Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Israeli Public Must Choose Between Compromising Ideals & Infinite Elections Ad Nauseum



I think even the most experienced and capable of political pundits here in Israel are getting dizzy from all these useless elections. Not too many years ago, the minimum vote percentage a party needed to get Knesset seats was raised just to prevent a situation like we have now. But it seems like a political party of four plus seats is as stubborn and unrealistic, if not more, as single MK parties.

No matter how you play with the numbers/MKs, the only way a working/viable/realistic coalition can be formed is for party leaders and MKs to go against their sworn ideals/platform. Some MKs will need to leave their parties and join this unity coalition. 

For me to say this isn't easy. I'm an idealist, a purist, but I'm also a pragmatist. 

As a pragmatist I'm sure that over sixty elected Members of Knesset can find some basic workable positions in terms of economics, security, development policies that can be the basis of a lasting, at least for four/five years government coalition. It shouldn't be top heavy expensive with Ministers, like that monstrous ineffective farcical Bibi-Gantz agreement. Committee chairmanships should be the "diamonds on the crown." The public will like that much better. It's in the committees where the real work is done.

Gd willing, that's what we'll soon see. Let them leave their egos behind. The State of Israel needs unity not infinite elections.

Monday, March 29, 2021

On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, Book Review

On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, by Dr. Ann Heberlein (Author), Alice Menzies (Translator) is a very readable book. I really must make a point of say that. I also have to admit that it is a much, much more interesting and compelling read than I had expected. I had feared it would be a heavy tome in weight and serious verbiage, but it's barely three hundred 300 pages including index and bibliography. And even more important, it's beautifully written and translated for ordinary people like myself. It doesn't read like an academic doctoral thesis. 

So before I tell you about Hannah Arendt as depicted in On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, I want to make it very clear that I highly recommend the book. Buy it for yourself and as gifts for others.

I must confess that besides Arendt's name being vaguely familiar, I knew absolutely nothing about her before reading this biography. Hannah Arendt was born 1906 in Germany and had to flee the Nazis as a young woman, already involved in academic life. At first she thought she could stay in Europe, but  was forced to finally make her way to New York. No doubt an adventurous suspense-filled movie could be made about that part of her life, which included finding her husband and mother after they had all been separated.

It's now the Passover Holiday, which celebrates the exodus from Egypt, though it is said that only one fifth of the Jewish People left with Moses and Aaron. It has always seemed so hard to believe. How could anyone prefer slavery? But, davka, Heberlein tells us that when Arendt and all the other prisoners had the opportunity to leave Camp Gurs, the internment camp in which she had been imprisoned, "only two hundred out of seven thousand" left when they had the opportunity. 

page 105

That's a lot less than one fifth. This fact in On Love and Tyranny is something I've been mentioning a lot when discussing the Haggadah and Passover. 

The prisoners seemed more afraid of freedom than they were of the approaching Nazis. Arendt was in a small minority. 

After trying to find refuge in Europe, she, her mother and husband fled to the United States. It wasn't an easy trip, but they finally arrived. In America they all had to learn a new language and build their careers from scratch. Yes, Hannah Arendt did the impossible and built a very successful life in America.

In  On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, you will learn of her private life, husbands, lovers, philosophical controversies and more. Arendt was a most fascinating woman who survived very dangerous and challenging times.

Product details

  • Publisher : Anansi International; Translation edition (January 5, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1487008112
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1487008116

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hours to Go Before We Vote...


In just thirty-six 36 hours citizens of the State of Israel will go to the polling stations to vote for a new Knesset and Gd willing a viable new coalition government. 

We vote for the pieces... meaning we choose a political party, and depending on what percentage of the total votes it gets*, those on its list will become MKs Knesset Members. It can be as little as zero or as many as a few dozen. 

Then, after we vote and the votes are counted, the wheeling and dealing start in earnest. Usually the political party that ends up with the most votes MKs can manage to craft a coalition, but there have been exceptions. 

One of the big difficulties is that not all political parties even have a chance of being part of a coalition. The Arab parties have almost no chance of being included. The main reason is that it goes against their basic party platform. And the second is that some political parties won't sit in a coalition with an Arab party, since they promote the destruction of the State of Israel. Arab MKs can be in the coalition as members of regular Israeli political parties.

Another political party which has a small chance of being included is Avigdor Yvette Lieberman's party Yisrael Beiteinu. He has a hard core of voters who give him, according to the latest polls, seven seats. He's more a spoiler than a kingmaker. His leaving the coalition a couple of years ago was the cause of the spate of recent elections. I don't trust Lieberman. He's neither right nor left, just an anarchist.

Even though there are four people running for the position of Prime Minister, in actuality we  can't vote for any of them. We vote for a party list and hope and pray that our choice party will be part of the ruling coalition.

