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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dangers of "Half" or "Partial" Sovereignty

Yesterday our local senior citizen whatsapp group was full of panicky posts trying to make sense out of the rumors, incomplete leaks, incomprehensible maps and news about possible "half-sovereignty," sic.

Deja vu the old United Nations Partition Plan, this partial or half-sovereignty will cause major inconvenience at best and more death by terrorism for sure. A splattering of Jackson-Pollock style splashes in the Land of Israel makes no sense. There's no legal, security or moral reason for such a thing.

"Half" or "Partial" Sovereignty will only fill more cemeteries 

Shades of Barack Hussein Obama and his predecessors, the latest threats by United States officials are no different from FDR's refusal to allow Jews fleeing Hitler to get refuge in America and Truman's State Department which had recommended not recognizing the Jewish State in the UN vote.

Nothing has changed. We're on our own, and we're best off like that. Remember that the State of Israel had no foreign allies during the Six Days War, and that was the best. Let the world butt out, including Trump and Kushner.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Synagogues Reopening in Israel

For the past couple of months, outdoor uncrowded aka keep your distance minyanim, Jewish Prayer groups, have been gathering all over our neighborhood and other places in Israel. That's because synagogues have been closed, padlocked even. From what I've heard, this has been the situation in Israel and all over the world. Too many people have caught the dreaded corona virus, COVID-19 when at religious gatherings.

As the rate of infection began to lessen here in Israel, outdoor prayers became permitted with masked (not everyone followed that rule) attendees standing a couple of meters from each other.

My husband favored the minyan in the park across the street. Besides the location being so close to the house, it's comfortably shaded and even has a few benches. Though he brought a chair or stool for the longer prayer services.

Apparently the new regulations permits men to pray indoors, but not women. The advantage is that the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Section will also be available for the men allowing them to spread out even more.

Gd willing a refuah shleimah, speedy and complete recovery for all the sick and the end of this corona virus, COVID-19 ASAP.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Parshat Shavua Bahar, The Connection of Shmitta to Mt Sinai





I'm certainly not competing with the venerable and respected Rashi, but a half a century after making aliyah, moving to Israel, I definitely see a strong connection between Shmitta and Mt Sinai.

The connection between Shmitta and Mt Sinai is very simple. It's the paramount centrality of the Land of Israel to the foundation of Torah and Mitzvot. Since there are mitzvot that can only be observed in the Land of Israel, all Jews should be living here.


Vayikra - Leviticus - Chapter 25

1And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying,
אוַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־משֶׁ֔ה בְּהַ֥ר סִינַ֖י לֵאמֹֽר:
on Mount Sinai: What [special relevance] does the subject of Shemittah [the “release” of fields in the seventh year] have with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? However, [this teaches us that] just as with Shemittah, its general principles and its finer details were all stated from Sinai, likewise, all of them were stated-their general principles [together with] their finer details-from Sinai. This is what is taught in Torath Kohanim (25:1). [And why is Shemittah used as the example to prove this rule, especially since the very fine details are not even specified here (Sefer Hazikkaron)?] It appears to me that its explanation is as follows: [At the plains of Moab, Moses reiterated the majority of the laws of the Torah to the Israelites before their entry into the land of Israel, this reiteration comprising most of the Book of Deuteronomy. Now,] since we do not find the laws of Shemittah [“release”] of land reiterated on the plains of Moab in Deuteronomy, we learn that its general principles, finer details, and explanations were all stated at Sinai. Scripture states this [phrase] here to teach us that [just as in the case of Shemittah,] every statement [i.e., every commandment] that was conveyed to Moses came from Sinai, [including] their general principles and finer details [and that the commandments delineated in Deuteronomy were merely] repeated and reviewed on the plains of Moab [not originally given there].
בהר סיני: מה ענין שמיטה אצל הר סיני, והלא כל המצות נאמרו מסיני, אלא מה שמיטה נאמרו כללותיה ופרטותיה ודקדוקיה מסיני, אף כולן נאמרו כללותיהן ודקדוקיהן מסיני, כך שנויה בתורת כהנים. ונראה לי שכך פירושה לפי שלא מצינו שמיטת קרקעות שנשנית בערבות מואב במשנה תורה, למדנו שכללותיה ופרטותיה כולן נאמרו מסיני, ובא הכתוב ולמד כאן על כל דבור שנדבר למשה שמסיני היו כולם כללותיהן ודקדוקיהן, וחזרו ונשנו בערבות מואב:

2Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to the Lord.
בדַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֤י תָבֹ֨אוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י נֹתֵ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם וְשָֽׁבְתָ֣ה הָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַֽיהֹוָֽה:
a Sabbath to the Lord: For the sake of the Lord, just as is stated of the Sabbath of Creation (see Exod. 20:10) [i.e., just as every seventh day is a holy Sabbath day, acclaiming that God Himself rested on the seventh day and thus acclaiming that God is the Supreme Creator of all existence, likewise, man must rest from working the land on the seventh year, for the sake of God, not for the sake of the land, so that it should gain fertility by lying fallow for a year]. — [Sifthei Chachamim ; Torath Kohanim 25:7]
שבת לה': לשם ה', כשם שנאמר בשבת בראשית:

3You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in its produce,
גשֵׁ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ תִּזְרַ֣ע שָׂדֶ֔ךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹ֣ר כַּרְמֶ֑ךָ וְאָֽסַפְתָּ֖ אֶת־תְּבֽוּאָתָֽהּ:

4But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest a Sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field, nor shall you prune your vineyard.
דוּבַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗ת שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה לָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה שָֽׂדְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔ע וְכַרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תִזְמֹֽר:
Yes, I understand that for even the most Torah observant and learned Jew living out of the Land of Israel, the Laws of Shmitta appear theoretical and even irrelevant. This was certainly even more so a thousand years ago, the time of Rashi, when nobody could seriously envision fruitful Jewish agriculture and a Jewish State in the Holy Land, Land of Israel. Christian crusaders had been invading and destroying much of the Land of Israel in the name of their god. Jewish Life was under attack all over the world, especially in the Holy Land. Christian and Muslim theologians needed to prove that Judaism was dead and they were the god appointed replacements. Of course, they would then have to fight each other for the ultimate title.

A hundred and fifty years ago the Zionist Movement brought a new relevance to Shmitta and all other Torah Commandments, mitzvot that can only be observed in the Land of Israel. Close to three years ago I reviewed Rebels in the Holy Land - Mazkeret Batya - An Early Battleground for the Soul of Israel, which tells of how the pioneers who established Mazkeret Batya risked everything to revive the mitzvah of Shmitta.

Poskim, rabbis who are considered as qualified/learned to make decisions based on the Torah, must look seriously at the new realities of today and not base their decisions on Jewish Life of a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, before the Establishment of the State of Israel and even before Israel's miraculously victory in the Six Days War. The Establishment of the State of Israel and the post-Six Day War were major game-changers for the Jewish People. Gd gave us the Torah to be lived in our world, not to be rooted to the past. We are now sovereign in the Land of Israel, and it's time for all Jews to come home. Otherwise, you may miss the boat.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Likud Voters Voted Bibi But Got Benny Gantz

This is my local synagogue, locked and blocked during the corona lock-down. This is used for illustrative purposes only. BTW it may remind you that during the corona crises, Naftali Bennett has worked hard, efficiently and effectively for the health of the State of Israel.
Israel's new government, soon to sworn in, led yet again by Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu will have an outrageously large number of ministers to satisfy/tempt/pay off the politicians and parties Bibi wanted in his coalition. Chareidi party leaders were even surprised at how easy it was this time to get the assignments they wanted. In addition, Blue and White's Benny Gantz was given crucial positions which had been promised to the Right, meaning Likud or Yemina. According to reports Gantz has veto power.

Something stinks.

Yemina leaders Naftali Bennett and crew have spent the past few months working hard showing their loyalty to the bloc Bibi had been touting. But what did Yemina get from Bibi? Zilch! Nothing. The publicized offers aren't even worth mentioning, so insulting. There seems to be something "personal" in it. One can insult and malign Netanyahu as Gantz has been doing the past couple of years, and Bibi will forgive. But if someone works hard and well and is a generation younger, Bibi feels threatened so "off with his head."

Quite a few people wanted Yemina but voted Likud. What a shame. They got the other Binyamin,  Gantz instead of Netanyahu.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Good Corona COVID-19 News is Conditional



Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu made a major announcement last night that Corona  COVID-19 restrictions will be eased-not erased here, but...

Yes, but if three things happen, we'll be back to the lock-down.
  1. 100 new cases of Corona  COVID-19 in a day, not counting those returning from abroad or living in one of the high risk communities. 
  2. Doubling of new cases of Corona  COVID-19 within ten 10 days.
  3. The daily number/count of those seriously ill with Corona  COVID-19 is two hundred and fifty 250.
This makes sense to me. Gd willing, 1- wear a mask, 2- keep one's distance and 3- basic good hygiene will keep us all healthy.


