Hamas War

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Balfour Declaration, A Positive Result of Zionism

There are lots of celebrations going on for the one-hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. That historic document is also being blamed for the establishment of the State of Israel, as if it just came out of the blue, when written a hundred years ago.

In another month, there will be similar celebrations of the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations vote approving the establishment and recognition of the State of Israel. Both of these actions are given much too much credit by Jews, Israelis and historians.

I must make two important points, and it's impossibly difficult for me to rank them in importance. If you have an opinion on that, I'd appreciate if you say so in the comments, thanks.

  • As laudable as both the Balfour Declaration and its international recognition, and as commendable and reassuring as the November 29, 1947, United Nations vote for the establishment of a Jewish State certainly were, it is mandatory to remember that both were results of Political Zionism. They didn't happen in a vacuum. Neither was spontaneous, nor did they come from a love of the Jewish People.
  • The establishment and existence of the State of Israel and the eternal survival of the Jewish People are not dependent on foreign powers. One mustn't exaggerate the contribution of others to our existence. The thankfulness and gratefulness owed to Balfour and the United Nations member states that voted yes in that crucial vote must not dwarf the thanks we give to Gold Almighty.  Remember that our survival over the millennia and the incomparable military victories of the State of Israel over our enemies are due solely to Gd. We have no human, political, diplomatic or military allies.
We, the Jewish People, hold our fate in our hands. We aren't pawns of anyone. That actually includes Gd, because we have free will. We must make our own decisions, and sometimes we decide correctly, and sometimes we don't. Gd willing we will quickly learn from our mistakes and correct them. IMHO, one of those mistakes is thanking man rather than Gd for the good that has happened to us.

Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day Prayers in Shiloh Tabernacle Synagogue 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Rain As A Blessing and Not A Curse

In Jewish Prayer we request that the rain be a "blessing and not a curse."

That means that it should fall in the correct season, the correct amount, at the right pace and even the right day and hour.

Judaism is a land based agricultural religion. As I've written many times, the Jewish Calendar is a lunar one with adjustments that keep the holidays falling in the correct seasons by adding a month every few years in an amazingly accurate system developed a couple of thousand years ago.

Winter skies are so beautiful, varied and ever-changing.

At the end of the winter, we pray to Gd to cease the rains, and then half a year later, we pray for them to resume. But the prayer for rain is in two parts. We ask for rain "soon," not immediately. The pilgrims who had come to pray together first need to get home safely. So, about two weeks after the end of the Succot-Simchat Torah Holiday Season we ask for rain to really fall.

No doubt there's a dangerous phenomena that not only happens here in Israel during the first rain after a long dry period. The suddenly wet oil and dust that have been building up on the roads make traveling dangerous. It's usually a time when there are many traffic accidents. So many people fear that first rain, because sometimes it's a curse instead of a blessing.

This year, we added the second part of the prayer requesting rain at the end of last week, and then late Friday night, on Shabbat, when most of us were sound asleep, with a clap of loud thunder,  the rain began to fall hard. In terms of safety, that is the very best time of the week for a "first rain."

Gd willing may this year's rain be a blessing not a curse. May we have enough rain, at the right times, and my Gd forgive all of our sins.

This morning, it rained a bit. Winter is beginning for real.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ending Daylight Savings, Like Going Back in Time Travel

Super late/early, last night well before dawn, the time went from 1:59 to 1:00. There's something spooky about that to my way of thinking. In about six months, we're going to lose an hour, which brings up other thoughts. So many times in recent years I've reminded people that life isn't a computer game. We can't press the "undo" button and erase our bad move, or dumb/dangerous thing said or done.

Most of us are sound asleep at 1:59. We certainly don't set alarms to wake up and put the clock back to 1:00 at that exact time. We set the clock before going to sleep. Last night many of us were happy that the night would be an hour longer. And this morning, most of us woke up to bright sunshine, even if that same time for the past few weeks had been as dark as midnight.

What if we really could reverse time and use the technique of turning back the clock to fix our mistakes? What if life had a simple "undo" button, like we find on all sorts of computer programs, games, photo-editing etc?

