Hamas War

Friday, July 30, 2010

Size Isn't Everything

Don't be too impressed by the size of things in New York and the rest of the world.  Just like the warning in this mirror, there's distortion.

I agree that these buildings are impressive, but they are just buildings, not understanding nor morality.

Don't let illusions blind you.

And just because someone is Jewish, or calls him/herself a friend of Israel, doesn't make it true.  Henry Kissinger's input during the 1973 Yom Kippur War almost destroyed IsraelAlan Dershowitz is a very impressive lawyer, but that doesn't qualify him to represent Israel in the United Nations; his priority is being an American.

My loyalty is clear.  I'm a Jew and Israeli above all.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are They After the Israelis?

On one of my walks in Manhattan, during my recent visit to the USA, my eyes caught sight of Hebrew writing on some T-shirts.

Even after forty years here in Israel, I'm not the swiftest in the Hebrew-reading department, so it took me more than a second or two to realize that these young men are promoting "Jews for Jesus," a Messianic Christian sect.

And only when I cropped the picture and saw the enlarged shirt/writing, did I notice that there's also Russian written on it, so they are also targeting Russian Jews.

There are lots of Israelis, students, tourists, יורדיםת yordim, Israelis who live permanently abroad etc are in the area of Bryant Park everyday.  I didn't speak to these guys, so I don't know if they're Israeli or American, but it was clear that they're Christian missionaries targeting Jews.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Losing Direction

I must admit that when I prayed in America during my recent visit, I most probably didn't face the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.  I rarely had even the vaguest idea which way was east.  It was very confusing.  I prayed in all sorts of places, indoors and out, sedentary and traveling.  I had no idea where the sun had risen and where it would set.  I just did my best to focus on the words and on G-d, pleased and proud that I found places to pray and hadn't forgotten with all of the distractions and pressures of the visit.

Another thing was that even in Arizona I found it pretty easy to find certified as Kosher food.  And in New York, I was constantly amazed at what big business kosher seems to be in the food trade.

So many large stores have enormous kosher sections, even selling only kosher baked goods.  That must force the kosher specialty shops to lower their prices or they will lose customers.  Some of these giant supermarkets have such a variety  of easily available kosher food, it's almost like being in Israel.  Yes, very confusing and too easy to be Jewish.

That's a problem and reminds me of my facing the wrong direction when praying.  It has become so easy to live as Torah Observant Jews in some neighborhoods that people think they're in the HolyLand.  With so many kosher stores, restaurants and Jewish schools it's hard to focus on the Mitzvah, Commandment, ultimate goal of aliyah artza, immigrating to the Land of Israel.

Elul is Approaching

Rosh Chodesh Elul, the First Day of the Jewish Month of Elul is very soon, Wednesday, August 11, 2010.  Elul is the traditional time for introspection, reflection and Teshuva, Repentance.  We must cleanse ourselves of sin before the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgement.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
תפילת נשים בתל שילה
ראש חודש אלול
יום ד' 9:30 11-8
Rosh Chodesh Elul
Wed. 11-8, 9:30am
Everyone's Invited
כולן מוזמנות

Look-out at Tel Shiloh
Tel Shiloh

Tel Shiloh is open to visitors all weekdays.  For more information, including how to arrange special tours etc, please email telshilo@gmail.com or call 02-994-4019.

Israeli Democracy, The People Don't Want a Unilateral Withdrawal

IMRA posted a poll by IBA's Chanel One which shows overwhelmingly that Israelis consider Disengagement a mistake and don't want another unilateral withdrawal.  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's building freeze was also unilateral and got us nothing but more international pressure and more criticism.  

Of course the key word here is "unilateral."

Israelis are suckers for unrealistic promises.  Coat the withdrawal with promises of "peace" and they'd sacrifice their own mothers.

When I think of the Holocaust survivors, who straight off the ships from Nazi Europe fought and even gave their lives for this unique Jewish State, it really makes me ill.  Today's Israelis are spoiled and ungrateful.  They're also unrealistic, rather nuts or fokokt. 

A little common sense, chevre.  Our enemies want us dead and gone, just like the Nazis did.  Only they're using different weapons, different terminology.  For a people touted as super-intelligent, we're acting very dumb.

It's almost the month of Elul, the time for reflection, teshuva, repentance before Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur.  Nu, let this year finally be the year to get realistic and listen to G-d, not the United States, United Nations, Europe, the rest of the world and the international Leftist antisemitic media.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Completely Unacceptable," Great Britain's Condemnation of Israel

Today Mr Cameron said: "The situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions.

"Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

And he added: "The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable.

"And I have told PM Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous." (complete article, I first heard this on the bbc, but can't find it on the internet site)

Great Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron's words are no great surprise.  The anti-Israeli (Zionist/Jewish) policies of Great Britain are long-standing.  Cameron's no different from his predecessors.

Israel does permit humanitarian goods and people to cross in and out of Gaza.  But because of the terrorist and rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel, Israel has no choice other than inspect the goods first.  That's what all countries do. 

Israel didn't "attack" the Gaza flotilla; it just attempted to inspect the goods, but the soldiers were surprised/attacked by violent mercenaries.  In self-defense the Israelis had to kill some of the mercenaries.  It's that simple, but David Cameron isn't interested in the truth.

Decompressing and Debriefing After My Trip To the USA

I'm still trying to decompress after my visit to the states, AZ, NY and NJ.  Granted, I only landed just over twelve hours ago.  And about the landing...  I flew BA, British Airways (Premium Coach,) since they have an "easy" route, Israel to London, then London to Phoenix, which the agent (Tzell Travel) recommended as best for my very elderly father.  My AZ to NY was on Delta, more comfortable than expected.  ...when the wheels hit the ground at Ben Gurion International Airport, there was clapping, just like on ELAL.  I got a kick out of that, since I've been flying ELAL for years and missed their menu about which I'll have to blog on me-ander.

