Hamas War

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Opinion Please: What Makes a Good Chazan/Cantor?

We've just finished the two Jewish Holidays which demand the most time in a synagogue listening to and singing along with a chazan/cantor.

Here in Shiloh, all of our "cantors" are volunteers. They are mostly neighbors and don't get paid. Personally, I don't miss the professional chazanim, who sometimes perform more than doven.  Listening to those lovely voices is fun on a rare occasion, but since I like to sing along, our amateurs suit me better. But I'd like to know your opinion, thanks.

Please vote in the comments, thanks.
You can rank the choices here, too.

  • Voice
  • Soul
  • Tunes
  • Choir
  • Speed
  • Innovation
  • Other
Chag Sameach

Friday, September 29, 2017

Yom Kippur 5778, Please Forgive Me

May I take this opportunity, just hours before Yom Kippur to ask forgiveness from all of you...

For those of you who know me personally, f2f, and those who just read my words on social media...

For anything I may have said or written that I shouldn't have...

I meant no harm...

גמר חתימה טובה
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May You Be Inscribed "Well," or "For Good"

Actually, I truly wonder what that means. When good people, holy, mitzvah doing people die, especially when they die and/or suffer at such young ages, I don't like, or can't accept, the idea that the חתימה Chatimah means that either a person lives or dies. Honestly, it makes no sense to me and that philosophical, dilemma is the cause of much suffering for many. 

Simplifying Judaism, or any religion, into Gd gives a long happy life to the good people and makes the evil suffer is not what we see in This World. Just this week, two very holy people I knew passed away much too young. 

For this blessing to make sense to me and be a comfort, I go back to the Jewish concept of This World and The Next World, aka The World to Come, עולם הזה ועולם הבא Olam Hazeh vi'Olam Habah. Chaza"l, Our Sages teach that the payment/receiving of reward and punishment aren't in This World; it's in the Next World, the one world after death. So the "Inscription" referred to in that blessing must really mean that when we die we will benefit or suffer from the grade or score or mark we get for all we have done in This World. 

We, therefore, shouldn't look at death as a punishment for sins or a long life as a reward for good deeds, because we all know of absolutely wonderful people, including innocent children, who have died very young even after great suffering. And we all know of dangerously evil people who lived very long healthy and wealthy lives. 

May we merit the opportunity to fully repent before death. And that means that we should take advantage of every day for repentance, not just Yom Kippur, the first ten days of Tishrei and the Month of Elul. Repentance should be on our minds 24/7, Gd willing.

Please Forgive Me

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interpol Fiasco Proves No Justice From Nations & Failure of Bibi's Peace Policy

I guess by now everyone knows that Interpol members voted to let the cat watch the cream.
Interpol Gives Palestinians Full Membership
'State of Palestine' admitted to Interpol as new member
Last night on Israeli news they actually brought up a good point about it. Prime Minister Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has been insisting that most countries are more favorable to Israel than their "public votes" show. There is too much pressure to appear pro-Palestinian; he'd claim that in secret votes we'd do better. But this Interpol vote was secret, and it went in favor of the so-called State of Palestine.

There's a great irony in the fact that even those Israelis who are pushing for a Palestinian State don't like the idea that the source/support of terror is a member of Interpol. Remember that by giving them membership in Interpol, the terrorists become "partners" with those who are trying to stop terrorism. And there are many undercover activities against those very same terrorists which now will be fully revealed to the PLO.

We also mustn't ignore the connection of Netanyahu's policies and statements with this latest anti-international security and anti-Israel development. Netanyahu has been supporting the establishment of a Palestinian, sic, state for quite a few years already. Of course he claims to envision it with certain limitations and restrictions, but that's a total fantasy as we clearly see. Even before the official establishment of such a state, and Gd forbid there will ever be one, foreign countries and international bodies have been treating it as a completely legitimate national entity.  As far as the world is concerned, there is a State of Palestine, but it is being strangled by the evil State of Israel.

We will not find any justice or support from foreign countries nor international bodies, even one as important to international security as Interpol.

We have only one ally, Gd Almighty. How many reminders do we need?

