Wednesday, April 30, 2008
When we were talking in the Teachers Room today, one of the teachers was very shocked. She was also surprised that I didn't go to Jewish schools as a kid.
I grew up in Bell Park Gardens, a lovely brand new neighborhood in Bayside, NYC. It was a Veterans Authority development, like many built after WWII. None of the parents I knew had foreign accents. Like mine, they were all raised in the USA, and our fathers had all fought in WWII. We were almost all Jewish, probably over 90% of BPG, at that time, the 1950's early 1960's. I can't tell you what happened there afterwards.
I first heard about the Nazis and Holocaust when the Diary of Anne Frank was published, and then more details of what happened in Nazi Germany were publicized when Eichmann was captured.
Israeli kids grow up with knowledge of the Holocaust. I grew up innocent. But today's kids are more pessimistic.
This story from a Simple Jew may help.
Yad L'Achim wants to ban/boycott participation in the contest.
I find it amazing that anyone who hasn't been educated in the Orthodox/Torah Observant way can do so well in the competition. It's not just a matter of memorization. The questions are very complex. Even those in religious schools who study intensely don't all get high scores.
Apparently, the girl is Jewish according to Halacha, Jewish Law. Let's just pray that all of the learning and all of the knowledge she has accumulated will bring her to Tshuva Shleimah, complete repentance and true Jewish-Torah Life.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Rosh Chodesh is known as the "women's holiday," and Tel Shiloh is the perfect place to celebrate the spiritual strength of women. It was at Shiloh where Chana prayed for a son who would work for G-d and transform the troubled, tribal nation into a united kingdom. Her son, Shmuel (Samuel) anointed the first two Jewish Kings, Saul and David. We, too, pray for a leader, who like Shmuel will act only for the good of the Jewish People.
G-d willing, we will meet on the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, Monday, May 5, at 9:45am at the Gallery Cafe` and then we'll walk around the Tel until we stop for our prayers, said privately.
Tel Shiloh is popular with tourists from all over the world.
The Mishkan, Tabernacle, served as the spiritual center for the Jewish Tribal Nation for 369 years. We can still sense the Shechina and Ketoret, G-d's presence.
And then he delivered a graduation gift of a 13,500 foot five-story building in West Jerusalem to a "Christ-centered university".
And he performed an even greater miracle by doing all of this with nary a peep from our rabbis, counter-missionary organizations or the rest of the Torah observant community, as our mouths were full of matzah and our tongues were drenched with wine.
Commencement speaker Myers “focused more on the need he sees for further action to spread knowledge of Jesus. Southeastern graduates can help Israeli believers in Jesus by educating their congregations, praying for Israel and aligning themselves with Messianic Jewish congregations…He urged Jewish believers from around the world to relocate to Israel, as his family did when he was 18. ‘We believe the day is coming, friends, when Jesus once again will reveal himself to Israel, to the Jewish people,’ he said.”
Meanwhile one rabbi, Shmuely Boteach, was busy reading the New Testament, on Pesach, in preparation for his great debate with Christian clergy…
“Either the night before Passover, or the Seder night itself, is the time Christians believe to have been Jesus' Last Supper. So, as I sat on Pessah rereading the New Testament in preparation for an upcoming debate in the UK on whether belief in Jesus is compatible with Judaism…
…I have written many articles arguing that it is time for the world Jewish community to reclaim the Jewish Jesus by understanding his original mission and his great love for his people…”
But if Shmuely tries to "reclaim the Jewish Jesus" then he has already lost the debate for his people...(And who asked Shmuely to represent us anyway?)
I did some reading on Pesach, too, and came across this timely article…
What Onkelos says is that if, for example, a Jew decides to embrace Christianity then he may not eat the korban Pesach… Onkelos is really telling us a great chiddush. The apostate may not join the rest of the Jewish people in performing a mitzva… So why is the meshumad excluded from the mitzva of Pessach? The Sefer Hachinuch explains this. He writes (in mitzva number 13) that the Pesach commemorates not only our deliverance but also our becoming the people of the Torah. A person who abandons the Torah really can have nothing to do with the Pesach. The Chinuch says that this idea is so obvious that it can be placed with those mitzvot, which are simple common sense.
Back in the days of common sense (1989), it seems that Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon ruled that:
''…the Jewish people has decided during the 2,000 years of its history'' that Messianic Jews ''do not belong to the Jewish nation and have no right to force themselves on it. Those who believe in Jesus are, in fact, Christians.''
The apple sometimes falls very far from the tree. As it was Justice Elon’s son, Benny, who - perhaps inadvertently - opened up the missionary gates of hell when he was Tourism Minister. However, it does seem that MK Rabbi Benny Elon and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus made some lame attempt to separate the evangelicals from the messianics, but at the same time they were stupidly promoting a “Judeo-Christian” union. And truth be told, “Messianics” are “Evangelicals”, but the evangelicals kept that one largely under wraps (out of “respect” for our Jewish sensitivities).
