabbi was during that accident, because it all depends on where you’re sitting.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

Celebrating 100! Another oldie, #28

Musings #28
January 9, 2004

The Same Choreography

The other day, after leaving my house, walking to the gate, I saw a neighbor at work. She was shepherding the toddlers she takes care of. Her eyes were glancing in all directions, holding their hands, keeping her charges going in the right direction, avoiding obstacles and accidents.

Later that evening, at a wedding, I observed the same choreography as an old friend shepherded her mother and mother-in-law at a wedding.

A close friend, eighty years young, is moving to an “old age home” for the “independent living.” She’s doing it while she’s still able, because once one is too “feeble” or “tired” to move independently, one is stuck. Running a home is too difficult, but moving is even more so. My “sandwich” friends and I discuss the dilemma frequently. Many of our parents are still in the homes in which we were raised, and they can’t imagine how they could ever sort through their lifetime of possessions in order to move to smaller quarters. We’ll inherit them, I guess. In another two, three decades, will our children and their friends be having the same discussions?

“Senior” Time, and the Living’s Expensive…
apologies to George Gershwin

“Old age homes,” or whatever you want to call them are big business in Israel, especially the ones that are more like “senior hotels.” For the price of a modest apartment in a good neighborhood, one can buy a room and a half in one of those luxurious buildings. Furnish it, then pay a good portion of your monthly pension for “services/maintenance,” and you can cook for yourself in your kitchenette.

Not long ago, I read that the kibbutzim are getting into the business. They have the facilities for their members, and outsiders pay enough to cover the expenses of all. Will the yishuvim open facilities, too?

“I’ve got rhythm..”

When I was a little girl we went to Jones Beach, Long Island, New York a few times each summer. My father taught me how to jump with the waves. As the wave approaches, you can feel the water recede. Bend your knees and prepare to jump as you find yourself in the rising water. Properly timed, no matter how high the wave, your head is always safely above water. As the wave breaks on the beach, your feet have securely returned to the wet sand of the ocean.

Jump with the waves, the rhythms of life.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

Old musing, to celebrate the hundredth, #9

Musings #9
January 1, 2003

Que Sera, Sera…
The Future’s Not Ours To See

Last week, after my swim, while I was getting dressed in the ladies’ locker room, refrains from an old song drifted through a shower curtain. In a heavy Israeli accent:

“Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be will be,
The future’s not ours to see,
Que sera, sera,
Lalala, lalalala……”

Suddenly she noticed me, “You’re American; you must know all the words.”

And there we were in the ladies’ locker room of the swimming pool in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem.

“When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother what lies ahead…
…Will there be rainbows day after day,
Here’s what my mother said:

Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be will be,
The future’s not ours to see,
Que sera, sera…”

Just a few days later…
At three in the morning I finally walked through the doorway into my house after Noam’s funeral. Thousands of people spent their Saturday night accompanying Noam (HaYa”D) to his grave. The Hebrew word for funeral means “escort.” One goes to a funeral to escort, or accompany the dead person to his grave. When Noam’s father spoke, he addressed himself to Noam, stressing how many people had come from all over. Close family, distant relatives, friends, neighbors and more.

Noam, the sweet, fair-haired, gentle boy, born and raised in Shiloh, used his last seconds of life to save dozens of others. He rushed to the door connecting the kitchen to the dining hall, locked it and threw away the key. He was later found dead, with his eyes open, knowing that he had given them those few crucial minutes to escape from the Arab terrorists, who murdered him and the three others on kitchen duty.

When I was just a little boy
I asked my mother what will I be
Will I be handsome?
Will I be brave?

Will I live to marry?

Friday, February 11, 2005

more ideal schools

A couple of people wrote to me giving their "ideal school," and here's one from a friend.

While you were reading the article I forwarded to you I was reading your article about education.

I would add more points to your suggestions I mostly agree with: Small classes, not more than 15 pupils in a class. Homework done in school with help if neccesary, so that children with a "social disadvantage," such as parents who can't help them for one reason or another or olim chadashim, can learn how to learn. And not too many long hours in school, because if the classes are small, much more can be done in fewer hours. And another thing, for a start children in the first grade should learn how to hold a pen or pencil. If you see many children, how they are doing that you can't be surprised that they a- get tired quickly and b- they can't even read their own writing. Secondly it is very recommendable that attention is given to spelling. I found out that children even in sixth grade make abominable mistakes in writing in Hebrew even easy words.

Grammar they should learn from fourth grade because I had to teach children who wanted to learn Enlish hebrew grammar first. And the last thing for the time being: the teacher should have to talk so much. children should work in class, doing exercises and repeating the learned material not once but several times till they get it. The teacher should be present to help them out and correct their exercises because again I have seen that most of the home work is not corrected. And don't forget; there should be order and discipline in the class rooms, otherwise learning and teaching is impossible.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

rare, but

It's very rare for me to link someone else's article , but this is important to read.

other Dovrat reactions-a parent's point of view

Subject: dovrat - a parent's point of view

Hi all,

I am an English teacher but also a mum (like most of you, I guess), and the Dovrat report frightens me not only as a teacher but also as a mother. I do not want my daughter to stay at school for so long every day,especially not when she is young, I do not want her to eat sandwiches for lunch on her table in the classroom, I do not think that she will learn better at 15:00 every day - what do I want? I want her to come home for lunch (even if I won't be there all the time), to have some time off between school and the rest of her day, to have energy to do something else out of school during the afternoons, and to see her as much as possible.


