Hamas War

Monday, March 31, 2008

Fitna Unplugged

Thanks to Arutz 7, you can see Fitna.

To put it simply, know your enemy.
Verses from the book occur in modern daily Chinese idioms and phrases, such as the last verse of Chapter 3:
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles.If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
This has been more tersely interpreted and condensed into the modern proverb:
知己知彼 百戰不殆 (知彼知己,百战不殆)
If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger.
Many people interpret this sentence as 'If you know both sides, you will win a hundred times in one hundred battles. (知己知彼 百戰百勝)'. This translation is incorrect. The word '殆' in Chinese means 'danger'. '百' in this sentence is better interpreted as 'numerous' rather than 'hundred'.
Furthermore, knowing both sides doesn't guarantee winning. '知己知彼 百戰百勝' is untrue since in the beginning paragraph of chapter four, Sun Tsu wrote 'Hence, we can well predict who would win but there is no strategy guaranteeing winning (故曰: 勝可知,而不可為。)'. The reason of the uncertainty is quite simple. How about dealing with the opponent who knows both sides better than you do?
Similar verses have also been borrowed -- in a manner construing skillfulness as victory "without fighting" -- for example:
Therefore one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful.
And, the most famous quotation (chapter 1, paragraph 18):
All warfare is based on deception.

And, as we learned about Purim, the enemy, like G-d, may be hidden, disguised.

What Did Tsippi Say In Hebrew?

This quotation is from the press conference Condeleezza Rice and Tsippi Livne gave togerher, and the translation is from the Foreign Ministry site.

FM LIVNI: I was asked about compensating settlers who wants to leave the West
Bank.[Translated from Hebrew:] In principle, as someone who has experienced the whole disengagement process... (complete transcript)

How could she claim to have "experienced" Disengagement?

  • Did she live in one of the destroyed communities?

  • Did she lose her home?

  • Is she now unemployed in a refugee camp?

She was one of the government officials who supported and facilitated Disengagement!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Move over Moses, Pastor Hagee is here

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is in town.

Senator Joseph Lieberman has compared him to Moses (note: McCain is "part Maccabeean" according to Joe).

"Pastor Hagee is a spiritual leader who personifies the words of the living God," according to Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg of San Antonio (the rabbi is also here this week).

Ambassador Daniel Ayalon has told Pastor Hagee, "We love you because you are a man of God" (one wonders when Danny became so religious)

Pastor Hagee has given - and continues to give - many, many millions of dollars to humanitarian causes in Israel, wields significant political clout on behalf of Israel, and is the Jewish State's favorite spokesman.

With no leaders of our own, it seems Pastor Hagee has become a sort of Golden Calf for Israel (Even though it has been said that he is trying to raise "the perfect red heifer")

John Hagee is scheduled to speak at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Friday April 4th. The program begins at 10:45am, and includes the following speakers:
Rabbi Riskin, MK Benny Elon, Harry Hurvitz, Ilan Geenfield, David Brog and Pastor Hagee
I understand the event is open to the public and is free of charge. Gefen publishing has translated Hagee's book, In Defense of Israel , into Hebrew (I wonder if that's the version that he had to rewrite due to theological/messianic issues, or the original)


Pastor Hagee will be honored in Ariel on April 3rd in
A NIGHT TO HONOR THOSE WHO HONOR ISRAEL We will be honoring Pastor John and Diana Hagee and all those Christian Zionists who have lent their support to Israel.

April 6th, CUFI will be holding a "Night to Honor Israel" at the Jerusalem Convention Center
(Binyame Hauma). I understand the proceeds will go towards raising funds for bombshelters in Sderot. I had written about previous efforts by CUFI to raise funds towards this cause in an earlier update:

Mike [Evans] may have lost the Midas touch. His presence, along with Walid Shoebat’s, at a recent Night to Honor Israel Dinner in Florida – which was to raise funds for bomb shelters - did not produce impressive results. It was “less successful and less well attended” than previous events. According to the Heritage Florida Jewish News, an estimated $20,500 was raised, which fell far short of the goal of $76,000. Jewish participants reported that there was a distinct Christian tone to the evening with fiery rhetoric and references to the "Antichrist", "Armageddon", and "blasphemers".

In all fairness, I understand that Pastor Hagee was not present at that event. I imagine David Brog wasn't there either, because he usually keeps the fire and brimstone level on "moderate".

Judeo-Christian Concerns (too close for comfort?):

If a line has to be drawn, draw the line around both Christians and Jews; we are united; we are indivisible; we are bound together by the Torah - the roots of Christianity are Jewish. We are spiritual brothers and what we have in common is far greater than the things we've allowed to separate us over the years.
- Pastor John Hagee at 2007 AIPAC conference


Dissenting Opinion: The following are excerpts from an article I wrote, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post last year [note: I consulted with Rav Aharon Lichtenstein before offering a synopsis on the psak of Rav Yosef Soloveichik z"l , and I consulted with Rabbi Sholom Gold before submitting the article for publication]:

Although Pastor John Hagee has been meticulous and outspoken in his opposition to missionary activity in Israel, he is, nevertheless, promoting a passionate Judeo-Christian agenda heavily infused with a gospel which theologically fuses Jews and Christians together in manner which has never been sanctioned by those entrusted with protecting the Jewish faith and maintaining Israel as an independent single faith community*

...While the Rav recognized the validity of "a Judeo-Hellenistic-Christian tradition within the framework of Western civilization," he noted that "people confuse two concepts when they speak of a common tradition uniting two faith communities such as the Christian and the Judaic." He called it "absurd" to speak of the "commensurability of two faith communities which are individual entities."

We are not to relate to any other faith community as "brethren" even though "separated." Any spiritually inspired endeavors with the Christian community should not take place on a theological level, but rather on a mundane, secular, and humanistic plane.
Rather than try and build a relationship on common denominators, we should build with an understanding and respect for differences. And it is instinctual and necessary for us Jews "to recoil and retrace our steps" when we feel uncomfortably close to losing our status as a totally independent faith community...

For the Rav's orginal essay please see

*a good number of Hagee's current and past regional and executive directors are involved in calls for a "Messianic" Jewish restoration. And up until a few weeks ago Hagee and his wife appeared on the endorsement page of the very large and active Tel Aviv Messianic Ministry, MaozIsrael (the endorsement disappeared just in time for his trip here). But he didn't cover his tracks too well, because Michael Little of CBN and Executive Board member of CUFI continues to endorse Maoz (Jack Hayford does, too).

