JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Monday, February 19, 2018

Aliyah: Not The "Ultimate Sacrifice"

Not long ago I heard a speaker say something that I found so outrageous, sacrilegious, 'חילול ד chillul Hashem, disparaging of Gd and the Land of Israel, that I searched him out afterwards to tell him how upset he had gotten me. He had called Aliyah "The Ultimate Sacrifice."

Of course I understand that Aliyah, the move to Israel is sometimes more difficult for others as it was for me, but to call it The "Ultimate Sacrifice" puts a value on living outside of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel over living here that has no place in Judaism or reality.

Of course there are adjustments one must make in any move, whether from Brooklyn to Monsey or Monsey to Jerusalem. Most people find any change traumatic, especially when the decision is made by someone else. And sometimes parents don't "market it well" for their kids or find the right educational framework. In any move, parents must be sensitive to their children's needs and advocate for them. I'm still upset with my parents' oblivion to my suffering when we moved from Bayside, NYC, NY to Great Neck, NY. Even though the physical distance was just a few miles, the educational system was totally different. I was put back a grade, and my parents hadn't a clue or didn't care. Maybe it was the parenting style of that time, but nobody, neither parents nor school guidance counselors, ever spoke to me about it.

Moving to Israel, making Aliyah, is totally different from any other move. First of all, Gd commanded us to live in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Many of the mitzvot, Torah commandments can only be done here. Besides that, there are government offices and Nefesh B'Nefesh which are dedicated to facilitating the absorption, adjustment, of olim chadashim, newcomers to Israel.

Unlike when my husband and I made aliyah, came here in 1970, Israel is on the same if not higher technological, standard of living as any place else in the world. Today's Israel also has one of the world's strongest economies.

Every move demands change and adjustment. But if you are angry about the decision that had been made for you, learning to see the good and adjusting will be near impossible.

Israel is a wonderful, beautiful country, full of goodness, miracles and chessed. To me it's a sacrifice living any place else.

Before one of my sons went into the IDF he was in a program which had a very good fitness trainer who always said:
הכל בראש
Hakol barosh.
"It's all in your head."
The meaning is that you actually can control your feelings and capabilities. If you look at Aliyah as  The "Ultimate Sacrifice," then you will always feel victimized by it, rather than a privileged beneficiary of living here in Gd's HolyLand.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Objective Journalism, Does it Exist?

I used to be a real newshound, addicted to listening to the news, reading whatever newspapers I could find, watching news shows. Yes, the whole works. And I loved the dynamics of politics ever since I was a teen. Now, as you may have noticed from the blog posts here, I'm disgusted and horrified.

There is nothing that even vaguely resembles objective news reporting. Not only do they all have their agendas, but there's no such thing as fact checking. It's beyond ignorance. There's an innocence in ignorance, but nowadays a don't see that at all. There are vicious attacks, like a modern version of the auto-da-fé.
An auto-da-fé or auto-de-fé (from Portuguese auto da fé [ˈaw.tu dɐ ˈfɛ], meaning "act of faith") was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition, Portuguese Inquisition or the Mexican Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed.
The most extreme punishment imposed on those convicted was execution by burning. In popular usage, the term auto-da-fé, the act of public penance, came to mean the burning at the stake. Wikipedia
Media interviews are more like either vicious interrogations or the fawning style seen in simplistic fan magazines of old.

At first I was very excited to discover that we could watch BBC News on our television, since I had happily listened to the radio version for decades. Then I had considered it, except for news on Israel*, pretty objective. But as the last American Presidential Campaign began to heat up, their support for Hillary and the Democrats so distorted their reports I could no longer trust their objectivity about anything. And not only hasn't it gotten better, it has gotten much worse. We don't have cable, just a simple "dish," and recently we don't even get the Israeli stations. CNN was never known for its objectivity.

Then  I discovered the English French TV News Channel, and I had great hopes for it, since it's not that interested in American news. I began watching it, but then they began a feature about the Israel-Arab "conflict." It begins with:
"In 1967  Israel invaded..." 
Grrr... That's what people all over the world think, and what is taught in universities even in the USA. And I have this nasty, frightening feeling that even some Israelis are oblivious to the facts, the Arab aggression that led up to the 1967 Six Days War. In order to survive, Israel had no choice other than shoot first.

