Hamas War

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Antisemitism In America, Why? Nu New?

I feel safest here in Israel
Antisemitism isn't new, not even in the USA. And it definitely predates Hitler in Germany.

Antisemitism has always been around. Go back five hundred 500 plus years to the Inquisition or a millennium 1,000 to the Crusades. And about a  thousand years before that, you have the background of the Chanukah story, you know that Jewish Holiday that just ended.

The American immigration quota system of 1924 was antisemitic among other forms of discrimination. The "euphemism:"
the purpose of the act was "to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity."
In other words, the law was to preserve the traditional religious, ethnic population percentages as they stood in 1890. The descendants of the European invaders and occupiers of that large rich country, known today as The United States of America, wanted to preserve the racial and religious purity of their new country...

Don't forget that during World War Two, there was no military plan to destroy the Nazi death camps, And the American State Department had recommended to President Truman in November, 1947 to vote against an independent Jewish State in Judea, which had been renamed "Palestine" by Hadrian.

Truman may have defied the State Department in 1947, but today delegitimizing Israel in academia, media and diplomacy is the norm. Barack Hussein Obama's parting shot against Israel in the United Nations was unprecedented, not because of his anti-Israel policy, but because it's not accepted for "lame duck" presidents to take such a controversial action.

Since anti-Israel statements now come from Congress, the less erudite aren't afraid or embarrassed to use violence against Jews in America.

Come to your own conclusions. Those who agree, fine, and those who disagree... please think again. BDS, J-Street etc endanger ordinary Jews in the long run, more than they endanger Israel.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Drenched and Sick, Why Did I Vote in The Likud Primaries?

When I walked out of the house mid-morning to vote in the Likud Primaries, I thought that there was a break in the blessedly raining weather. To be safe, I wore a heavy winter coat and took an umbrella. Also the voting station wasn't far from the house, less than a ten minute walk...

Yes, you guessed it. It began to rain, but not too heavily. So I got to the voting station and voted.

Unlike at other elections and primaries, none of the local activists were there schmoozing. In all honesty I had been counting on their being at the voting station. If someone had been there, I could have gotten a ride home. I needed a ride home, even though the walk up wasn't that far. The rain had gotten stronger.

By the time I got home, I was soaked, feeling sick and totally miserable.As you can see from the picture, my coat and skirt were both soaking wet. Water even snuck in through the top of my waterproof boots. Yes, it was raining that hard. I had to change pretty much everything; that's how wet I had gotten.

Now, I still don't know who won, Bibi Netanyahu or the "challenger," Gidon Saar. I wasn't happy about Sa'ar's forcing these primaries before getting soaked in the rain. And now I'm even angrier.

If Sa'ar loses, not only has he added fuel to Blue & White's campaign against Likud, but he wasted money and made me sick.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Likud Primaries Tomorrow, Not Good

Generally before Likud primaries, my phone doesn't stop ringing, and the messages come in like a tsunami flooding the shores. This time, until today/tonight, nothing.

A few hours ago, I even started reading the SMSs I had been ignoring, because I wanted to check if I was really a member of the party. I couldn't find anything from Bibi or Saar. Then I got two phone calls, one a recording of Bibi and the other a Gidon Sa'ar activist who hung up when I refused to commit to supporting him.

In the February Likud Primaries, less than a year ago, I voted in Jerusalem. Tomorrow I plan on voting here in Shiloh. I hope I don't have a problem. If so, they'll have to transport me to and from Jerusalem. In this weather I have no plans, nor desire to travel.

You may be curious about my choice. Who should get my vote tomorrow?

I'm very upset with Gidon Sa'ar for trying to replace Bibi Netanyahu at this crucial time in history.

Maybe Gidon Sa'ar is a good, honest man with the capabilities to be Israel's Prime Minister as leader of the Likud Party. I seriously don't like his timing.

I think Gidon Sa'ar would have done better to support Netanyahu against the Blue & White Party, which was patched together to demolish the Likud, not just be anti-Bibi. The instigators/backers/conspirators who are behind the establishment of Blue & White have changed the face of Israeli politics and government. They've headed their party with a man who has no political Knesset experience, wasn't a Knesset Member, wasn't a Government Minister. Especially since the Prime Minister needs to form and control a coalition of MKs of various parties, the "American style" of voting for the "head executive" is a recipe for disaster.

With all of my complaints about Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu, and I do have many, I think that this is the time to support him. Sa'ar should have shown party loyalty, rather than supporting the basic Blue & White campaign platform that "Bibi has to go."

If Sa'ar had made a point of saying that he came out of his temporary "retirement" to support the party leader, he would have shown more leadership and sense of responsibility. Don't forget that in Israel we don't vote for a Prime Minister. We vote for a political party, and the party that gets the most Knesset seats gets first crack in trying to form a ruling coalition.

IMHO and a half a century carefully following Israeli politics, I think that Gidon Sa'ar made a mistake. Win or lose, he didn't do the right thing, and win or lose it will come back to haunt him.

Let's just pray for the State of Israel. Gd willing, we'll survive this electoral mess.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Geula Cohen, Genuine Israeli Hero

Yesterday morning I woke up to the sad news that Geula Cohen, Jewish patriot, fighter for Israeli Independence and Jewish Rights in all of the Land of Israel had passed away. Age-wise few of her peers and brothers in arms are still alive, but she had no peer in terms of her accomplishments.