Would that make life better or worse?

Judaism has a technique for "undo," which can be used for certain, sins or mistakes but not all. It's called Teshuva, Repentance, but it's not a simple "Ctrl/z" or button to press. It's a lot of work, and it only affects sins between man and Gd, not between manwoman and woman/man.

In reality, we can't undo and redo easily, though we can try to make amends. We can try to do better each day, each hour, each minute or second. We can try to apologize, improve how we live and behave as long as we have the ability. And Gd willing we will succeed in making amends and doing much better.

Antisemitism and Sport

We Jews and Israelis must get our heads out of the sand. Antisemitism is getting worse.

Did anyone hear of international condemnation when the International Judo Federation permitted Abu Dhabi to forbid Israeli sportsmen to wear the Israeli Flag on their uniforms?

Did anyone hear any international condemnation when Abudhabi officials wouldn't allow the Israeli National anthem to be played when Israel’s Tal Flicker won a Gold Medal?

Thai Boxing is much better at protecting Israel. Today on Shabbat we celebrated with neighbors whose son Kibedy Gordon won a Gold Medal as part of the Israeli Muaythai team at the IFMA European Championships 2017 in Paris. The team members wore shirts saying Israel, and the Israeli Flag was hung with all of the others.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Remembering Friends at Mt Herzl Military Cemetery

As we've been doing since the funerals forty-four years ago, my friends and I met yesterday afternoon at the Mt Herzl Military Cemetery. It's hard to believe that so many decades have passed since our friends from the Betar Zionist Youth Movement, North America, were killed during the 1973 Yom Kippur and its aftermath. Are we really so old? 
Most of us were young parents at the time of the war. Today we're grandparents, some with grandchildren even older than the friends buried here were at the time of their deaths. 

We walked around looking at the ages written on graves, horrified anew. The war may be old on the calendar, but it's fresh in our hearts.

The IDF Israel Defense Forces always assigns a number of young soldiers to attend the Memorials. As we've been doing for many years already, we talk to the soldiers about our friends. The soldiers are always amazed that we meet every single year, and that we are friends, not siblings, cousins etc. Our friendship is stronger than most blood families at this point. We have known each other for so long and been through so much together. Our celebrations and mourning have connected not only us, but our children, too.

This year we went to three graves. Two were of "lone soldiers," but in those days, there weren't any special benefits given to those who came to Israel on their own to serve in the IDF without any family. Friends played an irreplaceable part in the lives of those new immigrants, and the loss of such soldiers hurt friends even more. Also decades ago, when my husband and one of the friends who had been killed in 1973 served in the IDF basic training, the only difference that married men with children got in their service was to have the time reduced. We had no salary for the three months he served, just a small stipend, enough to cover the cost of a chocolate bar, or two, a week, plus soft drinks.

That didn't stop us from living here. We are still here, as are our children and grandchildren, ken yirbu, may there be many, many more Gd willing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Skeptic and The Rabbi, A Great Book!

I must admit that I had been looking forward to reading Judy Gruen's memoir, The Skeptic and The Rabbi, ever since hearing that it had been written. For a number of years, not all that long ago, I had been following her humor columns.

Gruen's memoir is of a rare genre, a Jew who found religion, davka, Judaism. It's much more common to hear of books about Jews who left Judaism, whether for a life without religious law or a different religion entirely.

Gruen manages a rare feat, total honesty and discretion. Except for her publicity headshot, there are no photographs, allowing her husband and children full privacy. Her descriptions suffice. That is a very important aspect of tsniyut, the Laws of Jewish Modesty. We do not have to display everything. Privacy is important.

But throughout the the book, Gruen does reveal her doubts and difficulties in accepting and taking on Jewish Law. She didn't just jump in and become a dedicated Orthodox Jew without looking back. Many of the mitzvot took her a long time to accept and adopt. There's no sugarcoating in her story. What we do see is growth, acceptance, appreciation and a lot of love. Love for her husband, her parents, grandparents and children. Gruen also loves and appreciates the community she joined in Venice, California.