We must still be masked, or the virus will spread, and we'll be back to lock-down restrictions. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Disgusted With The Latest Coalition News in Israel

I really am disgusted, and that's why I haven't blogged about it of late. I had been hoping that Bibi-Likud would have just made a tighter coalition. He could have made Gantz beg, certainly not offer so many ministerial posts and power.

Would you prefer another round of elections?

To be perfectly honest, I would have preferred a fourth round of elections.

Considering all that's going on with corona aka COVID-19 and security, the State of Israel is doing so much better than other countries.

My guess is that the Judicial is conspiring against Bibi, and he needs the backing of Gantz and crew. Latest news is that Mandelblit says that Bibi Netanyahu is legally permitted to form a new government. That's after Bibi got Gantz, Ashkenazi and Labor to join up with him.

Something stinks. It's that simple. Eventually we'll find out more of what's behind this.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת is Not Leprosy!


Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת is not leprosy!

I'm glad that the Chabad Tanach editors just transliterate the word Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת rather than misleading people into thinking that it's a medical condition.

Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת doesn't exist today. For those who like to equate it with all sorts of skin diseases and conditions, sorry but you're totally wrong.

Chazal, our sages tell us that "Gd first creates the cure then the disease." The cure and diagnosis of Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת was by the Kohen, Priest from the Beit Hamikdash, Holy Temple. Once they Priests no longer functioned in such a way, then there was nobody to even diagnose Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת. So without a diagnosis/cure, the condition could no longer exist.

Yes, it's that simple.

I believe that the early christian theologians and Bible translators found it necessary to give the condition a medical name. Since they did this after Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת no longer existed they had to make it look like it was something current. Also, theologically they had absolutely now way of relating to Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת.

Maybe when we have the Third Temple, Tzara'at צָרָ֑עַת will return.

Monday, April 20, 2020

What Do You Think? 4th Elections or Will Bibi Gather 61+ Or Will Bibi and Gantz Make a Deal*?


*When I wrote the post below just an hour or so ago, I didn't even think there was a chance that Bibi would trust Gantz. Honestly, I wouldn't trust him. But it looks like they actually will sign some sort of agreement for an emergency/unity government.

Rather crazy here in Israel. You'd think Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu had enough to do trying to make the safest possible policies for the citizens and residents of the State of Israel during "corona crisis." Whether Bibi wants to or not, he's still just an "interim" Prime Minister, since he hasn't officially formed a coalition.

Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party have fallen apart. Ditto for the party Labor's Peretz had formed with Orly Levi. Naftali Bennett and what remains of the NRP seem to change with each election. But Bibi and the Likud have been pretty stable, though Gidon Saar did try to usurp the top spot. You may think that usurp isn't the correct word, but the timing was totally bad, and I lost any respect I had for Saar. I feel that his challenge was bad for the Likud at a time when loyalty was needed.

So, what do you think? Will we have to go to elections yet again, or will Bibi manage to gather enough stray MKs to present a government coalition of 61+?

Please write your vote in the comments, thanks.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Israel, The Only Jewish Country, Model Seder on National Television

Israel's President Ruby Rivlin

Model Seder, 5780, 2020, Channel 11
Model Seder, 5780, 2020, Channel 11
Wednesday, soon before Passover, 5780, 2020, began, there was a lovely, traditional "Model Seder" on Israel's Channel 11. Various entertainers, plus Israel's President Ruby Rivlin "beamed in" participated in a national Pesach Seder.

It's in times like this when we're reminded that Israel is the only Jewish country in the world. Granted that it's too easy to complain; people sure do.

I was going to blog about politics. But in these difficult corona, COVID-19, times, I really think it's better to write about something good and encouraging. In addition, when Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu explained the corona lock-down restrictions, he related them to the Passover holiday and family observances.

Let's look at the good and our blessings. One thing for sure, modern technology has made these restrictions much easier to bear. What do you think?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Simple COVID-19, Corona Life Saving Measure: Wear a Mask!

Surviving and being a good neighbor/citizen in the time of COVID-19, Corona requires wearing a mask. You don't need to spend money to get a mask. If everyone masks up, we'll all be safer and healthier!

You don't need to spend money on a fancy manufactured mask. I've cut up ripped sheets.

Here's my husband in one of my scarves

The "masked bandit" look is the rage nowadays, though too few people are following the rules.