Who's going to win? That's a good question. So far, ever since Yvette Lieberman broke up the last "normal" government, the citizens of the State of Israel have lost every election. 

I don't take polls seriously, since they're just polls. But if you want to see what the polls are showing then check out Jeremy's blog.

My educated guess and gut feeling are that the actual count won't be completed until next week. There will be many more "double envelope votes" than usual. All of those soldier, hospital, jail, special COVID corona and quarantine polling stations will allow people to vote with a double envelop. Each outer envelope will have the person's ID number which has to be checked against the master list of those who voted in their official location. This is a very time-consuming process. If the ID number doesn't show up, then the ballot envelope is collected to be counted. And then all kosher votes are added and calculated, and then we'll know who the next one hundred and twenty 120 Knesset Members will be.

I don't think that the party leaders will have much of a Passover Vacation. But since all I can do is vote once and then pray... I'll enjoy the holiday.

PS In case you're wondering, I'm voting Yamina ב that's Naftali Bennett's party. Here's the reason why.

*Actually the calculation is a bit more complicated, since not all parties get enough votes to have representation. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Rosh Chodesh Nissan- Month of Miracles

Every month, the first of the Jewish Month, Rosh Chodesh, we, a number of women from The Shiloh-Eli area, sometimes more and sometimes fewer, gather at the Place the Mishkan, Tabernacle rested for almost four hundred years, in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, to pray together. The Bible tells of Hannah praying there for a son after many years of being barren. A son was subsequently born to her, Samuel The Prophet who led the Jewish People from the anarchy of Judges to the rule of the Davidic Monarchy.

Here we are Rosh Chodesh Nissan at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is a well developed archeological site open to visitors on weekdays. There's lots to see and do. Phone: 02-5789122, visit@telshilo.org.il.

Tel Shiloh is the actual location of the Biblical Shiloh

Next Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers:
Rosh Chodesh 1st of Iyyar 5781
Tuesday April 13, 2021 8:30am
All Invited

תפילת ראש חודש נשים
ראש חודש א' אייר תשפ"א
יום ג' 12\04\2021 8:30
כולן מוזמנות


On Rosh Chodesh Nissan I was overjoyed to see students from girls high schools walking to the site of the Mishkan for festive prayers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Will The March 2021 Elections Be Better Than The March 2020 Elections?

March 2020 Elections

Will The March 2021 Elections Be Better Than The March 2020 Elections?

That Is The Question...

After a year of COVID corona, the world seems a bit shaky. 

Today in Matan listening to a Bible class, taught by Dr. Yael Ziegler, about Noach and family hesitatingly leaving the ark, we could easily relate. Even though most adults are fully vaccinated against COVID corona, we haven't yet resumed our previous level of socializing. Most of us are still pretty solitary, unless zooming, whatsapping or writing or phoning. Our tables are still pretty empty of guests, and we haven't had a Shabbat meal at neighbors for over a year.

It's hard to believe that in less than two weeks, we'll be voting in Knesset Elections. Will we be required to remove our masks so the "officials" can match our faces to our Identity Cards?

And even more important:

Will sixty plus 60+ of the resulting one hundred and twenty 120 Members of Knesset be able to come to some viable coalition agreement?

We the citizens of the State of Israel want a viable government with strong leadership to steer our precious country to security, sovereignty and good health.

I will vote for a political party that has positions, a platform and plans, not for a party that just says "NOT BIBI."  To be honest, I do feel that it's time for Bibi Netanyahu to retire. He's a few months younger than I am and I have no idea where he gets his energy. But energy or not, it's not good for a country to have the same political leader for over a decade. 

I'd like to see Bibi retire with dignity and pass the baton on to the next generation. But I'm not voting for a political party which makes "replacing Bibi" the key issue to their campaign.

For the past decade plus, I've been a member of a small group of women studying the Bible. Right now we're studying Chronicles, which is about the Jewish Kings, the descendants of King David. Some are good, some are bad and some are very, very evil. It's not enough just to put on crown on someone's' head and call him "king." And just because someone wants to be prime minister and has financial backers to cover the expenses of a political party's campaign, doesn't mean he, or she, will do a good job as prime minister or even politician.

Politics is a very complex profession, and here in Israel, because a prime minister must control a coalition it's especially complicated. It can be described as playing a dozen difficult chess games simultaneously. Maybe two dozen would be more accurate

I think it's important to vote for a party headed by a potential prime minister, unless you want Bibi and Likud to continue. As I have already said, it's time for Bibi Netanyahu to retire.

That's why I'm giving my vote to Yemina ב. Of all the wannabes, I prefer Naftali Bennett. 