Geula Cohen was an old soldier who didn't fade away.

After Israel's victorious War for Independence, Geula became a journalist, Knesset Member, party leader of Techiya, but never a politician who mastered or treasured the art of compromise.  Geula Cohen was an idealist to the end. Ideals and principles were foremost for her.

We knew Geula personally. She had been a guest in our home and family occasions, and we also attended her joyous events. My husband worked for her for many years. She'd travel to Shiloh by bus before she had a car. As a Knesset Member, Geula Cohen took advantage of the perk that offered all MKs free public transportation.

For me, personally, the death of Geula Cohen is the death of an old aunt. Geula was a role model for women trying to make it in a man's world. She didn't play the Feminist card. Geula was a mother, grandmother and proud Jew.

I'll never forget hearing her at a pre-election "Parlour Meeting" in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, promoting the Techiya Party. Someone asked if Techiya was a religious party.
"Religious party?" Geula repeated. "No, Techiya is a Jewish party."
Geula didn't like the labeling according to Jewish observance. Judaism for her was much larger than one's kitchen or Shabbat. She saw being Jewish as being part of a great People with its own Land and History.

At one point Geula and her son Tzachi Hanegbi both served in the Knesset, though representing different political parties. Geula was a Techiya MK, while Tzachi was with Likud. For the following election campaign Tzachi featured in a very unique Likud ad saying, as my memory serves me:
"People keep coming up to me saying they want to vote Techiya, because they love my mother. I also love my mother, but vote Likud."
I don't have the film of that, but I've included Geula's reaction to Prime Minster Menachem Begin's Camp David treaty with Egypt.

ברוך דיין האמת
Baruch Dayan Ha'emet
Blessed Be The True Judge

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sa'ar versus Netanyahu Bad For Likud

I never really thought much of Gidon Saar, the wannabe running against Bibi in the Likud Primaries. I've voted in many Likud Primaries in the past, and this one is bad news.

That's because it's obvious that Blue and White will be marking down all the nasty stuff said against each of Likud's candidates in order to use the dirt against the winner. So whoever wins will lose.

Saar should have declared that although in the future he thinks he'll be Likud leader, but for the good of the country and the party, he's supporting Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu so Likud will win the national Knesset Elections.

Could Saar be a pawn of whoever is bankrolling Blue and White?

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Knesset Elections Ad Nauseum

I've just renamed a Facebook page/group I run "Knesset Elections Ad Nauseum." It used to be "Knesset Elections, 2019." That title worded rather efficiently even for the useless redo elections we went through later in the year, but then I had to add 2020, when Ad Nauseum seemed more suitable. Polls, which are polls not elections, keep predicting "more of the same," which makes us Israelis feel rather sick. Things are running fine, so maybe we don't need a coalition.

But the truth is, I'd like to call the upcoming elections:
"I Want Ice Cream, But Not Ben & Jerry's Elections" 
Do you know what this is based on?

I'm not sure of the source, but here in Israel, when you pass (run into) someone by chance the second time it's said:
פעם שלישית גלידה
Pa'am shlishit glida
Third time ice cream
So now, since we have elections scheduled for the third time in a year...
"you scream
I scream
we all scream for
ice cream"
But since the profits from Ben & Jerry's ice cream are used to support Extreme Leftist political causes, I'd rather starve than get theirs. I prefer Häagen-Dazs, which was established by Reuben and Rose Mattus who supported Jewish rights and communities all over. They even came to Shiloh in the early 1980s, where I met them.

Gevalt, what have I done? Now I'm craving Häagen-Dazs!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Is Insane Israeli Political Situation Due to Foreign Interference?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be continuing another few months as "interim," AKA "lame duck" Prime Minister. We're going to have a third round of Knesset elections in less than a year, and unless something very dramatic happens, the situation -stalemate- will continue ad nauseum. I suggest reading Arlene Kushner's article about it.

IMHO there are two guilty parties in this unprecedented situation, Avigdor Yvette Lieberman and the backers/instigators of Benny Gantz's Blue and White political party.

Lieberman has repeatedly destabilized Israeli Governments, and my guess is that there's foreign money behind Gantz and cronies. I'm not sure what's behind Lieberman. Could he have been planted here decades ago from the USSR? Or is he just "having fun" playing politics.

About Blue and White, don't forget that during Obama's US Presidency, there was blatant American interference in Israeli politics to unseat Likud's Bibi Netanyahu, V15. They haven't given up, and now they're targeting both Bibi and Donald Trump. I don't have the capabilities to prove it, but I have no doubt.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Words Can Be Dangerous, A Lesson From Torah Portions "Vayeitzei," and "Vayishlach"

Torah Portion "Vayeitzei" which begins in Bereishit Chapter 28:10 tells the saga of Jacob after he left his parents' home. It includes his "nap" in Beit El, marrying his two wives and the birth of most of his children.

Two dangerous things are said, one by Jacob and one by Rachel, which foretell or cause a tragedy.