At any rate, according to a survey taken by the Messianic Times, 71% of the 200,000 Messianic Jews living in the United States “would move to Israel if Messianic Jews were allowed aliyah”, the “Law of Return” guaranteed to all Jews by the State of Israel. And now it seems they can - albeit as Christians. Confused?!
Allow me to take you on a whirlwind Messianic Mystery Tour so we can better understand how lines, wires, faith and “best friends” crossed and got twisted (and they said that there would be “no string attached”)…
Messiah-like messianic attorney Calev Myers pulled off another slick trick when he got Pat Roberston's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) to give him significant air time and cyberspace for his very slanted spin of the Ariel pre- Purim blast which severely wounded a Messianic Christian Pastor’s son:
“..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...,, '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."
[Note: Benny Elon gave Pat Robertson a special Zionist award back in 2004].
Meanwhile Stephen Strang of Charisma Magazine, who is a CUFI regional director and publisher of Hagee’s books ,has also come out with very strong statements condemning the Ariel explosion and implying that the Orthodox community is behind the blast. Without any suspects or arrests, these charges amount to a blood libel, and they were also given coverage on CBN (and what’s interesting to note is Strang correctly considers “messianic” Jews to be Evangelical Christians –whereas the “messianic” community considers themselves to be Jews who believe in Jesus):
"Civilized people of all types should not tolerate this type of violence, but especially when it's violence against evangelicals in Israel especially when evangelicals are among the few friends Israel has - some would say the only friends Israel has... I am outraged about this attack. Israel is a democracy that guarantees everyone's freedom of religion. However, some of the anti-missionaries have been so vicious that now it has escalated to violence. Israel cannot allow this type of violence...But there are also ultra-Orthodox groups like Yad L'Achim, who are responsible for constantly harassing Christian believers in Israel ..."
That very same Stephen Strang a director of CUFI (and Hagee's publisher) also signed the recent World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) statement which promotes conversion efforts directed at Jews by the messianic community.
[note: Rabbi Riskin is appearing a UN prayer banquet with Hagee, Strang, CBN’s Little, and Jew for Jesus, Jay Sekulow - Pat Robertson’s main man- to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary]
Evangelical James Hutchins (also a CUFI director) is one of the directors of the Cyrus Fund. Hutchins graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Missionary (Multi/Cross-Cultural Studies). His dissertation was entitled, "A Case for Messianic Judaism." Although the Cyrus Fund websites don’t admit it, it does seem some missionaries affiliated with the Cyrus Fund are teaching the Gospel to Bnai Anusim via messianic churches - and getting those "converts" ready for aliyah.
And speaking of bringing home “lost “Jews, Hagee’s right hand man, David Brog, raves about the Exobus Project in his book, Standing with Israel. But others detect a problem…
Not long ago, I attended a Christians for Israel program at a large church in Brampton. Rev. Willem Glashouwer gushed as he described how Christian volunteers for the Exobus Project “shared the love of Jesus” with homebound Jews.
Paul Wilbur, a “Hebrew Christian” recording artist, exulted as he described how “one of my dear friends is in Haifa today, to establish a Russian-speaking congregation to receive these immigrants.”
They’re clothing these immigrants with a ministry called “Tests of Mercy” and they’re bringing them into the salvation knowledge of Yeshua, he said.
“In Odessa in the Ukraine, three years ago in just three days we saw over 30,000 Jewish people come to know Jesus! They’re getting on the Christians for Israel buses and coming back to the land of Israel. The word of G-d says, ‘How can they believe unless someone preaches, and how can he preach unless he is sent?’ We can’t send ourselves, but you can send us,” he pleaded.
Leading “messianic rabbis” were also featured guests on a Christians for Israel cruise. The magazine, Christians for Israel Today included a full-page ad for the “Hebrew Christian” missionary program to honor the 50th anniversary of Israel that took place in Orlando.
By the way, the above excerpt was taken from Pastor Kenneth Rawson’s site and Pastor Rawson is a real Christian friend!
According to John Hagee Ministries, philo-Semitic Pastor Hagee does witness to Jews one on one. Below is an excerpt from an email dated February 28, 2007:
Yes, the Jews are God's chosen people, BUT THEY ARE NOT SAVED UNLESS THEY BELIEVE AND ACCEPT JESUS AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR… The same need for the Jews to receive Christ as Savior exists as the need for the gentiles. Pastor believes that witnessing Jesus to the Jewish people ONE ON ONE is the most effective way instead of targeting them as a group or nation. Keep in mind that God has 'blinded the eyes' of the Jews and hardened their hearts for having denied Christ. Also, there has been a history of persecution against the Jewish people in the name of Christianity. For this reason Pastor believes that one on one witnessing is more effective than targeting the nation as a whole.
Now Penina Taylor, the Director of Jews for Judaism Jerusalem Branch will tell you that for every 1000 Jews who are brought to Christianity (G-d forbid), 999 of them got there through personal friends and one on one witnessing.