About thirty 30 years ago, in the days when we hosted many journalists of an amazing selection of international media, I had a talk with a top editor of an American newspaper. I asked him what training, education he looked for when hiring someone starting in the profession. He said that he does not like to hire those with degrees in journalism, since they don't know anything other than how to write. He looks for those who majored in History, Economics, Science etc.
"Any knowledgeable university graduate can be taught how to write a good article, but I can't teach a Journalism graduate facts."
Things have changed drastically in the international media. I no longer have objective sources to learn current events and get an accurate idea of what's really happening in politics. I just know what's happening on the ground here in Israel, but not from the media. Today fake news is all over, and when trying to check accuracy, you really need to be an expert. This is both dangerous and sad. People are making decisions based on lies, fantasies, fake news and worse.

I can't see how it will get better. I am pessimistic for the future.

Here's a picture of a program from the French news channel.

*During the Intifada Part 1, I was horrified to hear an excited BBC radio reporter telling that he was with Arabs throwing rocks on Jews and how they tried to protect their eyes from the teargas the Israeli soldiers aimed at them to stop them. And in those days BBC even came to our house to film us and ask us questions.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Adar, Purim, The Month of Joy

I had a very different post in my head that I may write in the future, but since today is the first of the Jewish Month of Adar, 5778, I decided that it wouldn't be appropriate.

We'll be celebrating Purim in two weeks or less depending on where you live. Purim is a Jewish Holiday which celebrates Gd's presence even when we don't see Him directly. The Megillat Ester, Scroll of Esther, which is read twice each Purim day, doesn't mention the Name of Gd.  But if you read the narrative carefully, you see that Gd is protecting the Jewish People behind the scenes.

It's the real Holiday of Joy, because we are commanded to be optimistic and trust Gd. This is not to be done passively. Purim is not a holiday to stand on the sidelines. We must act, even fight if necessary. When we do fight, Gd will help us. We also must pray and help other Jews.

Here in Shiloh, we celebrate two days of Purim, the regular one and what's known as Shushan Purim, which is the following day. I've heard the Megillah read over 140 times since moving to Shiloh, and the readings were all very clear and easy to follow. We, the Jewish People, have been celebrating the holiday for thousands of years, one of the proofs that we are the People of This Land and of the Bible.

At the end of the Megillah, we're commanded to give food gifts to our neighbors, and we do it to this day. Every time I hear it, I feel totally connected to the narrative in the Megillah. We read and listen to the story and follow the commandments, the same as Jews did two thousand years ago.

"When Adar begins, joy enters..."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jewish Book Carnival- February, 2018

This is my first turn at hosting the Jewish Book Carnival, which appears monthly. It's a collection of links to posts about Jewish books and Jewish Literature. In some cases the posts are book reviews of Jewish books, while others are about Jewish literature or authors.

A number of bloggers sent me links. Please visit, comment and share, thanks.

Over on My Machberet, Erika Dreifus routinely curates pre-Shabbat Jewish-lit links. Here's one recent post, which includes a link to Erika's own article on the AJL Fiction Award for Tablet magazine.

Heidi Rabinowitz interviews Antonio Iturbe, author of THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ. This book won the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers Category. Antonio Iturbe on the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour

New English Review has Jewish Memories and Visions: A Review of Two Books.

Deborah Kalb interviews a wide variety of authors on her blog, deborahkalbbooks.blogspot.com. Here's a recent interview with Dara Horn about her new novel, ETERNAL LIFE.

SYLVIA ROUSS wrote Lessons I’ve Learned from 25 Years in Children’s Publishing.

Barbara Bietz blogs about Almost A Minyan by Lori Kline, including interviewing the author.

On Sasson Magazine, the new site for alt-frum writers and authors, Rivka Levy shares 10 tips on how authors can continue to enjoy writing even when they aren't earning a lot of money, or getting a lot of kudos for their work.

I reviewed the fictionalized history of Rabbi Akiva by Yochi Brandes, The Orchard.

I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in Jewish Literature or reviews Jewish books should get involved in this blog carnival.