First Rachel blames Jacob for her barrenness, rather than praying to Gd. Very dramatically she states:
וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה־לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם־אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי׃
When Rachel saw that she had borne Jacob no children, she became envious of her sister; and Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die.”
And later in the Torah Portion, when Jacob and his family are fleeing Lavan, Lavan chases after them angry about two things. One is that Jacob left, and the other is that his personal idols had apparently been stolen by someone in Jacob's entourage.
וַיַּ֥עַן יַעֲקֹ֖ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְלָבָ֑ן כִּ֣י יָרֵ֔אתִי כִּ֣י אָמַ֔רְתִּי פֶּן־תִּגְזֹ֥ל אֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֖יךָ מֵעִמִּֽי׃
Jacob answered Laban, saying, “I was afraid because I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.
עִ֠ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּמְצָ֣א אֶת־אֱלֹהֶיךָ֮ לֹ֣א יִֽחְיֶה֒ נֶ֣גֶד אַחֵ֧ינוּ הַֽכֶּר־לְךָ֛ מָ֥ה עִמָּדִ֖י וְקַֽח־לָ֑ךְ וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֣ע יַעֲקֹ֔ב כִּ֥י רָחֵ֖ל גְּנָבָֽתַם׃
But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive! In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have of yours and take it.” Jacob, of course, did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

I'm sure that you all know the result. In "Vayishlach" Rachel dies after giving birth to Binyamin. Gd turned her threat around. Rachel died from giving birth, not as a result of being barren. Jacob predicted her death in his very "Yiftach* moment" by declaring that someone must die without realizing the power of his words.

Every word has power, and I also see shadows of Rachel's threat in the failures of her descendant King Saul. Contrast Rachel and the names she gave her children with her sister Leah, who recognized Gd's power in the names she gave her children. King David is clearly her descendant and the leader most fitting to lead the Jewish People and produce the Moshiach.
*Judges 11וַיִּדַּ֨ר יִפְתָּ֥ח נֶ֛דֶר לַיהוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אִם־נָת֥וֹן תִּתֵּ֛ן אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י עַמּ֖וֹן בְּיָדִֽי׃
And Jephthah made the following vow to the LORD: “If you deliver the Ammonites into my hands,
וְהָיָ֣ה הַיּוֹצֵ֗א אֲשֶׁ֨ר יֵצֵ֜א מִדַּלְתֵ֤י בֵיתִי֙ לִקְרָאתִ֔י בְּשׁוּבִ֥י בְשָׁל֖וֹם מִבְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֑וֹן וְהָיָה֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וְהַעֲלִיתִ֖הוּ עוֹלָֽה׃ (פ)
then whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me on my safe return from the Ammonites shall be the LORD’s and shall be offered by me as a burnt offering.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Coalition Politics: How To Banish Avigdor Lieberman to The Sidelines

There are many dimensions to the political situation present in Israel right now. On one hand I agree with the various opinions of Arlene Kushner, Caroline Glick and Ruthie Blum.

But last night as I was falling asleep, I suddenly had the solution to the Avigdor Lieberman problem. He has evolved or devolved from a strong Right wing Likud activist politician to a dangerous political anarchist, who gets his kicks from breaking up government coalitions and driving most everyone crazy. Inexplicably he has enough followers to keep him in the Knesset with sufficient MKs to stymie every possible coalition. Avigdor Lieberman wants to be the kingmaker and Prime Minister. I've come up with a way to lock Lieberman out of the government.

It's pretty obvious, once you think about it. Of course it's based on a shaky double "if."

If both Gantz and Bibi really want to avoid another useless round of Knesset Elections...

If both Gantz and Bibi really are sick of Avigdor Lieberman's dangerous political games...

Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue & White's Benny Gantz do no need Avigdor Lieberman to form a broad coalition together. Both parties got over thirty 30 seats in the last elections. Together that's the majority needed to form a government. Both of them can say that:
"For the good of the State of Israel, we must have a strong government, a broad-based government of Right, Left, religious and secular. We welcome all parties, all MKs who want to work together for the betterment and security of the State of Israel into our coalition."
That's it. That's what most Israeli citizens really want.

Can someone please send them the message ASAP...

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh Tevet, Save The Date

Last Friday, women from Gush Shiloh, Eli and Shiloh, celebrated Rosh Chodesh Kislev praying together in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

בראש חודש כסלו נשים מגוש שילה הגיעו להתפלל ביחד, ככל ראש חודש.

Our next Women's Rosh Chodesh dovening will be Rosh Chodesh Tevet at the end of Chanukah, Sunday December 29, 1st of Tevet, 8:30am

תפילת נשים לכבוד ראש חודש טבת תהיה א' טבת, יום א',  29-12-2019 ב8:30 בבוקר בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה. לפרטים נוספים
  shilohmuse@gmail.com, subject: ראש חודש

נשים ונערות מוזמנות

For more information contact shilohmuse@gmail.com, subject: Rosh Chodesh. Women invited. 

Shiloh Hakeduma, a beautiful archaeological site, where the Biblical Tabernacle stood for almost four hundred years, is open to visitors of all ages on weekdays. For more information contact Phone: 02-5789122, visit@telshilo.org.il

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Nu? What's New in The Jewish Blog World?