One thing I "enjoyed" this visit was noticing the great variety of dressing styles you see in America today.  There was a time when my kerchiefed head and over the knee skirts made me stand out, but today there are all sorts of ethnic and fashion statements on American streets.  I wasn't the only middle-aged person with a backpack, though wheeled bags of all sizes and shapes were much more common.  There were hats and turbans of all styles and fabrics.  This was very different from the mid-1950's when my concept of "normal" and "acceptable" was formed.  And there seems to be an increase in tolerance from even a few years ago.  At times I wondered if it was safe to have my Israeli backpack with Hebrew writing on my back, but obviously, it didn't attract danger, even in Arizona where there are many more Arabs than Jews.

The large supermarkets offer everything their customers could possibly need or crave from junk food to strictly organic, kosher and halal.  Commercially, it seems to be bad news for entrepreneurs, since the large chains can easily sell more variety for less money.

On one hand, superficially, there's a very obvious prosperity, but things are different when you speak to people.  Even the successful are more worried about money and the future.  Most in my generation with adult children aren't in the financial position to help their own children the way we were helped by our parents. 

My very elderly parents are now in a wonderful "old age home" in Arizona.  It can be described as a luxury resort for senior citizens.  Some of the residents use it as a "hotel," not needing any special care packages.  For those, like my parents, there are individual care packages suited to their individual needs.  My sister did a great job in choosing the place.  Arizona has a great variety of facilities.  And if you're wondering, there are only a few Jews in the place and they quickly found my parents, happy for the increase in numbers.  (My parents aren't religiously observant, but they are very sociologically and culturally Jewish.)

Now, I must "reinvent" my life after almost a year of being the full-time care-giver for my father.  I also need some sort of job I can do part-time and when traveling.

It's so good to be home here in Shiloh, Israel.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Israel, Going Cold Turkey

It's no great surprise that Turkey is more interested in being pals with Syria and other Arab countries, rather than being a partner of Israel.  Just look at the map.  Israelis seem to forget that we have a very small country, no natural resources etc.

Honestly. I don't think there is anything the Israeli Government can do to repair the damage in Israel-Turkey relations.  Turkey's a Muslim country, and they just don't like us Jews.  Simple as that.  They may like our money, but there's potentially lots more from Arab countries.

Sometimes people have to reach rock bottom to make crucial decisions.  That's what happened when the State of Israel was declared.  The Labor Zionist leaders, like David Ben-Gurion's group were disillusioned believing that Britain and other countries would support a Jewish state, even though facts showed otherwise.  Only after desperate Jewish refugees, survivors of the Nazi Holocaust were refused entry to the HolyLand by the British and it became more and more obvious that the British supported the Arabs, did the Zionists declare the establishment of the State of Israel.

Many Israelis still quest foreign support and approval.  It's dangerous and pathetic. 

During this visit to the states, I had some interesting conversations in stores etc with ordinary Americans.  They all professed pro-Israel views, wondering why their government and the media are so anti-Israel.  "Why is everyone always criticizing Israel?"  That was a common refrain.

The State of Israel must face the truth.  Nothing we do will make other governments love us, support us etc.  Our policies must be what's best for us, and then at least we'll get some respect.   It starts with self-respect.

Instead of A Sermon, There Was A... Fire Drill

Davka, such timing.  Just when it had been revealed that one of the causes of the really big mess when the BP oil rig exploded was because they had the alarm off,m as not to disturb people.  Well, aren't alarms supposed to wake people up.  OK, sometimes there are false alarms, but sometimes it's the real thing.

The suburban synagogue my relatives attend is hypersensitive to the dangers of fire.  That's the reason most people gave for the unprecedented fire drill.  It had been announced the week before, and today's wasn't introduced by a bell.  There was a simple, calm detailed announcement explaining where each seating section should exit.  As we stood outside in the parking lot, people seemed disappointed that there weren't any fire trucks, firemen or police observing and approving.  At least it wasn't raining. 

I wonder if they'll ever dare to do a surprise drill.  I think they're afraid to frighten the congregants.  This community knows that nobody is immune to deadly fires, so they're taking precautions as seriously as they can.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is massive, and the repercussions will spread further than the oil.  You can't skimp on safety.  When my father lived with us, the local doctor always said that she doesn't mind being called for false alarms.  They're a lot better than bad news.  Apparently, the BP crew didn't think so.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breaking The Law on NYC MTA Buses

There's a big sign on the QM (Queens-Manhattan) buses warning passengers not to speak to the "operator) when the bus is in motion.  Well, I guess nobody told the operators (drivers) about it.  I took those buses the other day to meet my elderly aunt and my father's cousin (whose actually very close to my age.)

It was like in Israel, the drivers and passengers were all buddies and friendly.  On the way to Queens, I wasn't sitting close enough to hear the conversation, but on the way back I was right there.  OK, on the bus there were barely half a dozen of us, but everyone was talking.

First there was a conversation about:

"Did you see the picture on the cover of the newspaper?  Take a look!"
"A black couple with a blond blue eyed kid!"
"Is it theirs?"
"Maybe he's albino."
"Did they do DNA testing?"

Then the conversation switched to Obama.  I could see that the driver was Black, but wasn't sure about the others.  I was certain that they must be loyal Obama fans.
"Do you think he'll get a second term?"

"No way.  He has made too many mistakes, and too many impossible to keep promises."  And that was the driver.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clem Kadiddlehopper and Conversion

I admit that this will probably rile many.

I am a Torah Jew.  I was born Jewish, to a family of generations of Jews, but not Torah observant.  As a teen I discovered (in NCSY) that being Jewish was more than lighting the Chanukah Menorah, eating hamantaschen, matzah and challot.

Torah Judaism is the Judaism that has lasted for thousands of years.  Other "versions" have either faded from existence or become new religions, like Christianity.  Simplistically, that's it.  The synonym for Torah Judaism is Orthodox Judaism.  It's not based on innovating Judaism, nor gives each synagogue the right to decide how to observe G-d given Commandments.  Yes, I believe in G-d and I consider Judaism as the way we should live specifically, not vaguely.

