Hamas War

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Betar Reunion

No time right now for details, but we just came back from a Betar Reunion, North American Betarim living or visiting in Israel got together. The occassion was the dedication of the Jerusalem Elevator in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Jerusalem.

Barry and Sindy Liben of New Jersy, USA, donated it in honor of American Betarim and invited everyone to attend. BTW, Sindy is my husband's cousin.

For many of us we started the "festivities" in a less festive way. We went to Mt. Herzl to Eli Solomon's and Chuck Hornstein's graves. We've been doing this annually for 32 years, ever since they were killed in the Yom Kippur War.

Today we then went to the Begin Center. There was a very moving ceremony, mc'ed by my husband. Guest speaker was the most famous and successful American Betari in Israel, Misha Arens. Barry also spoke. Then we took turns seeing the elevator and then Chanuka candle lighting and some food.

Some of us had the kids and grandkids, which was very special.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

as reported

I was in suspense to see how the NY Times would report the Arab rocket attacks on Israel. The title,

Israel Strikes Northern Gaza and Lebanon
With Planes
gives a strange impression. I have this image of little kids throwing toy airplanes, or Japanese kamakzi pilots crashing their planes into American military, or did the editor want the readers to think of the Arab, yes, Bin Laden's terrorists are Arabs, pilots who crashed airplanes into the "Twin Towers" and the Pentagon on 9-11.

The paper is generous enough to mention that Arabs have been attacking both northern and southern Israel, but then they used that term,

"The Israelis and Palestinians trade fire almost daily,"
as if it's just a game, what's going on between Israel and the Arabs. The Arabs shoot rockets trying to murder, and Israel sends warnings in order to damage buildings but not injure people.

The "Times" article is carefully worded to make the Arab rockets appear harmless.

We know that it's not the "amateur" quality of the rockets that's protecting us, it's G-d.

"Palestinian militants have been launching homemade rockets aimed at Israel."

"The homemade Palestinian rockets are wildly inaccurate. But the militants have been able to move into the former Jewish settlements in northern Gaza, and the rockets are landing closer to Ashkelon, on Israel's southern coast. Rockets have landed recently near a kindergarten, a power plant and a fuel depot."

That sounds pretty close and very dangerous. Remember that Israel is a very tiny country.

Have a wonderful Chanukah, Chag Urim Sameach.

ps I wish that we didn't need all the miracles.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Will they ever listen?

Not all that long ago, I wrote Teflon Terrorism, which deals in the absurdity of how most of the world, and even some Israelis, refuse to "read the writing on the wall," or should I say, recognize the blood splattered all over. How can they accept Arab terrorism when it's directed against Jews?

A recent poll shows that the Arabs favor terrorism directed against the United States and Europe. Do you think that it will change America's and Europe's attitude? Or will they become gluttons for punishment, like Israel?

Monday, December 26, 2005


Not for the first time was I awed by G-d's way of handling my transportation.

It was a busy day, this first full day of Chanukah. First of all, I had agreed to teach, even though they wanted me in the yeshiva high school late morning, not my set time. Being extremely pragmatic, I made a condition. I would be willing to come, only if I could show the kids a movie. I was not going to endanger my health by trying to get 9th grade boys--that means 14 year olds--to study English just minutes before they were to be leaving for a week's Chanukah vacation, and even more distracting, while the homeroom teachers, called "RaMim," we giving out reportcards. Honestly, even I'm not that dumb.

Since afterwards I was going to my daughter's in Ofra I schlepped such a big bag full of presents I looked more like Santa than Savta, the Hebrew for grandma.

We, a loose term, watched White Squall. I'll have to show it another time, since there wasn't enough time, and my students didn't show. Other kids joined me. The theme of the movie is responsibility, teamwork, how important they are. It's an important lesson for the kids, but they didn't see much of the movie.

I had been promised a ride from school. I waited with the other teachers for our van, but when it arrived, it was clear that there was no room for me. Quickly I ran to the children's school buses which were over-crowded, since it was the last day before vacation. I got into the one going to Ofra and planned on standing. Just as it took off, one of the kids offered me his seat. I gratefully accepted it. The ten minute trip was not the most pleasant, but I was lucky that I had taken that bus, since it took me very close to my daughter's house and the van would have left me further away, at the entrance of Ofra.

A few hours later after giving out the gifts, making sufganiyot, lighting Chanukah candles, and a few other things, I "just knew" that it was time to go home. I said good bye to my daughter and her two and made my way to the main road. A couple of minutes later, a car almost went by and then stopped a few meters from where I was waiting. I walked over, gingerly, trying to get an idea of who the people in the car were.

They weren't neighbors, but the driver was someone we've known for decades. Ezra Yachin was on his way to lecture in a community north of us. Ezra had been a member of Lechi, one of the pre-State underground groups. We had a too-short talk about what's going on today in Israel. We both agree that the Jewish People as a whole are too far removed, disengaged, from Eretz Yisrael. Neither of us could understand how religious Jews could ignore the most basic of all of our mitzvot, the commandment to live in the Land of Israel. I felt strengthened knowing that such a legendary hero of our country feels the same as I do.

He dropped me off at the Shiloh Junction, and I didn't have to wait long. A small car pulled up, and we struggled to get the door open for me. Only when I got in and heard the driver's voice did I realize who it was. It was a young man I had known for many years. What a pleasure to see him and speak to him.

Ezra is a generation my elder and the second is a generation younger than I am. Actually, my age is half way between theirs. I'm sandwiched between them. I really enjoyed my rides home and thank G-d for making such pleasant arrangements.

Chanukah Sameach

What a BOMS!

Gary outdid himself. BOMS is just wonderful. Take a gander.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pesach, too?

This picture was taken at the Hyatt during Succot.

Tonight I caught the news. It's the first night of Chanukah, and they showed the Gush Katif refugees celebrating in the Hyatt Hotel. That's where a number of them have been living since they were thrown out of their homes last summer.