גמר חתימה טובה
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May You be Inscribed for a Good Life

And צום קל Tzom Kal, Easy Fast to those fasting on Yom Kippur.

75 Palestinian Authority schools named after terrorists and Nazi collaborators and honoring Martyrs and Martyrdom
(Sept. 26, 2017)
  Palestinian Media Watch

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Save The Date: Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Prayers at Tel Shiloh

Rosh Hashanah was the beginning of the Jewish Month of Tishrei, and pretty obviously, there weren't any Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh on those days. Now it's not only Tishrei, but it's the new year 5778. And it's time to mark Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in our "planners."

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5778 
Friday, October 20, 2017 
30th of Tishrei, 5778, 8:30am 
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
Tour of Tel Shiloh 
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson 
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors. 

תפילת נשים ראש חודש חשון
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ו' 20-10-2017
ל' תשרי, תשע"ח 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan is two days, the first which is Friday the 30th of Tishrei, and the first of Cheshvan will be on Shabbat. Since women come from places other than Shiloh, and it will already be rain season, we're meeting on Friday, the 30th of Tishrei, October 20, 2017.

In the meantime, גמר חתימה טובה, Gmar Chatimah Tovah, May Gd Inscribe You With a Good "Grade"

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

1967 Six Days Victory, Alternative to Destruction

"So Sorry We Won" was the brilliantly prophetic name Ephraim Kishon and Dosh gave to their post 1967 Six Days War political satire. Here we are a half a century later, and even Israelis think there was a viable alternative to the miraculous victory of Biblical proportions which gave the State of Israel our Historic Homeland.

I was about to graduate high school when Egypt's Nasser began his tirades threatening to destroy the State of Israel, wipe it into the sea.
The absence of any significant international reaction to the reimposition of the blockade on the Gulf of Aqaba only emboldened Nasser. In a speech to Arab Trade Unionists on 26 May, he declared his real objective: "The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel." (Jewish Virtual Library)
There was nothing ambiguous about his statement, and there was nothing ambiguous about the fact that the United Nations and every single solitary country in the world just acquiesced or ignored Nasser's threats.

Here we were thirty years after the rise of Hitler and Naziism in Germany, just over twenty years after their defeat, and it looked like Hitler had risen from his grave.  The world, including the United States, had sat idly by when Jews were murdered by the Nazis, and now their successors were standing placidly on the sidelines while Nasser was orchestrating the destruction of the nineteen year old struggling State of Israel.

That was the situation in June, 1967, when without any foreign ally the State of Israel achieved the most miraculous and unprecedented victory in the history of warfare. In six days, not only did we defend the indefensible Auschwitz borders, but we liberated all of the land from the Golan Heights in the north to the Suez Canal on the south and to the Jordan River on the East. This not only gave the State of Israel all of historic, holy and Biblical Jerusalem, it returned the locations of our Biblical National History and finally gave the modern state logical and defendable borders.

You'd think that such a victory would be embraced, celebrated and accepted by all sectors in Israeli society for eternity.

The Jewish People may be academically brilliant with a disproportionately high percentage of discoveries and prizes in science, but when it comes to politics and "self-defense," we tend to get things wrong. In the Bible you can read about how our very first king, King Saul, was more concerned with trying to kill David than obeying Gd's decree that he destroy all of the enemy Amalek. And unfortunately, things haven't changed all that much.

Not only are the European Union and most foreign governments boycotting the big celebrations of the 50 years our 1967 victory and subsequent settlements in the liberated Land, but many Israeli politicians and political parties are boycotting the Judea and Samaria jubilee.

Honestly, I'm not surprised by the fact that non-Jews and other countries don't care about the survival and security of the State of Israel, but I find it truly incomprehensible that there are Israelis who don't understand, or more accurately, refuse to understand that the alternative to that 1967 victory was the destruction of the State of Israel, Gd forbid. Here we are a half century, fifty 50 years later, and they still haven't a clue as to the perilous security situation we'd be in without having full control and sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

It's bad enough that Menachem Begin gave Egypt the Sinai. But there is no way the State of Israel could survive with an enemy Arab terror state inside our borders.