It's human nature for each individual to observe as he or she wishes but not to claim that his/her version is the true Judaism.

Conversion to Judaism must be to Torah Judaism or it's not to Judaism at all.  Getting into proper English Grammar, it's clear that since Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism all capitalize the "adjective" they are making it a new religion,rather than just descriptive individual/personal observances.

This is not to disparage the sincerity and good intentions of the converts who truly wish to be Jewish, nor is it to belittle the seriousness of many of the courses of study that Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism frequently demand.  I know Jews who have converted more than once, after they discovered that "choosing a Judaism" isn't like choosing between Macintosh and Granny Smith apples.  An apple is an apple, but the "Judaisms" aren't all Judaism.  It's "misleading advertising"  to claim that they're all the same.

This can cause terrible tragedies and heartbreak, unlike Clem Kadiddlehopper and his diploma to be a dentist.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Technology Won't Bring Peace and Security to Israel

Big deal, so what, there's a rocket/missile/weapon "catching" machine that can be set up in Israel to keep the weapons the Arab terrorists launch at Israel from landing, killing, destroying innocent Israelis.

"A system that can shoot down approaching rockets has passed its last tests and will be ready for deployment by November outside Sderot, near the Gaza border, Israel’s Defense Ministry said Monday. The “iron dome” system uses sophisticated radar to track, intercept and destroy rockets that are still far from their targets. The iron dome system was developed to protect Israel from rockets fired by Palestinian militants."

Just like deadly bacteria that constantly adapt to the antibiotics, the terrorists will find other ways of  attacking us.

We must destroy the Arab terror structure/organization/factories.  Hiding under "umbrellas" won't help.  Things will only get worse.  Negotiations aren't useful either.  They just encourage and embolden the enemy.

Let's pray for storng sensible leadership, true Jewish values and priorities.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Like Home

Yesterday morning I accompanied my sister-in-law to a friend of hers for T'hillim, Psalms.  T hey have one of those sets of all the one hundred and fifty divided into equal length booklets.  There were lots of women, and we finished quickly. I'm getting to know the women, since I've met them in shul on Shabbat here.  Home in Shiloh, I frequently join neighbors on Tuesday afternoons.

One big difference was that in Shiloh we finish our prayers, requests and Psalms and then leave.  In my sister-in-law's neighborhood they read from a book.  Amazingly the excerpt was about caring for parents.  It was as if it was chosen specifically for me.  I was in New York after taking my very elderly father from my home in Shiloh to Arizona, where my mother decided they should live, near my sister.  Last October I took my father to Shiloh from their home in New York.  He made aliyah and impatiently waited for my mother to join him.  We all accepted the change in plans, and now I'm "vacationing" with family in New York.

Last night we all went to their synagogue for the Tisha B'Av service and reading of Eicha, Lamentations.
This was also divided up among a few readers.

The synagogue was very crowded.  Public mourning on Tisha B'Av is much more common and acceptable abroad than it once was.  I consider this a very good sign.  G-d willing we will rapidly begin building our Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple and all be in the Land of Israel.  And next year, we'll be celebrating the dedication of the rebuilt Holy Temple!

Did I Sin This Tisha B'Av?

What a way to start Tisha B'Av, the 9th of the Jewish Month of Av, our day of greatest mourning.  On Tisha b'Av we're not supposed to bathe, launder or put on clean clothes.

When I returned to my sister-in-law's home after hearing the special mournful Eicha, I changed into clean clothes, dried myself off and hung up clothing to dry.  Did you guess correctly?  There was a very powerful rainstorm. 

The walk to the car was long and wet.  We were drenched by the time we got there.  I was glad that my shoes weren't ruined.  I was wearing rubber shower thongs, since leather is forbidden on the Ninth of Av.

I felt like I had just taken a shower.  My clothes were dripping wet, hat to toe.  Although it's forbidden to bathe and change into clean clothes, it was clear that these weren't normal circumstances.  

 Jewish Law is governed by common sense.  I didn't have to stay in wet clothes, just because it's the Ninth of Av. 

And although Tisha B'Av is a twenty-five hour fast like Yom Kippur, those with certain health problems are required to eat.  A good and thorough knowledge of Jewish Law shows this.

Tzom Kal, have an easy fast, if you're permitted to fast.  If you must eat, do it as the rabbi and doctor instruct, but your mind must stay focued onthe day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Listening to Other Voices, Respect and Tolerance

This week's Havel Havelim is hosted by Ima 2 Seven.

The jblogger (Jewish Blogger) world is very varied.  What we have in common is that we consider our being Jewish as part of our blogging identity.  Havel Havelim unites us.  Granted few of us read every post, but we all appear together. 

This unity is what should be.  There are times we must ignore "right and wrong."  We must look for the good in each other and in ourselves. 

For some Jews, it's already Tisha  B'Av, and they may already be fasting. 

I wasn't raised with a knowledge of Jewish Law and fasts like Tisha B'Av, but I was raised to be a proud Jew.  No matter where we stand at this moment in Jewish knowledge and observance, it's important to try to add on it and improve it.  Standing still, status quo, is not the Jewish way.

Tisha B'Av symbolizes our disunity.  We must correct it.  I was lack of respect for fellow Jews which destroyed our Holy Temples.  We must each look for every way possible to treat others better.  Grand gestures aren't enough.  Every small move, even an encouraging smile.  Nothing and nobody should be belittled.

May next year's Tisha B'Av be a grand celebration, the dedication of the third Bait HaMikdash, Holy Temple.