The purposes of the Jewish Book Carnival are:
  • To build community among bloggers who feature Jewish books on their blogs 
  • To promote Jewish reading, and fields supporting this reading such as publishing and library services
For more information, email carnival@jewishlibraries.org. Those willing to host a Jewish Book Carnival can contact the above email address.

Next month's Jewish Book Carnival will be hosted by The Whole Megillah. Please send in your link and blurb to  barbarakrasner@att.net, with "Jewish Book Carnival" as the subject, by March 10, 2018, thanks.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5778, Thursday, Friday

Just a quick reminder that the Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh will be this coming Friday morning. Please spread the word, thanks.

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar 5778
Friday, February 16, 2018
1st of Adar, 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 אדר בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה

יום ו' 16-02-2018

א' אדר, תשע"ח 8:30

הלל ומוסף לראש חודש

יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל

כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

The religious and archeological site of Shiloh Hakeduma is open to the public six days a week, Sunday-Friday. For more information, email visit@telshilo.org.il  or art@telshilo.org.il. See you Rosh Chodesh!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Stop the Waze and Read a Map!

Here's the video of Israeli soldiers, who by following Waze, not having a clue where they were ended up in Jenin and were attacked.

This isn't the first time such a thing has happened. Waze and Google Maps, which should be used to supplement map navigating, quickly replaced the trusty map.

One should first learn location, topography etc, map out a couple of possible routes and then you can check Waze to see which of those routes would be best, due to traffic and all. By first learning about the actual location, you'd be perfectly aware that Waze is recommending entering dangerous territory.

Please don't get me wrong. None of this excuses terrorism and violence by Arab terrorists. The situation that the Israeli Government has allowed terrorists to run free just minutes from innocent Jews is immoral and dangerous in all possible ways. The only apartheid here is the fact that Jews are severely restricted, not allowed by the PA Palestinian Authority Arabs in any place they were given to control. And even worse, Israeli Arab neighborhoods and towns are frequently dangerous for Jews to enter, drive through and shop in. But Arabs are allowed to enter and work unharmed, even renting and buying homes in Jewish neighborhoods.

Learn where you're going. Use a real map.


Short True Story about Mr. Sy Syms
a Famous Jewish Businessman and Mega-Donor
(a guest post by Mr. Cohen)

In the 1990s, Mr. Sy Syms, a famous Jewish businessman
who was affiliated with Conservative Judaism, was asked
why he made major charitable donations to Orthodox
institutions [specifically, to Yeshivah University],
instead of the Conservative Judaism movement,
with which he was affiliated.

He explained that, in his personal opinion,
Orthodox Judaism was [or is] the future of Jews.

This story was told to me, many times,
by a former Dean of Yeshivah University,
who asked that question to Mr. Sy Syms.
PLEASE help the battle against
internet anti-Semitism by making
a PayPal donation to:


Ancient Roman historians connected Jews with the Land of Israel and Jerusalem:

Rambam Rejected Childless Messiah:

Why Muslims Hate Jews:

Forgotten Oppression against Jews:



How a Reform Rabbi Become Orthodox (true story):

Why Barak Hullman left Reform Judaism and became Orthodox:

Sephardic Jews Reject Reform Judaism:

Greek NYC Jews and Syrian NYC Jews
(a rarely-told true story that very few people know about):

How to Convict the New York Times of Unfair Bias Against Israel:

How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:

How Torah Can Defeat Terrorism:
Do Palestinians Want a Two-State Solution?
by Daniel Polisar, PhD in Political Science






Monday, February 12, 2018

Local Shiloh Elections

Photo by Miriam Feyga Bunimovich
Last night we held our annual local Shiloh Elections for the new members of the "town council."  The Town Council aka Mazkirut has five members who each serve two year terms. There are annual elections so that two or three are elected annually, and there are the remaining two or three continuing. This way "half" of the members are new and half continue. Considering how many projects and issues they have to deal with, it is important that not all members of the Town Council are new to the "job." Also, you should know that that are all volunteers. My committee and I are volunteers, too.

Photo by Miriam Feyga Bunimovich
We need four people on the Election Committee, at least three during the voting and four during the counting. This year all of the members were experienced from previous elections, which made it so much easier.