Clouds but not much rain
It's winter here in Israel, though there hasn't been enough rain yet. Gd willing the rains will start soon. But considering that the sages say that Gd gives us the rains we deserve... No doubt the awful political situation is holding back the blessed rain.

Let's see what our intrepid bloggers are blogging about. If you have blogs to recommend, please let me know in the comments, thanks. As usual, I'm only listing titles, so click to see which blog and what's written. I'm only responsible for the contents of my own blogs, not the others here.

Enjoy, read, comment and share.

#ShidduchCrisis, Book Review
Rockets & Reads: The November Jewish Book Carnival
Hold the Phone
Just enough rain to sweeten
the oranges
Berkeley Professor’s Survey Findings Confirm Embarrassing Ignorance of Israel-Haters
Proposed Law: changes to the electoral process
Bibi's Not Perfect, But He's Not Corrupt
Indictable Offenses
Judaism starts with the Land of Israel, Parshat Lech Lecha 2019, Beyond The 4 Amot
Rosh Chodesh Kislev
this Friday, Women's Prayers,
Tel Shiloh, 8:30am
Dinner at Hatch Brewery, Great Beer and Wings
Israeli za'atar beer from the Nomads
Improving Safety and Traffic at Shiloh Junction
Overcoming Challenges in Jerusalem
Should I Or Shouldn't I?
The Trail Of Our Lives
Real life beyond the headlines
Progressive Democrats Get it Wrong About Israel, Again
The Rockefeller Archaeological museum
To every fruit, there is a season (with helpful seasonal Hebrew vocabulary!)
Daily Mail Corrects Tel Aviv Error
Wrapping in a Corporate Professional Office Environment: Part 2

I'd appreciate if you'd tell me which blog posts you enjoyed the most, and of course please recommend blogs I haven't included in this edition.

Dry Bones

Friday, November 22, 2019

Bibi's Not Perfect, But He's Not Corrupt

What the Left, International Left to be exact, couldn't achieve in legal elections, they are doing by inventing crimes. My complaints about Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu are that he hasn't used his legal official position as PM to fully annex all the Land we liberated in the 1967 Six Days War, and he tries to please the world rather than act as a proud Jew. Bibi's attempts to be Centrist weaken the State of Israel. I want him to be a David not a Saul*. But these trumped up charges against Bibi are a coup, just like he claims.

I have no doubt that the funding, backing mentoring for Gantz's Blue and White Party can be traced to the same international Leftist conspirators who brought Obama to the US Presidency and funded the "anyone but Bibi" groups, V15 etc ad nausuem. Now, that's really illegal, but the judicial here and almost everywhere are terribly politically Left leaning.

This anti-Netanyahu coup is not only dangerous for the State of Israel, but it's dangerous for the world. There's no objective "truth and justice. " They've colored everything, spent the last century effectively taking over universities and media all over the world.

Someday it will just be chapter in World History, but it's hard to live through it knowing what we know.

Gd is The True Judge and can override everything. Shabbat is soon, and we certainly need a rest from the mundane world. Thank Gd for creating Shabbat.

שבת שלום ומבורך
Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have A Peaceful and Blessed Sabbath

*King Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin, and his weakness as a leader caused Gd to choose David to be King and establish a dynasty.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Coalition News? Haven't a Clue, But Don't Like What I Hear

Maybe by the time you read this there will be a coalition.

Benny Gantz and crew are busy trying to tack together a ruling coalition leaving out the MKs voted for by most Jewish voters in the State of Israel. Yes, please think of it like that. Blue & White doesn't want chareidim, the "ultra-Orthodox/religious Jews. He's not crazy about my crowd either.

The Blue & White leaders use the term "unity government," but they're not talking real unity. They don't want to serve with the fastest growing (reproducing) Jewish community in Israel and in the world  chareidim, the "ultra-Orthodox/religious Jews. For some strange reason they prefer Arabs to very religious Jews.

Basically, the Gantz crowd wants to go back to the days before 1977, before Menachem Begin's becoming Prime Minister. For those twenty-nine years of Leftist Labor rule, the idea that Labor would ever be in the Opposition seemed preposterous.

Remember that it was during those twenty-nine years, certainly the first decade, when Yemenite and other non-Ashkenaz new immigrant infants and children were kidnapped and given to Holocaust survivors and other infertile European Jews for adoption. It was during that time when religious new immigrant children were sent to strictly secular boarding schools for "better education."

Blue & White doesn't want unity with Jews.

On the other hand, Bibi Netanyahu has been Israel's Prime Minister for over a decade, and he failed just as I predicted before he was re-elected. Instead of being a strong leader, Bibi restricts himself to what he considers the "Center." Instead of aiming/leading forward, Bibi's focused on the Center, and it's like trying to cut a tough steak with a butter knife.

That's why Israel hasn't won a war. Our Prime Minister is a "centrist."

Likud may be out of power for a few years. Gd willing the country will survive, even though the anti-chareidi utterings of the wannabes sounds too much like the sinat chinam, baseless hatred that caused our exile over two thousand 2,000 years ago.