I ask you, is that sports facility and pool pictured above (the John Hagee building in Ariel) really worth the assault on our faith?
Batya notes that the Kinneret dropped by 6 cm. over Pesach and she asks, “Will There Be Water To Fill The Pool?”
The Shema spells it out pretty clearly…
“…Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd's wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you…”
Now some of you are going to tell me, “do not provoke the Gentile”. So I asked my Rav. And he told me that there is nothing more provocative than attempts to try and take a Jew away from his or her faith.
Monday, April 28, 2008
January 1, 2003
“Que Sera, Sera…
The Future’s Not Ours To See”
Last week, after my swim, while I was getting dressed in the ladies’ locker room, refrains from an old song drifted through a shower curtain. In a heavy Israeli accent:
“Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be will be,
The future’s not ours to see,
Que sera, sera,
Suddenly she noticed me, “You’re American; you must know all the words.”
And there we were in the ladies’ locker room of the swimming pool in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem.
“When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother what lies ahead…
…Will there be rainbows day after day,
Here’s what my mother said:
Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be will be,
The future’s not
ours to see,
Que sera, sera…”
Just a few days later…
At three in the morning I finally walked through the doorway into my house after Noam’s funeral. Thousands of people spent their Saturday night accompanying Noam (HaYa”D) to his grave. The Hebrew word for funeral means “escort.” One goes to a funeral to escort, or accompany the dead person to his grave. When Noam’s father spoke, he addressed himself to Noam, stressing how many people had come from all over. Close family, distant relatives, friends, neighbors and more.
Noam, the sweet, fair-haired, gentle boy, born and raised in Shiloh, used his last seconds of life to save dozens of others. He rushed to the door connecting the kitchen to the dining hall, locked it and threw away the key. He was later found dead, with his eyes open, knowing that he had given them those few crucial minutes to escape from the Arab terrorists, who murdered him and the three others on kitchen duty.
When I was just a little boy
I asked my mother what will I be
Will I be handsome?
Will I be brave?
Will I live to marry?
Hillary Clinton may have only given birth to only one child, but she has that feminine, I don't think many men can duplicate it, strength frequently shown in childbirth, in which one gets stronger as the pressure/contractions increase.
Hillary has been campaigning for years, if not decades. Just like her fellow-women (is that an oxymoron?) in childbirth, even though the pressure is more intense, she's glowing with additional strength. I have no doubt that the support of her daughter is a factor, like a great birth coach. She sees her goal and knows that the contractions are just contractions, not bad pain.
A man at a sports bar in Latrobe, Pa., advised Obama, “Get some sleep, Barack, you look like you’re tired, man.”
When the candidate noted he’s been running for president for 15 months, the guy offered another tip: “You need a drink.” (complete article)
Obama's a wimp. He doesn't have the internal drive, the fire. He was packaged. He promoted excitement, like the glucose tablets carried around by diabetics. A quick sugar high to counteract the insulin. Egg whites just don't give the body the necessary strength. Obama has neither the physical nor mental strength to be president. The job is even tougher than the campaign.
Both Hillary and McCain show the necessary characteristics. even though he's having too easy a time right now. Like a professional athlete, he will have to reestablish his fitness in time as not to peak too early or too late.
Obama is showing himself to be a sprinter, rather than having the fitness needed for the ultra-marathon. His body is lean from diet, rather than the intense hyper-active nature of a Bobby Kennedy. He's not enjoying the fray; he's no LBJ.
I'm no gambler, and I wouldn't dare predict who will be the Democratic nominee, but if it's Obama, who's already "tired" and McCain, who hasn't needed much energy of late, the excitement may be between the still unknown nominees for Vice President.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This is my reaction:
Olmert has learned; he has learned plenty. He learned that he can get away with all these shenanigans and corruption and nobody gives a hoot!
We will need much more than a miracle to have the pool looking so full and clean at the end of this coming summer. We're in the midst of a major drought-water shortage, and summer hasn't yet begun. It doesn't rain here in the summer.
We have to start saving water, like about ten years ago. Instead Israel has just been wasting more and more.
Tsippi Livne, as Foreign Minister, initiated a big publicity campaign to bring tourists looking for fun, beaches and pretty girls, and more of that sort.
Empty pools and restricted shower times don't jive with the fun tourist spot she wants people to visit.
Seriously, very seriously, we have a problem. Don't forget that according to Chazal, our sages, the amount of rainfall in the HolyLand is dependent on how we keep G-d's commandments. No surprise about that drought...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Think about it.
Instead of considering Olmert's Syrian "gestures" in terms of the country's security, the Israeli Labour Party thinks only of its campaign, its dream to be back in power.