One of my favorite things about being on the election committee is that I get to see lots of neighbors and good friends. I also have the opportunity to meet neighbors for the first time or to celebrate their first time voting. Shiloh is now a large community with hundreds of families of all ages and backgrounds. I'm now one of the old fogies, oldtimers. There are very few activities in which I can meet the youngsters, especially since most neighbors are not only younger than I am, but they don't live in my neighborhood.

Obviously I no longer have children in school, so I don't get to meet the teachers and other parents at meetings. There are also quite a few synagogues in different neighborhoods, and we no longer have periodic Shabbat classes for all the women. Anyway, even when we did, only a small percentage of the women attended.

Serving on the Election Committee is the only community activity I contribute to. I used to be involved with all sorts of committees when they were totally volunteer. Now there are paid coordinators to handle events and bringing new families and helping them. I don't volunteer to help those getting paid. But the Election Committee is a completely voluntary position. The office staff helps us, and the committee has a very short shelf life of just a few weeks each year. I am usually asked to serve on it, because I know the procedures and really enjoy it.

Gd willing, I'll be asked to be on the Election Committee next year, too.

PS I really don't care about the results, and sometimes none of the candidates I've voted for even won. That is what democracy is all about, accepting results. To me, following the laws and fair voting are most important.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Memories of A Miraculous Flight

Since Shabbat, I guess, because I first saw news of it after we did havdala, the news here has been full of the fantastic flying skills of an Israeli fighter pilot.WATCH: POLICE SECURE REMAINS OF ISRAELI JET THAT WAS SHOT DOWNhttp://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/WATCH-Police-secure-remains-of-Israeli-jet-that-was-shot-down-542205

This brings me back to one of the most surprising experiences I've ever survived. It happened during the 1991 Gulf War, when as a reaction to US President Bush The Elder's threats to Iraq, Iraq bombed/attacked Israel. To this day, I can't figure out how we became the target instead of the United States of America. 
The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial and naval bombardment on 17 January 1991, continuing for five weeks. This was followed by a ground assault on 24 February. This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased its advance and declared a ceasefire 100 hours after the ground campaign started. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and areas on Saudi Arabia's border. Iraq launched Scud missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia and against Israel.
Those of us who were living in Israel at the time were frequently wakened in the middle of the night by sirens to alert us of possibly approaching enemy missiles. And we then would have to run into a shelter or whatever room in the house had been prepared as a "safe room."

The military experts insisted that there was a chance that chemical weapons would be launched at us and gave very complicated instructions on how to properly seal the room. I must admit that I didn't follow it exactly. We, davka, chose our bedroom because it has an ensuite bathroom. I wasn't frightened enough to equip the room with the recommended buckets. When a siren went off, the kids would just pile into our room, and we'd all sleep, somehow, together.

It didn't take long to discover that Shiloh wasn't a target. Suddenly Shiloh filled with friends and family of neighbors looking for a safe place to stay. Tel Aviv and its suburbs sustained damage, and miraculously there was nobody in Israel killed by a direct hit, if my memory is correct. But when one of those missiles hit a base with American soldiers, about two dozen of them were killed. That's how dangerous those missile potentially were.

My husband and I had been invited by Herut, Great Britain to be the honorary guests and speakers at their big weekend convention in Bournemouth, scheduled long before, about three weeks into the war. Since it was quiet in Shiloh, we didn't change our plans. Our oldest daughter scheduled vacation from her National Service in Kiryat Shemoneh to stay home while we were away, and we went off on an all expenses covered vacation to England for a few days.

During that war, only El Al was flying in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion Airport was smaller than it is today, and since there was virtually no incoming tourism to Israel and so few flights, things were pretty quiet. It really was a treat for us to get away, even though we didn't think that we were escaping a war.

The flight began on schedule with the usual instructions and buckling in. Then the plane began to move and then ascend into the sky. Suddenly it took a very sharp turn. Never before or after that did I experience such an ascent. Apparently the pilot had noticed a missile coming at us and took avoidance action saving us all, Baruch Hashem, thank The Good Lord.

At that time, pretty much all El Al pilots were trained in the Israeli Air Force as fighter pilots.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Drought Again? Punished?