Gd willing, if there's a Leftist aka Liberal government, it won't last long enough to do too much damage.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Parshat Shavua Vayeira, Akeidat Yitzchak, Testing Issac

Bereishit, Genesis 22, Vayeira
We could spend a whole year studying the Torah Portion Vayeira, and I've written about it before. There's so much in it, narrative, theology etc. One of my pet peeves is the totally inaccurate translation of the term  עֲקֵדַת יִצְחָק, Akeidat Yitzchak, as the "Sacrifice" of Issac. Issac wasn't sacrificed, wasn't killed. The more accurate meaning of the word is "binding," and here it's not in a physical sense. Issac proved his commitment to Gd, so he could follow his father Abraham as leader of the new nation.

I believe that Abraham understood that this was a Divine test. It was already clear to everyone that his older son Ishmael didn't have any of the necessary characteristics needed to lead, but Issac had to be put to a very serious test.

As parents, we sometimes must witness our children's struggles. We can't take their place or stop it. It wasn't easy for our forefather Abraham to cooperate administrating this frightening test on his beloved son. But he played the role perfectly, and that's why Gd praised him afterwards.

Abraham was then able to "retire" as "national leader," but he still had to marry off Issac. More about that next week in חיי שרה Chayei Sarah, the Lifetime of Sarah.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Déjà Vu War- Let's Destroy The Terrorists So There Won't Be Déjà Vu 2

Israel's security is like a broken record. We keep having the same sort of crises, or wars, or whatever you want to call them. Of course the government doesn't call it a "war," since a war would not only require real fighting, but there's certain expenses and compensations that people must receive during wars, while "operations" or whatever euphemisms are chose cost the government less.

So far, I don't think the government has come up with a "snappy" marketing name for this one. Since Israel's citizens, especially those in the south of the country, have been suffering through these massive military terror attacks but the government never calls it a war every year or so I'll just refer to it as "The Déjà Vu War."

It's a vicious cycle. Israeli citizens are ordered to "shelters" and told to wait it out. How long should they wait it out? Until there's quiet aka until the Gazan terrorists use up all their missiles.
"Don't worry," our suffering citizens are told by the Israeli Government. "The Iron Dome prevents most missiles from hitting you. Statistics are in your favor."
I think the Gazan terrorists aimed about a thousand deadly missiles at Israel during the last Don't Call It a War.

Periodically, Israeli "forces" succeed in a movie-worthy attack on the Gazans, or more accurately a Gazan "command center," missile launcher or terror leader. But our government wouldn't dare destroy Gaza.
"What would the world say?"
Yes, I'm angry. Just because my house isn't under attack doesn't mean I don't care. My country and fellow citizens are under attack, and our government isn't protecting us. The only real protection would be to destroy the Gazan terror base, the entire enclave.

Following are pictures and videos sent to me by Gedalia Bloom. I'm using them with his permission.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Improving Safety and Traffic at Shiloh Junction

Just a few years ago, the powers that be in our Binyamin region thought they were improving our lives by building a sort of bus stop/hitchhiking post on Highway 60 going north at the Shiloh Junction. It has a bench, top and backing. For safety there are even a few poles that in theory would stop a terrorist vehicle from ramming into waiting Jews seated there.

Yes, in theory, sitting at some desk, designed and planned by "experts" who own cars and get cars from their employers, that bus stop/hitchhiking post is a gem.

But for us, those who get dropped off there, or those who have to that bus stop/hitchhiking post, it's terrifying.
  • The bus stop/hitchhiking post is far north from the Shiloh junction.
  • There's no safety barrier, or even sidewalk between the "shelter" and the turnoff to Shiloh.
  • Walking to the Shiloh turnoff requires walking directly into traffic, and most of the traffic is Arab. 
  • Walking from the Shiloh turnoff requires having your back to the traffic.
  • All this brings up my post traumatic stress from the terror attack, first ramming, in which I was injured over twenty years ago.
A couple of months ago, there was an announcement that due to the heavy traffic by the Shiloh Junction, we're being upgraded to a traffic light. 

Thank Gd, more than just a traffic light will be gracing our junction. The entire Shiloh Junction is being upgraded. There will be designated lanes for right turns. The construction of this new Shiloh Junction has been causing traffic delays most nights. It's far from finished, but the terrifying walk along the road is now a thing of the past. Last night I happily hopped, skipped and jumped while making my way through the dirt and rocks until I could cross the road and catch a ride going into Shiloh. The icing on the cake was when someone offered me a ride before I even reached the sidewalk. 

Next big request is that they make that  bus stop/hitchhiking post into an official bus stop, so we'll have more transportation northwards to Eli, Ariel and Tapuach. Gd willing....

Friday, November 8, 2019

Quiet on The Coalition Building Front, Good or Bad?

Israel has been in the Election and Government coalition building mode for close to a year already. We've had two national Knesset Elections, and still Bibi's steering a "temporary," lame duck government.

After the first 2019 Elections, Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu, the sitting prime minister and #1 in Likud, was entrusted with forming a ruling coalition, because he appeared to be the only party leader with a chance. He failed. And Benny Gantz, head of the Blue & White Party didn't do what the wily and experienced Bibi would have tried. Gantz didn't work behind the scenes to craft a coalition and surprise the country with it at the Knesset vote to disband and call a second 2019 Knesset Elections.