On Assignment in Jerusalem
By A. Ozoous
July 17, 2010

Publicist for the book GRAINS OF SAND, The Fall of Neve Dekalim, written by her daughter, Shifra Shomron
(For a copy of the book, go to the author’s website for a list of bookstores: Or contact Mazo Publishers; also a Literature Study Guide is available for the book for free downloading. For more information, contact the publicist at publicist.sls@gmail.com)

I caught up with my friend, Sara Shomron, at the Teachers Conference in Jerusalem, doing what she does best – promoting her daughter’s book. If a kid ever wanted a publicist for their book, they couldn’t find a more loyal, dedicated person than a mother like Sara. The following is about a young Jewish boy who received an awakening to his identity & to his Land after accepting the challenge of a school project and a personal encounter with the author of GRAINS OF SAND. I believe this book should be in every family library and every synagogue for the future education of Jewish children and their identity to the real world of Israel & the young people who are in the struggle to keep it a homeland for the Jews. The interview is in Sara Shomron’s own words:

A 7th grade boy in New Jersey was given a history assignment along with his classmates in conjunction with the State History Day Competition. Conflict & Compromise in History was the year’s theme for students 7th grade and up from New Jersey public schools and this Jewish boy in a public school did not know what he was going to do his project on – he had no idea – so he and his mother sat down at the computer and Google-searched for a subject of interest. Mother & son somehow fell into an interview Shifra had given about her book, and he was wild. He couldn’t believe someone close to his age had written a book about the expulsion of Gush Katif.

He had never heard of Gush Katif before. Even his connection to Israel was minimal so he decided it would be a terrific project to do for his class assignment. He got a hold of the book and as part of his research he contacted my daughter Shifra and asked her questions via email, and they corresponded.

For his history assignment he submitted his project and earned the grade of 100. His teacher encouraged him to participate in the state-wide competition of New Jersey in 2008. This 7th grade boy who had not previously heard of Gush Katif now entered his project called: In the Shadow of a World Destroyed, Memories of an Expelled Teenager, based on Shifra Shomron’s novel Grains of Sand, the Fall of Neve Dekalim and on April 30, 2008 this boy heard over the loud speaker, Gush Katif is a winner! He won first place for his entry in this New Jersey state-wide competition for the Southern Regional Division of National History Day Competition at Rider University.

Afterwards, the Northern & Southern State Regional winners were combined to determine who would be the finalist of the state competition. This boy was not a finalist, but several months later, he marked his Bar Mitzvah. At his Bar Mitzvah each and every table at the reception had a name of a destroyed Gush Katif community, because he wanted all the people present to know of and to remember Gush Katif. It wouldn’t have been the same if Gush Katif hadn’t been part of it. He made Gush Katif known and did his best to increase awareness and keep the memory alive of Gush Katif – a young boy who had never heard of it prior to falling into Shifra’s interview and reading her book, the power of the word, the power of the book and the power of the internet.
He has developed an amazing love for Gush Katif, and in particular a love for Israel.

(Name of the boy withheld by request, due to the age of the minor.

For a transcript of his words about the book, go to Gush Katif is a Winner!

Or, he can be heard speaking on UTube: Readers Discuss the Book Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim -- Part 2

also view:
Readers Discuss the Book Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim -- Part 1

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Look what’s hanging over Jerusalem on Erev Tisha b’Av

Posted by Jewish Israel

This banner welcoming the conference for the Church of the Pentecost Missions hangs over the Rimonim Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem’s Bayit Vegan neighborhood. The banner quotes the new testament passage: “being transformed into the image of christ in a changing world”.

Properly welcoming tourists of other faiths into Ir Hakodesh and into Eretz Yisrael surely doesn’t warrant this shameful display. That it hangs over us at a time of year when we’ve been remembering tragedies associated with avodah zarah (strange worship), among other sins, and on the eve of our commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, is distressing.

But jesus-friendly banners in Jerusalem may be the least of our problems. Is it possible that the Muslims know something we don't?...more

The Muslim Threat

This is a must-see.

Of Mosques and Men: Reflections on the Ground Zero Mosque

Islam isn't a peace religion.  The plan for a mosque on the site of the World Trade Center which was destroyed by Islamic Arab terrorists must be taken very seriously.  The commentary on this youtube is logical.

It's Time to Leave Lala Land

The Arabs don't want peace with Israel.  They want to be without Israel.  And when that's the case, there's nothing to negotiate.  No matter what we "reluctantly" agree to, no matter what promises, urgings etc from international mediators, there's no way that there will or can be peace with people who want us dead and gone.  Each concession we make just brings more and more dangerous demands.

These negotiations, direct, indirect,m proximity etc are like cancers.  And we all know that cancers must be destroyed.

These negotiations must be stopped!  Our very survival is at stake.

Friday, July 16, 2010

G-d Shakes Up Washington DC

This morning's headlines tell of an earthquake in the Washington DC area, yes, the United States's Capital City.  Hmm... can that be a message?

The east coast of the United States generally thinks itself immune to such natural disasters.

G-d likes to give us a chance to repent, so we shouldn't scoff at the relatively low magnitude of the earthquake.  It may be barely noticed in California, but for the Washington DC area it's major.  G-d customizes for each of us.

On the Jewish Calendar we're in the deepest days of mourning for our Holy Temple and Jewish Unity.  Next month is Ellul, the month of repentance before our New Year, Rosh Hashannah, and Yom Kippur when we beg G-d to forgive us.

The United States Government, led by its President Barack Hussein Obama is the least sympathetic to the State of Israel and the Jewish People since Jimmy Carter.  G-d's trying to shake us up a bit.  Let's all listen and not dull the sensations with Prozac and Nobel Peace Prizes.

Shabbat Shalom from my temporary blogging spot in the USA...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winner Takes All, Losers Be Damned

Jameel at the Muqata has an interesting post about Israeli democracy.  I sent a short comment:

There's something very dangerous in the "winner takes all" philosophy/mentality here in Israel. It's like the american electoral college. The majority rules by totally overriding the minority even if it's just a 51% to 49% vote.
The winner or boss as dictator.

Quite often there's abuse at the workplace, because the boss is considered a god-like king. "If you don't like it, leave."

When Yitzchak Rabin was elected Prime Minister, he made it clear that he considered himself Prime Minister to those who supported him. His followers made it clear that those who opposed his policies were thereby disloyal to the State of Israel. That's the mentality, culture here in Israel. It gets very frightening.