I highly recommend The Skeptic and The Rabbi. Buy it for yourself and everyone else who needs a good dose of Jewish love and honesty.

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: She Writes Press (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1631523023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1631523021
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Chareidi Riots Go Against Torah Law

The recent rioting and violence by a faction of chareidim against the IDF and State of Israel has crossed all of the "red lines." These same people are very dependent on all sorts of social welfare aid. Why should we law-abiding taxpayers who and/or whose family members serve in the IDF subsidize their family and health expenses?

On one hand they claim that the State of Israel has no Jewish, or holy, status, but on the other hand they would never riot and demonstrate like this if they were living in a non-Jewish country. They would obey the laws with respect.

Sorry, Charlie, or Chaim, but you can't have it both ways.

If the State of Israel really is a "goyishe" country, then treat the government and laws they way you'd treat them if you were in Canada, France or Australia. Obey the laws. Respect the government, and serve the country if that's required.

And if the State of Israel is not really a non-Jewish State, then it's a Jewish one, and it's a stage closer to our Redemption, the Moshiach. I'm not saying it's perfect. We, the Jewish People, aren't yet ready, perfect enough to be redeemed. But many of us are trying hard to get there.

This latest wave tsunami of violence was caused by the simple fact that a couple of youth/men from that "Jerusalem" group of chareidim refused to go to the draft board and report that they are full-time yeshiva students. That would have given them an easy exemption, no drama. Since they didn't do it, they were picked up as draft dodgers. And then the rioting began.

It has been going on for almost a week, paralyzing almost half of Jerusalem, changing bus routes, causing indescribably inconvenience to innocent citizens, tourists etc.  People have missed flights, been forced to walk miles to their own wedding, missed or been terribly late to appointments etc, etc.

These rioters are obviously not truly religious people. They are not Torah observant Jews. They show neither courtesy nor love for their fellow man. They are harming the poor, the old and the sick more than anyone else. Their behavior is a complete Chillul Hashem, desecration of Gd's Name.

Sins against one's fellow man are very difficult to repent. Gd cannot forgive them. They need to ask those they've hurt and inconvenienced personally, and then includes the police who were only trying to restore order. And they certainly must ask forgiveness from all the IDF soldiers whom they malign by refusing to value and respect their contributions and sacrifice for the sake of us all.

Soldiers and Terror Victims Memorial Day in Shiloh

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dictatorship of The Judicial Left

View from Israeli Supreme Court Building

Here in Israel, we suffer from the whims of a Leftist dictatorship. The Supreme Court takes its title much too seriously. Its "justices" really think they're supreme, higher authority than all others including the laws voted by the Knesset, Israel's Parliament.

The "justices" decide whether laws can stand or not.

When deciding cases, they don't take into account the laws of the State of Israel, they judge according to their ideology and agendas.

Most Israeli citizens completely disagree with the decisions and ideologies of the "justices." Ordinary Israelis don't vote for them. Actually, neither do the Knesset Member who are elected, as part of party lists, by Israeli citizens. The "justices" vote in their successors to perpetuate their agendas and ideologies.

Even though the "justices" claim that they are the epitome of "democracy" and democratic thought, the very system and their dominance in Israeli life and law is totally anti-democratic. It's no less that a complete dictatorship. It mocks democracy. Those faux "justices" endanger the State of Israel.

Israeli Supreme Court Building

Israeli Supreme Court Building

Sunday, October 22, 2017

New Life for Old Jewish Books

Last week, when I found myself with too much time to spare in Jerusalem, I went to the Old City, to the Kotel, Western Wall. After praying and saying Tehillim, Psalms, I poked around on the side of the Women's Section and discovered dozens or more boxes of books, Siddurim, Jewish prayer books, etc.

For the past couple of years, I've been donating scarves I no longer wear. It gives me a thrill to notice women wearing them by the time I've finished my prayers.