2019 Knesset Elections Redo also ended with a tie. There are basically four blocs of Knesset Members:
  • Right 
  • Left 
  • Hareidi (ultra-religious)
  • Arab
Likud leads the Right, though it prefers calling itself Center, and Blue & White leads the Left, though it prefers calling itself Center. Please don't get too confused, because they define Center differently. "Center" is one of those code words that politicians think make them popular with citizens of all stripes, like parve food in a kosher kitchen which can be served with both meat or dairy.

Center doesn't work with me. I don't vote for anyone whose ideology is "get me elected." I must know what the person plans to do for the country, their vision, red lines etc.

Simply put, the Likud can work with the Hareidi, while Blue & White campaigned to delegitimize chareidim from Israeli society and government. Blue & White promised a chareidi-free government. Their stated reason is the lack of patriotism of the chareidi public and their relatively low IDF army service. They'd like the support of the Arabs instead, but truth be told, Arabs are even less patriotic and less apt to serve in the army. Hmmm... does that make sense?

The best way for one of the big parties to make a coalition is to get deserters from the other side. Or are we going to have elections yet again?

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Tower of Babel and "The Twilight Zone." Parshat Noah

This past Shabbat's Torah Portion of the Week was Noach, or Noah. There are lots of topics in this Parsha, the flood, rainbow, Tower of Babel, antecedents of Abraham and Sarah and more. At our "Parshat Shavua Group," led by a neighbor, we discussed the sin that angered Gd in the "Tower of Babel" story.

In all honesty, I can't quite remember all the details, since my mind kept exploding with inspiration and ideas as she and others spoke. She read from an article that the late Rav Neria had written about it in which he mentioned the difference between  אחדות ואחידות, achdut viachidut, unity and uniformity. Unity is good, but uniformity אחידות achidut isn't. In both Hebrew and English both words seem almost the same. They are from the same linguistic roots meaning "one."

I was warned not to get into politics. You must know that a mantra of mine in recent years is:
Liberals aren't liberal.
We see this all over the world. Those who ascribe to the Liberal philosophies are horrendously intolerant. Socialism evolved into Communism which ran countries with very tight fists and forbade religions. And today Leftist leaning universities, politicians etc call those who disagree with their philosophies and leaders "wrong" rather than respecting the rights of others to other opinions.

When I was still a rather impressionable youngster, I'd watch the iconic and legendary television show The Twilight Zone. One episode has stayed strongly rooted in my mind for over half a century. It was set in the "future." This was a very regimented time, when even home libraries were limited to "approved books only." And not only were books censured, but people had to dress and look in the required way. At a certain age everyone was to choose a certain face from a catalog and submit to surgery. The episode told of a family of rebels which had forbidden books, and their daughter refused to submit to the surgery. They refused to conform to the uniformity of society. Finally the authorities seized the daughter, brought her to the hospital and operated. As I remember it we were shown her reactions as the bandages are being removed. She looks in the mirror for the first time at her new face:
"Oh, how pretty I look." She said sounding amazed and pleased. Then she looked at the woman who was holding the mirror for her and continued. "And best of all, I look just like you."
Light faded; the show ended. I'll never forget it. When they gave her the uniform catalog face, they also changed her brain, her independent mind implanting something to make her a complete law-abiding conformist.

Gd created us humans with Free Will, even though it meant that not all humans would follow Gd's laws. We're challenged by Gd to overcome our Evil Inclinations, which tempt us to conform to human philosophies and ideologies, rather than Gd's laws.

We're supposed to be united under Gd, for Gd and help others. The Sin of the Tower of Babel was that they made their own language, laws and morality. By creating a new language and building a tower they considered godly, they rejected Gd as Supreme Being and Commander.

We must unite under Gd not unify to defy Gd.

In Matan we learn as one, unified, united but not in a uniform. No uniformity

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Matan, 5780, 2019-2020, Spectacular Start

Matan, Jerusalem, 30 Rashbag Street
Yesterday I and hundreds of others began the  5780, 2019-2020 study year in Matan. (There are other courses in Hebrew and English which began on Sunday, but the ones I take are on Wednesday.) I've been treating myself to year long and special event courses and classes in Matan for over a decade already. My weekly schedule revolves around my Matan studies and Tanach/Bible chevruta, study group.

Dr. Yael Ziegler, on the stage
and Malka Bina, founder of Matan
greeting the students
By the time Yael Ziegler began her
lecture every seat was taken, and
women sat on the stairs.
The Matan student body is an amazing group of women, and some men in the English language courses. As you can see in the photos of the audiences/student body, many are senior citizens/retirees, even older than me, but there are also quite a few youngsters. And my two favorite teachers are young enough to be my daughters. Not only have I made new friends in Matan, but I'm studying with women I've known since we were teenagers.
Yael Liebowitz, somehow I didn't
catch her smiling

Like many others who had crowded into the Matan auditorium, I choose my courses by teachers. We sign up religiously for the two Yaels, regardless of the course titles. And to be perfectly honest, we haven't been disappointed yet. Both gave spellbinding, gevaldik, spectacular opening lectures.
Yael Liebowitz's student body
has been growing every year.

These are the Matan courses I'm taking this year. I've already officially signed up and paid.