We're now in the "Nine Days" when we mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem which happened in ancient times. Many of us also mourn the implementation of Disengagement which has many of the same dates though thousands of years later.

During the time leading up to Disengagement, its supporters insisted that the fact that it was passed in the Knesset gave it a "holiness" and refused to debate the moral pros and cons. To them the highest morality was that it was government policy, passed by law. The laws from the politicians in the Knesset mean/meant more to them than the laws G-d gave us.

The same people who have been lobbying for the children of illegal foreign workers to stay here, because it would be too traumatic to send them away from their birth places, the homes they know and schools they know etc even though their parents were breaking Israeli law for years, had absolutely no problem dragging Israeli citizens of all ages from their legal homes. They see/saw no contridiction, no moral dilemma in retroactively declaring legally bought and built Jewish homes illegal.

Chazal, our sages say that the great sin which caused the destruction of the Holy Temple was the dispicable behavior between Jews. We haven't learned the lesson yet.

Events Commemorating Five Years Since Disengagement

AFSI Americans for a safe Israel

Tel: 212-828-2424; Fax: 212-828-1717; afsi@rcn.com ; www.afsi.org
Contact: Helen Freedman, Executive Director

Please see the updated list of events scheduled to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the expulsion from Gush Katif. 


Brooklyn, New York -Sunday morning, July 18, 10 AM – Rubin Margules, Pres. Manhattan Beach Jewish Center, 60 West End Avenue, will be leading the commemorative event. It will include a presentation by Dror Vanunu, along with professional films about Gush Katif before and after the expulsion. Contact: 718-891-8700

New York City- Sunday, July 18, at 7 P.M., Congregation Ohab Zedek, 118 W. 95th Street (off Amsterdam Ave.), a community-wide event will take place with Rabbi Allen Schwartz, spiritual leader of OZ, Dror Vanunu, International Liaison for Gush Katif, and films depicting life before and after the expulsion. Contact: Helen Freedman: 212-828-2424

Los Angeles - Sunday, July 18, 7 PM: Shaarey Zedek Congregation, 12800 Chandler, Blvd., Valley Village. There will be a screening of the documentary: “Withdrawal from Gaza,” presented by Joel Blasberg, director and co-producer of the film. Contact: Bonnie Kurnick - 818-769-0200

Chicago- Thursday, July 22, 7 P.M., Congregation KINS of West Rogers Park, 2800 W. North Shore Ave. Dror Vanunu will be the featured speaker, along with films depicting life before and after the expulsion. Contact: Cheryl Jacobs Lewin – 312-654-9955

Teaneck, New Jersey- July 23, 24 –, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky will be hosting Dror Vanunu for Shabbat. Various events are planned for the weekend.

Miami- Sunday, July 25, 8:30 P.M., “K Space” – 170th & Collins Avenue – Films and speakers – Closed, members only event

In addition, many synagogues throughout the country are showing Gush Katif films during the day of Tisha B’Av. It is not too late to order your film. Contact: AFSI – 212-828-2424; afsi@rcn.com

Other events are planned in July, August, and into October, 2010 commemorating the expulsion. Donations are gratefully accepted. Send checks to: Friends of Gush Katif, POB 1184, Teaneck, NJ 07666 or by credit card through the secure website: www.gushkatif.org

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On The Other Side of The Gaza Fence

Another of those subjective, innacurate articles for the New York Times about Gaza.  The world is brainwashed thinking that the Arabs in Gaza are so poor and suffering.

Nobody cared when innocent peaceful Jewish Israelis were forced from their homes, buisinesses, schools, communities in the name of Disengagement.  

Disengagement was a unilateral, meaning that Israel got nothing positive for it, decision that wrecked havoc with the lives of countless thousands of law-abiding Jewish Israelis.  It further endangered the Israeli south, including cities like Ashkelon and Netivot.

It is now five years since Disengagement, and even the Israeli public has been shockingly apathetic.  That's the most frightening lesson of all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Pro-Israel," Are Labels Enough?

There's news of a new "pro-Israel" group in the states, Emergency Committee for Israel.  Some people wonder if there aren't too many already, and others like myself consider most criminally misleading advertising.

During the Arizona part of my United States visit, I'm totally removed from current events, Israel's defense and politics. It's a stark reminder that aside from all the headlines in the press, your average American hasn't a clue and doesn't care about what happens in Israel. If they hear a two second clip on the news in between gossip about Mel Gibson abusing his lover and how much money some athlete has been promised for basketball, it's a lot. They care more about Brad Pitt's daughter Shiloh than the real historical Shiloh in the Holy Land, where all the Bible stories and history happened. The magic in Harry Potter means more to most than actual religions. Most Jewish kids know more of that pretend religion than of Judaism. So who are these varied Jewish and Israel lobby groups?

Most are like "kosher style Jewish food," a Passover Seder in a traif (non-kosher) restaurant. Is this new group going to be any better?

Monday, July 12, 2010


Just a quick post from me in AZ.
I hope you're enjoying the wonerful posts my guests have been posting here.  Maybe I should go away more often.  They're invited to post more frequently.

I've been busy on a major Kibbud av v'em project, (honoring one's father and mother.)  Last fall, I took my father to Shiloh on aliyah.  The plan was for my mother to join him a few months later in Israel.  What can I say other than, planning is easy, but following the plan is a different story.  My mother decided to move to my sister's area in Arizona.

Now, by taking care of and observing my father all these months (read more here and in me-ander of this saga) I've learned something about the Jewish yearning for Jerusalem to be rebuilt and the Bait HaMikdash, Holy Temple.

When he first came to Shiloh he was confident that my mother would soon join him "in Yerushalayim."  Then slowly, he began to deteriorate.  He became weaker, less walking, less communicating.  He was shutting down.  It's like our mourning customs for the Beit HaMikdash versus for death.  With time my father got worse, but the Jewish customs for death go in the opposite direction, getting lighter.  Because my father knew that my mother was alive he suffered more.