Is it just me...?

We are here to introduce a new era in America - an era of unity, mutual respect, and lasting peace -- an era when Christian and Jew stand together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder....
---Pastor John Hagee from CUFI

We shall rise to meet the dawning of a new era - a new order of peace and prosperity in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future....
----Scar from the Lion King

This cartoonist feels that it's a blessing that Walt [Disney] left this world before he could see Micky hijacked by Hamas and Hagee partially clone Scar's oration.

Whether one chooses to accept the very generous outpouring of funds from Pastor Hagee - as well as his leadership - and Judeo-Christian spin (it could be a package deal), is a matter of great debate. But don't evade the issue. Please grapple with it like a Jew should, and consult with a qualified rav ("the Rav"?) before making a decision.

The Bad News about The "Good News"

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

The World Evangelical Alliance has launched a major campaign which defends the practice of EVANGELIZING THE JEWS

Now let me get this straight...
WEA deems it acceptable for Jews who became Christians to pretend to be Jews in order to get Jews to accept Jesus the Jew as their lord and savior. I kid you not. The statement which was a
full page insertion in the New York Times says:
"We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1)."
Leave it to the Romans to pull something off like this.

The statement (which can be read it full below) will appear in Christian magazines, as well as major secular newspapers throughout April and May.

Christianity Today got a jump start on the campaign and published an article last week entitled:
Why Evangelize the Jews? God's chosen people need Jesus as much as we do.
... As we continue the good works of dialogue and practical ministries among our Jewish neighbors, let's renew our commitment to also sensitively but forthrightly persuade them to receive the Good News.

NEW YORK TIMES ad insert (sent by a friend):


As evangelical Christians, we want to express our genuine friendship and love for the Jewish people. We sadly acknowledge that church history has been marred with anti-Semitic words and deeds; and that at times when the Jewish people were in great peril, the church did far less than it should have.

  • We pledge our commitment to be loving friends and to stand against such injustice in our generation At the same time, we want to be transparent inaffirming that we believe the most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of G-d in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • We believe that it is only through Jesus that all people can receive eternal life. If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, He cannot be the Savior of the World (Acts 4:12).
  • We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
  • We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1).
  • We want to make it clear that, as evangelical Christians, we do not wish to offend our Jewish friends by the above statements; but we are compelled by our faith and commitment to the Scriptures to stand by these principles. It is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and encouraging others to do the same, for we believe that salvation is only found in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World.

The ADL was not too pleased, and issued the following statement:

Ad Targeting Jews For Conversion 'Offensive And Insulting'
New York, NY, March 28, 2008 … A statement by an Evangelical Christian group which defends targeting Jews for conversion by Christians who grew up as Jews, was labeled "offensive and insulting," by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance, "The Gospel and the Jewish People: An Evangelical Statement," appeared as a full-page advertisement in the March 28 edition of The New York Times. ADL said the statement validates and defends those who converted from Judaism to Christianity for using their religious and cultural Jewish experience as tools to proselytize Jews, such as Jews for Jesus and so-called "Messianic Jews."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a statement:
The World Evangelical Alliance Statement defending the targeting of Jews for conversion is offensive and insulting to the Jewish people and brazenly dismisses Jewish self-definition. Instead of validating God's irrevocable covenant with the Jewish people, and ongoing Jewish covenantal life, themes also found in their Scripture, this group of religious leaders does the opposite.

It is especially odious to defend the duplicitous proselytizing of Jews by groups such as Jews for Jesus and so-called "Messianic Jews." While they claim to deplore the use of deception and coercion, they "reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews," thus turning the meaning of deception on its head.
ADL said the statement also stands in contradiction to Rev. Billy Graham who said: "I believe God has always had a special relationship with the Jewish people, as St. Paul suggests in the book of Romans. In my evangelistic efforts I have never felt called to single out the Jews as Jews..." In 2000, Graham defended Jews during the Southern Baptist Convention's major effort to proselytize Jews, saying, "I normally defend my denomination. I'm loyal to it. But I have never targeted Muslims. I have never targeted Jews."

The statement, signed by 44 Christian academics, clergy and journalists, states that "we recognize that it is good and right for those [Jews who converted to Christianity] with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people."


I'm glad to see that the ADL - an organization with a very mixed record - was on the ball this time. But it seems that back in 1972 the Reverend Billy Graham would have liked to have targeted the Jews - albeit in a different sort of way - if given the chance:

''I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know,'' he told Mr. Nixon, referring to A. M. Rosenthal, then the newspaper's executive editor. ''And all -- I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I'm friendly with Israel. But they don't know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.''


Thirty Years Back In Shiloh!

Last night we celebrated

Thirty Years of Re-Newed Jewish Life in the Ancient City of Shiloh!

Unfortunately, it was a scaled-down celebration after the murder of Shiloh teenager, Yonatan Eldar, HaYa"D, who was murdered at Merkaz HaRav less than a month ago.

There were three parts to the celebration. One was the voting for twelve pictures to be featured in the Shiloh Calendar, and the second was "Chidon Shiloh," A Shiloh-Knowledge Contest. The panelists ranged from young teenagers to grandfathers.

And, davka, the winner was neither, she was the young woman in the foreground of the picture below, Shlomit Shtavvi.

The third highlight of the evening was a fantastic Rip Van Winkle based movie about Shiloh. I hope it gets translated. It was really great!

I Feel Sorry For Hillary

Barring some major Obama scandal, which would force him to leave politics, it now seems mathematically impossible for Hillary Clinton to get the Democratic nomination for President of the USA.

You have to feel sorry for her; it's a pathetic exit for such an ambitious and hard-working politician. It seems to me that Hillary wrote her game plan when she was a little girl. That's because it is very old-fashioned, 1950's. I'd venture to say that it's pre-Feminist, because it's based on the requirement to marry a talented and successful politician and then stick with him through thick and thin (other women.)

Unfortunately for her, she didn't constantly adjust and change her game plan.

A Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn movie would have to be totally rewritten for the 21st Century, and the same goes for instructions on breaking through the glass ceiling.

When Hillary began her official campaign she seemed unstoppable. She really had everything (but her wardrobe) going for her.

  • She knew everyone who needed to be known.

  • She had name recognition.

  • She had money.

  • She was a conscientious senator, though more a carpetbagger than a NY local.