Creation, Un-creation and Re-creation Bresishit 1-11 by Dr. Yael Ziegler
Making Sense of Biblical Dichotomies and Simultaneous Truths by Yael Leibowitz
There are other excellent teachers and courses on other days and in branches of Matan all over the country. Yael Liebowitz is giving the same course in a few other branches, if you're interested and can't get to Jerusalem on Wednesdays.

I hope you can join us studying in Matan, highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Next Month Rosh Chodesh Kislev, Who's Coming?

Paste your faces here, and join our Women's Rosh Chodesh
Prayers. Animals certainly not required.
Considering that today's Rosh Chodesh Marchesvan, it may seem a bit early to be making plans for next month, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, but I'd love to see a big crowd of women praying together at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

Just like this month, Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5780 is two days, the last of Cheshvan and the first of Kislev. Our prayer group has decided to meet Friday, November 29, 2019, 1st of Kislev, 5780, at 8:30am.

For more information contact
shilohmuse@gmail.com subject: Rosh Chodesh

תפילת נשים בראש חודש כסלו תש"פ
יום ו' 29-11-2019 א' כסלו 8:30 בבוקר
שילה הקדומה, תל שילה
כולן מוזמנות
לפרטים נוספים shilohmuse@gmail.com subject:
ראש חודש

Be ready to sing Hallel out loud with us, and then we'll each doven Musaf individually.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is a beautiful archaeological site at the location of the Biblical Shiloh. For more information contact visit@telshilo.org.il or call 02-5789111.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Will The Chareidim Be The New NRP?

The NRP, Mafdal, National Religious Party used to have a slogan to make it clear that they'd justify being in all coalitions to support their "special interests."

In those days they'd stay out of "politics" or anything controversial. They were "middle of the road," and even Leftist. They'd claim that their presence in the coalition was to safeguard the mamlachti dati, religious public schools, their kibbutzim and the rabbinate. This "ideology" predated the 1967 Six Days War. Religiosity in Israel was rather weak and apologetic. The Baal Teshuva Phenomenon hadn't yet reached Israel, and the NRP was more Labor with a crocheted kippah than comfortable with Menachem Begin and his followers.

It took a decade after the mind-blowing miraculous 1967 Six Days War for Menachem Begin's Likud to gain power and the settling of Judea and Samaria to begin in earnest. The old NRP leaders had to join with Likud to keep their power, and the youngsters were influenced by Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook to settle the Land. Their youth movement, Bnai Akiva, moved more to the Right both politically and religiously. Also, after all these decades the mamlachti dati, religious public school system is firmly entrenched in government bureaucracy and is not under threat.

Israel's political chaos of today requires shaking things up to form a coalition. That's why there are rumors that Blue & White will try to make a deal with the chareidi parties. Today's chareidi parties are more insecure than the strongly ideological dati leumi, national religious crowd. The chareidim have more financial needs to support their schools, yeshivot, social services and amutot. They need to be in the coalition.

For Blue & White to form a ruling coalition, they need to break Bibi's bloc of parties, or at least MKs. As soon as Gantz's crew get a few deserters, he can declare a government. So my guess is that the chareidi political leaders will use their talmudic skills to rationalize jumping Bibi's ship and joining with Gantz. And Gantz will rationalize/defend his going against his "no chareidi" promise by reminding his supporters that the alternative would be another useless tied election.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Israel's Coalition Woes, Bibi Passes The Baton

Since the Jewish Holiday Season, a three week plus marathon of celebrations, prayers, food and fasting, are finally over I'm back to blogging about Israeli politics.

Prime Minister Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has celebrated his 70th birthday by announcing to the even more elderly President Reuven Rivlin that he just can't get the young Knesset party leaders to work together and form a coalition with him. Yes, Bibi gave up, at least for now.

Since Yvette Avigdor Lieberman has morphed from Right to spoiler-anarchist, there's no 61+ majority of MKs on either side of the political spectrum.

Even though Likud's Netanyahu and Blue & White's multi-headed leadership are all claiming to be hoping for a "unity" government, they are defining it differently. This may be a generation gap. Those of us that includes Bibi who remember the "national unity government" that Levi Eshkol crafted as Prime Minister during the security dangers/threats leading up to the 1967 Six Days War understand the term to mean "making a coalition with people/parties for the good of the State of Israel, even if you have major disagreements with them." Inviting Revisionist Herut Head Menachem Begin to join the coalition went against Labor's principles, but for the sake of the State of Israel, PM Eshkol invited Begin to join the National Unity Government.

Bibi's offers to Blue & White are similar to Eshkol's way back when, but unfortunately the Blue & White leadership, Gantz, Lapid and Ya'alon aren't in tune. They claim to want a broad coalition aka national unity government but insist that chareidim be banned from it. The truth is that they want a narrow Left-Center coalition which would even include Arabs, but not the more Torah observant Jews.

Of course, now that Bibi has given up and the ball is in Blue & White's court, there may be serious changes. The MKs who had pledged allegiance to Bibi may already be negotiating with Gantz and partners.