When we mourn the Jerusalem of Old, our mourning gets more intense, because we know that we can have it again.

Yesterday I brought my father to my mother.  The last few days before we flew to Arizona he perked up, becoming more alive, active than he had been for months.  He was totally joyful to be reunited with the woman he has loved for seventy years, since he first saw her.

May we, the Jewish People be reunited in a rebuilt Jerusalem, bimhaira b'yamainu, speedily in our days.

The 9 days: Page 2

Welcome to Page 2. If you missed Page 1, scroll down.

We concluded Page 1 with:

Let us look first at the reasons that are shared by the Sages of Israel that G-D's House was destroyed not once, but twice.

One learns that the House that King Soloman built was destroyed because the Nation of Israel turned away from the laws that G-D gave regarding proper behavior in the area dealing with physical relations, intimate relations.

The House that Cyrus and Herod built was destroyed because of baseless hatred among the Children of Israel.

Let us think about both of these reasons.

Page 2:

What is interesting to note, is; the United States has seen a crumbling of moral standards along with its foundation of religious freedom. July 4, 1776, Independence Day coincided with 17th of Jewish Lunar month of Tammuz, the same day that the 3 weeks begins on. That day is a day of Fasting and introspection because that was the day the walls surrounding Jerusalem were breached.

The USA has lead the world in the blending or bending of the lines between what is proper/normal behavior. The women's movements, burn the bra movements, gay movements have all grown up in the petri dish of freedom that the USA has allowed. Many of these movements were spearheaded by those of Jewish birth.

We have seen a large number of cases of child sexual abuse, while it is a tragedy that has happened for a millennium or two, the freedoms of the USA has nurtured this tragedy which has implicated the clergy of many different religions.

So the USA is currently the embodiment of this breakdown of moral/intimate standards.

Ancient Egypt, from which only 20% of the Children of Israel were redeemed also was a cesspool of moral lacking. The 10th plague, the slaying of the first born son was a very scary decree, since there was so much promiscuity that often the husband was not the father or rather, the father was often not the husband.

Now lets turn to this idea of baseless hatred. This came out in the form of noticing differences between each other and focusing on the similarities.

As I said by way of introduction, I am a LISTER. A number of my lists have shared with me and their other readers the 'Halachot' Laws of the 3 weeks and the 9 Days. They have let me know what is restricted, what is forbidden, what Jews from European background do, and what Jew from Oriental/Eastern background do.

Some of my lists have posted specials for the 9 Days (when most don't eat meat or drink wine), some of my lists posted queries about get away resorts/retreats.

So, here is my challenge: what do either the Halachot or 9 day specials or vacations have to do with the destruction of G-D's House(s)

Stay tuned for page 3. In the mean time, please post comments here and share directly with me at: hillel.leib@gmail.com

The 9 Days: Page 1

My name is Hillel Levin. I am a neighbor of Batya's here in Shiloh. Batya is taking her father, Sidney to to his new home in Arizona. If you would like to read about my parting with Sidney, check out Batya's other blog: ShilohMuse.

By way of introduction, I am a LISTER. What I mean is that I am a member of and post on over 200 Yahoo/Google Groups for Jewish Communities, Israel Action, Jewish and Zionist Groups on 6 continents.

I post for the various chessed (loving kindness) projects that I am involved in. I also receive digests from on average 100 groups per day. I admit that I do not succeed in reading them all, but I do read a broad cross-section.

Before we made Aliyah the fall of 2006, I focused in on my Tafkid, Mission in Life, that is to connect with my brothers and sisters worldwide.

I guess that one of the benefits of having the Hyper-Focus of Adult ADD is my ability to have so much stimuli coming at me all the time.

Anyway, to get to my post about The 9 Days:

This is the nine day period, from Rosh Chodesh Av until the 9th of Av. The first of the Jewish Lunar month of Av through the 9th day of Av. Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, it is in the middle of the period referred to as the 3 weeks. A period of remember-ation of the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem through the destruction of G-D's House (the Temple) on the Temple Mount.

Now G-D's House was destroyed twice. The first was the House that King Soloman Built, about 3000 years ago and it stood for about 1000 years and the second, which construction was started by Cyrus, Queen Esther's son and later re-fitted by King Herod, which was destroyed in the year 70 of the Common Era.

Two interesting things to note:

First, both of G-D's Houses were built ling before the prophet Muhammad was even a glimmer in his grandfathers' eyes. The 1st over 1600 years before, the 2nd over 600 years before. There has be at least a remnant of Jews living in the Holy Land of Israel for over 3000 years. So these facts fly in the face of any claim that Jews have stolen The Holy Land from arabs.

Second, both of G-D's Houses were destroyed on the same day of the calendar: 9 Av.

Let us look first at the reasons that are shared by the Sages of Israel that G-D's House was destroyed not once, but twice.

One learns that the House that King Soloman built was destroyed because the Nation of Israel turned away from the laws that G-D gave regarding proper behavior in the area dealing with physical relations, intimate relations.

The House that Cyrus and Herod built was destroyed because of baseless hatred among the Children of Israel.

Let us think about both of these reasons.

While I am not Paul Harvey, please look forward to Page 2.