Why the Hyatt? I know that it sounds rather posh and decadent, sort of like Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake." The truth is that the hotel has been pretty empty for quite a few years, and it had been easy to get a bargain there. At least it was before Disengagement. Many of the hotels that had been popular venues for "great group-Shabbat deals" are now occupied by the homeless. We haven't gone on one of those Shabbatot for about a year, and we had been going every few months the past few years. Pretty much every "Tekuma" or "Arutz 7" Shabbat my husband heard about, we signed up for. It's one of the upsides of the empty nest and no school tuition to pay.

Some hotels are more pleasant, more luxurious and friendlier than others, but they are not home. Many of the Disengagement victims still haven't any idea where they will be going next. It's winter now, not the best time to move into caravan sites, even "Carravillas," which look like a movie set. The vast majority are unemployed and rudderless.

I'm sure that the Hyatt owners and investors who designed and built the Jerusalem Hyatt, in an Arab neighborhood between French Hill and Mt. Scopus, never envisioned that their lovely hotel with the waterfall in its large lobby would be the "poster child" refugee camp for displaced Jews.

The TV newsmen interviewed the refugees and asked what their plans are. The bottom line was that they suspected that they'll be celebrating Pesach at the hotel, too.

The Big 5 for Havel Havelim!

Great job! Daled Amos presents the 50th Edition of Havel Havelim!!! It'll be a tough act for me to follow. That's right. Yours truly, saying the "one and only" isn't accurate as bloggers go, is hosting number 51! So work up an appetite by reading #50. And send your posts to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com, preferably before Shabbat Chanukah, though the "final touches" will be on Sunday before publishing it.

Chanukah Sameach!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I Wonder...

I wonder if the people in Ashkelon, now targeted by rockets even more powerful than those which once fell on Gush Katif are comfortable with the fact that they supported Disengagement.
I wonder if the soldiers who tore innocent people from their homes are as unrepentant as Avi Beiber, who refused and subsequently spent time in jail.
I wonder how many Disengagement victims have their old "Chanukiyot" and don't have to rely on somehow getting new ones.
I wonder if Daniel Pinner will get his life back. He has been in jail since June.
I wonder how many others are still wearing orange bracelets. I am. And I have an orange ribbon on my front door and tied to most of my "bags."
I wonder how many young men will avoid doing army service or look for easy army jobs, rather than the elite units they had previously dreamt of.
I wonder how many families will disintegrate from the stresses of "relocation."
I wonder if the Gush Katif farmers will manage to resurrect their businesses at the age others retire.
I wonder how many are losing their faith in G-d because of the rabbis who promised: "It won't happen, just be strong and pray."
I wonder how many of the Disengagement victims will ever move out of "temporary housing."

And even worse,
I wonder who's next.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Feiglin Balagan

balagan is the Hebrew word for mess, anarchy, foul-up

The ragged remnants of the Likud are a total balagan over Moshe Feiglin.

First of all, Bibi Netanyahu and supporters want to disenfranchise those who voted for Feiglin in the recent leadership elections. His faction has been preparing a rule for the Likud which would make it illegal for Feiglin to run. Last night I caught veteran MK Michael Eitan on the news claiming that such a rule is the most moral thing there could be, and he had been working on the draft of this law for months. Of course he had been silent about morals when the Sharon mafioso, Tzachi Hanegbi and gang were still in the Likud.

Not all of the Likud agrees with them. Likud MK Michael Ratzon attacked newly elected party leader Benjamin Netanyahu late Wednesday over his plan to change the Likud charter in an effort to exclude far-right activist Moshe Feiglin from running for a place on the party's Knesset list next month. And obviously, thousands of dues paying members will cancel their membership and swear off voting for the Likud.

Feiglin and supporters claim that he actually doesn't mind if he's not personally on the list, since the only number he wants is number one. OK, that's not too bright, IMHO. Becoming "numero uno" in a party is a long process, requiring developing experience and loyalties in all levels of the hierarchy. You have to do your "staj," internship. At this point, Feiglin's supporters are far from the highest echelons of the Likud. And he doesn't have the right "family background" to jump start the process. Neither did he reach sufficient heights in the army, the other way of skipping steps.

So now, we're observing the knives once aimed only at the back. Things are more public, one of the reasons that Bibi has made a deal with Feiglin.

You may agree, or not, of course, but the Likud, even shorn of Sharon, Olmert and gang, still isn't a party I would vote for.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rotten apples, worse than bad ones

I was planning on going to sleep already, but before turning off the computer, I just checked the news, just for a second

And here I am, I shouldn't be surprised but I am. Bibi, SS and Katz and the rest of the ragged remnants of the Likud elite are trying to find a way to pass some by-law to prevent Moshe Feiglin from running on the Likud list. Read this! Basically, in simple words they're scheming to disenfranchise over 12% of the dues-paying Likud members.

Look this isn't the time to rehash the pros and cons of Feiglin's tactics. I'm being very simplistic and focused here. He's a member of the party who brought in thousands more. His arrest was political, just like the anti-Disengagement arrests this summer. He was prevented from running for the Knesset last time, because there's supposed to be a "cooling off period" between his "crime" and being an MK. Not even his detractors can accuse him of being a thief, cheat or any of the charges being brought against MK Minister Izak Herzog or MK Minister Tzachi Hanegbi or MK Omri Sharon and other "distinguished" or kosher according to Bibi politicians.

If I'm not mistaken, some of my friends, who had been supporting Uzi Landau until he fizzled and latched onto Bibi, are joining him to work for Bibi. This is a mistake, and Bibi's conspiring against Feiglin is a strong indication that he will lean left if elected Prime Minister, like he did last time. If Bibi had a strong nationalist pro-Eretz Yisrael ideology he would want Feiglin in to lend him support. If Bibi sees himself as (or plans on being) the "right-wing" of the Likud, we're in trouble, deep trouble.