Allowing Jews to live in all parts of the Land of Israel we now control is the only way to secure the Land and make even Tel Aviv a safe place for Jews.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Mussar," Never Planned, But That's A Mussar Lesson

Over the many decades, actually over half a century, since I began to live a life of Torah and Mitzvot, of the little I heard about "Musser," it didn't attract me.

Yesterday, the Shabbat just after Rosh Hashanah, actually a Tzom Gedalya when we feast rather than fast, I was searching for a book to read. I knew that I had a pile of books from various friends, and usually there are some great ones. Nothing interested me. I really tried, but after a few pages, they were closed and piled up. I gave each a chance by reading at least ten pages, and the pile of rejects was growing. I was getting pretty frustrated and depressed by the time I got to Climbing Jacob's Ladder: One Man's Journey to Rediscover a Jewish Spiritual Tradition, by Alan Morinis. And when I discovered that it was about Musser, I audibly groaned.

I know pretty much nothing about "Mussar," except for the expression a "a musser spiel," which seems to mean some sort of rant that criticizes how a person or group is behaving. At least that's how I've always understood it.

But I was desperate enough to try reading the book. I was pleasantly surprised. The way that Morinis defines Mussar, which he found after his search for a spiritual reawakening, is very different from what I had been expecting. It does involve trying to improve yourself, but it's closer to the what I had learned a few years ago in a "Life Coaching" course. And it involves learning how to accept and take advantage of the unexpected, like my finding davka that book in the house, and davka the day after Rosh Hashanah.

From what I now understand, Mussar doesn't tell us how to live, it tells us how to deal with life, make the best of life, or how to play with the cards we've been dealt.

Apparently, we're supposed to "train" ourselves, since there are Mussar "exercises" to prepare us for life's difficulties. I guess it is like Life Coaching. And also like Life Coaching, each Mussar teacher teaches it differently.

There are definitely some very valuables principles in Mussar, and I must adapt them into my way of thinking and living. More on this at a later time, Gd willing.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

After Three Days Offline, Didn't Miss Much

For most of us Torah observant Jews, we're either just finished with three days totally removed from news, telephones, internet etc. or soon will be. Our two-day New Year, Rosh Hashanah was immediately followed by Shabbat, the Sabbath. To be perfectly honest, I didn't miss the phone, internet, computer, television etc.
It was a great relief. Honestly, I was happy to have three days just to stay in Shiloh, pray in the neighborhood synagogue and see neighbors. It would have been nice to see the children and grandchildren, but they were all busy celebrating, too.

Everyone I spoke to felt the same.
What a pleasure to ignore the world. We can wait to hear the news.
And now a few hours after Shabbat's out, and I've looked at the news sites and see that nothing much really happened, just more of the same.

I'm feeling too relaxed and mellow to blog politics and even religion. I had a few suitable posts rattling in my head, but they don't want to come out. So, get a good night's sleep. At some point I'll be ready again to confront and challenge the world.

Tomorrow's Tzom Gedalya, the Fast of Gedalia.
Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah) is an annual fast day instituted by the Jewish Sages to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Achikam, the Governor of Israel during the days of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia. As a result of Gedaliah’s death the final vestiges of Judean autonomy after the Babylonian conquest were destroyed, many thousands of Jews were slain, and the remaining Jews were driven into final exile...(complete article)
It's a day we don't eat from just before dawn until night. As fasts go, it's considered one of the "easier" ones. That's especially since it's generally after two, and sometimes like this year, three days of Holiday feasting. Also, the weather is generally milder than the  other summer ones, the 17th of Tammuz and 9th of Av. And since there's less daylight on the 3rd, or like in this year the 4th, of Tishrei it's shorter than the 17th of Tammuz.  Tzom kal, have a easy fast to those fasting tomorrow.