The only thing she didn't have was charisma, but hubby, the former President Bill, has enough for the two of them. She was considered a bit "wooden" in person, and that "wooden," inflexible characteristic ended up being her fatal flaw.

She was pragmatically flexible in her policies, going for anything she thought would increase her chances at winning, like turning her back on Suha Arafat, after the warmth Hillary had shown her until it was made clear that it would cost her votes.

But Hillary never recognized that her life-style, her marriage was totally out of fashion. Divorce hasn't prevented candidates from being elected for decades. Hillary had a golden opportunity to be a strong, confident modern woman during the Monica scandal. By sticking with Bill, she lost every chance of being respected and supported. The post-Feminist generation sees her as an old-fashioned nightmare. They wouldn't want a marriage like hers and they don't see the point in wearing those ill-fitting men's suits.

Another of Hillary's problems is that her campaign was in a vacuum, rather autistic and self-centered. She had no flexible battle plan to activate against Barack Obama. This is another proof of the antiquity of her plan. When she hatched it, running against a high-achieving Black was inconceivable. Not even her super-charismatic husband had a clue.

Poor, pathetic Hilary. Will she ever understand why she failed?

Olmert Just Makes Double Digits!

Hat tip: IMRA

I emphasised two of the questions. That's the reason why in an earlier poll, it shows that Kadima, as a party, is touted to get 16 seats, more than the 12 that you'd think Olmert's backing would earn them.
Dahaf poll: 10% Olmert succeeded in role as PM

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Dahaf poll: 10% Olmert succeeded in role as PM

Dahaf poll: 10% Olmert succeeded in role as PM
Dr. Aaron Lerner 20 March 2008

Dahaf poll of 497 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs) conducted week of
March 18, 2008 for Yediot Ahronot.
Statistical error +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Did Ehud Olmert succeed in his role as prime minister?
Yes 10% No 59% Neither 30%

After two years, what grade do you give in in the following areas:
Security: Good 35% Bad 65%
Diplomacy: Good 38% Bad 61%
Economy: Good 44% Bad 55%
Education: Good 30% Bad 69%
Health: Good 49% Bad 51%
Personal security: Good 34% Bad 66%

Has Ehud Barak succeed in the role of defense minister?
Succeeded 24% Failed 35% Neither 46%

Who is most suited to be prime minister?
Netanyahu 32% Livni 24% Barak 16% None of them 27%
Netanyahu 31% Barak 20% Olmert 13% None of them 33%

Has your support for Olmert changed since he started the job?
Increased 5% Same 44% Declined 49%

Of those whose support declined - what caused it:
Lebanon War 31% General performance 21% Qassams 15%
Real estate scandals 11% Personality 8% Lack of belief in him 6%
Talks with Palestinians 3%

Who was the best prime minister

Begin 34% Rabin 32% Sharon 16% Shamir 7% Peres 3% Netanyahu 3% Olmert 1%
Barak 1%
Published in Yediot Ahronot on 228 March 2008

There's another important reason. The Israeli political system. You vote for party lists, not people. So, it's easy to rationalize a vote for Kadima, even if one doesn't trust Olmert. That's the basis of why Tzachi Hanegbi was able to call his party a "supermarket." You can find anything you want.

And why did I emphasize the questions about Bibi and Barak? Bibi, of Likud, and Barak, of Labor, are the alternatives, and they're both very unpopular former Prime Ministers. Look at the last question in the poll. They join Olmert (and Peres) as the worst PM's in Israeli history.

Ehud Barak really was the worst Prime Minister. His reign was Hell, literally, when Arab terror attacks became so frequent, people were afraid to leave their homes. Bibi's time wasn't that bad, but the media has been dedicated to his destruction as polticial leader.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Yes, that's the latest, which utilizes two popular "couplings" for Obama. Not only the Jew as Veep, but also the elder as Veep, like in BushJr. and Cheney.
Would they be running against McCain-Lieberman?
Joe Lieberman seems very comfortable playing second fiddle.
But I wonder about Bloomberg. And I don't think he'd get as many Jewish votes as Obama would wish, especially if Lieberman is running with McCain. Also NYC's Jewish teachers can't stand Bloomberg. I'm curious about NYC Educator's opinion of the shidduch.
This is quite a tennis match.

Polls Apart

I've never really liked the election polls. People take them much too seriously. Every week, there are some new polls published. Politicians make their plans and announce their opinions according to how they analyze the polls.

These aren't real elections and officially the date of the next Knesset elections is in two years. Of course, it may be a lot sooner, especially since the MK's have just completed their two year pension requirements.

If elections were held today how would you vote
(expressed in mandates - no
indication how many were undecided)
Actual Knesset today in [brackets]
16 [29] Kadima
19 [19] Labor
26 [12] Likud
11 [12] Shas
11 [11] Yisrael Beteinu
08 [09] Nat'l Union/NRP
06 [06] Yahadut Hatorah
06 [05] Meretz
04 [00] Green Party
03 [00] Social Justice (Gaydamak Party)
** [00] Tafnit - headed by Uzi Dayan
** [07] Retirees Party
10 [10] Arab parties
** does not reach minimum for Knesset

The NU-NRP seems stronger in this poll than I'd expect. Maybe it's because there's no alternative party listed. We don't know who and what will be running.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Next?

Some time early in the very long-- I never noticed any real end, so as far as I'm concerned, we have been suffering through a very long-- intifada, it was discovered that injuries could be prevented if the windows of all Jewish vehicles were reinforced. First they were coated with clear glued plastic, and later the government paid for everyone's car to get special plastic windows.

The plastic windows also reduce injuries in car accidents. The only problem with the plastic is that, as eyeglass owners know, the plastic gets scratched and has to be replaced periodically. Now Ehud Barak, who's supposed to be our Defense Minister, has decided to cancel the funding for the protective windows.

Daylight Savings Rip-Off

Just ask any mother how hard it is to get the kids to bed hours before darkness falls!

The OU-- America First

The OU, Orthodox Union, formerly known as the UOJCA, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, is an America* first group, not Judaism first. *North America, including Canada

If it was Judaism first, then aliyah would be the priority, but it's an organization of North American Orthodox Jewish Synagogues. And because of that, it's promoting the strengthening of some of its weaker communities. These are cities with all that an Orthodox community needs, but apparently, the population is getting older, smaller or both.