I keep a bag of scarves and large pieces of cloth on the doorknob, on the inside of the front door.

When we come back home, we put the "mask" in the laundry and wash our hands with soap and water.

Since we live in a private house in Shiloh, which is rather rural/suburban, we don't need to be in a dangerous elevator or closed stairwell to leave home. This is a safety luxury that not all people can enjoy. I honestly don't know what I would do if leaving home was more dangerous.

As a senior citizen who does everything in my power to stay fit and healthy, walking isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. When I see adults and children out without masks, they are endangering everyone's health. Young people can carry the virus and infect others without any symptoms at all. It is necessary to wear masks, no matter how "good" you feel.

Here are the Israeli regulations:
Going Out to Public Space
  • Going out in public is not allowedexcept for one of the following purposes:
    • Going to and returning from the work place, as permitted by regulations
    • Purchase of food, medicines, essential products and receiving vital services
    • Receiving medical service
    • Blood donation
    • Receiving welfare services
    • Providing medical or other assistance to another person
    • An individual, or people who live in the same household, may go out for a short time and up to a distance of 100 meters
    • For purposes of immersion in a women’s mikveh with a prearranged appointment.
    • Transfer of a minor to educational facilities, solely for children of essential employees and special facilities (in accordance with Public Health Ordinance order)
    • Transfer of a minor, whose parents live separately, by one of his parents to the home of the other parent
    • Transfer of a minor whose guardian must leave for an essential need where there is no responsible person to watch the child
    • Legal processes
    • Demonstrations
    • Going to the Knesset
  • A distance of at least 2 meters must be maintained between two people in public and at work.
  • In public one must wear a protective mask, covering the nose and mouth. It is recommended to use a home-made cloth mask or a regular mask, fitted over the nose and mouth. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Counting The Omer, Easier Than Trying to Calculate The End of Corona Lock-down

Here we are a week before Passover aka Pesach, and this used to* be the season when we'd sign up for various reminders to help us remember to Count The Omer, Sefirat Ha'Omer, the seven weeks, forty-nine 49 days between the second night of Passover and the Eve of Shavuot.
*Why did I write "used to?"
I wrote "used to," because today when most everyone has some sort of cell phone with alarm clock, you can just set your phone to be your daily alarm.
This method is fine on week nights, but it doesn't work Shabbat and the eve of the last night of Passover. I came up with a simple method that works for me.
I hang up a sign across from where I like to sit in the living room. As you can see, before  Shabbat or the holiday, I write the number of the Omer I must count. I've found that to be a very reliable reminder. 
Counting the Omer was one of the most difficult mitzvot for me to observe in the early decades of my being Torah observant.

When I became religious in the mid-1960s, there was no reminder system. Only men who went to the synagogue every night to doven/pray Ma'ariv with a minyon had it as their easy to remember routine.

I didn't succeed in counting the Omer until our son-in-law came on the scene and signed us up for reminders with the cell phone company he was then working for. It was around the same time email reminders had begun, but I didn't check my email as often as I do now. So email wasn't the best, just better than nothing.

Maybe I'm the only one who has already lost track of how many days/weeks we've been on this corona lock-down, living with what was once unimaginable restrictions. Not only don't we know when it's going to end, we're constantly being warned that the noose aka restrictions maybe getting tighter.

Most people can adjust to something difficult when they know how long it will last. But even with all the complicated computations and guesswork the experts have been coming up with, there are too many unknowns to factor in for any accuracy. Another issue is that the virus is affecting various countries differently.

We must combine strict obedience and "letting go." There certainly is an inconsistency in that. But that's how we must live in the near future. We must make our efforts, mask ourselves when outside and stay inside as much as possible. Instead of doing our own shopping and choosing the choicest fruits and vegetables, we send in our orders and thank the staff of the local store. It's a new life for us.

Trust and faith are all we can control.

Chazal, our sages tell us that the plague, epidemic, which caused the death of thousands of Rabbi Akiva's students ended Shavuot. That's one of the reasons we count the Omer until then.

Gd willing we'll celebrate the end of this modern plague במהירה בימינו bimhaira biyameinu, speedily in our days.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Good News: Blue and White Disintegrated

Many people are describing Benny Gantz joining a coalition with the Likud and the disintegration of Blue and White as:
"Gantz blinked first."
Gabi Ashkenazi at Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by Batya Medad
But I really think that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "I'm too busy running the country in these difficult times" actions, ignoring Gantz was even more powerful than the classic "staring contest." Honestly, how long can even a political newbie/lightweight like Benny Gantz stare at a blank wall?