Please leave your comments here, in addition, I would appreciate it if you would connect with me at: hillel.leib@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Legacy of Rav Mordechai Eliahu zt"l

A little more than a month has passed by since the passing of the great former Sefardi Chief Rabbi, the Rishon LeZion Rav Mordecha Eliahu zt"l. I cannot tell you how great he was because who am I? I had very small connections with him personally, mostly when he gave his support to the idea of the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach twenty years ago. As a result of this backing Rav Menachem Burstin, a talmid of his and later the founder and head of Machon Puah, went to the Bnei Noach conference in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and I had the honor to accompany him and translate some of his speeches there. Rav Burstin has also been involved in study of the areas of Torah relating to the restoration of the Temple and most significantly in Machon Puah, regarding the connection between Halacha and reproductive biology. Most recently he has become intensively involved in issues of marriage and the family as a natural outgrowth of fertility and family planning issues.
Rav Burstin, like many of those who considered Rav Eliahu "their" gadol, their Torah leader, is an Ashkenazi. This points up one of the unique points in the personality and phenomenon which was Rav Mordechai Eliahu zt"l. You can find not a few Sefardic Jews who consider a great Ashkenazi Rav their teacher or rebbe, the person they go to or follow on major issues. You do not normally find the opposite happening. Rav Eliahu's edition of the Kitzur Shulhan Aruch, with comments both for Ashkenazim and Sefaradim, as well popular sefer on family purity, Darkei Tahara, which is also a guide for both Ashkenazim and Sefaradim in this important area, is exceptional.
This is the generation of Kibbutz Galuyot, the Ingathering of the Exiles. If anyone could be said to be the rabbi who epitomizes this generation, it is Rav Mordechai Eliahu. I only said the bare introduction to the subject. Commenters are free to expand on it. The rest is commentary, go and learn.

Gush Katif 5th Commemoration Round-up

Gush Katif 5th Commemoration Round-up
by Sara Layah Shomron

This time of year is hard for me, as it has been for the past five years. We're approaching the commemoration of the uprooting from Gush Katif and its destruction. Gush Katif is at the forefront of my mind as memories shadow me, yet time passes and we've tried to progress despite the almost unimaginable loss.

My family is part of the new Neve Dekalim community at Nitzan, not the caravilla site, which we were glad to leave, rather the new Neve Dekalim community adjoining the pre-existing dati-leumi (national religious) Nitzan community. This video (featuring my daughter Nechama!) updates on the various Gush Katif community building projects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdxv3I6vww0

I'll be doing a few things to commemorate the uprooting. From July 13th - 15th I'll be attending the International English Teachers' summer conference at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem where, as official publicist, I'll promote my daughter Shifra Shomron's book, "Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim" at a display table in the exhibition hall. The book will also be featured in the conference's July 13th poster session, "Teenager's Voice-Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim." I'll give a brief presentation and then Shifra will take the floor. For a sneak preview, please click on the link to our poster session's handout: http://www.slideshare.net/ETAI2010/teenagers-voice-grains-of-sand-the-fall-of-neve Click on zoom+ (directly below the bottom of the handout page) to enlarge the print. It is especially exciting to see that Gush Katif is represented at this very important international conference.

My family will also be participating in some of the 70 Gush Katif commemoration events planned throughout the country. We invite you to join us. Please mark your calendar and look to attend. For a memorial event near you, contact the Gush Katif Committee, tel. (08) 973-8000, or the new English language website, www.gushkatif.org which is worth a look even after the events are over.

The last two items below are posted on the INN Facebook discussion section. I encourage you to let people know what you are doing to mark the 5th commemoration:

1) Monday, 12 July, at 20:00, at the Petach Tikva Sharet Hall, next to the Municipality of Petah Tikva:
The program is in Hebrew. Rabbi Raffi Peretz of the Atzmona Mechina and Anita Tucker from Netzer Hazani.

2) Thursday, 15 July, from 19:30-21:15, at the OU Center, Jerusalem.
(22 Keren Hayesod Street):
A program especially created for English speakers will take place next week, Thursday, 15 July, from 19:30-21:15, at the OU Center, Jerusalem. It will feature speakers Dror Vanunu, International Coordinator of the Gush Katif Fund and Rachel Saperstein, Director of Operation Dignity. An exclusive film produced by the Gush Katif Committee will be shown. This is one of 70 such events taking place across the country.

3) Thursday, 22 July, from 15:00-21:00, at the OU Center, Jerusalem:
Exactly one week later at the same venue, a special event SALUTING YESHA ARTISTS will take place, G-d willing, with the majority of the artists participating being former residents of GUSH KATIF. The occasion will also serve as a benefit for the organization HONENU which provides support and legal counseling for Jews who run afoul of the authorities while defending Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Come to the Israel Center ( Keren Hayesod Street 22) between 15:00-21:00 on Thursday, 11 Av (22 July) to give support. This is a social, cultural, civil rights activity open to all at no charge. Not to be missed! (bli neder I’ll be there promoting Shifra’s book, and hope to see you there!).

Because the spirit of Gush Katif has not been broken... Katif Od Chai!

Sidney is on his way to Arizona

My wife, Chava, and I stopped by Batya's yesterday afternoon (Shabbat) to say our farewells to her father, Sidney.

I offered to have him move in with us. He could share our son's bunk bed. I asked him if he wanted the top or bottom bed. He laughed and said "top".

He said that he was going to see Shirley. Shirley has been his wife for as long as Israel has been an independent state. 63 years.

Having arrived here in Shiloh almost 8 months ago, he has become a bright part of our lives. When neither Batya nor Yisrael were available, one of us often sat in their living room, doing what we called Sidney-sitting. At 89 he is no baby. In fact, he objected to the idea of being babysat, and it wasn't until Chava explained that it was Batya's comfort zone, that if something should somehow need Hebrew, she felt more comfortable if someone was there who spoke it, that he accepted the company graciously.

When Sidney first arrived, our 13 yr old son spent time with him most afternoons watching videos, playing cards and talking. Sidney likes WWII movies and musical comedies.

Yesterday Sidney was in a reflective mood. He mentioned several times how "all those boys" had died. The ship he had been stationed on when he was in the Navy for WWII was sunk just a week after he was transferred off it. He was known as "the Jew" on his ship. Said he didn't know if there were others or not, but they didn't let it be known if they were.

And the only thing that brightened that somber mood was mentioning Arizona. "I'm going to see Shirley!" Spoken in a tone of reverence. It's so inspiring to see someone so crazy in love with his wife after over six decades. Batya gave us a blessing that I should talk like that about Chava when I was 90. And our response was that Sidney should be healthy and in love with Shirley for another 120...

He will be missed here in Shiloh.