And never forget the reign of terror, constant Arab terror attacks on innocent Israeli citizens when Ehud Barak was Prime Minister. And I didn't write "the first time, since he held that position once and not for a full term. I hope he never has another chance. He was, without a doubt, the worst and the most dangerous Prime Minister in Israel's short history.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Israel is a tiny country, even with all the land we liberated in 1967.
That's something to think about. Take out your atlases, check on the internet. Try to get a grip on the true situation.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher v'Sameach
Thursday, April 24, 2008
issue, I've decided to recycle a sampling of my old ones...
Three years ago, in response to a referendum debate taking place over Sharon's Gush Katif expulsion plan, I penned the following 2-part article about the past strategy used to upset negotiations over the Golan.
"The Lame Duck that Laid a Golden Egg"
On a more personal note, 4 and a half years ago I wrote the following about my life in the Golan:
"You Want Clarifications?"
And we can go way back to 15 years ago (1993) when I drew the above ad which appeared in the Jerusalem Post.
Israel liberated the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Days War. Until then, the Syrians used the Golan as their base of active terror operations against Israel's north. The victims of Syrian terror were the agricultural kibbutzim, the heartland of the Zionist Left. That's why immediately after the war, the Golan was rapidly settled with more agricultural communities.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Day 3 - Tiferet of Chesed: Compassion, Harmony in Lovingkindness
Harmony in love is one that blends both the chesed and gevurah aspects of love. Harmonized love includes empathy and compassion. Love is often given with the expectation of receiving love in return. Compassionate love is given freely; expects nothing in return - even when the other doesn't deserve love. Tiferet is giving also to those who have hurt you.
Exercise for the day: Offer a helping hand to a stranger.
Tizku l'mitvot, may you be rewarded with more mitzvot.
I was sent the link about the Florida one by someone who felt it a sign to leave and come to Israel.
May Jews just come, without the need of such terrible reminders.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Obama's campaign is all about image. The "change" slogan is brilliant, because everyone reads into it what he/she wants.
And it's the most dangerous campaign of all for those very same reasons. Nobody really knows what's in that slick package. Experienced politicians, diplomats and other "notables" are blithely adding their names as supporters--tipping point--but they don't know what they're supporting. They're just following the crowds and buying snake oil.
Beware of Barack Obama
You really don't know too much about him. Do you?
Yes, that's the truth, and the truth hurts, but hiding from the truth will hurt more.
Palestinians' backing for terror rises
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Poll published over the weekend
finds Hamas PM Haniyeh more popular than PA President Abbas.
Monday, April 21, 2008
April 17th, 2008
I have spent the past week covering Middle East policy issues during the
presidential primaries in Pennsylvania, in my capacity as the Middle East
correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin.
I find that people hesitate about which would be the appropriate questions to
ask candidates for president concerning their proposed Middle East polices.
The following twenty Middle East policy questions are the questions that
American voters may wish to pose to Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain...along with all candidates for the US Congress
1. Numerous declassified security reports confirm
that Saudi Arabia continues to fund groups defined by
the US government as terrorist organizations, while
Saudi Arabia maintains an active state of war against
the state of Israel since 1948. How would you, as President
relate to the security threat posed by Saudi Arabia?
2, The current administration offers major arms sales
to Saudi Arabia, despite its pro-terror posture. Would
you, as President, continue this policy of arming the
3, Successive US presidents have supported the idea
that Palestinian refugees should be reside in the squalor of UNRWA refugee
camps, under the premise and promise of the “right of return”,
instead of being rehabilitated under the principles of UNHCR which
work to rehabilitate refugees in decent living permanent living conditions,
instead of perpetuation the unreal notion of the right
of return to villages and homes that no longer exist.
Would you, as President, call for an application of
UNHCR principles to alleviate the
plight of Palestinian refugees?
4. The Bush Administration has announced a program
to arm the Fatah, despite current terror activities of
the Fatah and despite the fact that Fatah remains on
the list of organizations defined by American law as
illegal terrorist organizations. Would you, as President,
continue to arm the Fatah?
5 The PA has used US AID funds to foster an Islamic
Sharia constitution which doe not provide juridical
status for any religion besides Islam. Does you, as President , approve of
this PA policy? Would you, as President, ask for a change in such
a constitution as a condition of future aid to the PA?
6. The Bush Administration has restrained Israel from
counterattacking in Gaza to put an end to the daily
missile attacks from Gaza. Would you, as President,
restrain the hand of Israel?
7. As a matter of policy, terrorists who fire missiles
at Israel from Gaza use Gaza civilians as human
shields. Would you, as President, recognize the fact
that casualties in Gaza remain a direct result of
this human shield policy?
8. The Palestinian Authority harbors terrorists
suspected of murder and refuses to hand them over for
trial. The Clinton and Bush Administrations turned a
blind eye to such a policy. Would you, as President,
allow such a policy to continue?
9. Palestinian Authority operates with no system of
civil liberties or human rights. Would you, as President,
condition for any future US assistance in a
human rights and civil liberties reform in the PA?