There is a petition starting on the Internet of parents who feel thesame and want to make a change -


Please read it ( It is only in Hebrew), sign it and pass it on. Together we can make a difference


Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Dovrat, The Hundredth and Publications

Dovrat-I plan on being at the anti-Dovrat rally today. There should be teachers from all over at Binyanei Ha'uma, Jerusalem. Honestly and unfortunately, I don't think that the government cares what teachers think. I don't think they care about education. I personally know Limor Livnat's mother, and Limor is a disgrace to her family. A number of years ago there was an Israeli TV show, "medor l'dor," "From Generation to Genertion." Limor, her brother Noam and their mother Shulamit appeared together. Shulamit is a professional singer and works with Geula Cohen's educational programs and activities. Shulamit was asked how she felt about her son Noam becoming religious. Her answer was: "We raised the children to be strongly Jewish, and his being religious is consistent with that." I don't have the heart to ask her what she thinks of Limor's policies.

I'm still waiting for more repsonses about how to "celebrate" my One Hundredth Musing.

I need to know about all publications and internet lists that use my musings. Not to stop them, G-d forbid, just to be able to see how far and wide they're going. Also, I'm accepting commissions for an "aliya series" to celebrate our 35 years in Israel by G-d willing accompanying a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight from the states this summer. Please contact me shilohmuse@yahoo.com

Thanks and Chodesh Tov
mishenichnas Adar, marbim b'simcha
When the month of Adar begins, joy is increased

Monday, February 7, 2005

What’s Good for the Goose, The Teacher Does The Homework Assignment

Almost a Hundred—This is #99. If any of you have any favorites, please let me know, and I'll try to add some excerpts with the hundredth.

Musing #99
February 6, 2005
The 27th of Shvat

What’s Good for the Goose
The Teacher Does The Homework Assignment

I’m a high school English teacher, and just last week I gave a composition assignment to my Tenth Grade students. They had to write a short composition and a list of ten rules (using the modals they had just learned). One of the topic choices was: “My Ideal School.” It was taken from their textbook, Full Volume, UPP, and considering the Dovrat Commission’s recommendations in the headlines I couldn’t resist doing this homework assignment along with my students.

My Ideal School

By Batya Medad

It’s very possible that somewhere a school like my ideal one exists. That’s because it wouldn’t be complicated to establish and run. It could be large or small; size is irrelevant. My ideal school is for all ages; it’s really an educational system, a curriculum.

Ten Rules for My Ideal School
1- Teachers may work part time.
2- Students can get credit for out-of-school learning.
3- Students should complete the core curriculum before graduation.
4- Parents must be in contact with the staff and be kept informed of their child’s progress or difficulties.
5- Students mustn’t be absent from lessons without valid reasons, and if they are absent, they are responsible for making up the work missed.
6- Students may want to continue studying in the school an extra year, and that will be permitted.
7- Transfer students would be required to learn whatever they missed, even if it means studying with younger students.
8- All students must master foundation skills of reading, writing, including composition, basic arithmetic, Israeli geography, ancient and modern history and Jewish studies before high school.
9- Students requiring alternative testing will be able to be tested according to their needs.
10- Professionals, who aren’t certified teachers, may teach special courses related to their fields.

School is supposed to prepare a child for life, and therefore, besides the conventional academics, it must teach work ethics, how to function within the rules and requirements of a formal framework, social relationships and responsibility. A school should give each student sufficient vocational skills, even if it’s to earn tuition needed for higher education. The goal of education is to prepare the students to be loyal and contributing citizens of Israel.

Courses should be combined and integrated. First because that way the students will learn to see a larger picture of the world and they must be encouraged to see the connections between the various subjects. For instance History, Geography and Citizenship should be taught as one subject; when I was a student in New York, we called it “Social Studies.” Another example would be Hebrew; Grammar, Literature, Composition and handwriting until at least the age of ten are all one subject. This way the students have to adjust to fewer teachers; there will be fewer tests, and less time wasted. Most important is that the students will see the relevance of what they’re being taught in class.

The minimal amount of weekly hours allocated for foreign languages, including English, should be four, preferably five or six. And the studies should start no earlier than the Fifth Grade, after serious language skills in Hebrew (or Arabic) are mastered, and that includes spelling, basic grammar and composition. I highly suggest that we utilize teaching methods from the countries that succeed in teaching foreign languages, like Holland, rather than the American methods, which are never successful; that’s why they’re always coming up with new ones.

Money can be saved by using “blackboards” and training children to copy from the board, which will also increase their learning. Classrooms must also be arranged so that the students can easily see the teacher an “erasable board.” No more sitting in “groups” which only cause attention/concentration problems.