The New York Times, Wrong Again

I admit that this is a horrendous comparison, but here goes:

Anyone who knows anything about Twentieth Century European History will tell you that you can't start with the rise of Nazism and ignore  World War I and its aftermath.  History is a process, a series of events.

There's a pathetically misleading editorial about the problems between Israel and Turkey based on the easy to research fallacy that everything was hunky-dory between the two countries until Israel inspected the flotilla, discovered armed, aggressive mercenaries and in self-defence killed some of them.

This is an easy one.  If everything was fine prior to the flotilla, why had Turkey sent those armed mercenaries to Israel?  Yes, to Israel, because it was 100% clear that Israel would be inspecting the boat. Those Turkish mercenaries attacked the Israeli inspectors.

This was far from the first anti-Israel policies by Turkey recently.  I'm just a blogger who doesn't get paid.  The NY Times has paid journalists to research.  I expect accurate, well-researched articles from a newspaper like the NY Times.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Careful With Words, Promises, Pledges, Oaths etc

Just a quick little true story which illustrates this week's Parshat Shavua, Weekly Torah Reading, Mattot - Masei.  According to Judaism we're supposed to be very careful about what we say or promise, because every utterance is taken seriously by G-d.  Women's promises are even more complicated, because technically first the woman's father and then her husband have power over these "promises."

I first learned this almost forty years ago when we were newlyweds and new immigrants to Israel living in the Maon Betar in Jerusalem's Old City.  I had just quit ulpan, because I was finding the walk to Beit Ha'Am getting more and more difficult as winter got colder and rainier.  There wasn't any bus connection at the time between the Old City and the Beit Ha'am area.  

We saw some NCSY friends who insisted that I try a newly opened program in Bayit V'Gan called Neve Yerushalayim.  It was in an apartment on Uziel Street.  The trip was relatively easy, the #12 bus from Sha'ar Shechem straight to Bayit V'Gan.  In those days it was perfectly safe to walk around the Old City, even go to Sha'ar Shechem.

I enjoyed my studies.  Most of the students were single.  I guess the teachers were chareidi, but in those days there weren't all the distinctions you see today, and there were so few learning programs.  I remember the following conversation:
"I  love all the chumrot (extra strict customs) and I want to add more and more to my Jewish observance."
"You're a single woman.  According to Jewish Law you don't have the authority to take such oaths.  It will make it difficult to marry."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is It Dangerously Foolish For Israel To Be "Nicer than Nice" to Our Enemies?

Twenty years ago after my elder son was hit by a small truck and seriously injured, he spent half of his hospital time in ALYN the Children's Orthopedic hospital.  At one point (for a few days) he had two roommates, one an Israeli Muslim and the other a Druse.  In the relatively apolitical world of hospital care, we all got along.  The Druse boy's family served in the IDF and the Muslim boy was usually cared for by a spinster aunt, who was a nurse and very fluent in Hebrew.

The three boys were pretty silent, but the accompanying adults always had something to talk about.  One night the nurse barged in all angry yelling that we were keeping the kids up.
"Keeping them up?" I replied.  "Where are they going tomorrow?  All they do is lay in bed."
I couldn't understand why the PR Department hadn't paid us a visit to show how well we all got along.

I have no problems with Israeli citizens of various religions and "races" getting the same excellent medical care together.  But I don't see why we should give these expensive services to our enemies.  Besides the financial aspect of wasting our limited resources, I worry about the security risks involved with allowing Hamas supporters to wander around our hospitals.  Has anyone become pro-Israel as a result?  I'm sure they'd be assassinated if they announced a change of heart.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

OK, Bibi, Stand By Your Words!

Mr. Prime Minister,

I heard you on on Larry King Live, today.  You said that you'd only speak to those who don't want to destroy us. 

I hope that you get to see the news, read it on the internet or in the newspaper and not predigested summaries like many of your peers (other foreign leaders.)  Just now when I turned on the computer I saw:

Abbas to Arabs: We'd Support a War Against IsraelPA Chairman tells Arab League: “If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor.”
From what I heard you say, you don't see Arabs who want to destroy us as negotiating partners for peace. 

Mr. Prime Minister, I'm no youngster.  Actually, I'm a little bit older than you. Besides writing, I've taught high school English, reading comprehension and more.  It seems pretty obvious that Abbas is in that category of "not a partner for negotiations."  It's very obvious that the only "peace" he wants requires our destruction.

Show some guts, true leadership and announce to the world that Peace will have to wait another generation or more. 

You told Larry King that you really enjoy learning the Bible with your son.  If that's the case, then you know that there's a precedent for postponing important and much awaited events.  The best example is when the Jewish People were supposed to enter the Holy Land after the exodus from Egypt.  We were a short trek away when the tribal leaders sinned, ten out of twelve announced that we would be destroyed by the "giants" if we entered the Land.
G-d's response was:

"If you have such little faith, you won't enter.  The next generation will enter the HolyLand after you're all dead, after forty years of punishment."
Please be a leader, our leader. Don't follow foreign gods and kings.

Batya Medad
New York to Jerusalem, 1970
Jerusalem to Shiloh, 1981

PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Larry King "Fencing" Around The Chess Board

I caught the end of the "Larry King Live Exclusive" interview with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (transcript.)  The verbal choreography was fascinating.  Call it fencing or chess or some combination of both. Here's the link to the interview. And here should be the interview or excerpts.

It's no secret that I admire Bibi's intelligence and talent, but I'm horrendously disappointed in how he's wasting it. 
  • He's not the leader he could be.  
  • He's not the leader he should be.
  • He's not the leader Israel needs.
There were some interesting questions.  King asked Netanyahu with whom would he negotiate, and Bibi replied anyone who isn't trying to destroy us.  He frequently asked what the US would do if in our situation, a good point.

Netanyahu was asked if he ever takes time off, and answered that on Shabbat he learns Bible with his prize-winning fifteen year old son.

On the whole it's a good interview.  The problem is that's all it is, just words, an interview.