I also wonder if Gabi Ashkenazi had anything to do with Gantz's finally giving in. Ashkenazi is the only one of quartet to be joining Gantz in the coalition.
Gabi Ashkenazi at Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by Batya Medad

Gabi Ashkenazi at
Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions football game,
when our sons played on
the same team, 12/2010,
Photo by unknown. That's me with
the pink gloves.
As you can see in the photos, there was a time when Gabi Ashkenazi and I cheered together for the same football team.  Our sons were top players together on the IFL Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions, that's American tackle football. He liked to sit right behind us, and never put on "airs." At the time Ashkenazi was head of the IDF, but he made time for cheering the team.

At this point most Israelis are sick and tired of all the political bickering and shenanigans, and we certainly don't want more elections.

The corona virus aka COVID-19 lock-down is causing us enough stress, and here in Israel, even the less Torah observant want to prepare in some way for Passover. Few people have sympathy for the MKs and party leaders who are looking for ways to gain political power during these difficult times. Even those who didn't vote for Bibi/Likud are impressed by how hard his team is working to get us through this epidemic with minimal casualties.  Other countries are in much worse shape.

It's Friday, and corona/COVID-19 or not, Shabbat will be in a few hours. May it be peaceful and healing.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Travels With Sushi, A Fable, Genre: Harry Potter

I'm going to tell you the truth. I almost didn't take up the offer to accept Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind by Eduard Shyfrin for reviewing. It was described as a children's book that explained "maths and quantum physics" in a unique way. In all honesty, that's neither my specialty nor interest. I have grandchildren who are more talented and knowledgeable about sciences than me, so I had an ulterior motive for taking the book. As soon as I finish writing this book review, I'm going to find a way to pass it to them.

To my great enjoyment and utter surprise, I discovered that Travels with Sushi is much, much more than a children's "science book." It's a fable about the Jewish People, our enemies and the Bible. There's no way I'm wrong about this. Many of the characters have names and characteristics similar to biblical figures. Yes, it can't be an unintentional coincidence. In a addition, they play similar roles in both narratives.

Aaron and Stella, the brother-sister pair are the main characters. They love and eat sushi, but they don't eat it with shrimp. Hmm what does that make you think of? This Aaron, like the biblical one, partners up with a sibling. But instead of brother Moses, he works with sister Stella. Could the name Stella come from the biblical Esther? Maybe.

Travels with Sushi includes lots of magic, which should attract the Harry Potter fans. Aaron and Stella end up in a mysterious frightening, dangerous world after eating special sushi. There's a Supreme Ruler and a Book and the "good guys" being attacked; BTW they don't eat shrimp. Aaron and Stella must rescue them before their memories are stolen.

The reader follows Aaron and Stella around as they together and separately outsmart the Black Queen and the Mushi. The White Queen is the good one, and they're helped by other characters, including Josh and Valeb. Could they be modeled and named for Joshua and Caleb of biblical fame?

Pretty much locked down in my house because of the corona virus, I see streets, parks, playgrounds here in Shiloh are hauntingly empty. This short passage from Travels with Sushi was very apropos to what's going on around me.

I must say that I truly enjoyed reading  Travels with Sushi. For those of us attracted to character and plot, the physics and math don't stand out. It's suitable for older children, precocious younger readers and makes a great book to read to your children, too. I also recommend it for an EFL book report, so it'll be sent to my grandchildren, Gd willing.

Here's an interview with the author Eduard Shyfrin and the facebook page.

  • Publisher: White Raven Publishing (October 3, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912892154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912892150
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Letter to The Jerusalem Post: Shocked by Yaakov Katz's Op-Ed

Editor's Notes: Politicizing a health crisis


From the first few lines of Yaakov Katz's op-ed in Friday's paper, I was sure he'd mention the old standby "Don't change horses mid-stream," but instead he attacked the Likud and not Blue and White. Maybe Katz doesn't quite understand the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis that is endangering the State of Israel, and most of the world.

Compared to most countries, Israel is doing an extraordinarily good job in keeping things under control, bringing back stranded citizens and caring for the ill. This isn't a time to change governments, even if Blue and White had received many more Knesset seats than Likud. We all know that not only didn't they receive as many as Likud, but Gantz had promised not to add the Joint List to his coalition. The only ones playing politics in this time of national and international crisis are the supporters of Benny Gantz.