10. Christians are persecuted in the PA and are often
not allowed to practice their religion in the open in
the PA. The American consulate in Jerusalem has
refused to render assistance to Christians who are
persecuted by the PA. Would you, as President,
continue to ignore the plight of Christians who are persecuted in
the PA or will you, as President, champion the cause of Christians to practice their religion freely in the PA?
11, Syria continues to host and support a plethora of
terror groups. What would the policy to Syria, as
President, be to Syria in this regard?
12. Syria continues to orchestrate the export of
lethal narcotics to the world. Would you, as President,
support an effort to destroy the Syrian source of
lethal narcotics in the Bekka Valley?
14. Since the Golan Heights was used by Syria between
1949 and 1967 to attack Israeli communities in the
Galilee, would you, as President,
support an effort to force Israel to withdraw from the Golan?
15. The Bush Administration asks that Israel abide by
the road map for peace. Which road map would you, as President,
endorse- the road map of April 30th
2003 or the road map of May 25th 2003? [The second
road map contains the reservations of Israel, which
include detailed Israeli directives to disband terror
groups as a precondition to continued negotiations]
16. The Bush Administration characterizes the Fatah
terror organization as a “moderate” factor. Would you, as President,
share in that characterization.
17. The Clinton and Bush Administrations overlooked
the fact that the PLO never ratified the Oslo accord
“declaration of principles” which required the PLO and
Fatah to recognize Israel, denounce terror and cancel
the PLO/Fatah charter which calls for Israel’s
obliteration. It will be recalled that the PLO signed
the Oslo accords on the White House lawn on September
13th, 1993 and would not ratify these accords when
the PLO executive convened on October 6th, 1993 in
Tunis and would not cancel the PLO charter when the
PNC convened on April 24th. 1996. Would you, as President,
continue the Clinton/Bush policy of ignoring
the fact that the PLO never ratified the Oslo accord
and never cancelled the PLO charter?
18. The Clinton and Bush administration instituted a
policy of ignoring the message communicated by the
newly constituted Palestinian Authority in the Arabic
language which communicates a clear language of
continued war on Israel. Would you, as President,
insist on a change in that policy and issue a+
directive that any aid to the PA require a cessation
of calls to terrorism by the official media outlets of
19. The Clinton and Bush administrations have
consistently ignored the fact that the new Palestinian
Authority curriculum introduced by the PA inculcates
the next generation to continue the war to liberate
all of Palestine. Would you, as President,
ask for a cancellation of such a curriculum?
20. Since the Gaza withdrawal demonstrates that
Palestinians will use areas under their control to
launch missile attacks against Israel, would you, as President,
insist on future Israeli withdrawals?
Since our married daughter was going to her mother-in-law's, two children couldn't come home from the states, and our son couldn't come to us, I decided that we'd go to him. Of course I wasn't quite sure how all of those concerned would react, but I must have marketed it well, and they all agreed.
So, off to Jerusalem we went. It wasn't quite that simple. I had to change the kitchen to Passover-mode early, in order to cook and freeze the food.
Of course, I couldn't have photographed the Jerusalem we saw on Shabbat and HolyDay, so you'll have to just imagine how it was from these pre-HolyDay shots.
Business was booming Friday, when I arrived early enough to help my son finish the cooking. You'd think it wasn't the 21st Century, when most people drive their cars to megamarkets. Since there was still almost a full day left when chametz was permitted to be eaten, you could still buy freshly baked cakes, cookies, bourekas and even challot for Shabbat. Neighboring stores and stalls sold Kosher for Passover baked goods of the strictest standards. There were long lines at the wine stores and at the felafel kiosks, too. And of course, people were still buying fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. There was lots to cook.
It was one of my most relaxed Fridays, considering that I had done most of the cooking at home, and as a guest, I wasn't responsible for the cleaning. My most important job was to make the kneidelach, but not in the soup, since we couldn't have them before Passover. And I also had to turn the frozen chicken soup stock into a delicious, rich vegetable soup, tasty enough to be eaten sans kneidelach, matza balls on Friday night.
Soon enough, it was time to light Shabbat candles.
We had to decide in which synagogue to doven, pray. At home, in Shiloh, we go to the local shul, which is conveniently located in our "backyard." Not only does Nachlaot have a great variety of shuls, but Rechavia is only a few minutes' walk away.
It seemed like a good idea to go to the Rav Shlomo Carlebach shul leil Shabbat. Everyone talks about its special atmosphere. The Kol Rena shul is in a very large miklat, shelter. The front end is for the men, behind them the women, and behind the women is a large place for kids to play--and play they did. They were noisy, and the congregants didn't care much. There were also a couple running back and forth in the connecting corridor. Yes, the singing is beautiful, and if you like "drums," you could hear that, too, as some congregants need to bang out their prayers. Due to a Shabbat Bar Mitzvah, they announced that there would be a kiddush Shabbat morning after Shacharit, with "final chametz" for all and then, after eating and bensching, (saying the prayer after bread,) they would all finish the morning prayers. It sounded like a nice way for a community to have that "last chametz meal."