Many of us in Israel see this an another example of the defacto anti-Aliyah orientation of the OU. At least if Nefesh B'Nefesh was to be equally featured for those looking to move... someplace else.

I'm not posting the OU link for their event, in principle!

Can Either of Them Win?

As the northern hemisphere goes into daylight savings time, the US Presidential "pre-race" is almost finished. The Republicans have McCain, who no longer has to campaign against his fellow Republicans, but the Democrats have a bigger problem, a very serious one.

The two front-runners would both be "firsts." Hillary would be the first female and Obama the first black. They are like oil and water. There's no way they can somehow combine their forces on one ticket. Certainly not now, after Obama has taken the lead. If Hillary had a resounding lead, then maybe Obama would be a suitable VP, but not now and certainly not the reverse.

In the privacy of the voting booth, with curtains closed, the chances are that more Obama "supporters" would pull the Republican "lever" than if Hillary was the Presidential nominee.

Polls are "in theory," and it's not PC to tell the truth. Obama's being black colors what people are willing to admit. Not only is he young, but he doesn't have much experience. His core group of advisers include many extremists. He has been packaged well, but that is all hype. Middle America, the "silent majority," prefer something else. Would they be happy with Hillary? I don't think so.

McCain will probably win, not because his politics and policies are what the majority want, but like choosing the right answer on a multiple-choice test, by the process of elimination, he's what's left.

In Person!

I'll be in the states, NY/NJ, early this summer and available for a limited amount of speaking engagements. If you're interested, please contact me at shilohmuse at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The story that bombed? (Ariel update)

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Not a pretty picture in Ariel, or Arad:
Haaretz has a brutal clip from Arad which features video footage of "messianic" missionary assaults on Hareidim, as well as Hareidi protests against missionaries

Fireworks by Calev Myers, or Firecrakers in Ariel?
The police investigation is under wraps and there is nothing concrete to report about the explosion in Ariel. It was originally reported by Haaretz that "Police reportedly believe the blast was caused by some sort of firecraker used during Purim celebrations", and that they were "investigating the possibility that the explosion occurred while the boy was opening a Purim gift basket." Terror was not ruled out either, as Pastor Ortiz was missionizing among Arabs.

But you know how the press can be - especially when they have to spin a story due to a lack of concrete information. And you know how lawyers can be - especially when presented with a good PR opportunity to further their personal agenda.
Attorney Pastor Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute for Justice, is the spokesman for the Ortiz family and appears in a story and video clip on CBN in which he continues to point the finger at the Orthodox community.

If Calev's spin backfires and this incident turns out to be either a tragic accident or an Arab attack, then maybe the Israel Bar Association, or at least the senior partners of Yehuda Raveh, should take a good look at Mr. Myers and his tactics. Conflict of interest? Behavior unbecoming a lawyer/pastor? (What do I know? I'm a college drop-out from art school)
(Excerpts from CBN):
Bomb Heard Around the Globe
News of this terror attack has reverberated throughout Israel and around the world...
Some see the bombing against the Ortiz family as an unprecedented attack on Messianic believers - Jews who believe Jesus - or Yeshua - is the Jewish Messiah and see no contradiction between being Jewish and believing Jesus was the Son of God.
"One of the most difficult things for the family is that when the press originally brought the story out in Israel in Hebrew, they said that someone from a radical missionary cult was injured," said Calev Meyers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.

The Ortiz family asked Meyers to act as a family spokesman.
"The reason the press treated it this way is that the Messianic community in Israel are the victims of ongoing vicious propaganda against the community - especially in the ultra-religious media," Meyers said.
"The ongoing vicious propaganda that comes against families like this and against the Messianic Jewish community lays the basis for radical events or attacks like this against the community and that's what we're really trying to fight," he said...
Meyers said, "One of their messages would be, 'We're not giving up and we're going to continue to build the Kingdom of God in Israel, even in the face of this kind of aggression."

An Honest Report from a Christian Friend of the Ortiz Family
There are some false rumors going around, mostly because of sloppy media reports. Unfortunately, even the usually reliable Jerusalem Post got things mixed up. Although it made a great story, Ami was not saved by his mom (his parents were in Jerusalem and had to fight their way through traffic to the hospital). There are not "50 families" of Messianic Jews in Ariel (don't we wish!! - the number is closer to 9 or 10 families, plus several volunteers who come and go on tourist visas). Ami did not need to have his intestines and kidneys reconstructed as far as I can determine, although shrapnel and glass was removed from lots of places I don't want to think about. Nor were any limbs amputated (he lost 2 toes only)...
The apartment did not lose all its furniture, as reported by some - by a fluke, the sofa and TV are fine. The phone and electric work, and the computer works, but the spiral stairs to the upper floor are rickety...
The mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, visited the hospital yesterday. He has been very supportive and openly determined to defend the rights of believers here. He told the family that the investigation of the attack has been moved to a higher-level department in Jerusalem, to avoid any local conflict of interests. I consider that a direct answer to prayer, because our own interaction with the local police revealed possible bias and blind spots.

Some others also visited David - members of the local orthodox community. Having concluded that the media reports (all favoring the "Jewish extremist" theory) must have some factual basis, they apologized to David and disowned whoever did it. Likewise the leader of Yad L'Achim, who publicly denounced the deed in the media.

I'm not saying any more, since these are the only real facts I have.

Call FOUL on CBN for Unfair Reporting of Narkiss Church Fire:
Any of you brave media watchdogs willing to confront Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on this gross distortion (or do you reserve your criticism for the left-wing press only)?

In Calev's clip on CBN, the Narkiss church fire of last October is conveniently inserted. Again, the clear message is that the Orthodox community was responsible for the incident.

BUT I have been regularly checking on that "arson" report. And, as of a few days ago, no suspects have been detained and no arrests have been made. At the time of the fire, there was worldwide coverage which cited a 1982 incident (that would be 25+ years ago) as a sort of proof that "Orthodox anti-missionary groups" had done it again. Even the ADL kicked in with a condemnation:

"The ADL strongly condemned this arson and apparent hate crime," the New-York based organization said. "We urged authorities to do everything in their power to protect all religious sites and see that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice."