MK Ruby Rivlin, the Knesset Speaker, complained of bad apples in the Knesset as forty members are in legal trouble for criminal acts. When you're dealing with a third of the country's legislature, things are bad. And these same guys are trying to keep Feiglin out. All I can think of is that they're afraid of him; they want to shut him up. That means we need him in the Knesset.

I hate to say this, but Feiglin hasn't a chance. Both Bibi Netanyahu and Sylvan Shalom are working together against him. Maybe he should let go of his dream and join the National Union

Clueless, Education, Two Carnivals

It's not that education is clueless, G-d forbid. I just want to recommend that you take a look at two great carnivals. One is The Carnival of the Clueless and the other is The Carnival of Education.

Take a gander!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush, Jr and Sharon

I first came across this very revealing article about the present President Bush in the paper Newsweek magazine. It contrasts him with his father, in that his father was more open, consulting with many of various and conflicting opinions. The young President Bush only abides "yes men," and his staff strictly controls access.

President Bush equates agreement with loyalty, very similar to Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. What many consider dictatorial, they feel are fine. Sharon fired top government ministers who voted against Disengagement, even though the plan totally contradicted his election campaign and coalition guidelines.

I had been wondering why they got along so well. They are kindred souls.

G-d help us.

No Surprise

**I will be in NY from Jan. 10-16 and will be available for a limited amount of speaking engagements. shilohmuse@yahoo.com

I'm sure that I'm not the only one whose reaction to yesterday's Likud election for party leader is "no surprise." That's why it has taken me so long to write about it.

Bibi, the slick chameleon, got more than the minimum 40% needed to be elected. The colorless, Sylvan Shalom, who's like a Meridor without the family history, came in second. I must admit that I can't read him. I don't know what he stands for, except playing straight man to his controversial, media-savvy wife, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes.

Last place was Yisrael Katz, formerly known as Tzachi Hanegbi's university buddy. Katz's girth may have increased since then, but his political support hasn't, though I'm glad he has remained in the Likud. Officially he opposed Disengagement, but he wasn't fired by Arik Sharon. That means one of two things. Either his opposition wasn't really sincere, like Tzachi's, or Sharon considered him "harmless," meaning powerless and lacking in personal support.

If you're reading carefully, you've noticed that I left out the third place. It was Moshe Feiglin. Contrary to Katz's statements, it was Feiglin, not Katz, who was the most anti-Disengagement of all the candidates. Feiglin's big problem is that he's not a politician. He seems too shy up close and doesn't work the crowds. He doesn't enjoy people from my observations. A few times I've noticed him at large social events, and he seemed uncomfortable and made no efforts to get to know people. The great and successful politicians, even if innately shy, learn quickly how to approach people and speak to them, touch them, shake their hands and in Israel, hug and kiss. I've seen the pros at work, and it's a very important skill. The real pros have a small discreet staff close by taking mental notes of all the people and subjects discussed to utilize every social opportunity.

The pundits and spinners seem impressed that Feiglin got over 10% of the votes. The big question is how he'll do when choosing the list for Knesset members. Will he and any of his supporters get in? It's a great leap of faith to vote Likud, when Bibi is at its helm. In Bibi's previous term as Prime Minister he gave Chevron to the Arabs, further endangering the Jewish residents.

In just over three months there will be elections here in Israel. Many voters feel pessimistic, having lost whatever faith we had in the government and politicians. Sharon surprised us in a negative way. We'll vote, but we know that we must remember:

Yisrael, Yisrael, b'tach

Israel, Israel, trust in

The latest--HH and BOMS

The very first anniversary edition of Heval Havelim is up on serandez, who did an amazing job! It was definitely worth waiting for. And a refuah shleimah to Sera's grandfather, [Dr.] Avraham Shmuel ben Chana Risa [Luchins], (Uncle) David had emailed me that his father wasn't well. I hadn't realized that I actually know Sera's family from way back....

Gary has done a great job on the latest BOMS. Great posts from all over. Take a gander.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Never Dull, Is it?

Is there any country with more entertaining politics than Israel?

For those of us complaining of diminished memory, this is quite an exercise. Who can remember the political parties, the politicians in them and the various opinions they profess?

Is the NRP more Meimad, NU or the old Poalei Agudah with a colorful crocheted kippah?

Who's left in the Likud? And who will stay win or lose? Ahh hahh, that's a good question. Uzi Landau stopped his own run for Likud leader to support Bibi, refusing offers from the National Union, but now Bibi is rumored to be planning a new party if he loses to Sylvan Shalom. Then what will Uzi do?

Today's the Likud election for leader. All dues paying Likud members can vote. We have been members for years, starting pre-Likud, the old Cherut Party, led by Menachem Begin. When we first made aliya in 1970, the Jerusalem branch was headed by Chaim Korfu, who later became a Knesset Member and Cabinet Minister. Emanuel Hanegbi, Tzachi's father was also one of the bigshots there.

When they had elections for the Central Committee, he used to advise us whom to vote for. If we didn't have his advice, we just would have played "en den dino," the Israeli version of "eeny, meany, miny moe..." I used to change things a bit by trying to vote for all the females on the list and erasing the corresponding number of men. I didn't know anybody, so it was like a game.

In a sense it's still a game. We have no idea what surprises, usually horrendous ones, will be thrust upon us by those elected.

I guess it's all a matter of faith, faith and our doing everything we can. And then pray!

Those JIB awards

Thanks Ezzie for the recommendations. It's nice to be appreciated. I'm not keeping track this year, but if anyone knows of my "being in the running," you can let me know.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Big Time!

Big Time!

Israel's hitting the Big Time in the race to be among the most corrupt countries in the world! According to those doing the ranking, Israeli is being held down, because

"Israel as a state cannot be corrupt as long as the accepted
norms reject corruption"

I guess that the people doing the ranking don't really know much about Israel. How could they be so naive? I guess they never heard about Flatto-Sharon!