If Gantz and crew really cared about the State of Israel at this point they would have immediately gone to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and offered to join an Emergency National Unity Government in any capacity needed for the sake of the citizens and residents. But they haven't. They and their followers are the ones playing politics, caring only for their personal egos and ambitions. 

Batya Medad
Shiloh

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Facebook Rescinded Ban

former title:
According to Facebook, One Can't Mention Biden's Age


I'm in shock. According to Facebook I've gone against "community standards." All I did was share an article from The NY Post, The best and worst of Joe Biden put on display during whirlwind day by John Podhoretz to facebook and write:
It's a real shocker for me. For over a decade I figured there'd never again be an American Presidential race in which both candidates are older than I am. Joe Biden is 7 years my senior, while Donald Trump is only 3 years older than me, four years younger than Biden. If Biden's elected, he'll be over 80 before his four years as POTUS are up. In case you're wondering, Bibi is just a few months younger than me. And I'm happily retired. Why should they all want the pressure after 70?
What's wrong with it? I don't see any "spam" in what I wrote. I'm almost 71, not a kid, so why can't I mention age?




What do you think?

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Truth About Purim, Via Facebook Live

Reflecting on Purim, Corona virus, Jewish History and Jewish Life today.

Just to warn you, I generally come up with unique opinions.

I'd like to know what you think, even if you don't agree with me. Let's agree to disagree, but please listen first.

Have a wonderful week. Stay healthy best you can and keep your sense of humor.



Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Gantz-Arab Gov't, Not a Purim Joke

Benny Gantz making his big announcement
(yes, we still watch an old-fashioned tv set)
Things are looking worse and worse for Israel as Benny Gantz seems to be crossing his original "red line" in terms of counting on the extreme Left anti-Israel Arab party aka the Joint List to shore up his coalition. I don't know what deal/promises the backers/funders/organizers of Blue & White demanded of its so-called leadership, but Gabi Ashkenazi isn't letting principles get in his path to power.
MK Gabi Ashkenazi, one of the four leaders of the Blue and White party, expressed his opposition to the establishment of a minority government with the support of the predominantly Arab Joint List party in closed talks between the four leaders, Channel 13 News reported Monday.
However, if such a move is promoted, Ashkenazi does not intend to vote against it and prevent the establishment of such a government, the report said.
Some of Blue & White's Telem MKs are also having trouble accepting such a coalition, and their leader,  Moshe Bogie Yaalon wants them to resign, rather than stick to their principles.

Here in the Jewish Calendar, the Jewish World, it's Purim. Purim celebrates the story of how a Jewish woman, in disguise, ended up reversing an evil decree against the Jewish People.

Gd willing, we will see some Blue and White MKs act as true leaders and not followers. I just hope that that very male party has the strength, daring, cunning and strong principles of the very female Queen Esther.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Coalition or Round 4? What do You Think?

Like the vast majority of Israelis, I voted on Monday in the third Knesset elections in less than a year. And at least the party I chose to vote for had enough votes, so mine wasn't wasted.

Unfortunately, even though this time Bibi's Likud got a few more seats than Gantz's Blue & White, his potential coalition partners are still a few seats too small for a government of sixty-one or more Knesset Members. Gd willing there will be some MKs from a "Center" party willing to work together with Bibi.

One big improvement this time round was that there's much less election litter scattered before and after voting. Here in Shiloh I saw stuff from Yemina, Otzma and United Torah Judaism.

But the dirt coming out of Gantz's mouth hasn't ceased. The main message/aim of his election campaign has been trying to keep Bibi Netanyahu out of office. It's very much a one issue party. Gantz has never shown that he's capable of handling all the responsibilities of a Prime Minister.

I have no "inside information." I wouldn't try to predict what's going to be. Never had I thought that we'd have three elections in one year.

Let's just hope and pray that Netanyahu and his team manage to craft/negotiate a strong, long-lasting coalition to successfully manage the needs of the State of Israel.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

True "Democracy" is Neither Right, Left or Center

"Democracy" or "democratic" is actually more a mathematical concept than political ideology. Any political party that describes, or labels itself as "democratic" is and oxymoron, just throwing around popular terms.
Definition of democracy

1a: government by the people especially : rule of the majority
b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
Simply put. There is a vote, and the majority rules. Some countries have a "winner takes all" system like the United States. A candidate can lose by just a handful of votes or get a fraction of the winner's number, and he/she is totally out of the picture.