I've heard just too many times how impossible it is to sell Judaica libraries. Even offers to donate them to synagogues and schools are turned down. It seems like the Kotel is a good destination for the holy books. There are so many that people no longer need, so if they are adopted or damaged, replacements are waiting. Since it's forbidden to throw out the holy book, consider this post a "public service."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Obviously There's Hypocrisy in the Chareidi Claims About Value of Torah Study

The past few days Jerusalem and other Israeli cities are suffering from violence, rioting, traffic disturbances and worse as many young, fit chareidi men "protesting" serving in the IDF, Israel's army. The excuse they give for not serving in the army, even in the special chareidi units, is that it would cause them to leave their prime holy occupation of studying Torah.

If studying Torah is so crucially important to their lives, why aren't they in the Beit Medrash, Study Hall?

The effects of their rioting have been absolutely awful for many people in Israel. They are causing a major chillul Hashem, hatred of all things Jewish and connected to Torah. They are going against all aspects of the crucial derech eretz.

Even if there is truth to the claim that the "demonstrators" are from the followers of a small extreme rabbi, there's no excuse. Considering the numbers and enthusiasm of the rioters, it's hard to fathom the claim that this is a small marginal group.   And if so, where are the real leaders of chareidim, and why aren't they stopping it?

Many esteemed Torah leaders, even chareidi, have shown great respect for our soldiers who risk their lives and postpone their education to protect us us here in Israel. And in the Torah it clearly states that all of the People of Israel must fight together against our enemies. This anti-IDF ideology is actually anti-Torah and anti-Jewish.
Torah Reading for Matot-Massei
5They said, "If it pleases you, let this land be given to your servants as a heritage; do not take us across the Jordan."הוַיֹּֽאמְר֗וּ אִם־מָצָ֤אנוּ חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ יֻתַּ֞ן אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את לַֽעֲבָדֶ֖יךָ לַֽאֲחֻזָּ֑ה אַל־תַּֽעֲבִרֵ֖נוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּֽן:
6[Thereupon,] Moses said to the descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben, "Shall your brethren go to war while you stay here?ווַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֔ה לִבְנֵי־גָ֖ד וְלִבְנֵ֣י רְאוּבֵ֑ן הַֽאַחֵיכֶ֗ם יָבֹ֨אוּ֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאַתֶּ֖ם תֵּ֥שְׁבוּ פֹֽה:
29Moses said to them, "If the descendants of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan with you armed for battle before the Lord, and the Land is conquered before you, you shall give them the land of Gilead as a heritage.
כטוַיֹּ֨אמֶר משֶׁ֜ה אֲלֵהֶ֗ם אִם־יַֽעַבְר֣וּ בְנֵי־גָ֣ד וּבְנֵֽי־רְאוּבֵ֣ן | אִ֠תְּכֶ֠ם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֞ן כָּל־חָל֤וּץ לַמִּלְחָמָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וְנִכְבְּשָׁ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ לִפְנֵיכֶ֑ם וּנְתַתֶּ֥ם לָהֶ֛ם אֶת־אֶ֥רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֖ד לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה:
30But if they do not cross over with you armed [for battle], they shall receive a possession among you in the land of Canaan."
לוְאִם־לֹ֧א יַֽעַבְר֛וּ חֲלוּצִ֖ים אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְנֹֽאחֲז֥וּ בְתֹֽכְכֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:
31The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben answered, saying, "We shall do as the Lord has spoken to your servants. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Israel Must Banish The EU!

The United Nations isn't the only huge international body that promotes and instigates policies dedicated to the destruction and delegitimization of the State of Israel. The European Union is its very active "junior" partner. The European Union sends "delegations," NGOs, etc to Israel to activate, organize and train Arabs to undermine and terrorize Israels.

Claiming "human rights violations" they demand that Israel compensate Arabs who break the law, and then they deny Jews the same "human rights."
EU demands Israel pay for demolishing illegal buildings
European Union demands Israel compensate it for demolishing illegal Arab buildings in Area C.
Are we Jews not "human?"

The European Union has also been promoting/inventing a new "people" called Europeans to which they include Great Britain. The EU also considers the history-less so-called Palestinians to be a legitimate "people" deserving of land and a state, but denies Jews the same, even though we are possibly the oldest People/Nation/Religion in the world today.