September 3, 1977: Samuel Flatto-Sharon, attempting to stave off deportation orders to face criminal charges in France, wins a Knesset seat with a promise to pay anyone who votes for him. He gets 11,493 votes.
September 4, 1977: 83,303 people swear they voted for Flatto-Sharon and demand payment. Flatto-Sharon is disgusted and says: "What kind of country is this?"
Sam Orbaum (the late Sam Orbaum always had a funny angle, but the truth is that a French-Jewish crook, new to Israeli politics got enough votes for a seat)
I kid you not!

It's almost like, ok, lehavdil, very different, the story of how our forefather Yitzchak favored his son Esau, the hunter, over Yaakov, the studious.

Israelis really seem to be in awe of dictators. Remember, that the left-wing kibbutzim in Israel adored Stalin and mourned his death.

I still can't figure out why Israel's media and many politicians weren't repulsed in every sense of the word, by the terrorist, Arafat.

Why are so many people flocking to join Arik Sharon? It's clear that he's a dictator. He fired ministers who didn't agree with him. He's one of those bullies whom people gather around. All I can think of is that they're so afraid of him that they want to stay on his good side for protection.

Friday, December 16, 2005

HH Havel Havelim

It's Friday morning and I really have too much to do, but...
For the anniversary issue...
First a thank you to Soccer Dad, who keeps it going.

HH allowed me to become part of the big world of Jewish blogging and meet all sorts of like-minded, or not so like-minded, bloggers. Sort of like a cyber-family, cyber-Jewish that is. He introduced me to "carnivals" which have broadened my blogging and of course exposed me and my blogs to even more...

I'm still small time and am awed by anyone getting three digits of daily visitors a day more than once a month, so the mega blogs are from a different universe. Honestly, I ignore them, since they don't need me.

Shabbat Shalom and happy blogging!
Let this suffice from Shiloh Musings and me-ander and blog free! and the muse's pics.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Polls Poles Apart

I've been rather amused by the great faith the media and politicians show towards polls, which as we all know are frequently poles apart from reality. Everyday the news reports the latest results as if they were actual election results.

It's no secret that results can be manipulated according to how the question is worded. And in addition, the surveys, or polls, are based on a "representative sample," which is a small number, much smaller than the actual voters on election day. Besides that, there are people who purposely give answers which are very different from their real opinions. And of course, some people change their minds frequently until the actual vote.

Israel is presently in a very turbulent election time. Political allegiances are changing faster than hairdos and suit styles. If the politicians don't know which party they support, how are the voters supposed to make intelligent decisions? So how accurate can these polls be? My guess it that they're poles apart from the results we'll hear after the votes are counted on March 28.


Musings #155
December 15, 2005
14th of Kislev


Yesterday I took a "Ruthie's Tour" to the "unsettled" Gush Katif deportees. I was very ambivalent about going at first. Just the idea of looking at other people as if they were "animals in a zoo" is very embarrassing and demeaning.

Maybe I'm just a bit hypersensitive about these things, since I've been subject to some of the "stares" myself. We spent our first year in Israel living in the Old City of Jerusalem. That was in 1970, and tourists would gawk at the rare Jews to be living among the Arab hovels. Then after ten years of "normalcy" in Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem, we were once again subjected to lengthy examinations by tourists, reporters and sundry curiosity-seekers after we moved to Shiloh.

Ever since Yitzchak Rabin announced his Oslo Plan, I've been terrorized by visions of soldiers coming to throw me out of my home. I couldn't plan my elder son's Bar Mitzvah until a couple of weeks before the actual day, since according to Yitzchak Rabin's Oslo time-table, we were supposed to be homeless refugees before he even put on T'fillin, which is traditionally done a month before a boy turns thirteen.

Baruch Hashem, bli eyin haraa, he is twenty-four, and we are still living in our Shiloh home, but thousands of good Jews from Gush Katif and Northern Shomron were thrown out of their homes, communities and businesses this past summer. Not only that, but Arik Sharon has announced "more
painful withdrawals," and he's talking about the 90% of YESHA that includes Shiloh, G-d forbid!

One of the things that gives him and the rest of the pro-Disengagement politicians, media and their international cheering squad the confidence and support to go on is how quietly the Disengagement victims are settling in to their new lives. That's one of the main reasons I had to go and see how they are really doing.

There was something I had to keep reminding myself, more and more as I met, observed and listened to the representative deportees who spoke to us from their hotels and temporary homes. In a sense they were possibly, probably, atypical of the majority. It takes a special strength to be able to stand in front of strangers and express oneself. On the whole, the people we met were unbelievably strong and optimistic. Most were already very polished, experienced speakers.

The facts on the ground are a lot more depressing than the people we met. It still turns my stomach to think of the money that is being wasted on all of these temporary solutions like the Nitzan "carravillas", which are designed to last about three years. Does that mean that for three years they will be strong, weather-proof homes and then suddenly collapse? Or does it mean that they will hold up well for a year, less so for the second and deteriorate by the end of the third?

The idle farmer we met in Nitzan after dusk told us of a life the newspapers are ignoring. First of all, he said that burglary is a nightly event. Nothing is safe. He won't allow his youngest child to leave the house unaccompanied, either. Besides unemployment, their lives have changed drastically for the worse. At the age of fifty, he figured that his farming years were over. He and his friends went looking for new work, but they realized that there was no way they could exist as factory workers. They had been successful businessmen, working hard as their own bosses and living in an idyllic community. But the logistics and financial burdens of starting all over again in agriculture seem insurmountable. What could I say? I couldn't tell him that he was wrong.

Our next and final stop was to meet the "unsinkable" Anita Tucker, who told us that at sixty she wants to start again. She's amazing, but what about the ordinary people? Even if the government gives compensation, which they have been worse than stingy about, it won't cover the minimum needed to build new hot houses, buy all the equipment and provide them with money to live on until they see profits. Anita told us that the government is demanding twenty-nine years of phone bills as proof that they lived in Netzer Chazani for twenty-nine years. That's impossible, since they "were pioneers and didn’t have phones for the first seven."