A couple of months ago, the rabbis here in Israel called for special prayers for rain, since the rain has been very sparse. As you may know, rain here in the Holy Land is a good barometer of how well we Jews obey Gd. If we're not "on track," then there will be drought or terrible damaging floods.

After the special rain prayers had been added by many, there was more rain, so after a short time, the rabbis announced that the emergency was over. You can guess what happened next. That's right. The rain ceased. And even worse, it started getting summerlike hot. 

And soon after TU B'Shevat green leaves began to take over the almond trees, pushing out the flowers. It's a bit too early for that. I think we should have kept on praying for more rain. We need at least another month of rain at least three days a week. It's clear to me that Gd was disappointed in us. He wanted more prayers and a few other things...

My husband and I took advantage of free trees and planted two. Unless it rains well, we'll have to water them pretty frequently for the next few months.

About the drought. I have no doubt that every single time someone here states that we no longer have to save water and worry about rain, because we've solved the problem with our brilliant technology, Gd cancels a planned rainfall.

Even if we can produce the needed quantity of water, we still need rainwater. Not all water is the same. I can taste the differences between mineral and non-mineral water. The purified and desalinated water just aren't the same. They don't have the same minerals, for healthy people and good tasting fruit and vegetables.

Gd willing, we will be blessed with good sufficient rain in the right quantities and season.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Why Does it Take Murdered Jews for Government to Act?

For decades I've been asking this question. There has been a long-standing custom, even predating the establishment of the State of Israel, to establish and name communities and even cities after Jews murdered by Arab terrorists. The list of such places is very long, and I'm not going to try to list all of the communities/towns/cities that fit that criteria.

Just in the past few days, the community of Chavat Gilad, which is built on private Jewish land, was given approval, because of the sympathy the Israeli government felt for the residents after one was murdered by an Arab terrorist.

Shvut Rachel, which is just a few minutes' walk east from my house, was established on land allocated to Shiloh by a garin, group of people planning on living as a community together, that had plans to establish a new community east of Shiloh before Rachella Druk, HaYa"D, was murdered, but hadn't actually done it. After Rachella was murdered, they quickly moved caravans to the site which is now Shvut Rachel, and a yishuv was born. I've been wondering ever since about the possibility that if only they had established a new community beforehand, would Rachella be alive today?

Why do we only react to horrible tragedies? In recent decades this has become pretty much the only impetus for Jewish settlement. Forty years ago when Shiloh, Tekoa, Beit El, Efrat, Ariel and many other Jewish communities were established, there was a drive to fill the Biblical landscape with modern Jewish life.

We must return to the ideology of settlement in the Land of Israel because it is ours and our right, privilege and obligation to live here, not as a reaction to murder!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Shiloh, Not an Ordinary Town, Reflections

Reflecting on what living in Shiloh for close to forty 40 years has done for me...

Here I "pasted" a photo of the Shiloh Tabernacle Synagogue on the site at Tel Shiloh where it is believed that the Biblical Mishkan, Tabernacle stood for close to four hundred 400 years.
Although my husband and I had always thought of living in a part of the Land of Israel liberated in the 1967 Six Days War, during our first ten years in Israel, it didn't seem very realistic. It's not because we were frightened spoiled American wimps. The reason was much more practical and pragmatic. There were very few options that suited us.

My husband wasn't going to be a farmer; he had enough of that as a teenager on Moshav Amatzia when doing that part of Machon Lemadrechai Chutz La'aretz. We had tried the Old City of Jerusalem, and it wasn't for us at the time, 1970. We had signed up to be of the original residents of Kiryat Arba, but he felt the travel to Jerusalem for work would be too difficult.

In the late 1970s when the first non-agricultural communities began to emerge, again we looked, and in 1981 we discovered Shiloh. At that point we were expecting our fourth child, and my priorities were to find a community where the older girls would have friends their age and schooling wouldn't be too complicated. Not knowing much Bible, the significance of our new home was rather lost on me.

Gradually, I began to understand and appreciate and become connected to the Biblical narrative about Shiloh, Eli, Chana and Shmuel. And I especially appreciated that it was in Shiloh where the Jewish People evolved from its tribal anarchy into a united Kingdom, first under Saul and then David.