Arutz 7 just put up an article about North Korea threatening the United States. What's your opinion?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Israel Doesn't Need American Soldiers

I am not gladdened, relieved or any positive emotion hearing that there will be an American Base with American soldiers stationed here in Israel. I don't see how that can enhance Israel's security and sovereignty. It will be a dangerous Trojan Horse.
US opens first permanent military base in Israel
Israel and U.S. officials on Monday inaugurated the first permanent American military base in the country, which will house dozens of U.S. troops and a missile defense system.
The base will be located within the Israel Defense Forces Air Defense School in southern Israel, near Beersheba, Defense News reported.
Today the United States has the most sincerely pro-Israel President in the History of American-Israeli Relations, Donald Trump, but he won't be President forever. Once Trump is out of office, it won't matter that he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu got along great and that Trump appointed the very Zionist David Freedman as Embassador.

It's always possible The odds are that subsequent US Presidents will be more like Obama, Carter or a Bush who felt animosity towards Israel and Likud Prime Ministers and tried to do everything to facilitate the establishment of a new Arab state they'd call "Palestine." Donald Trump is an exception. And you should never make decisions according to something as impermanent as a "President Trump."

The United States has been trying to get its military into Israel for decades. That was the plan of Nixon and Kissinger during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Their "help" was aimed to orchestrate a "tie," which would weaken Israel. And in that weakened state, the Americans had hoped to move in. Of course that would have weakened us even more, very much like the so-called military aid, which is really "buy in America" shopping coupons. Israel's military industries have been seriously weakened and restricted because of all the "strings" attached to the so-called aid.

Young people weren't around during Israel's great military victories in 1967, 1973, and even I wasn't alive during our War for Independence. We had no foreign ally fighting with us then. And even weapons, tanks etc were hard to purchase, while the enemy Arab armies were well supplied. So, how did we win? This may sound corny, but the truth is, that our victories were miracles. Yes, Gd helped. That's how it works for the Jewish People.

I'd like to thank US President Trump for his friendship and the excellent Ambassador he has in the United Nations, but I'd really prefer that he keep his troops at home.

Bibi and Trump at UN, Coordinated Attack?

I listened to a good portion of the United Nations General Assembly speeches of both Prime Minister Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and American President Donald Trump. They both came out punching. Neither of them gave a "Kumbaya," feel good mood speech.

Netanyahu placed a lot of emphasis on how great the State of Israel is doing, and what a fantastic friend of Israel American President Donald Trump is.

Trump attacked the countries he sees as a danger to World Peace, Korea and Iran.

Both speeches are here for you to listen to them. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rosh Hashana Rant: Stop The Focus on Food

This morning, I posted the following on my facebook page:
Am I the only one who can't psyche myself into RH cooking mode? I hate the focus on food rather than רוח spirit.
None of the replies so far got the real gist of my rant. I'm tired of being expected to plan menus and cook. At least my husband is willing and enjoys a lot of the shopping. I guess if I was rich enough I'd just order food ready-cooked. I'm really grateful for the invitations we get. For decades we were the default home for Holiday meals. I guess I'm rather burnt out from it all.

One thing I've always done has been to do all the Holiday cooking in advance, even though according to Jewish Law, one can cook on a Holiday. The Halachot, Jewish Laws, aren't the same as for Shabbat. The last thing I'd like on my plate on an important Jewish Holiday like Rosh Hashanah is cooking chores. It's really not right that the wife frequently finds herself missing dovening, because she's stuck in the kitchen. Hmmm... maybe that's why Yom Kippur is a fast day. 

When my children were little, I'd pack up a bunch of nosh bags, and we'd all sit together on my seat. When we first came to Shiloh, there would be organized childcare for which we'd take turns watching the youngsters.

I don't consider myself a classic Feminist, but I don't like that in most families the men can expect to be undisturbed in shul, while their wives have kitchen and kiddie duty.

I've been married forty-seven years, and for decades I did manage to "do it all" and enjoy the Holidays.  But now, with an empty house, I guess I'm pretty burnt out.

I hope you don't mind that this is so short. It's time to run down and do some shopping. Maybe the selection at the local store will inspire me to create some new recipes that will stay fresh and tasty for Shabbat as well as Rosh Hashanah.

Cakes baked with my granddaughter. Now that's fun.

Monday, September 18, 2017

More Hypocrisy from the Israeli Left

Tonight on the television news, there was a report about how even though there's a shortage of workers willing to be aides in afternoon programs for preschoolers and other young children, school security refuses to allow Arabs to take the jobs.