I feel like I just read the first chapter of a book that I can't put down. It's necessary to meet and speak to more Disengagement victims, but next time I want to get to hear the stories of the ones who have been silent.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, 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, December 13, 2005

You're invited...

Yes, I guess that it's never too late. Is that the right opening? Decades ago, after I had been a National officer in NCSY, National Conference of Synagogue Youth, of the UOJCA, I was not voted into the Ben Zakkai Honor Society.

Suddenly and totally unexpectedly I discovered a few months ago that I had been re-nominated. First of all I had no idea that such a procedure existed. I was certain that once rejected, always rejected, like a lifetime immunization. And there's no reason to play with suspense, I was voted in.

G-d willing, I'll be at the "big dinner" in New York next month, so if you can find it in your plans to attend, please do.

If the picture doesn't work, here's the text of the invitation:

You are cordially invited to attend the10th Annual Ben Zakkai Honor Society Scholarship Reception
Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 5:00 pm
Lincoln Square Synagogue200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City
Reserve Online!
Rabbi Solomon &Esther Freilich, Enid & Harold H. Boxer Memorial Award
Shari Greenberg-Gold, Ezra Ben-Zion Lightman Memorial Award
Linda & Steven Brizel, Rabbi Pinchas and Rebbetzin Elaine Stolper Alumni Service Award
Special presentations to Ben Zakkai’s newest members
Rebecca Hochster
Irwin N. Lowi
Batya Medad
Nahum Zak
Hillary Zimmern
Featuring a guest shiur by Rabbi Zev Leff
Reserve Online!

OU.ORG - Your Gateway to the Jewish Internet© 2005 - 5765 All Rights Reserved.Orthodox Union™Email OU.ORG

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Confess!

*updates at end

Gevalt! I was tagged by Soccer Dad to play "I confess meme."

I confess...that I'm not too sure what to do. How many confessions?
I confess...that I waste too much time on the computer!
I confess...that I check my "hits and visits" to see if anybody has been reading my blogs.
And yes, I confess...that I have a few blogs.
I confess...that I hate housework.
I confess...that I eat too much, as anybody who has ever seen me can verify.
I confess...that all I ever really wanted to be was a mother, and Baruch Hashem, bli eyin haraa, we have five kids.
I confess...that I'm starting to enjoy crocheting, and if I could do it simultaneously with blogging...
I confess...that if any of my kids have "hyper tendencies," they must have gotten it from me.

And I confess...that I'm having trouble deciding whom to tag, and I hope nobody gets angry...

So here goes: Jameel, Shemittah Rediscovered, Willow Tree and last but not least, my husband. How many other blogging couples are there?

Have fun!

****and the good news is that Shemitta Rediscovered and Jameel and willow tree and even my husband have already confessed! That was pretty quick, 100%. I wish the electician would show up already; he said he'd be here an hour ago.

Carnivally Yours

My two favorite carnivals Havel Havelim and BOMS are up. They are both chock full of great posts from far and wide, so take a gander!

Enjoy! You will, for sure!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Exciting! Wonderful!

Do you know what I'm describing? I'm describing the present Israeli election campaign. Yes, I do consider it wonderful and exciting.

We usually discover the bad things about the candidates after they're elected, but now the politicians are revealing the truth much earlier.

Do you remember how upset and shocked we were when Menachem Begin gave the Sinai to Egypt and destroyed the lovely communities there? I remember, and I still feel betrayed. As Tzachi Hanegbi so accurately said that Menachem Begin changed everything. I just don't agree with Tzachi's final conclusion that the Greater Land of Israel dream is dead: "It's been dead for many years already, ever since [Menachem] Begin agreed to give autonomy [in Judea and Samaria]."

We had such high expectations when Arik Sharon was elected to bring security after Ehud Barak's horrendous term as Prime Minister, when terrorism was rampant all over the country. And his empty threats had no power and no backing. Then Arik shocked us with Disengagement. Thousands of good Jews are now homeless, jobless.

Now Arik has left the Likud to start a new political party, Kadima, and everyday new revelations, when politicians scamper after his coattails. The latest, and certainly not the last is Shaul Mofaz, no great surprise. A former Chief of Staff, he proved himself no better than his predecessor, Ehud Barak.

And now, just as I'm writing this, the leader of the NRP, Zevulon Orlev, announced that he's in favor of the Jerusalem fence. Now, if you were wondering why he couldn't make a deal with the National Union, it's clear. I guess the Tekuma faction of the NU, which originated in the NRP is going to grow. And The National Religious Party will just fade away, unless Orlev thinks he can get the Meimad vote, which had gone, at least officially, to Labor with Rabbi Melchior.

I want to stress that these revelations don't bother me; they really do make me happy. It is so important to know what the politicians really think. They're like actors playing roles and suddenly they're taking off the masks. Baruch Hashem.

You'd think that it was almost Purim, instead of Chanuka. Purim is the Holiday of "Hester Panim," the hidden face of G-d, when G-d stayed behind the screen but controlled it all. It looked like the Jewish People, from infant to the elderly, would be destroyed, but we weren't. Baruch Hashem we're still here, and Haman's Achashverosh's people aren't.

I don't know what else we'll have to suffer until this is all over, but just like the Maccabees found that little vial of pure oil that stayed lit for eight days, we will survive and our light will continue to burn, G-d willing.

Shavua Tov


I'm starting to get nervous about the reality of an NRP-NU (National Religious Party-Nation Union) merger.

We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified. - Aesop

If a man could half his wishes he would double his Troubles. - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard

Actually I was looking for a quotation that went something like "beware of getting what you wished for," but I guess that these are close enough.

A number of years ago I asked one of my neighborhood rabbis how a family decides whose wishes are the ones obeyed in instances where two children disagree where a parent should be buried, in the instance where the parent hadn't made arrangements before hand.

The rabbi said that it was simply "whoever insisted harder and was the least compromising and weak got his wish."