That evening, after eating a kitniyot-rich meal at my son's, my husband and I walked around the area to scout out when the various synagogues would be starting the next morning's prayers, since we had to finish early enough to get back to our son's for cream cheese and lox in a pitta. In the end, we chose the venerable Yeshurun Synagogue,which was once the most prestigious one in Jerusalem. The building of Jerusalem's "Great Synagogue" less than a minute's walk away emptied Yeshurun of congregants. It's not as empty, decrepit and pathetic-looking as the one in Tel Aviv, where we heard Chazanut, just over a year ago. The Yeshurun Synagogue is beautiful and kept in good repair. There is a resident Chazan, one of the best, but most of the seats are empty, even on a holiday like Passover. I think my husband agrees that it's the nicest place to pray in. And even though there is a Chazan, the prayers didn't take long. But I must admit, that I prefer the way the Hallel Prayer is said in our humble neighborhood shul. There's a magic when all the voices fill the small space, beseeching G-d together.
Have a wonderful Passover!
Chag Kasher V'Sameach
Friday, April 18, 2008
And if the Jerusalem Pesach chametz sellers are afraid of human opposition, they should fear G-d more.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher v'Sameach
Have a Peaceful Shabbat, Just Perfect for Resting Up Before the Seder
And A Kosher & Joyful Holiday
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I consider Kitniyot to be one of the causes the Kera b'Am, Split/Division in the Jewish People. Among Torah-observant Jews, I don't think there is a subject that divides us more extremely than the humble grain of rice or pea. Could there be the hidden message in Hans Christian Anderson's famous story?
Jews of Spain and North Africa are permitted to eat kitniyot on Passover, though some communities only eat fresh green kitniyot. Today in Israel, it's easy to buy rice and beans with the strictest of Kosher for Passover rabbinic supervision. The Jews who eat those foods aren't sinning. It's not chametz.
Our People are so terribly divided. Too many people use Pesach to separate themselves from others. In some communities, even those who follow the exact same customs, won't eat it in each other's homes. It's as if they're accusing their friends of improper observance of Torah Laws. I don't see anything admirable in that. It encourages competition, trying to show that one is "stricter" or "better" than others, instead of using this HolyDay to encourage unity and respect for others.
Back to Kitniyot
The aim of this post is not to preach the cancellation of the different minhagim, customs, like the Ashkenaz custom of forbidding kitniyot. I just want us to be able to be able to find ways to act as one People. In communities, like Shiloh, there is a lot of "intermarriage" between different Jewish ethnic groups. Many families, like ours, have grandchildren who are being raised according to totally different customs. There's rice on our Passover table, when the Tunisian branch of the family is over. I don't eat it, but it doesn't traif up (make unkosher) my dishes, nor make them chametz.
Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, things have changed for us.
I pray that the walls between Jews will crumble like freshly baked matzah.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher V'Sameach
Have a Peaceful Shabbat and a Kosher and Happy Passover
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Gush Katif: A Celebration of the Settlers video entry in The American Jewish Committee 2 min video contest for Israel's 60th anniversary had a hacker attack on its website which removed the video entry of my interview about Gush Katif...
It's back on now - however without all the previous comments, votes, and view count. So please click on http://my.israel.org/contest/
I'm told that to post an AJC Video Contest comment, rate a video (click on stars) and vote, you need to click on "Upload Videos" and enter information (email address, name, etc., and agree to terms) as if you are submitting a video. Once you click "Submit", you'll have an account and be able to log in - no need to upload a video. Once logged in, go to the video and watch, comment, and rate (click on star)!
Thank you very much!
Chag Pesach kasher Ve'sameach,
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal
than others." George Orwell's Animal Farm
I wish this had the humor of Your Show of Shows, the legendary sketch comedy television series which appeared weekly in the United States on NBC, from 1950 until June 5, 1954, starring Sid Caesar.
The "clique" I'm referring to is Israel's media, especially, television. It's not only a very closed club, but it has succeeded in controling Israeli minds better than George Orwell could ever have imagined.
The extreme Leftist control of the Israeli Media is more than just politics. I felt it strongly after veteran broadcaster and media celebrity, Shosh Atari, passed away a few weeks ago. The media took it hard. For the broadcasters she was family. The word "we" was bandied about more than "she."
Those who read what I write know that I criticize the chareidim for not being part of the IDF and allowing the non-religious to control it, instead of making it a more Jewish army from day one. And now I'm criticizing the Mafdal dati le'umi, national religious for giving the Leftist and non-observant the gift of television and radio to control our minds and children. Mafdal was part of the government coalitions during the early decades of the State of Israel and could have gotten into the media as part of their agreements.