My mind goes back to what an Arab told me many years ago. Her family davka lived in a Jewish-Arab community for idealistic reasons. The program we were both in had Israeli Jews of all political stripes and her, the only Arab. After awhile, she admitted that she felt more comfortable with those of us who lived on yishuvim and were unapologetically on the Israeli political Right. She had been getting rather disillusioned with Leftists. She said that her Jewish neighbors didn't like their children to be exposed to the Arab preschool and teaching staff. They didn't want their children to have even a trace of an Arab accent. And even though she considered herself to be a loyal patriotic Israeli, the Leftists in our group ignored her.

Another point that kept coming up in my mind was that the same people who wanted Arabs to care for Jewish children and insisted that it was racist to forbid it, don't consider themselves racist for insisting that Jews shouldn't live in Arab neighborhoods. Of course they have no problem with Arabs in Jewish neighborhoods...

What do you think?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rosh Hashanah Countdown, Teshuva Anytime

How many of you catch yourself saying something and wonder if it's really a nice or right thing to say? If so, does it happen more in Elul and the beginning of Tishrei than the rest of the year?

Think about it...

Be honest. Yes, like when we're wondering why we've been gaining weight we usually forget to consider/calculate the calories of all sorts of "small things" we "just tasted."

In actuality, Teshuva, Repentance is supposed to be a 24/7 job. How can we keep track of our sins if we reserve it for just a few weeks a year?

We should have a clean slate before dying, and we never know when that will be...

Gmar chatima tovah...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Be strong and courageous!"

Today as I read through the Torah Portions, Nitzavim-Vayelech, in synagogue, I suddenly read:

Deuteronomy Chapter 31

6Be strong and courageous! Neither fear, nor be dismayed of them, for the Lord, your God He is the One Who goes with you. He will neither fail you, nor forsake you."
וחִזְק֣וּ וְאִמְצ֔וּ אַל־תִּֽירְא֥וּ וְאַל־תַּֽעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם כִּ֣י | יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא הַֽהֹלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֥א יַֽעַזְבֶֽךָּ:
That is exactly what comes to my mind every time Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, other politicians, media, academics etc try to tell us that we can't institute the policies that would make the State of Israel stronger and safer. They use it as an excuse for not building the quantity of homes in Judea and Samaria that would lower prices all over.

We're back to the notorious "sin of the spies," which delayed the entrance to the Land of Israel by forty years. Ten out of twelve tribal chiefs insisted that the "giants" who occupied the Promised Land were too strong for the Jewish People. Those ten frightened the people, and only a tiny minority trusted that Gd would help.

As the Jewish Year 5777 is in its final days, and we are reading the very end of the final and fifth book of the Torah, the Chumash. The forty year delay is over, and the Jewish People are about to enter the Land led by Joshua. Moses is soon to die and not enter with his people. He led the Jewish People as they escaped from Pharaoh in Egypt, and he led them through the wilderness helping them prepare for the next stage, entering the Land of Israel.

A new generation is to enter the Holy Land, and they are reminded yet again that Gd will be with us, to help and not forsake us. Here we are thousands of years later. We read the Torah through every single year. And most of the Jewish People still need reminding and reassurance.

Gd willing in the upcoming year, 5778, the Jewish People and the Government of Israel will have the faith in Gd to think of what's best for the Jewish People and State of Israel, and not what "the world" may say or do. When we act assured with full confidence and sovereignty, like we did in those first few hours of the 1967 Six Days War, the world will accept and respect us. They will be in awe of our Gd given power. That is the "light" we must shine on the world.

Shana Tova One and All

Friday, September 15, 2017

Why isn't Hillary Clinton POTUS?

aka Why did Hillary Clinton lose the American Presidential Elections?

And NOT Why did Donald Trump win?

Robert J. Avrech wrote some interesting things Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Understand George Orwell’s 1984, and I just had to throw my two cents 2¢ in the ring.