I'm starting to feel that that is what will happen in the negotiations between the NRP and NU. And I hate to think that the NRP will dominate. According to Arutz 7, some NRP rabbis are planning to get involved. I just wonder whom they will be pressuring. I hope that they pressure the NRP to compromise and not the NU to give in. G-d willing the NU won't just become a "more open" NRP.


Jewish Israeli Blogs

I'm afraid of deja vu. Last year all of my blogs came in dead last in every category nominated in the JIB Awards. So, as you may expect, I'm sort of ambivalent about it all.

Will I be embarrassed again? Maybe I should just ignore the entire business? Or just not take it seriously. Well, if I'm nominated, please let me know, but...

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Proud, yes, tonight I'm proud, proud of a fellow Israeli, a fellow Jew.

It used to be that I'd feel proud of any Jew or Israeli who got international recognition, but now I'm selective. I became selective because I've found the behavior and attitude of many Jews and Israelis embarrassing and dangerous.

But tonight, once Shabbat was out in Sweden, Hebrew University Professor Robert J. Aumann received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics! Professor Aumann is an Orthodox Jew. His entire family, or as the Israeli news announcer said, tribe, was there with him. There's a very beautiful article in The Jerusalem Post Magazine about how the previous Orthodox Jew to win a Nobel Prize, the writer Shai Agnon, managed to keep the Sabbath, while in Sweden for the ceremony. For some reason, I can't find the link to it. If anyone can, please send it to me, thanks.

Tonight, after Shabbat, we were able to see Professor Aumann's family in the audience when he got his prize. The men and boys had kippot on their heads, and the married women wore hats, and the professor in his long full beard was applauded by all.

Shavua Tov. It's so nice to have something good to write about.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Persona non grata

The time has come to leave the United Nations and declare all their officials "persona non grata."

Their latest anti-Israel act, literally wiping us off the map is totally unforgivable.

We never needed their approval to exist and shouldn't have asked. That whole worship of the 29th of November, 1947, embarrasses me totally. The Jewish Nation is an ancient one and has outlived, survived the demise of all of our old enemies, and we will prevail over the modern ones, too.

The UN supports the Arab terrorists and condemns us for defending ourselves. We could save a lot of money and increase world respect by telling them to leave and eliminating all of our UN delegation.

As much as this is important to me, I know that we are cursed with a government empty of pride and self-respect. Our real problems start right at home. The politicians in charge do not govern well. OK, that's an understatement.

Our country is being destroyed from the inside, from the top to the bottom. But we, the Jewish People, the Jewish Nation, will continue to survive no matter what. And someday, G-d willing, but it's up to us, someday soon,

Geula Shleimah, Bimhairah B'yamainu, Full Redemption, Speedily in Our Times

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Tel Chai!

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center
cordially invites you
to participate in the ceremony honoring
Barry and Sindy Liben
who have dedicated the
Begin Museum's
Jerusalem Elevator
to American Betar

Addresses by
Prof. Moshe Arens, Israel's former Ambassador to the US
and former Natsiv Betar USA
Mr. Harry Zvi Hurwitz, Founder and Head of the Begin Center

Mr. Yisrael "Winkie" Medad will be Master of Ceremonies

Thursday, 29 December 2005

At the Menachem Begin Heritage Center
6 Nahon Street, Jerusalem
R.S.V.P. 02-565-2020

** Ceremony to be followed by the lighting of the fifth
Chanukah candle and festive refreshments

Tel Hai!

It feels like a death in the family

I'm referring to Tzachi Hanegbi's announcement that he was leaving the Likud and joining Arik Sharon's Kadima. For us, Tzachi's parents, Emanuel Hanegbi, Z"L, and Geula Cohen, one of the greatest women in Israeli history, have always been like close family. And we took pride in watching Tzachi's early political successes, from his days as student leader and opposition to the destruction of Yamit. And when we saw his precocious rise in the Likud party, it was like seeing a young cousin make a success out of himself.

My all-time favorite election ad was the TV one for the Likud, when Tzachi spoke, saying how people tell him that they love his mother want to vote for her T'chiya Party, and then Tzachi said:
"I also love my mother, but vote Likud."

I voted T'chiya, but I got a real kick out of hearing Tzachi announce on Israeli TV that he loved his mother.

We were at his wedding and other smachot.

In recent years I was upset to hear of his legal problems, the accusations of corruption. I kept trying to find excuses. I kept hoping that he was a true son of his parents, who had both been in the Lechi, Stern Gang, underground fighters against the British occupation of our Land.

This past year I finally admitted the truth. Tzachi is just an opportunist politician, with neither ideals nor morals. I'd see him on TV, devoid of the fire and idealism he once had. It saddened me. I feel so sorry for his mother, Geula, a fighter for Eretz Yisrael.

May G-d give her strength, and G-d willing, may her strength and idealism be inherited by her grandsons.

Carnival of Education

We have a post in the Carnival of Education. It's really done nicely, and wish that I could do such a good job when I host Havel Havelim. Take a gander.

Carnival of the Vanities again

Yes, we're in Carnival of the Vanities! It's a wonderful collection of posts from bloggers all over. Definitely worth a gander!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

money down the drain

There's an article, a very confusing article in The Jerusalem Post today about housing for the Disengagement victims. The good news is that families will be leaving the hotels. I hope that includes everyone. It's just not good to live like that. Of course the article made it seem like the problems are because of the refugees.

Following is the letter I sent to the paper:
This is all so sad. The poor refugges are being shuffled from place to place and none of this is permanent. and it's costing us, the taxpayers so much money for temporary homes and "solutions."
At present they are unemployed, and all of the rental is coming from money that should be used for the purchase or building of new permanent homes. What will be left?


We're in the poetry carnival,
one and all

hear the call
of the muse

you'd think
I'd have nothing else
to do

Nu? NU, NRP, No?

Accommodation vs Ideology

The National Union and the National Religious Party had seemed like the perfect couple. And despite the prayers and encouragement of their respective families, it looks like there won't be a wedding.

Lots of words are being thrown around, but no real action, commitment. Even Baruch Marzel, head of an upstart and so far unsuccessful party talks of unity.