I found myself leading tours, frequently of Christian groups. At that time more Christians came to Tel Shiloh to tour and pray than Jews. That was one of the reasons I began to invite women to join me for prayers on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month. In just over a week, we will celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar, which heralds the time of joy and the holiday of Purim.

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar 5778
Friday, February 16, 2018
1st of Adar, 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 אדר בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ו' 16-02-2018
א' אדר, תשע"ח 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Please join us!

The religious and archeological site of Shiloh Hakeduma is open to the public six days a week, Sunday-Friday. For more information, email visit@telshilo.org.il or art@telshilo.org.il. See you Rosh Chodesh!

Our dovening is individual except that we sing Hallel out loud together. If you'd like more information, then please email me with "Rosh Chodesh" as subject, shilohmuse@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Another Murderous Arab Terror Attack

'My husband will not return to the community he loved so much'

IDF soldiers, Border Police officers and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) are continuing their pursuit of Arab terrorist Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, who carried out Monday's stabbing attack at the entrance to the city of Ariel, in which Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal was murdered.
Ben Gal's funeral will be held on Tuesday morning at 10:45 a.m. in his community of Har Bracha.
Miriam Ben Gal, the widow of Rabbi Ben Gal, said on Monday night, "This afternoon I lost my husband on the land of Israel, he was murdered because he is Jewish. I am here in my home, in the home that he will not return to. Tomorrow we will bury him here at Har Bracha, in the community he loved and wanted so much to develop."
Stopping Arab terrorism isn't simple. It would help if the Left, the international media and all sorts of NGOs, countries, diplomats etc would stop excusing and rationalizing Arab terrorism. And every Arab terrorist must be either executed on the spot or given an automatic death penalty. They shouldn't get their "day in court," and the Israeli taxpayer shouldn't be supporting them in jail.

Shiloh Cemetery, among those buried here are victims of Arab terror

Monday, February 5, 2018

Renewed Shiloh at 40

Even the most visionary of us early/veteran residents constantly repeat that Shiloh has grown and developed so much more and become larger than we could ever have envisioned.

Instead of one small, struggling isolated community which we had moved to in time for the opening of the school in 1981 with our four children, there is now an amazing amount of Jewish towns of all sizes. And there almost as many schools as there had been children on that first day, September 1, 1981.

Shiloh isn't even the largest community in Gush Shiloh, the Shiloh Bloc. Eli is the largest and most ambitious. But the heart of the bloc is here in Shiloh, at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, one of the holiest places in the world.

I look around and I'm awed by the signs of life on the hills, north, south, east and west of us. And the other night at the big celebration of forty years, I truly enjoyed the fact that I barely know my neighbors. That's not because I don't participate in all sorts of activities. It's because there are so many new families, especially young ones, and our neighborhoods are spread out.

Many of those raised in Shiloh are returning home to raise their own children here. And others, who want more of the pioneering experience of their youth, are moving to the smaller communities nearby.

What's most amazing is that Shiloh, which had once been described as "alone in the middle of no place," is now closer to Petach Tikva than Jerusalem. We're also ten minutes from the Jordan Valley. By car you can get to most of Israel in barely an hour.

Shiloh is the real Merkaz Ha'Aretz, Center of the Land of Israel.

A great miracle has happened here for sure.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Biblical Yitro and The Modern Baal Teshuva Movement

Just before Shabbat my neighbor called to ask me to prepare something for our weekly Shiloh Shabbat Shiur Nashim, Women's Torah Class. Within seconds my mind filled with the verse that opens the Torah Portion of the Week, Parshat Shavua, Yitro/Jethro, Exodus 18:
1Now Moses' father in law, Jethro, the chieftain of Midian, heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel, His people that the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt.
אוַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע יִתְר֨וֹ כֹהֵ֤ן מִדְיָן֙ חֹתֵ֣ן משֶׁ֔ה אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ לְמשֶׁ֔ה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־הוֹצִ֧יא יְהוָֹ֛ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם:
It immediately connected me to the very unprecedented movement of ignorant and non-committed/observant Jews to Torah Judaism which began after the establishment of the State of Israel and became much larger after the totally miraculous, of Biblical proportions, 1967 Six Days War victory. And I also connected it to the relatively recent search quite a few Christians are making into the origins of Christianity and the theological questions and doubts this research is causing them.