That church is home to varying congregations of Baptists, Russian Christians, foreign workers, students, Sudanese refugees from Egypt and Messianic Jews (I would keep firehoses around in that multicultural environment).
And According to reports in the Baptist Press at the time,
Police have no suspects and the arson may have simply been the work of vandals
Reminder :
At the 2004 ICEJ sponsored Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, CBN's Pat Roberson gave the cause of Messianic Judaism a big boost :

Jews need to begin to cry out for their Messiah, he said. "I've met wonderful Jews... here in Jerusalem, who are all saying 'Yes, Jesus you are our Messiah,'"
(that same year, then-Tourism Minister MK Benny Elon honored Pat Robertson by presenting him with a special Zionist award that praised him for having "saved Israel's tourism from bankruptcy." That same month, the Rabbi MK met with Christian missionaries and implored them to "go from mosque to mosque and bring the Muslims into the light.")

So contact CBN and tell them to clean-up their video footage and reporting.

Call Foul on YNET:
Yair London jumped at an opportunity to bash the Hareidim in a Ynet article (no mention of the fact that Pastor David Ortiz and his missionary staff have received death threats and beatings from Muslims who don't want to be converted):

I don't know who the would-be assassin was in this case, but we know that zealous ultra-Orthodox stand out among those who persecute missionaries...Jews who fear competition and resort to gangster-like tricks...blah... blah.... blah....

Talkback under London's piece claims Fatah already took credit for the blast:
"Author misinformed: Fatah took credit for the blast!"
the author of the talkback - a resident of Ariel - goes on to say that according to Maan News, Fatah Battalion already took
credit for the blast ...

Which brings us back to an earlier report which appeared on Arutz 7:
Ariel Bomb: Terrorists Take Credit, Police Suspect Cult

Strange times...

We Bleed, Too

Shades of The Merchant of Venice. At least that's what went through my mind when I read that Israel's UN Ambassador actually reacted to the anti-Israel Security Council.

Gillerman decries 'immoral equivalency'
Israel's UN envoy says credibility of moderate states to isolate extremists is being undermined.

1. I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. (III.i.49–61)

Why are we still members of the UN?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good Question

Is Israel a True Democracy?
On Shabbat I read and excellent article:
Civil disobedience, the last we heard, is no crime in a credible democracy (which Israel claims to be) complete article

It discusses the extremely different ways the media has treated "ex-con Tali Fahima - found guilty in 2005 of aiding and abetting the enemy" and Tzviya Sariel, who spent four months in jail, because she wouldn't cooperate with the court. The judge wouldn't release her, even though she wasn't really charged with anything.
Israel's media, which is extremely Left wing, made Tali into a "heroine" and ignored the idealistic religious teenager, Tzivia.
Today, another nail was hammered into Israeli freedom of expression when Yekutial Ben-Yaakov was convicted in court:

Six-Month Sentence for Asking: Should We Expel Arabs or Jews?
Ben-Yaakov, convicted over a private referendum, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, along with a suspended six-month jail sentence.more
It's not enough to just rant. We have to fix this government. We also need a strong alternative media, radio and TV. The internet isn't enough.

Enjoy Yourself...It's Later Than You Think

Enjoy Yourself... It's Later Than You Think
by Sylvia Mandelbaum

I'm doing okay for my age. I stopped thinking because G-d is running the world his way and I don't want to interfer with G-d.
G-d is Eternal. And G-d will do what's right. G-d has the last word.

This is a very nice place for elderly people. They never used to consider elderly people part of their world. But now they are treated with respect. The world has taken on a different attitude - we are not the cast-offs anymore.

I want to enjoy the rest of my life. Time marches on. You don't realize how much time you lose with dillydallying and sillysallying.

Enjoy yourself - it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself - it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself - it's later than you think

It's later than you think.

I think it's a beautiful song.


How dumb!
How foolish!

I don't know where to start.

Should I start with the IDF and Israeli Government advertising, bragging all over the world, that the machine guns the Arab terrorists hear are unmanned? Instead of soldiers, there will be a camera, and technicians will observe from...? Hat tip IMRA.

And there's the repeated humanitarian aid to the Arab terrorists in Gaza and their families, even since terrorism has gotten worse. Humanitarian assistance to Gaza since Feb 27 escalation in terror.

For example:
March 19, 2008

Approximately 39 trucks of humanitarian aid and supplies were transferred into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom Crossing containing: diapers, toilet paper, medical supplies, oil, pasta, fish, meat, frozen vegetables, rice and tea.

March 18, 2008

A total of 3,401 tons of humanitarian aid and fuel were transported.

79 trucks through the Karni Crossing conveyer containing: wheat, corn and animal feed.
Kerem Shalom Crossing - 34 trucks were unloaded.
In addition, 635,000 liters (14 tankers) of fuel and 242 tons of heating gas (12 tankers) were transported through the Nahal Oz Crossing.

Is this how you treat an enemy which is trying to annihilate you?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ariel Tragedy and Identity Crisis

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

I was not going to issue any lengthy update on the pre-Purim attack against a Messianic/Hebrew Christian family which took place in Ariel. I think everyone is appropriately distressed by this tragic incident. We hope that the young man involved recovers, and we are anxious for the police to do their work. There are just far too many unknowns in this case to start speculating.

But now I feel compelled to say something, because Messianic Attorney and Pastor, Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (and law firm Yehuda Raveh), seems anxious to steer this episode in a different direction. As a good friend suggested, it’s to the benefit of certain parties to “ride this horse until it drops dead! “ So, I just have to say,“Whoa!”

Before we examine the agenda of Advocate Myers, I think it’s worth noting that the Director of the Jerusalem branch of Jews for Judaism, Penina Taylor, was quick to condemn the attack:

“We at Jews for Judaism, Jerusalem condemn this atrocity and hope and pray for the complete healing of this boy and the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of this heinous crime.” Her full statement on the attack can be read at: http://www.jewsforjudaism.org.il/

Rabbi Dov Lifshitz, of the counter-missionary organization, Yad L'Achim, told the Jerusalem Post that,
"Someone who thinks logically will not do this. It just harms the struggle. I'm sure this is not connected to the anti-missionary cause." …If the culprit is Jewish, the bomber "is either crazy or does not understand the struggle." …
"We are now pushing for legislation that would make it illegal for members of any religion to try and convert others to their faith,"
Lifshitz said. "Our struggle isn't against anyone. What we're saying is, we are Jews. Let us be Jews. Christians should remain Christians. In our 50 years of activity, we've never had any violence. We have a big argument with messianic Jews, but that doesn't include violence,"Lifshitz said.