Instead of uniting around the ideal of Eretz Yisrael for Am Yisrael, the Land of Israel for the People of Israel, all of these politicians are calling for unity around each one's party. If Marzel really believed in unity, he'd join the National Union. I have no doubt that he'd contribute a lot, and he really is necessary for its success, but if he insists on running in competition with it, we will all suffer.

A merge between the National Religious Party and the National Union is difficult. They are very, very different parties and mind sets, mentalities. The NRP, one of the most veteran of all Israeli political parties, has a tradition of accommodation, being part of the coalition, no matter who is in power. They have their "pet projects," like the "Mamlachti Dati," State Religious Education System, which they have controlled for decades.

Over the years the more ideological members, like Channan Porat and the Tekuma faction, have left. Tekuma is now part of the National Union. What remains in the NRP is the more left-wing and non-ideological leadership. This makes it very difficult to find common ground with the National Union.

A large percentage of the traditional NRP voters are disillusioned with them and vote NU, Marzel, Likud--Feiglin, or Chareidi parties. In the upcoming elections, the NRP on it's own, won't get many votes. At least that's my opinion. Maimad, "left-wing religious peace camp" went to Labor. It's understandable that for politicians seeing their party weaken, the idea of joining another is traumatic.

NRP is more a life-style than ideology. The party never attracted me. I always voted ideology. But I can understand their dilemma and pain.

The Left-Center is reinventing itself, and it's time for the NRP to do the same. It would be better to be remembered as brave and loyal to The Land of Israel and Judaism than to just fade away.

Monday, December 5, 2005

It's a Ball Game

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
This saying was a favorite of President Harry S. Truman.

Last night it seemed like Uzi Landau was dropping out of the race for head of Likud, but his staff denied it. Today they announced that he's holding a press conference, and it is strongly believed that he is getting out of the "kitchen." He'll be backing Bibi, something I had suspected months ago.

That doesn't stop other hopefuls, like Yisrael Katz, from dreaming that they will inherit his support. I had already been advising people to vote Feiglin in the internal Likud elections. And since it would take a total miracle for Feiglin to take over the Likud, then vote National Union in the elections.

I feel sorry for all of our friends who were backing Uzi, the "ozeless."* They kept urging me to stop pointing out his faults and weaknesses, nebich. I wonder which one of them came up with the Harry Truman line he used in lots of interviews.

Well, I'm glad that he finally listened to Truman, who also had a sign saying: "The buck stops here."

We have a lot of work to do, and I wouldn't waste my energy on the Likud.

Don't give up! Remember,
It ain't over till it's over. Yogi Berra

*oze means strength in Hebrew

One of the Best BOMS Ever!

Gary's BOMS is definitely one of the best blog carnivals, and this one is better than ever! Take a gander!


Knesset Members and would-be Knesset Members are haggling. In the Israeli "proportional" system one votes for parties, and to be a Member of Knesset one has to have a "high enough mumber" on your list.

After all of the changes that have taken place in the political party constilation, it's harder to predict how many seats each party will get and even more important, there has never been so much party-switching and changing. Amir Peretz as Labour's new party leader has brought in "his people" who are being promised "safe seats" at the expense of veteran members, some of whom are switching to Kadima, which is popular in the polls.

It's also "haggling" that's holding up the merger between the National Religious Party and the National Union. Honestly, I hope that they learn to conquer their personal egos and do what's best for the country and merge. I don't think that the NRP will get too many votes on their own. Their old "breakaway" Tekuma and Moledet are much more attractive to the voters.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 4, 2005


A friend asked me a very important question which got me thinking.

Are the Disengagement victims disenfranchised? How will they vote? Most do not have existing places of residence. There won't be any polling booths in Gush Katif or Northern Samaria.

Since most victims are homeless, they haven't changed their te'udot zehut, Identity Cards. If the cards aren't up to date, they won't be able to vote.

Soon after Disengagement one of the victims passed away and the family was required to pay for a cemetery plot, since he couldn't get a free one from his place of residence, since he didn't have one.

Could Sharon be in a rush for elections, since he doesn't want those votes to go to the patriotic parties?

Bibi Wishes!

We checked this out, and it's a Bibi trick. Bibi is hoping and wishing, but Uzi is still running. Uzi's staff is now contacting Arutz 7 to complain.

According to Arutz 7:

Channel 10:
MK Uzi Landau Ducking Out of Likud Race in Favor of Netanyahu

20:23 Dec 04, '05 / 3 Kislev 5766
(IsraelNN.com) MK Uzi Landau, according to Channel 10, is bowing out of the race for Likud chairman, defering to former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Landau has, in the past, criticized Netanyahu for remaining in the government through the entire process leading up to the expulsion of Gaza and northern Samaria's Jews.Netanyahu left
the government days before the Disengagement's implementation, saying he wanted the history books to record his opposition. He refrained from attempting to thwart the plan's implementation, however.Landau's backing out of the race leaves Moshe Feiglin as the only candidate that did not have a part in the expulsion of Gaza's Jews. Feiglin also opposes a Palestinian state, in accordance with the Likud Party's platform.

Havel Havelim!

Soccer Dad shows us how it's done and hosts Havel Havelim this week. There are lots and lots of posts, and many are from blogs I'm not at all familiar with, so I'm sure that it'll be great to read. So take a gander.

Never Dull, Election Time

Bibi Netanyahu is trying to delay the elections by forming a coalition of Knesset Members hoping to postpone the inevitable. Political pundits say that the MK's willing to ally with him are afraid that they'll lose their seat after the next elections, so it's worth the gamble to join his coalition. According to the The Jerusalem Post, Bibi denies the recruiting, and Uzi Landau had been working on it. Stay tuned...

Arik Sharon is recruiting for his party. Word is out that he's offering a "safe seat" to an extremist Arab mayor. Kadima is looking more and more like a traif supermarket. Even if it makes a decent showing in the upcoming elections, it won't last. There's nothing holding it together other than the strength of Arik's personality.