We Jews have a documented history connected to this part of the world, which is reinforced by archeologists and our religion. But rampant international anti-semitism, meaning anti-Jew, blinds others to our history and human rights.

It's time to banish all of the NGOs and EU offices here. Their representatives should be declared persona non grata.

Findings in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, reinforce and prove the Biblical narrative and Jewish connections over the millennia to The Land of Israel.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Looking Forward to This Year in Matan

I've lost track of how many years and courses I've studied in Matan. As much as I've grown from the experiences, Matan has grown, too. Now, besides the Jerusalem study center, 30 Rashbag Street, there are quite a number of branches.

If I had a car, I could try out the others, but I'm sticking with Jerusalem, since there are teachers and continuing courses I don't want to miss. Also, I'm part of a study group which meets in Jerusalem.

The studies in Matan are just what I like. It was begun by intelligent educated women, and we are treated  as such. Give it a try.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Labor's Gabbay Moving Right From Left Mirrors Bibi's Left From Right

The Israeli Labor Party's new leader, Avi Gabbay, is trying the same technique that Likud's Bibi Netanyahu did years ago. As I've written many times, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was then in the opposition, announced that to be a national leader and regain the top spot, he had to run for office from the Center. This is what Avi Gabbay is now doing.

Bibi, totally disregarding history and his strong Revisionist background, moved well to the Left, and now we hear this pledge from Gabbay which is to the Right of Bibi's concept of Center.
“There is no reason to evacuate settlements in a peace agreement,” Gabbay said on Monday night. “If there is peace, then why evacuate? The dynamics of peacemaking that would require evacuation may not actually be correct. In a peace agreement, solutions can be found that do not require evacuations.” (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli politics is never dull. Do you think elections will be soon?

Here I am voting in the 2015 Elections

Monday, October 16, 2017

Must Always Be Alert, Terror Lurks

It's very possible that I'm the first one ever injured by a "ramming terrorist." That was over twenty years ago. I had been waiting for a bus or ride at a French Hill, Jerusalem stop, which is now covered by the lightrail tracks. I saw a car driving badly and turned my back to the traffic to tell my friend:
"Even if it's going to Shiloh, I wouldn't get in."
My friend doesn't remember anything coming from my mouth. She just saw the car drive into/over me knocking me down. Since then, I try to have my eyes on the oncoming traffic when waiting. And I also tell people to pay attention. It makes me "nuts" to see people with their backs to the traffic and their eyes on their phones. And this includes the soldiers who are supposed to be guarding those waiting for buses and rides.

All sorts of things trigger memories of that day. Thank Gd the injury to my foot was relatively minor, and within a few months I was perfectly fine. But it's one of those things that can never be erased from my mind.

This morning I got up early since I have to travel, and I saw this headline:
PA Arabs nabbed attempting to sneak into Jerusalem
It ends up that they were caught at Hisme aka the "city line," where I'll be passing today. Thank Gd the soldiers were alert and doing their jobs.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Antisemitism, Not Ignorance, Fuels the World's Policies

Sorry, but I'm rather pessimistic about educating "the world" about Jewish History, rights and connections to the Land of Israel. I think it's antisemitism that is behind most policy, not ignorance.

Most people all over aren't interested in the truth. They just don't want Jews around. That's how Hitler had such an easy job in discriminating against and later murdering Jews. Not only did the ordinary citizens of the various countries invaded by Nazi Germany cooperate with Hitler's plan, but the USA, which found itself being forced to try to "rescue" Great Britain and other countries, didn't have stopping the anti-Jewish Holocaust in its battle plans.

Here we are almost a hundred years later, yes, I'm rounding off the 80+ to a century, and our Jewish and Israeli leaders still expect justice and truth.

“The Europeans continue to put their heads in the sand, exactly like they did before World War II,” Liberman told Channel 2. “The leaders of Europe prefer to run away from reality.”
I'm a pragmatist, which makes me a pessimist.

Unfortunately, we're the ones who are putting our heads in the sand by not recognizing the antisemitism so prevalent in the world, including the international bodies which claim to support justice and human rights.