These coalition negotiations will definitely be interesting. And Gd willing it will be good for the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

May this be the dawn of a new age in Israeli politics/government

Thursday, October 17, 2019

NO POLITICS: We're Celebrating Succot, The Happy Holiday

Tonight as I was getting into a ride home after shopping in our local supermarket my friends and all agreed that we're onto talking about politics. Succot is the time of "joy." We're commanded to be happy and celebrate Succot.

Talking about politics will only cause לשון הרע Lashon Haraa, Evil Speech. That's a major sin, and who wants to sin barely a week after Yom Kippur...

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is the longest serving "lame duck" in the History of the State of Israel.

Let's just be thankful for what we have, the gifts Gd has given us. Obviously, if we're reading and writing and thinking, we're alive, and that is a very great gift. Let's not nitpick over details. One thing I've learned over the years is that "things can always be worse," so no matter what your situation, there's plenty of good reasons to thank Gd and celebrate. One important thing I've learned is that we have a lot of control over our happiness. Decide to be happy. You'll find it easier and more enjoyable than the alternative.

Have a truly wonderful Shabbat, Succot and Simchat Torah. 
ושמחת בחגך
Visamachta Bichagecha

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What's New in The Jewish Blog World? 1st Roundup of 5780

Once upon a time there was a weekly Jewish Blog Carnival, Havel Havelim, which featured the latest blog posts from a great variety of Jewish and Israeli blogs. It was hosted by the various bloggers and had a nice international following. If you click on these old HH's and then check out the posts, you'll discover that many of the blogs have been discontinued. Some are still online, but others can't be found at all. My blogs are among the very few old time blogs still being updated, though not daily. Until a few months ago, I blogged on both blogs daily even when it required writing in advance and having the post go up automatically on a later day. But as of late I've become an occasional blogger. Sometimes I think I've said it all, just too many times.

One of the great bonuses of blogging way back when was the community we established. Even though we were in different cities and countries, we became friends. And in some cases our friendships escaped the "confines" of the internet. Yes, quite a few of us have met in person.

According to Oscar Wilde:
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.
I'm amused and saddened by the fact that all sorts of mainstream journalism, newspapers, news sites etc, have convinced people to "blog" for them. Even I have arrangements with a few, but my condition is always that I can post from my blogs, including the link. All of this free writing has made it much more difficult for people to earn a living as freelance writers.

Back to what I call "independent blogs," there's still blogging going on. And now I occasionally post a blog "carnival" or "roundup" of blog posts. To spark curiosity, I just give a list of titles in no particular order, not mentioning the names of the blogs. Click, read, comment and share. Also, if you have any blogs to recommend, please let me know in the comments. I'd also like to know which blog post you enjoy the most. Of course, I'm not responsible for any opinions in the posts, besides what I've written of course.

Now, it's time to enjoy.

2 Stories for Yom Kippur: Unexpected Bus Magic
Shutting Down, Starting Anew (guest post)
Remembering Ari Fuld z"l and Yehoshua Friedberg z"l
Lessons from a pie
Four beers for the record
The Rabbi and the Mammoth
Parshat Shavua Thoughts, Is "Vayelech" Connected to "Lech Lecha?"
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Is Jewish History Repeating Itself?
"Blue & White," Follow The Money
We Blew It: On The Prohibited Sounding of the Shofar
Are Synagogue Prayers on Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur too Long?
The Purpose of Exile: Converts (Haazinu)
Tasty and Simple 21st Century Tzimmes
Have we Learned to Learn Lessons?
The Bible Can’t Be Jewish Because It Doesn’t Mention ‘Tikkun Olam’
Frugal Adventure to Beit Shemesh, Plus: Pishers' Guide to Beit Shemesh #1
G-d Rewards Failure (Derashah, Yom Kippur 5780)

Chag Sameach
Have a Wonderful Holiday

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Parshat Shavua Thoughts, Is "Vayelech" Connected to "Lech Lecha?"

Genesis/Bereishit 12
לך לך Lech Lecha
1 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃
The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃
I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.

Dvarim 31
וילך Vayelech1 וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel.
וַֽיהוָ֞ה ה֣וּא ׀ הַהֹלֵ֣ךְ לְפָנֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א יַֽעַזְבֶ֑ךָּ לֹ֥א תִירָ֖א וְלֹ֥א תֵחָֽת׃ 8
And the LORD Himself will go before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Fear not and be not dismayed!”
Both Lech Lecha and Vayelech have the same linguistic root, (ה ל כ (ך heh, lamed, chof, to go.

In Bereishit, which is in the beginning of the Bible/Torah, Gd tells Abram (Abraham) to go to a land of Gd's choosing, and Gd will make him a great nation. Then in one of the very last lines in the Torah, Moshe went (past tense of "go") to the Jewish People, those descended from Abram and reminds them that Gd will always be with them, and they shouldn't lose confidence.

While the politicians here in Israel are fighting over positions and honors, we must never forget that our TRUE LEADER  is GD ALMIGHTY. It's Gd who protects us, not the IDF or Iron Dome. Last week we celebrated, Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish Year, and this week we'll be praying and fasting on Yom Kippur, beseeching Gd to forgive our sins.

May all the Jewish People return to genuine Jewish Life, of Mitzvot and kindness to one another here in the Land Gd gave us.

גמר חתימה טובה
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May Gd Accept Our Prayers