In Israel there is "proportional representation." This is actually the most democratic system of all. We have a parliament, The Knesset, of one hundred and twenty 120 members. The candidates run on party lists, which are generally ideological. It is no longer possible for a "one person party" to get in by receiving .833% of the vote. Now the minimum percentage has been raised so there won't be any tiny parties. But still there is a recognized Opposition, In the Israeli system, the losers also have a right to be heard and not only during election campaigns.

Tomorrow here in Israel there will be elections yet again. The past two elections didn't result in enough Knesset Members willing to work together in a coalition. It can be considered an electoral "still birth."

Gd willing, we'll nave a good healthy live coalition to govern the State of Israel after round three.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Elections on Monday- Who's Bringing The Häagen-Dazs?

Too many Israelis are sick and tired of voting. I wonder how low voter turnout will be on Monday. This is our third round of elections in just under a year.

Considering the popular "line"
פעם שלישית גלידהPa'am shlishit glidaThird time ice cream
I am craving Häagen-Dazs.


And politically speaking, I'm disappointed that Gantz was smart enough to refuse Bibi's offer for a debate, sans notes, computer, earphones etc. Do you now why?

Even more than I hope that the parties on the Left get fewer votes, I really pray that Lieberman loses completely. He's the cause of this mess, because he backtracked on joining a coalition with Likud. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Blessed Rain on Rosh Chodesh Adar, Next Nissan

Today I found myself dovening and singing Hallel alone at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. Rain began before I got to our usual place, so I picked the first sheltered spot. The rain was gentle during my walk but picked up in intensity while I prayed. I even heard thunder.

It's winter, so rain is a blessing. The beautiful almond blossoms kept me from feeling lonely. Our year is progressing with lots of blessed and needed rain.


In just over four weeks, we'll be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Join us for Women's Prayers.

Gd willing we'll have our Women's Rosh Chodesh Nissan Prayers on Thursday, March 26, 2020, First of Nissan 5780, 8:30 in the morning at Ancient Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

בע"ה, תפילת נשים ראש חודש ניסן
א' ניסן תש"פ 8:30 בבוקר
שילה הקדומה, תל שילה
For more information, email shilohmuse@gmail.com
לפרטים נוספים shilohmuse@gmail.com 

Visitors come from all over the world to see the wonders of Biblical Shiloh. You can hire a private guide or just follow the signs. For more information contact 02-5789122 or visit@telshilo.org.il. The site is open on weekdays. There's also a gift shop, and snack bar.

Our women's prayer group sings Hallel out loud and prays the other prayers silently and individually.


Monday, February 24, 2020

GUEST POST: Please pray for

Please pray for these children:
====================================
Elisheva bas Yehudis Raizl
[less than one year old]
====================================
Sarah Frayda bas Ruchama Devorah
[less than two years old]
====================================
Eliyahu Meir ben Sarah
[less than seven years old]
==================================== 
Please also pray for their grandmother:
Yehudis Simma bas Rochel Leah
====================================
Thank you.
====================================

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What Did Yitro Hear? Who's Today's Yitro?

I must give this week's Women's Shabbat Class "Shiur." Somehow I had volunteered to be responsible for providing words of Torah every few months. This is to give a needed monthly break to the neighbor who has the difficult task of finding someone each week. Our group started over thirty-eight years ago as a Women's Shabbat Torah Class every Shabbat. Considering how many Tanach, Bible courses I've taken in Matan and prior to that my participation in a weekly Women's Learning "Boker Limud" here in Shiloh, you'd think this a "piece of cake" for me. Gd blessed me with the ability/talent to teach anything I know, but I always feel challenged when I have to teach Tanach to my well-educated neighbors who grew up learning it in their native Hebrew. But for some inexplicable reason, they consider me capable of teaching them something new.

Since last week, Parshat Shavua, Weekly Torah Portion Yitro, I keep thinking about the reactions of other religions and people to what has been happening to the Jewish People since the mid-twentieth century, specifically the miraculous Establishment of the State of Israel and the equally miraculous victories in 1967 and 1973. This is my lifetime. I was born just a year after the State of Israel. I came of age with the liberation of our Biblical Homeland and has been living in Holy Shiloh for almost forty years.