I'm glad that our Prime Minister Netanyahu has followed US President Trump in announcing that we're leaving UNESCO, but I'm embarrassed that Bibi didn't take the initiative first. The problems with UNESCO aren't new. And I wonder how long it will take for both countries to rejoin...

You know what they say about paranoids having enemies...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Unique Jewish Lunar-Solar Calendar

There is no other calendar like the Jewish one, which is not only unique, but it ties the Jewish People/Nation with The Land of Israel. The Jewish Holidays are intrinsically connected to the Land and seasons. That is something that neither of our "competitors" can say.

Bright, though not full, moon in the night sky

Neither Christianity nor Islam have a religion/holidays that have anything to do with the Land of Israel. Christianity's holiday's can be based on pagan ones which they adopted. And Islam's calendar of holidays float around the seasons, because, unlike in the Jewish Calendar, they are dissociated with the Land and seasons. There is no mechanism to periodically correct the timing of their holidays.

Jewish Holidays must fall at exactly the correct time of the solar year (agricultural season) and are celebrated on dates according to the phase of the moon. Twelve cycles of the moon are just a few days less than it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun, so without periodically adding a month the holidays and seasons will quickly be out of sync.
The Jewish calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the Earth about its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon about the Earth (a month); and the revolution of the Earth about the sun (a year). These three phenomena are independent of each other, so there is no direct correlation between them. On average, the moon revolves around the Earth in about 29½ days. The Earth revolves around the sun in about 365¼ days, that is, about 12.4 lunar months.
The civil calendar used by most of the world has abandoned any correlation between the moon cycles and the month, arbitrarily setting the length of months to 28, 30 or 31 days.
The Jewish calendar, however, coordinates all three of these astronomical phenomena. Months are either 29 or 30 days, corresponding to the 29½-day lunar cycle. Years are either 12 or 13 months, corresponding to the 12.4 month solar cycle.
The lunar month on the Jewish calendar begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.
The problem with strictly lunar calendars is that there are approximately 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, so a 12-month lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than a solar year and a 13-month lunar is about 19 longer than a solar year. The months drift around the seasons on such a calendar: on a 12-month lunar calendar, the month of Nissan, which is supposed to occur in the Spring, would occur 11 days earlier in the season each year, eventually occurring in the Winter, the Fall, the Summer, and then the Spring again. On a 13-month lunar calendar, the same thing would happen in the other direction, and faster. (Judaism 101)
...in an attempt to coordinate the traditional lunar year with the solar year Judaism has worked out a system of 19-year cycles, in which there are seven leap years. In distinction to the day added to the secular leap year, the Jewish calendar adds a full month to the end of its year. In this manner the Jewish holidays fluctuate by about a month or so in relationship to the Gregorian calendar, but always fall at the same time of year. (My Jewish Learning)
A complex mathematical system was set up, pre-computer, to periodically compensate with an extra winter month. That's why some some years have thirteen months and others just twelve. Also the cycles of the moon sometimes take twenty-nine days and other times thirty. That creates a situation that periodically deprives people, like my youngest, of a birthday.

Unlike in Biblical times, when Rosh Chodesh was only known after the first sign of the "new moon" was spotted, nowadays we know in advance. So, I'm taking this opportunity to remind you that next week, yes, this coming Friday will be Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.

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.

Ladies, please join us for Rosh Chodesh Prayers!  In the meantime, Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Absurdity of Jewish Prayer Said by Christians

Yesterday I had a very enjoyable time at Shiloh Hakeduma, the archeological site at Tel Shiloh. As every Hol Hamoed, the "Intermediate Days of Succot and Passover," there were activities for all ages.

I made my way to the site which is believed to have been where the Mishkan, Tabernacle had been for almost four hundred years. There were a couple of musicians and a group of people. I quickly noticed that the people weren't Jewish. They were Christian, and some were even wearing large crosses. I sat on the side quietly observing the interaction between them and the young men playing the saxophone and electric organ.