More than running a bad campaign, the truth is that Hillary Clinton just doesn't have the temperament and character to be a national leader.
  • The other day I saw a clip of Hillary explaining that she couldn't do well on debates, because she was unnerved by Trump staring at her. Duh?! Need I say more about how she'd handle real pressure?
  • Instead of presenting herself as a national leader, Hillary stressed her support for Extreme Left issues.
  • Instead of presenting herself as a national leader, Hillary belittled and insulted Trump supporters.
Hillary Clinton a Feminist? You must be kidding.
  • Hillary has stuck by Bill all these decades even though his philandering has been public knowledge.
  • A true Feminist would sympathise with the female victims of her lecherous husband, but Hillary attacks them and stands by her man.
  • A true Feminist isn't afraid to be on her own; Hillary has remained tethered to Bill.
Extremely important to remember: 
Hillary's policies were in opposition to Traditional Family Values which lost her votes in demographic groups which she had been certain were hers.
Someday a woman will be elected President of the United States, and for the sake of the USA and the world, I hope and pray that it will be a woman who can run on her qualifications and character, rather than trying to play the gender card. It's sexist to say that one should vote for a candidate, because "it's time we put a woman in the White House."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mass Women's Prayers Before Rosh Hashanah

A week before Rosh Hashanah, three quarters through the Jewish Month of Elul, and this year's deadline to do Teshuva, repent to Gd is getting closer and closer. Some Jews have been going to Uman to the grave of Rabbi Nachman, but there are other Jews who don't like the idea of praying to dead man or traveling far from the Holy Land.

Last night was the humongous gathering of women, from young girls to grandmothers and great-grandmothers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. Prayers, tours, words of Torah and song. Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi was the featured speaker, and Etti Ankori was the star entertainer.

Let the pictures speak, though they barely give the true spirit of the evening.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lapid's Tirades vs Chareidim and Army Wrong

This post is also on Israel Blogger as Chareidim to IDF with Honey not Lapid’s Tirades.

The truth is that I do think that the chareidim and the extreme Leftists who have been finding lots of loopholes to to get out of IDF service should serve. But there's one thing for sure. Yair Lapid's hateful and spiteful tirades against the exemption for chareidim will only make them oppose army service more. And all those religious people who support him, like Dov Lipman, should take Lapid's rabid anti-chareidi statements more seriously. Lapid doesn't have the personality characteristics to make him a national leader of the State of Israel.

Chareidim aren't a small marginal part of the Israeli demographics, the way they were seventy years ago as the modern State of Israel came into being. A very large portion of the First Graders each year are in various chareidi educational frameworks, and the percentage shows no real sign of shrinking. One of the big problems in chareidi society and families is the vast difference in educational curriculum between the girls and the boys. The girls generally study enough English and math to pass the Bagrut, Matriculation exams, study a profession and support their families. The boys have an extremely limited curriculum, which sometimes even ignores Hebrew as a spoken language, besides not teaching English and Mathematics. This not only limits professional opportunities, but it can make for difficult homelife.

Lapid's We're done being suckers statements only makes army service into an unbearable burden for fools/"suckers," rather than an opportunity to serve one's country, mature, make lifelong friends and even learn a profession or complete a Bagrut Diploma.

I have no doubt that by being amenable, understanding and sympathetic, plus offering an extensive "end of service educational package," more and more chareidim will decide that it is to their advantage to serve in the IDF. To make it more suitable, the teachers should be male, preferably religious/chareidi, and some will be graduates of the program who undergo teacher training. The added bonus will be a new cadre of chareidi men qualified to teach academic subjects. That's the educational revolution that must happen here in Israel, the sooner the better.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Interesting Posts from Blogs Near and Far aka "Havel Havelim"

Once upon a time there was a weekly roundup of Jewish blog posts called Havel Havelim. It was a great way to read a variety of blogs, and I made quite a few friends both real and virtual that way. But many of the bloggers have ceased to blog, and most mainstream internet media have added "blogs" to their Opinion pages. In some cases, it's just another way to get people to write for free, but that's another story.