When Arutz 7 had its radio shows broadcast over ordinary radios all over Israel, people began listening and thinking. That's why the government had it closed down. Where were the protests? Why were the politicians of the Likud and Mafdal so silent? Why did they cooperate? It's their fault that the Israeli media has gone further to the Left.
Today the TV news editors very rarely give the political opposition even a symbolic opportunity to join in discussions and panels. Their opinions aren't asked. There isn't even an attempt to pretend to balance the broadcasts. The clique is closed to those who don't agree. The Internet isn't a true alternative.
This "chametz" has been fermenting for decades. It will be difficult to clean, but we have no choice. We must enter the media in every position possible, from top to bottom. G-d willing, the next government should be more nationalist and understand that no matter how difficult, "impossible" and unpleasant it will certainly be, a total overhaul must be made in Israel's media, starting with the IBA, television and radio.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I've heard about the destruction of Jewish communities with the excuse to "...hope to thus save other Jewish towns" before.
Honestly, this little "neighborhood" of Mevo Horon, which was destroyed sounds a bit more complicated than people are saying.
The place sounds familiar. I've heard about it a few years ago. Just the fact that people have been there for about seven years, and, even though it's conveniently located, only about twenty people were living there when it was destroyed. Did Mevo Horon want it developed? There was no problem getting building permits until recently.
I'd be interested in more information. If you know, please comment to the post.
Will the super-traif chometzdik restaurants look for chametz-tainted milk, too?
Another thing to check is that the zoo you visit isn't feeding chametz to the animals.
Now, back to the kitchen for cleaning. This isn't a salaried job, you know. I wish!!
Monday, April 14, 2008
More and more cracks are appearing in the Obama crown. Or as William Kristol wrote, The Mask Slips. The Obama story, personality, actual policies etc are not really what most Americans want as their President, but most Americans, especially those who consider themselves "liberal," are terrified to tell the truth.
You aren't allowed to be colorblind when it comes to Obama, because any words of criticism are taken as color-based, racism and prejudice.
The only way the little boy will get some "positive press" is if he's "visually challenged." That means that he'd have to be certified as 100% blind from birth and totally innocent of the concept of color, whether it be of skin, hair or apples.
Americans, I wish you luck!
PA Ambassador: "First Jerusalem, Then We'll Take All Palestine"
The PA's representative in Lebanon says Israel's concessions in Jerusalem mean it will eventually collapse ideologically.
The Israeli media and politicians just don't listen, and they should. the Arabs are very "up-front" about their goals. Israel isn't. That's the danger.
Being "nice" and "accepted" shouldn't be national goals. That was Menachem Begin's great failure. He wanted to be "noble," rather than a great Jewish leader.
Bibi Netanyahu is making the same sort of mistake. He keeps trying to market himself as "Centrist." "Centrist" politicians end up falling through the cracks. Or they end of as totally forgettable failures, parve and blah. It's like painting a dirt-streaked wall with shellac.
And talking about dirt, I have a house to clean.
Don't forget that Jewish women and children lived alone, under the leadership of Miriam Levinger, in Hebron until the government finally allowed family reunification.
Don't forget that the entire settlement enterprise would have collapsed if the women, the mothers, hadn't been willing to live with their children under difficult conditions, minimal water, electricity, lack of transportation.
Don't forget that there was no telephone service. Long before cell phones and the internet existed.
The early days in the yishuvim were a pioneering effort which should be better documented and written up as books, movies and songs.
Yes, even songs. I remember the song my daughter's class sang at the end of the school year, a hysterically funny one about their "tromasbest," the company name for the "caravan," which was their classroom.
During my years as a gym teacher, I had to be not only very creative, but of strong faith in G-d. There was no gymnasium or large public indoor space. If it rained, there was no place to teach, since those "caravans" had floors so weak, they felt like they were sinking if we all stood up at once. G-d was merciful and believed in physical activity, so the rain always began the last few minutes of the last lesson of the day.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
She's an old friend of mine, and we had lost contact for about 35 years. In recent years, we're in touch on occasion via email. And also our blogs.
I don't think we've gone in very different directions, since we're both religious and idealists. But we have taken different paths and live in different places. I'm glad that the internet has made it possible for us to reconnect.
The Young Israel of Scarsdale is a lovely, warm, caring congregation. My condolences to the family and community.
Poll: Likud 29 Labor 18 Kadima 15, Nuclear Iran top concernI'm not hiding the fact that I am not happy with Bibi. I have serious problems with the fact that he mistakenly thinks that he should be a "centrist," rather than uncompromisingly, unabashedly right wing nationalist and Jewish. But considering the dangerous and pathetic politicians running against him...
Dr. Aaron Lerner 12 April 2008
Haaretz-Dialog poll of 500 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs)
conducted 9 April, 2008 supervised by Professor Camille Fuchs of Tel Aviv
University. Statistical error +/- 4.5 percentage points.
If elections were held today how would you vote (expressed in mandates)
Based in the 64% who said who they would vote for.