And now Arik says that Shetrit's statement that no new housing should be built in Judea and Samaria wasn't right. It's hard to know what he really believes, other than holding onto power and controlling the country.

More signs of Likud's death throes, as "un-named" MK's blame the "loyalist/rebels" and Moshe Feiglin for driving Sharon out. If that's what they think, they haven't a clue. And they also don't have "what it takes to lead" if they insist on hiding their identities.

And for some really good news, the so called "settler population" is growing much more rapidly than the general Israeli one. And if you compare "right wing" demographics to "left-wing" you'll see why they're panicking so. That's what Disengagement was really about, trying to destroy the most vibrant sector in Israeli society.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

#154 Objective?

Musings #154
December 3, 2005
3rd of Kislev


A big complaint by Americans exposed to Israeli journalism is its lack of objectivity. There's no fine line and not even a fuzzy one in Israeli news reports, whether print, radio or television, between fact and opinion. It's blatant editorializing, propaganda.

As a high school English teacher, my curriculum requires making my students aware of "fact" and "opinion" in a text. Last week I was attempting just such a lesson. We read over the textbook's description of a news article verses a human interest story.

My students are Hebrew speakers, and I've discovered that I have to be very careful to verify that they really understand the simplest English words. This is especially problematic when it comes to English that has been adopted by Hebrew. I discovered this dilemma a number of years ago when a class had to understand the term "regular hours." "Hours" was easy, "sha'ot," but when I asked them to translate regular, I heard "ragil," best translated back into English as "normal" or "unexceptional." That's not the same thing. A job with "regular hours" has set hours, the same schedule every day or week etc. From their understanding was a misunderstanding.

So I wasn't terribly surprised when I asked them to translate the term "objective," which was used in our textbook to describe a "news article," as opposed to a "human interest story." With total confidence they all replied: "obyectivi." I asked them to explain what it means. Again, looking at me like I was deaf, senile, crazy or all three, they repeated: "obyectivi!" And again, I asked for an explanation in Hebrew.

No great surprise that none of my students had the foggiest idea of what "obyectivi" or "objective" means. So of course I made them look it up in the dictionary, which I'm always telling them is their "best friend." But I was very upset to discover that in this case, their dictionary turned traitor. All that the dictionary said in Hebrew was "obyectivi."

Of course, afterwards I explained to them that "objective" means without opinion. Some of these students are beginning their major in "Tikshoret," Media-Journalism, and they hadn't been taught the principle. (Israeli high school students concentrate on a specific subject as part of their graduation requirements.)

"Objective" isn't the only word being miss-used, at least according to my American sensitivities. Democracy is also one. Israel is an elected dictatorship. Even before Ariel Sharon's reign, we felt a bit uncomfortable with the norms of Israeli government and version of democracy. But the past two years have brought us down further than we could have ever imagined.

Especially as interpreted by Israeli liberals, democracy means that once the government decides something everyone has to be in favor of it. It is immoral to disagree. Of course this applies only when the government decision meets with their approval. If they don't agree with the government there's a moral imperative to demonstrate against. If they do agree with the government, those demonstrating against are "endangering democracy." The liberal Civil Rights activists see nothing immoral in jailing teenagers for blocking roads to protest Disengagement.

If blocking roads is illegal, then Labor Party leader, Amir Peretz should be jailed, because he closed down lots of roads as head of the Histadrut. Now that he has reached "big time" in Israeli politics, things should be getting very "interesting."

I wonder what turns Israeli democracy will now take. It will be a real challenge to pick the facts out of the news, which is so "obyectivi."

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, 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

U. S.. Betarim Reunion

G-d willing, there will be a Reunion for those who were in U.S. Betar. It will be in Jerusalem in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Thursday, December 29, 4pm. There will be a dedication of the special elevator from the museum donated by Barry and Sindy Liben of New Jersey.

More details to follow in later posts. I also hope to get old pictures up with the reminders.

Friday, December 2, 2005

What has been swept under the rug...

It's election season, and what has been swept under the rug is being exposed to one and all. I'm even enjoying today's The Jerusalem Post, which is filled with all sorts of revelations.

Everybody has something to complain about. It's like those jokes about the conversations in an old age home.

You think you have trouble? Not only does the doctor only tell me bad news, I have to pay him for it, too!

My pain's stronger than your pain.

My kids are so bad, they even forgot not to call.

Suddenly corruption is seen and exposed all over.

Of all the nerve, they're actually crooks!
said Yossi Sarid

Yossi, nice to hear it from you, but we've known it for years.

I can't wait to hear what the former Labor Party members, now in Kadima will say about their old buddies. And I'm sure that those who stayed in Labor will have even dishier things to say about the "turncoats." And if they don't, you know what that means, they really are working together, trying to "monopolize the choices."

Well, just barely an hour and a half to Shabbat, and it's still Rosh Chodesh Kislev, which is a difficult day for us. It's the 32nd Yartzeit of an old friend of ours, Eli Solomon, killed by the Egyptians after the "cease fire." It's also our baby's birthday, so Happy Birthday Gannie!

and Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov to all of you

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Carnival of the Vanities

We're in Carnival of the Vanities this week, among lots of very, very interesting posts.

Take a gander.

Nothing Like A Picture

I couldn't resist!

It says so much about Sharon, that fat guy writing all the rules.
For those who don't know Hebrew, he's shouting "Kadima!" "Forward!" the name of his new party.

Who would ever have predicted that such a thing would happen to us? For decades it was a "given" that he could never be elected Prime Minister. It makes you doubt all other "everyone knows that..."

Our upcoming elections will be the most exciting, interesting and important since the very first ones after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. I just hope that we will one day, finally be independent of all the international busybodies. We have to just look forward, which makes me so upset that Sharon's advisors took the name. So if I ever had the opportunity to name a political party here in Israel it would be "Atzma'ut!" "INDEPENDENCE!"

Thanks to the Hellersteins for emailing me the picture!