I tried to continue Havel Havelim on my own, but on my blogs, it just didn't generate enough "excitement," meaning readership. Now there's an actual "blogger site," called Israel Blogger, where I and some other bloggers post articles. It's a lot more professional than any of us could really do on our own. Consider it a real/professional online Israeli magazine, and ignore the fact that the writing is done by bloggers. Most of us are professional writers to be honest.

You may not know this, but there are still some fantastic bloggers who are blogging only on their own blogs. Some blog very infrequently, but their posts are worth waiting for. And there are still a few of us who blog a few times a week. I'm going to list titles of some interesting blog posts that have appeared recently and hope that you read, comment and share. Enjoy!

The Birth of a Book
What Should a Goi Do?
Conversion to Judaism Complicated Business
How 9/11 Made Me What I Am
9-11 Sixteen Years After: Never Forget, Never Forgive
Head Wrapping in the Professional World by Lila H.
My Journey is Still Relevant
Education Rip-Off
Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #24 Horse Park WC Staff Horsing Around
Ingredients of Jewish Leadership
Can I Lecture?
A Period of Grace
And finally Incredibly Detailed LEGO Model of Second Temple in Jerusalem (video)

שנה טובה!
Shanah Tovah
Have a Wonderful New Year

Monday, September 11, 2017

Conversion to Judaism Complicated Business

A version of this book review was posted on Israel Blogger as Post-Conversion Situations and Complications.

A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts By Rabbi Michael J. Broyde is an amazing book about the complexities that face people after their conversion to Judaism. I know many converts, but until I read the book I hadn’t a clue as how complicated things can get for them in their new status as Jews.

A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts by Rabbi Michael J. Broyde goes into all sorts of situations and “what ifs,” whether it’s the day of the conversion or in general. Some of the situations seem rather improbable, like conversion on Yom Kippur, but I guess if Broyde wrote about it, such as situation must have occurred. Other situations, like kosher food cooked before the actual conversion. Is it considered permissible, even though food cooked completely by a non-Jew is generally problematic?

Rabbi Broyde goes into some very important and common questions about the halachic and problematic family relationships that many or most converts find themselves in. Even though a convert is a “new person,” he/she came from a family, and in most cases continues very loving and respectful relationships with them. Quite often the non-Jewish family members are their own biological children and grandchildren. I think we all know of converts in those situations.

Following are a few pages to give you an idea of what it covers:

I must admit that I’m not an expert in halacha, Jewish Law, nor do I make it a practice to read books about halacha. And I had no idea what I would be getting myself into when I asked to review A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts. So I really must say that this book about conversion and the halachic ramifications is fascinating and appropriate for laymen like myself. To summarize, every synagogue library should have a copy or two.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Urim Publications; Bilingual edition (June 29, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9655242498
  • ISBN-13: 978-9655242492

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Building for Growing Shiloh

Baruch Hashem, bli eyin haraa, my home town Shiloh has been growing. This summer many families with children have moved to Shiloh. And there are many homes under construction. Some are being privately built, while others are a part of a large building project. There are a total of nine first grade classes between the boys and girls schools. And that doesn't count the children going to school in other places for various reasons.

Our school is a regional school. Not only do the children come from the very nearby communities, but we see school buses from the Jordan Valley and the Shomron bringing and taking kids everyday.

Thirty-six 36 years ago, on September 1, 1981, eighteen 18 children, six in the third grade, four in the second grade and eight in the first grade began studying in Shiloh. It's mind-boggling miraculous to see how the school has grown. Second generation, meaning the children of some of those pioneers study in the Shiloh elementary schools today, and some have have even graduated already.

Shiloh is considered one of the most pleasant and convenient places to live. Not only is there work here in Shiloh and closeby, but we're near the Jordan Valley, Jerusalem and the "coastal plain," meaning Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba etc. And of course Ariel and the university there are just a few minutes from Shiloh.

There are two health fund with clinics in Shiloh, plus numerous stores. And we have quite a few buses each day to Jerusalem, Ariel and Maale Levona. There are also all sorts of activities for children, adults and senior citizens. Don't forget that my neighbors include some of the nicest people in the world. Moving to Shiloh was one of the best decisions we could have made, B"H.

Not all houses are made from bricks nowadays.