Actual Knesset today in [brackets]
[Ap]= current poll
[Fb]= February poll
[Jn] = 18 January poll
[Nv] = November 2007 poll]
29 35 34 30  Likud
18 17 17 23  Labor
15 14 13 15  Kadima
12 12 12 11  Yisrael Beteinu
10 09 09 09  Shas
07 06 04 04  Meretz
06 07 06 07 06  Yahadut Hatorah
06 04 06 06  Nat'l Union/NRP
04 03 06 04  Social Justice (Gaydamak Party)
00 00 00 03  Green Party
00 03 02 02  Retirees Party
10 10 10 10  Arab parties
Percent satisfied with the performance of:
Olmert 23% Livni 43% Barak 37%
What are you most concerned about?
[IMRA: This was a "closed question". It would have been appropriate to also
include the security situation in the South]
34% Iran going nuclear
21% Security tension in the North
14% All to same extent
04% None of the above
04% Don't know
This week a large security drill was held. Is Israel better prepared for
war than it was two years ago?
Yes 43% Same as before 23% Less 18% Don't know 16%
Next month Israel will celebrate 60 years of independence. Will Israel
continue to exist in another 60 years?
Yes 77% No 11% Don't know 12%
Who most has the following characteristics?
Olmert 17% Barak 21% Netanyahu 31% All same/don't know 31%
Olmert 9% Barak 24% Netanyahu 23% All same/don't know 44%
Olmert 10% Barak 33% Netanyahu 33% All same/don't know 24%
Do you plan to eat chametz on Passover?
No 68% Yes 26% Don't know 6%
If Kadima and Labor combine and run together in the coming elections will it
change the chances you would vote for them?
Increase 24% Decrease 20% Unchanged 39% Don't know 17%
Who of the following would you like to eat dinner with?
None of them 38% Netanyahu 14% Lieberman 12% Olmert 9% Barak 8% Yishai 8%
Oron 7% All same 3%
Published in Haaretz on 11 April 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
He blames Israel for everything. If you haven't seen this wonderful presentation explaining it all, please do.
While Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu
said he would not meet with Carter, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister
Ehud Barak (Labor), Minister of Industry and Trade Eli Yishai (Shas) and Member
of Knesset (MK) Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu) will meet with the former US
president. (complete article)
I'm sure that in the end most Israeli officials will find excuses to meet him. they're all gaga over celebrities, with a special weakness for Americans.
Another Tack: They're no quitters
By SARAH HONIG
This is a totally brilliant article which compares Israel's "peaceniks" with smokers who can't break their habits, even though they know that it's probably killing them.
Unfortunately the picture illustrating it doesn't appear on the JPost internet site, but this is the caption:
Doctor in cigarette ad. As more and more political fortunes were invested in Osloite 'peace,' it became harder to kick the addiction.Doctors and smoking remind me of once, 27 years ago, when I went for a check up while pregnant. It was "National No Smoking Day." I was horrified to see that the doctor was smoking. You shouldn't be surprised that I told him to stop and asked him how he could smoke in the clinic, especially on that day. Yes, things have changed in Israel. There was a time you couldn't go any place which wasn't filled with cigarette smoking.
Maybe, G-d willing, we can work the same miracle on the "peace addicts."
Friday, April 11, 2008
At the beginning of the week I posted a hardhitting update entitled “Riskin, the Rav and the Rebbe”.
I plan to meet with Rabbi Riskin after Pesach to discuss my concerns, so until I get some answers, I will refrain from online discussions of his activities with the Evangelical community.
However, in that post which was directed to Rabbi Riskin, I did refer to some statements made by Jeremy Gimpel during a lecture and an interview.
I used those excerpts, because I firmly believe that when our rabbinic leaders fail to draw or adhere to clear halachic lines, then our teachers can inadvertently fall out of line, or blur the lines.
Jeremy is an outstanding and respected teacher, but I felt uncomfortable with his presentation, because of what I deemed to be mixed messages.
Since that posting I have had some very good, thoughtful, sincere, and reflective correspondence with Jeremy. We discussed at length the statements in question, his intentions and direction, as well as any misunderstandings I may have had.
We agreed that these are awesome times and that drawing proper red lines in our alliances with Christian friends is indeed a very difficult test for the Jewish people.
Not only did Jeremy clear things up with me, but he and Ari Abramovitz went on the air on their A7 Wednesday radio show and laid down the law – the Jewish law - in no uncertain terms.
Listen to their show at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125855
Jeremy and Ari are very well-loved and respected and my comments were intended as a call to order and accountability, rather than an affront to their reputations. And I think we are all in agreement that regardless of the changing times, we Jews are obligated to hold our ground –spiritually and physically- and adhere to the following formula:
a) remain fiercely loyal to One G-d
b) keep the fences around the Torah intact
c) keep idolatry away from our people and the Land of Israel
d) educate by bringing close with the right hand and pushing away with the left
e) respecting and suspecting our Gentile friends