Classes should be divided by the level of the students, so that the weaker ones will be in smaller groups and get the remedial work they need to succeed, and the students who learn most quickly should be able to get work on a higher level to stimulate and encourage them to utilize their potential. And the “average” students shouldn’t be distracted by their bored friends. One group is bored, because they can’t keep up, and the other is bored, because the work is too easy. Just like we all need different shape shoes, our children need different teaching methods and paces.

The required school day should be a maximum six hours in elementary school and eight hours in high school; fewer hours are fine if the curriculum fits. Schools should have resource centers open after hours for students to do homework, get extra help and enrichment. In order to stay alert so many hours, it must be possible to eat a nutritious lunch, and they should have breakfast before school starts, even if it’s a sandwich eaten on the way to school. Proper eating habits will facilitate better learning. But that’s a topic for another musing.

I could easily write more details and ideas on how to improve Israeli education and probably will in the future. For the sake of our children, grandchildren and country, I honestly hope that the Israeli Ministry of Education will consider my ideas instead of Dovrat.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Adir Zik, z"l, and Arutz 7

It was announced a short while ago that Adir Zik passed away. For many people, the closing of Arutz 7 meant no longer hearing Adir's Friday morning program, and without that program, the week just wasn't the same. It was hard to believe that he had been battling cancer for a number of years, since his voice in both the physical and spiritual was so strong.

Arutz 7 radio has been off the air for quite a while, and we haven't adjusted to the silence. And now to think that we will never be able to hear Adir Zik anymore. Our spokesman is gone from this world.

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet

Thursday, February 3, 2005


Horses, Carts, Eggs and Chickens was translated into German and can be linked here .

If anyone can compare it to the original, I'd appreciate it.

quick thought

Priority should be healing not choosing sides. A referendum will further tear the nation apart.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Dancing In The Aisles

Almost a Hundred. This is #98. If any of you have any favorites, please let me know, and I'll try to add some excerpts with the hundredth.

Musing #98
January 30, 2005
The 20th of Shvat

Dancing In The Aisles

Every once in a while I’m reminded of the description I once heard of life in Tel Aviv during the War for Israel’s Independence. With all the tension and violence all over the struggling battered country, people still gathered in the European style coffee shops for socializing and “cultured” conversation.

Today’s modern Israel has the same vivid contrasts living side-by-side, simultaneous, multi and conflicting dimensions. My husband and I spent Shabbat at a Tekuma Shabbaton at the Shalom Hotel. Tekuma, if I’m not mistaken, began as the ideological wing of the Mafdal, National Religious Party. It broke away and joined with Moledet in The National Union, Ha’Ichud HaLe’umi.

The theme of the Shabbat’s program was “Tikshoret,” the Media and the three main speakers were Tzvi Hendel, Member of Knesset for Ha’Ichud HaLe’umi, Chagai Segel, journalist, and Eran Sternberg, Spokesman for Gush Katif. The rest of us were ordinary people from all over the country.

It’s a nice hotel with an unbeatable view of Jerusalem. I remember when it was built; it cut into our view from what was then our Jerusalem apartment. An advantage of having a group Shabbat there is that there are lots of “public” rooms. Between the first course and the soup we had proof, when something began to leak from the ceiling, at first glance it reminded some of stories of the Titanic. But was neither seawater nor clean rainwater; a sewer pipe had burst in the ceiling above. And in a jiffy, the Arab waiters assisted us in “abandoning” our dining room and setting us up in another one. Not quite the “pinu’i” everyone is trying to prevent. And to think that it took place in the Peace Hotel.

Motzei (after) Shabbat I had plans to meet two of my daughters for a concert at the Bible Lands Museum, Latin Music. So after I saw my husband off on the bus, I walked to the museum. It was one of those gorgeous Jerusalem nights, a tease of spring in the middle of the winter. The air was clean, sweet and dry. Clear sky, diamonds twinkling and sparkling jewels could be seen in every direction.

Most people have no idea how small Jerusalem is. The government offices, Knesset and Museums are no more than a kilometer or two from the Central Bus Station. By walking past Binyanei Ha’uma and the hotel behind, it doesn’t take long at all. Actually I got there much more quickly than I needed.

It was so easy to forget the terrorism and tension of our precious country being torn apart. Just a few other people were strolling, and the roads were almost empty.

Before reaching the museum I passed the sleepy anti-disengagement demonstration site outside of the Knesset. The tents were lit, but there were very few people to be seen. There was none of the excitement, hustle and bustle of the first day. I really didn’t feel very connected to it. I wasn’t in the neighborhood for politics. I was off to have a good time with my daughters and enjoy the music.

And enjoy we did. All sorts of Jerusalemites and visitors, religious and not so, speaking a variety of languages came to the Bible Lands Museum for an evening of Latin American music. Before the concert began we sat at small tables, outside of the auditorium and ate from the selections of cheese, crackers, salad and wine, all included in the price of the ticket.
The auditorium was full, and soon we were tapping to the rhythm of the music. I could hardly keep still, and some people got up to dance in the aisles.

One, two, cha cha cha! If only we could just dance our troubles away.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.