Rather surprisingly, the group requested Jewish religious songs. They sang along with great enthusiasm. They kept asking for "Sh'ma Yisrael," a very iconic Jewish Prayer which states an important principle in Jewish theology, but the musicians insisted that they didn't know it as a "song." After singing a few other songs to the music played, the Christian group offered to sing "Sh'ma Yisrael" acapella, sans music.

The musicians and I were shocked to hear them singing the prayer exactly the way it's said in synagogue including the name of Gd and the second line, which is normally whispered. The translation is:

Listen/Hear Israel, The Lord is Our Gd, The Lord is One
Blessed Be The Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever

This is a total contradiction to Christian theology. And I couldn't remain quiet. I spoke:
"Do you know the actual meaning of this prayer?" I asked them.
"It means that there is only one Gd, one message, forever and ever."
Their leader tried to contradict me with the usual "prophet" quotations. I refused to get into a theological discussion. I wanted the group to understand the very basis of Judaism and to stress that we do not accept their premise that the person they worship was a god who brought a new/revised message. By translating from the original Hebrew and ignoring the timeline, Christianity distorts the Bible.

Judaism stresses the importance of the first five books over Prophets and Writings. And we learn the Bible in Hebrew. Every translation is a distortion, because no two languages are the same. Only simple numbers can be translated without an agenda.

I find this hijacking of this basic Jewish Prayer very disturbing, because Christianity's entire theological agenda is the exact opposite of the message of the Sh'ma. I wonder if anyone really listened to me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Does The "World" Promote Apartheid Against Jews?

I've lived in Shiloh for thirty-six 36 years already, and from day one, I've been hearing that we Jews can't stay. We should expect to leave.

It's rather ironic, that besides some remains of churches and mosques down at the Tel, built on the foundations of much older synagogues, the area of Shiloh was totally deserted when we Jews returned to live here in early 1978. Besides the occasional tourist, pilgrim or archeologist, Shiloh had been empty for millennia.

Gush Shiloh aka the Shiloh Bloc of Jewish Communities is probably the fastest growing in Judea/Samaria. We're equidistant to Jerusalem and the Petach Tikvah/Hod Hasharon area and just a few minutes' drive to the Jordan Valley. Yes, we are the true "Center" of the country. And bli eyin haraa, unlike many other Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, we haven't been plagued by NIF Leftist lawsuits claiming Arab ownership, even after land had been purchased by Jews.

Why do these Leftists groups support Arab exclusivity over freedom for all?

Many Jewish cities and neighborhoods have Arabs living in them. This doesn't bother the same Leftist (including Jewish) groups that consider it immoral, illegal etcetera for Jews to live freely and safely in our Jewish Homeland. When Jews buy a building in Hebron, they are forbidden the simple right to live in it.

There are many Arabs today living in the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, Jerusalem, but Jews aren't allowed to live barely a kilometer away in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat. Why should tolerance be demanded of Jews but not of Arabs?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Still Trying to Change the World

Yesterday I found myself having a bit of an argument with an elderly, obviously older than me, man on the lightrail. We were among the half-dozen or so senior citizens trying to "stare" a couple of very young men into getting up so the two eldest of us could sit down.

Usually I'm pretty good at it, but even though not only were we all staring daggers at the kids and complaining sufficiently loudly, neither of them got the hint. The very elderly man was rather jaded by the bad behavior and announced that he'd be getting off at the next stop hoping that he'd get a seat on the "next train."

Somebody said that we should be a bit more aggressive and just tell the kids to get up.
The old man said "not to bother. You can't change the world."
"Of course we can change the world." I replied.
"No, it's impossible." The man countered.
I was very upset by this little arguement. It was still bothering me when later on I got on a crowded bus. Three young men occupied four seats in a way that made it impossible to sit down. And again there were a number of much older people who needed seats. I didn't have the patience to wait very long. I could see that they had glanced at us, although they didn't get up. So I took the initiative:
"I guess you haven't learned Dererch Eretz*."  
They looked up, saw that we were all old enough to be their parents or grandparents, so gave us the seats. I admit that I wasn't all that polite. Most of the time I have absolutely no problem just sitting down, but one of them had taken over two seats in a way that made it impossible.