But Calev Myer’s thinks otherwise and has been quoted in a number of news sources - and he appears to be pointing the finger at “radical Orthodox Jews”:

But Caleb Meyers, the primary legal representative for Israel's Messianic community, explained that "there is a campaign of harassment against the Messianic Jewish community by radical religious organizations that are trying to create dehumanization – especially in religious newspapers."
Propaganda that aims to dehumanize Messianic believers could produce in the minds of some radical Orthodox Jews a kind of justification for carrying out the bombing of an innocent family.


Meyers explains that the messianic community, which numbers about 15,000 people in Israel, "sees itself as a legitimate branch of Judaism. The central belief is that the messianic branch is influenced by the Old Testament as well as the New. It's a bridge between the Jewish and Christian worlds and harassment comes from this because it threatens the worldview of extremist religious bodies that want to uniquely define who is a Jew." http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3521856,00.html

I imagine Calev Myers was indeed upset by the original YNET and Haaretz reports on the explosion, because headlines on their homepages inferred that a “cult” may be involved in the incident.
Boy hurt in blast; cult involvement suspected
Cult may be involved in blast that seriously hurt Ariel teen
Teen suffers shrapnel wounds, possibly from firecracker; Family belongs to group considered a cult.

[NOTE :The stories later clarified that police classify the Messianic movement as a cult.]

Not only is there a big question with regards to the identity of the perpetrators of this crime, but there also remains a big question within the Messianic community as to their own identity. They refer to themselves as “Messianic Jews”, “Hebrew Christians” ,“Judeo-Christians”, Jewish believers in Jesus”, or simply “Believers”.

Calev Myers reflects that confusion on his own website (JIJ.org.il), and has simply clumped everyone together, and refers to, “the illegal mistreatment of Judeo-Christian Minorities.”
According to the Jerusalem Institute of Justice site,
Throughout the years of his professional experience, Calev became acutely aware of the inferior state of the civil rights of Israeli Evangelical believers, Messianic Jews and families of mixed (Jewish-Christian) marriages (“Judeo-Christian Minorities”).


The Jewish community, as well, is at a loss with regards to finding a politically correct term to describe “Jewish believers in Jesus”, as well as born Christians who dress the dress, walk the walk, and talk the talk of Jews – but who retain belief in Jesus (Yeshua) as their lord and savior. Halachically, all of these people are simply practicing Christianity.

The incident in Ariel is to be taken seriously and we all hope Ami Ortiz quickly recovers from his severe injuries, but we think Calev Myers should stop salivating over what he may deem to be PR opportunity to present the “Judeo-Christian” church as a persecuted entity in Israel ,and to promote Messianic Judaism as an authentic and legitimate branch of Judaism.

It should be clearly understood that those of us who are concerned with maintaining the physical and spiritual continuity of the Jewish people, and who seek to preserve the dignity and status of Judaism as an independent faith community (separate from Christianity), will continue to strive towards establishing proper legislation, and will turn to our halachic authorities for guidelines and guidance. And we will continue to use educational and democratic means to counter the missionary activities and efforts by certain evangelical and messianic groups who wish to encourage Christian belief among Jews in Israel.


Projection in psychology
Posted by shadows721 on July 25, 2004, at 15:36:38

"A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits."

"Attributing one's own undesirable traits to other people or agencies, e.g., an aggressive man accuses other people of being hostile."

"The individual perceives in others the motive he denies having himself. Thus the cheat is sure that everyone else is dishonest. The would-be adulterer accuses his wife of infidelity."
That's what I think of whenever the Left go after us with financial bribes to leave our homes. All if does is prove that they're for sale.

What's a "Mortar Shell?"

Is it another euphemism for kassam?

I've been checking them out, and they are dangerous weapons, which can cause major damage and of course, death. In many articles, it does seem that kassams are different from mortar shells, even though other articles give the impression that they're all the same.


Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is a muzzle-loading indirect weapon that fires shells at low velocities,
short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It typically has a barrel
length less than 15 times its caliber. A mortar is relatively simple and easy to
operate. A modern mortar consists...
More »

They are dangerous weapons, no matter what you call them. And don't forget that the Arab terrorists have them and use them against innocent Israeli civilians.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Do You Remember Dick Cheney?

Cheney's the guy who tried covering up the fact that he had accidentally shot his friend's face. And he was US Vice President at the time. OK, it's not Teddy's Chappaquidick dead campaign worker scandal, but still.

Why did he rush off to Israel just after McCain left?

I've tried to ignore Cheney ever since he came on the scene as US Veep. If you
asked or googled my blog, you won't find him mentioned much, if at all. But today, I just can't stomach all the quotations attributed to him. I must get this out of my system before I get back in the classroom tomorrow. I wouldn't want my students to suffer because of him.

Cheney: Terror Destroying Palestinians' Hopes

Now, why is it so difficult for him to understand that "terror" and "Palestinians" are one and the same. If you took away the terror, they wouldn't be the Pseudistinians he so loves.

That brings me to another point:

"The US remains "strongly committed" to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Cheney said. Achieving that, he said, "will require tremendous effort at the negotiating table and painful concessions on both sides." (complete article)

If he has all the answers and knows what he wants from us, then what is there to "negotiate" about?

And why should we be forced to offer "painful concessions" for something that has as its main goal our annihilation?

When McCain was here, he was very clear that the United States would never allow itself to be attacked the way Israel has been over the years. I guess that's why Cheney's here, to make sure that nobody listens to McCain and destroys the terrorists.

Cheney, get lost. I prefer McCain!

Talking Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Yes, it's very common among politicians. They think that we have an attention span and memory so short we can't connect their various statements.

They also hope that once they hit jackpot and say something we agree with, we'll ignore their other statements.

Well, sorry Cheney, but it doesn't work with me:

"US Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday that Washington would never pressure Israel to take steps that would endanger its survival, and hoped to see a "new beginning" for the Palestinian people in their own state." (complete article)

For Cheney, it's a given that the terrorist must have another state, but I see it as a danger to Israel's survival.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rarely Do I Agree With The Jerusalem Post

But in this case I do. Their interview with McCain is a "must read."

'Nature of enemy is hydra-headed'
McCain spells out an unequivocally pro-Israel platform in 'Post' interview.