As I've written here many times, I became acquainted with genuine Torah Judaism through my joining the Great Neck Synagogue Teen Club and attending Shabbatot with NCSY, National Conference of Synagogue Youth of the OU. This was in the middle of the 1960s before the Six Days War.

"Becoming religious" was the term. In those days, BT or Baal Teshuva were unknown phrases. My family was shocked and horrified at my decision to take on those mitzvot that family members had been rejecting and reducing for decades. Jewish families, and other ethnic groups, related so easily to the "Fiddler on the Roof" story of the strictly traditional Jewish family whose daughters all left the fold, in their own ways. The first half of the 20th century was a time when traditional religions were being replaced by ideologies such as socialism, communism and Liberalism.

The unprecedented and unexpected rebirth of the ancient Jewish Nation as the State of Israel in the very same Holy Land as the Bible, davka, after the devastating Nazi Holocaust was very much like what Yitro heard.  The Nazi Holocaust had caused the murder/death of six million 6,000,000 Jews, most of European Jewry, and seemed to herald the end of the Jewish People. But instead the very beginnings of Jewish rebirth began. It began getting much greater after the 1967 Six Days War, when the IDF Israeli Army, without any human or diplomatic ally, quickly defeated three well-equipped Arab armies, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Instead of Israel being pushed into the sea, Jordan retreated to the east of the Jordan River, Egypt to the Suez Canal and Syria to the other side of the Golan Heights. Finally, the State of Israel had reasonably defensible borders.

On the spiritual front, not only more and more Jews from all over the world accepted Torah and Mitzvot, but descendants of Jews who had completely left the Jewish world suddenly returned to their Jewish roots and the Land of Israel, and that included entire communities as far away as India and Ethiopia.

Everyone "...heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel, His people..."

It is so clear and obvious to me that we are privileged to be living in miraculous times, like those in the Bible.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Jewish Book Carnival, Soon to be Here

Since the old Jewish blog carnivals, Havel Havelim, Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX are now history, I finally volunteered to host the upcoming edition of the Jewish Book Carnival. The Jewish Book Carnival is coordinated/publicized on the Association of Jewish Libraries site. Take a look at the recent January edition on Erika Dreifus's blog .

It is a monthly blog carnival which highlights reviews of Jewish books from all over the world. I've been participating in it for many years, but never before have I volunteered to host.

If you've reviewed a Jewish book, whether newly published or not, in the past month, you're invited to send me the link, preferably with a blurb about it which can be copied. The definition of "Jewish book" could mean religious, history, for children, fiction etcetera.

Please mail me your link & blurb with "Jewish Book Carnival" as the subject by February 10, 2018. My email is shilohmuse@gmail.com. I hope to have a nice variety of books and blogs participating. Thanks and Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Real History: USA Wasn't Founded/Established by "Immigrants"

I hate to break to to you, but the truth is that the United States of America was founded/established by invaders and colonialists. They vanquished the native locals in every way possible. The surviving natives were then brainwashed by Christian missionaries. And to this day their descendants are second or third class citizens.

The immigrants came later, after the colonialists and adventurers. And don't forget the unfortunate black African slaves sold to the Europeans by the Arab muslims. The Europeans needed workers for the agriculture in the "new" land they had taken over.

Manifest Destiny was the rationale/green light for the new country to take over/populate all the land from sea to sea.
Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, expressed the philosophy that drove 19th-century U.S. territorial expansion. Manifest Destiny held that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.
And that's when immigrants became necessary.

Sorry, but what I wrote is the truth, and it doesn't sound all that pretty. And reading recent news, it's clear that Europeans still think themselves as "rulers" of the world. The Arab terrorist Abbas, whom they set up to run the PA, has gone davka to the European Union to ask their help in forcing Israel to kowtow to his terrorist demands.

The Jewish People have a much longer history here in the Holy Land, and we never completely left it. Now we are back where we belong. We've outsurvived our ancient enemies, and we'll be around long after the EU and the USA, Gd willing.