A large percentage of  passengers on public transportation here in Israel are senior citizens. Many times when I get on a crowded bus or train, I see that those seated are my age or older. Then I am just very thankful that I can hold on and stand. At my age, you can't take such a thing for granted. I sometimes ask a young person who's sitting to get up for someone who needs a seat. We shouldn't be shy about it.

I hope that old man got a seat on the next rain.

*Derech Eretz are the Jewish Laws pertaining to how to treat others including the elderly.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Looking Through The Sukkah at Kohelet, Ecclesiastes

There's a time for...

Chazal, our sages decided that the book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes should be read during the Succot holiday, which Gd commanded that we celebrate just as summer becomes winter. This is a time of the year when the weather here in the Holy Land can be very unpredictable.

We've been living in Israel for almost half a century. I have memories of days so hot they rival sumer and also rainstorms that had us in the house rather than the sukkah. There have also been years with such winds that the sechach, the special "roof" blew off the sukkah. And other families, whose sukkot are less sturdy than ours, lost theirs completely.

Kohelet, Ecclesiastes has a very well-known section in Chapter 3, which reminds us that there's a season for all things:
1Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven.אלַכֹּ֖ל זְמָ֑ן וְעֵ֥ת לְכָל־חֵ֖פֶץ תַּ֥חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
2A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot that which is planted.בעֵ֥ת לָלֶ֖דֶת וְעֵ֣ת לָמ֑וּת עֵ֣ת לָטַ֔עַת וְעֵ֖ת לַֽעֲק֥וֹר נָטֽוּעַ:
3A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break and a time to build.געֵ֤ת לַֽהֲרוֹג֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִרְפּ֔וֹא עֵ֥ת לִפְר֖וֹץ וְעֵ֥ת לִבְנֽוֹת:
4A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing.דעֵ֤ת לִבְכּוֹת֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִשְׂח֔וֹק עֵ֥ת סְפ֖וֹד וְעֵ֥ת רְקֽוֹד:
5A time to cast stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.העֵת לְהַשְׁלִ֣יךְ אֲבָנִ֔ים וְעֵ֖ת כְּנ֣וֹס אֲבָנִ֑ים עֵ֣ת לַֽחֲב֔וֹק וְעֵ֖ת לִרְחֹ֥ק מֵֽחַבֵּֽק:
6A time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away.ועֵ֤ת לְבַקֵּשׁ֙ וְעֵ֣ת לְאַבֵּ֔ד עֵ֥ת לִשְׁמ֖וֹר וְעֵ֥ת לְהַשְׁלִֽיךְ:
7A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak.זעֵ֤ת לִקְר֨וֹעַ֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִתְפּ֔וֹר עֵ֥ת לַֽחֲשׁ֖וֹת וְעֵ֥ת לְדַבֵּֽר:
8A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.חעֵ֤ת לֶֽאֱהֹב֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִשְׂנֹ֔א עֵ֥ת מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְעֵ֥ת שָׁלֽוֹם:

Considering the unpredictability of the weather during Sukkot, you'd think that Gd would try to make it a bit easier and command us to live in these "temporary huts" for Shavuot, which falls in early summer, late spring. But Gd must have wanted to challenge us. Life isn't supposed to be easy.

There are good Jews who live in places in which there are frequent snowstorms or hurricanes just when Sukkot is on the calendar.

On Sukkot, we're, davka, commanded to be happy and celebrate. If someone dies and/or is buried during Sukkot, mourning is postponed. That's because we must learn to separate our personal joy or sadness with our religious/national feelings. We must remember that, contrary to pop/modern psychology, we are first Jews and part of a unique People/Nation.

It's not even a matter of simple "Gd will take care of us." We must remember that after This World, there is another. And that is the place where we enjoy or suffer for how we lived our lives here.

Chag Sameach

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bible Marathon in Shiloh

Today was the Annual Bible Marathon in Shiloh. Each year it grows larger and larger. Runners come from near and far. I walked down the hill to Tel Shiloh to join the excitement this morning. Running isn't my thing, but cheering people on sure is.