It gives a good idea of how his mind works. The interview isn't as hard-hitting as Ruthie Blum would do, but I do find it revealing of the candidate.
He didn't come to Israel all that prepared. He seems more like a Reagan sort of guy. Good gut reactions but trusts the details to others.
McCain wasn't afraid to say that he doesn't have an answer. I think that's very important. It's better than saying the wrong thing, especially, when he only has a general policy. When I give advice to people before they're to be interviewed, I always stress that one does not have to answer every question. You can even say that it's not a good question, too theoretical, or based on a presumption, which isn't accurate.
What I found amusing was the full statement he made about Ehud Barak. There were headlines during his visit quoting his praise of Barak, so I'm going to end this by quoting exactly what is in that part of the interview:
Do you agree with the tactics Israel is using to stop the rocket fire in the south? Is the military doing what it should be doing?

I have great respect for Ehud Barak. I think he is one of the great military people I have ever seen and had the opportunity of knowing.

I can't give you a good answer as to how you respond to these rocket attacks. But I can tell you that I believe that if rocket attacks came across the border of the United States of America, that the American people would probably demand pretty vigorous actions in response. I think I know my constituency in the state of Arizona, and they would be pretty exercised if rockets came across our southern border, which will never happen, but they would demand a pretty vigorous response.

I would like to speak in the broadest terms in saying that when you look at all the factors that are at play here, when you look at the multitude of the challenges and the nature of the enemy, including a nation that is developing nuclear weapons and is dedicated to Israel's extinction, then from my standpoint Israel is probably at greater risk than perhaps it has been since 1947.

Grammar Is Important

English, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Russian etc. It doesn't matter which language, but grammar is important. Using the wrong sort of verb conjugation can give different meanings to things. Granted, those who don't really know when to use perfect, reflective, passive, progressive, etc won't catch the nuances either.

Ever since I became an English teacher, only ten plus years ago, I've become even more conscious and sensitive to word usage. My mind remembers all sorts of grammar and usage rules. I can hardly match my students' names to faces, except in the smallest groups, but I can tell you where and when I learned the difference between בגלל and -מפני ש (because and because of-) and when they should be used. Of course, 99% of Hebrew speakers don't follow the rules, but I do.

I'm also very sensative to the sounds of words. So when I heard about רקטות התפוצצו "rackettot hitpotzetzu," cute little rockets self-exploded, on the TV news, while I was scrubbing the floors, before Shabbat Purim, I called to my husband who was on the computer:

"Send me an email saying רקטות התפוצצו "rackettot hitpotzetzu," so I remember to write about it after Shabbat!"

Yes, this is it.

Rackettot are kassams, primitive but deadly rockets developed by the Arabs who want to destroy the State of Israel. They launch these weapons at innocent Israeli civilians. This has been going on for years already. It began before Disengagement, when Israel banished/exiled/evacuated/transferred thousands of peaceful innocent Israelis from their homes, communities, businesses, schools, etc in Gush Katif for nothing. Not for peace. It was a unilateral withdrawal. That means that nothing was demanded or agreed in return. It was just to attempt to weaken the Land of Israel loyalists.

The Arabs have been launching kassams at Gush Katif and nearby Sderot before Disengagement. The Jews of Gush Katif held firm and refused to flee. G-d was good, G-d has been good, because amazingly few Israelis have been murdered by the Arab-launched kassams. As bad as it has been, it could have been much worse. It could be much worse.

I get very upset when I hear the word "rackettot" instead of kassams, because it makes those dangerous weapons sound like toys.

And what bothered me about the phrase התפוצצו hitpotzetzu? It's in the reflexive, as if the kassams have some independent control. I'd prefer using the stronger and more accurate פיעל pi'el, which would be used to say that the Arab-launched kassam exploded a house, destroying....

Do I read too much into the nuances of the news? If Israel had balanced news, then maybe you'd be right. But Israel's media ranges from Far Left to Extreme Left. When they bring in an opposition leader, he's from the fringe Left, like Meretz. They very, very rarely give Bibi or Steinitz, of Likud, opportunities to speak, and they're Centrist. So Right leaders, like Arieh Eldad, don't have a chance.

There was a time we thought that Arutz 7 would really try to be an alternative news media, but after their radio was shut down, they've made do with the internet, and that's it, no real TV or radio. So along with them on the internet and we bloggers, also on the internet, that's pretty much it.

I feel like I'm running my own independent "newspaper" here. I even have a few other writers who contribute their words of wisdom.

If you have any other examples of words, phrases, grammar used to distort the truth, please let me know in comments.

Shavua Tov
Shushan-Shiloh Purim Sameach

Arutz 7?* Seems fixed now

*It's back on!

Was Arutz 7 hacked or something? It's our explorer internet homepage, and it's not opening properly. And when I tried to get my blog, it said that I don't have access.

Is anyone else having trouble with it? It was fine right before Shabbat.

Our computer is in a routine virus check, so I don't feel like turning it off right now. I can, and it would just do the check again later.

Shushan-Shiloh Purim Sameach!
And Shavua Tov

PS This year feels like cheating with only two megillah readings.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maybe, If They Were To Do "Ushpizin" In English...

First he couldn't hold Natalie Portman's hand - and now a Williamsburg Hasidic Jew-turned-actor has to give up his chance to hit it big in a Hollywood movie.
Abe Karpen, 25, a married father of three, was cast as Portman's husband in "New York I Love You," a film composed of 12 short stories about love in the five boroughs.
"I am backing out of the movie," said Karpen, a kitchen cabinet salesman. "It's not acceptable in my community. It's a lot of pressure I am getting. They [the rabbis] didn't like the idea of a Hasidic guy playing in Hollywood. (complete article)

Read about Ushpizin.

Hat tip, the Weekly Gantseh Megillah

Maariv is Worse Than...

Last night, as I was finishing the fast and getting ready for Purim, hearing the Megillah, only twice this year, I wrote up the story, Behind Hester's Pannim. It may be "fiction," but this morning that headline makes it seem so real. Yes, I'm not a fiction writer. I can write satire and other forms of humor, but everything I write is based on reality.

Israel's extreme Left media has invented its own perverse rules/principles of what they call morality. No place in the world, no people in the world and no place in history is there a society which has ever lived according to these rules.

After the Purim holiday which celebrates our military victory over Haman and his followers, we get ourselves ready for Passover by cleansing our homes of the chametz the forbidden fermentation.

Have a Healthy and Joyful and Jewish Purim

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Behind Hester's Pannim

As long as Hester's Megillah is, it doesn't quite have everything. If it did, we'd be reading it until Pesach. Since I'm a well-known blogger, I got a call…

This was quite a call. It was from a Persian immigrant, who lives not far away. This Persian guy had inherited an ancient pillow from his great-great-grandmother.