Even more than being in the front row of Jewish History, I guess I'm a participant, albeit a "bit player."
Shmot- Exodus 18
וַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע יִתְר֨וֹ כֹהֵ֤ן מִדְיָן֙ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ לְמֹשֶׁ֔ה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־הוֹצִ֧יא יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃
Jethro priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the LORD had brought Israel out from Egypt.
I plan on showing that this is happening right now. People of all religions are coming here to Israel to learn from us. I see it in Shiloh, which has an active archeological dig where recent discoveries are proving the Biblical narratives correct.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh,
Biblical Shiloh

Also for decades delegations have been coming to Israel to learn various technologies, from high tech to low tech. Koreans are convinced that Talmud learning is good for the mind and come here to learn. Christian scholars are admitting that their theology is faulty, then subsequently convert to Judaism. Noahide groups now exist and more examples. 

I'm requesting your ideas of examples, showing how "modern Yitro's" have heard what has happened to the Jewish People and are subsequently coming to join and help us, like in the days of Moses, Moshe Rabbeinu. Thanks. Please answer in the comments.
in Matan

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Israeli Elections Again, Really?


Rather confusing political times here in Israel. Round three of Israeli Elections is getting even less press time and interest than the "redo" a few months ago.

On the whole, life is going on as usual, although we've been in lame duck or caretaker mode for about a year. Periodically there's some hysterical item in the news about how someone is suffering because without an "official" government certain budgets can't be updated, or something like that. I certainly don't doubt that the situation is affecting people, but we have MKs and Ministers etc.

Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is still the Prime Minister and still makes government policy decisions. Wannabe PM Benny Gantz seems even less impressive as time goes on. And his backup squad can only be described as pathetic.

Netanyahu is just a few months younger than I am. Honestly, I don't know from where he gets his energy. I'm happily lazily retired. So far he seems able to go on forever, but when the time comes for him to retire, there are quite a few potential replacements from the political Right. The Right, as we'll refer to it-- meaning Likud -- see themselves as responsible for governing all Israelis, regardless of nationality, politics and religious observance. The Blue & White Party plus those further to the Left campaign hatred, and that is bad for the State of Israel.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a great fan of Bibi, Likud and Yemina, but as I've written previously, sometimes you have to hold your nose. The Israeli political system requires compromise and working as a team. It's the real world.

In a few weeks we'll be having elections yet again here in Israel. I vote Häagen-Dazs. I just hope to find a way to get some here in Shiloh. Gd willing, third time will be the charm. I can't think of the right joke to pin onto a fourth election.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A TV Show Instrumental in Changing My Life

I decided to blog about this, because


As I began on facebook...
A gazillion years ago, before most of you were born, there was a Jewish tv show on Sunday afternoons, and I'll blog about it and then put the link up here.
...When I was a little girl, in the middle of the previous century, Sundays in the USA were different from the other days of the week. The country was much more Christian. People were expected to be with their families on Sunday. Stores were closed. Only Jewish stores which had been closed on Friday night and Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath were allowed to open.

There was a different television schedule. Sundays, on one of the less commercial channels, there was a Jewish television show called The Eternal Light produced in conjunction with the Jewish Theological Seminary. Sometimes, out of boredom, I watched it. My family was not religious. We were members of a Conservative shul, because its relatively traditional ways of keeping Judaism and the fact that it didn't expect the members to keep kashrut, Shabbat and Jewish Holidays at home made my parents feel welcome. In those days, it was believed by most that Orthodox Judaism was on its way out, and Conservative Judaism was the Jew of the future. JTS was very strong and growing.

The episode on The Eternal Light that was Instrumental in Changing My Life must have been broadcast around the time of the production of the Diary of Anne Frank as a play. The play and the Anne Frank story got a lot of publicity, and I must have heard about it also in whatever Sunday School or Hebrew School I was attending in Oakland Jewish Center, Bayside, NY.

All I remember from the episode is a couple of men talking about what happened to Anne Frank and her family and what it had been like for Jews under the Nazis. There was a man who said very proudly and firmly:
"If I was forbidden to light the Chanukah Menorah, I wouldn't be afraid; I would light one even if it endangered my life."
His friend asked: "Do you light the Chanukah Menorah here in America?"
"No."
"Why don't you light it here, where you are permitted?"
That short dialogue stayed in my mind for years.  It was certainly one of the first little "seeds" planted in my mind about living a more Jewish Life. After we moved from Bayside to Great Neck we joined an Orthodox synagogue simply for financial reasons. The Great Neck Synagogue had an active NCSY chapter which I became a member of. I also went to YU Seminars. By the time I had graduated high school, I was a Torah Observant Jew. Considering that I remember the show all these decades later, it's clear that it was Instrumental in Changing My Life.