The pillow had been passed on for generations and generations. Nobody knew for how long. Everyone took good care of it; that is until recently. Today's children are just… well, you can guess, I guess.

The person who called me had discovered his little grandchildren destroying it. Their parents don't believe in the word "no." And they didn't care what their kids did:
"You can get a nicer pillow for grushim in Shuk Ramle Lod! So, what's the big deal?"

But the Persian Zaydie didn't listen to his kinder and rescued his precious heirloom. But even though better late than never, it was too late for the pillow. It had popped.

Gevalt! You wouldn't believe what he found inside. No, not precious stones. He found old pages wrapped in yellowed silk. They were hard to understand, not being in contemporary Hebrew or even the Persian he had learned in school.

Being a modern sort of guy, he first copied everything on his scanner, enlarged it and printed it all. By the time he finished, the pages had almost totally disintegrated. He made a few copies and went off on his quest to discover the hidden message.
He found a few elderly sages and divided the pages among them. They all agreed that in the format they had received, too much was missing to understand the story. Those guys were no dummies. They got him to admit that they had only received parts of it, so they got out their phones and had a conference call to put the pieces together.

I'll tell you in short. Hester's story in the Megillah leaves out a few things.

First of all, Mordechai was not all that a popular person. Not only was Haman against him, but most of the Jews considered him a spoil sport at best. He was old-fashioned and embarrassed them by being "so Jewish," never trying to fit into the enlightened Persian society. He was making trouble for them; at least that's the way they saw it.

The "Elite" of the Jews worked for Haman in the Judenrat; they knew on which side of the bread they'd find honey and almond spread. Mordechai sat by the king's gate, because they had thrown him out of his office.

Things got really bad during the war between Haman and the Jews. It was a sezon to end all sezons. Some of the Judenrat was giving names of fighting and loyal Jews to Haman. They even attacked their fellow Jews.

There is more, but the experts are having trouble deciphering most of it.

Chag Purim Sameach
Have a Truly Joyful Purim
From the Ancient City of Shiloh

To Know You is To...

A few months ago at a "parent-teacher meeting," when I was speaking to a student's mother, she admitted that she knows who I am. She reads my blogs. At first I was flattered, then


I had better be more careful. Do I really want to let down on my "image?" I teach high school boys, who don't read English, unless they're forced to. The chances of their looking at my blogs are rather slim. But I have to be careful about my bosses and the students' parents or anyone who can put two and two together.

It isn't quite the same situation as described in a
New York Times article, which concentrates on how some professors are using facebook to appear more human to their students.
Maybe I'm of a different generation. Some of our authority is derived from "mystery." Being a teacher is sort of being inhuman. Students shouldn't think of us as throwing out the garbage, having imperfect children, etc.
I don't know what the law is now, but when I was a kid in New York City, teachers couldn't teach in the district they lived.
But about the article, I can't get something out of my mind. It brings back what I heard about a college a few decades ago. A number of young female undergraduates began dating some of their teachers. In those days, "living together" was less accepted, and there may have been rules against staff-student relationships. A number of these couples married, but the marriages didn't last. The girls got divorces along with their diplomas.
I don't see why university students must see more than a "family picture on the professor's desk." Professor-student socializing shouldn't be the norm. I have a feeling that is the aim of some...
Cll me old-fashioned, but I think it's inappropriate.

Finally, But...

Last night the IBA, Israel's Channel One TV news finally headlined the immoral and subhuman conditions in which the Israeli police hold young teenagers from "the right."

"The minor girls were given used military blankets that emit a bad smell, and that is an understatement," the report said. Three of the girls shared a cell with a adult woman who smoked. The cell "was full of cigarette smoke and had no ventilation aperture."
The two other girls said they had not been given bed sheets but "stinky, used, military blankets. They did receive towels," the report went on to say, "but these were dirty and unusable." The report determined that the jailers were denying the girls food and water and insisting that they identify themselves first. Medical service for injuries suffered during the Jabel Mukaber incident were also denied on the same pretext.
Making food, water and medical attention conditional on the girl's agreement to identify themselves "is baseless and constitutes an egregious violation of their rights," the Bar Association committee determined. The conditions of their imprisonment are "harsh, inhuman and illegal," the report stated. (complete article)

What I did find particularly strange in the broadcast were two things.

  1. The newscaster spoke so quickly, it was hard to understand him. He usually speaks fine. It seemed like the subject wasn't given enough time for the material they had; the editor hadn't reduced the material to fit the time slot or increased the allotted time to fit the material. Or maybe they didn't want the information to be easily understood.
  2. Nothing was said about Tzivya Sariel who had been released from jail just a couple of hours beforehand. it's obvious that the subjects are connected, so even if the Bar Association didn't mention Tzivya, the newscaster should have.

The really great thing about it was that the Bar Association finally entered the fray. I'd like to see the human rights groups get involved and admit that young Jewish prisoners, especially girls, get the worst treatment, something which must be corrected and must be publicized.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Every Single Word

On Purim we're supposed to hear the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, twice. First at night, after fasting all day and then in the morning. In Jerusalem and the other "walled cities," there's a break of a day between The Fast of Ta'anit Ester and Purim.

The words of the Megillah aren't supposed to be "background," like what's played at a wedding during the main course, or elevator music. We are supposed to follow every single word.

That's easier said than done. The general technique is to look at the text while listening to the words. The Megillah is no short page or two. It's a short book of quite a few chapters. Just concentrating on such a long story is difficult, but in most synagogues, the noise is horrendous.

The custom is to make noise to blot out the evil Haman's name. Some people simply tap their foot on the floor or their fingers on the table or chair. It's supposed to be just as the name Haman is said. That's possible if you're actually reading the Megillah, but most people, especially children, don't. That's the cause of the "echo phenomena." That's the noise made by people who only start when others are finishing, and then others copy them, etc ad headache.

Some people, kids and those who must have already suffered nerve damage to their ears, so they haven't a clue, or don't care, that the bongs, cap guns and other very noisy and dangerous "noise makers" make it impossible to hear the Megillah properly.

I started going to the "women's reading" when I had children. Then I continued, since I prefer the dignified, easy to concentrate atmosphere. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I heard the Megillah in a regular synagogue reading. I like "home readings." They're quieter and easier for me to follow. I found that synagogue readings for women are also noisy. People behave best at home.