Bennett had a successful career before he went into politics. He has been working his way up, did a good job when Bibi have him responsibilities and has an excellent team working with him.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Rosh Chodesh Women's Prayers

The Jewish Month of Nissan is rapidly approaching. Ladies, please join us for Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh. 


Rosh Chodesh is traditionally considered a holiday for woman, so take advantage. Come to Holy Shiloh and pray together with us.

Shiloh Hakeduma, the archeological park at Tel Shiloh is a wonderful place. There's lots to do there. If you can't come on Rosh Chodesh, visit a different time. And in case you're wondering, it is the actual location of Biblical Shiloh, a very holy place.  Call 02-5789122 or write  visit@telshilo.org.il.





Sunday, February 28, 2021

Masks- A Linguistic Purim Spiel, Story, Dvar Torah

Bemasked and Bewigged Purim 5781

I was rather surprised and even flattered when a neighbor asked me to prepare something to say about "Masks" for the Old Fogeys' Purim Party. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to be serious, theological or humorous, but I figured that if I asked too many questions, I'd lose the gig.

My mind began racing in all different directions in two languages. Actually, I was thinking in English and translating into Hebrew almost simultaneously. The talk was to be in Hebrew, even though my brain's wiring is primarily English. 

One shouldn't forget that according to some expert linguists, Hebrew is the root/source of all languages. If that's really true, then thinking in English is sort of like thinking in Hebrew. 

Every once in awhile the similarities between English and Hebrew words strike me like a bolt of lightening. When I'm on the Jerusalem Lightrail in Pisgat Zeev I hear:

"פסגת זאב מרכז"

"Pisgat Zeev Merkaz*"

"Pisgat Zeev Market"

Until the lightrail announcement, I had never noticed the similarity between merkaz and market. Remember that markets are in town centers...

Back to masks...

...The job of a mask is to mask is to hide...

OOPS! A mask is a מסכה masecha, but to mask or to hide is להסתיר lihas'tir which unrelated linguistically to מסכה masecha. which has the same root as סוכה succah, which gives us protection. 

By thinking/planning in English I was making no sense in Hebrew. And davka me, who gets all riled up at bad translations causing even theological mistakes. For example a Biblical Prophet, Navi נביא is not a fortune or future teller. He or she is a messenger, a tool Gd uses to pass important warnings to the Jewish People. Because it's always translated into "prophet" meaning teller of the future, now even Hebrew speakers think that the role of a Navi is tell the future.

Mask does sound very much like masecha. Maybe they are related...

Then it hit me! Such siyate d'Shmaya, such irony, too! During this past year masks have been a tool for protection against the COVID corona virus! No longer do we primarily think of a bank robber in a mask. Now we wear masks to stay healthy and keep others healthy. It's for protection, not hiding. 

Hebrew really is the root of all languages.

Stay safe, and wear your mask in public or when with other people.

*Center

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Rosh Chodesh Nissan Prayers at Biblical Shiloh- Save The Date

 

Women's Rosh Chodesh Adar Prayers at Biblical Shiloh were wonderful, perfect weather. Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is the most suitable location for women's prayers. It's where the Mishkan, Tabernacle was localed for close to four hundred years and the same exact place where the Biblical Hannah had prayed for son. 

Now Tel Shiloh is one of the most interesting and well kept Biblical archaeological sites in Israel. There are attractions and activities for people of all ages. 


Next Rosh Chodesh is Nissan, Sunday March 14, 2021, the 1st of Nissan 5781, 8:30am.

ראש חודש ניסן, תפילת נשים א' ניסן תשפ"א יום ראשון 14\03\2021 8:30 בבוקר.

כולן מוזמנות 

Everyone's invited

More info shilohmuse@gmail.com פרטים נוספים


For more information about what to do at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh 025789111, visit@telshilo.org.il.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

My Meeting With The Legendary Leftist Abie Nathan

Abie Nathan's hunger strike of 1978 click for more information about Abie Nathan.

In 1978 Abie Nathan went on a hunger strike for "peace" sic. Nathan was a radical Leftist, and I had no sympathy for his politics, but I loved the music on his pirate radio station.
A good friend called me and asked that I join her to protest Abie Nathan's hunger strike at his tent. We were a few Anglo women manning the counter-demonstration, I being the youngest by a generation. (The older women were younger than I am today.)
Nathan didn't have much of a support crew; I only remember one young girl/woman. She must have felt "threatened" by our superior numbers, and she began to shout out to the passersby:
"Don't listen to those ladies. They're not Israeli!!!"
I don't know what got into me, but I marched into Abie Nathan's tent, where he was resting, and I said to him:
"I don't think you'd like what your young follower is saying. She claims we're not Israeli, because our English is far better than our Hebrew. We're olim, so we're Israeli."
Abie Nathan apologized, agreeing that we are certainly Israelis, and by then the young follower had also entered the tent. She was asked what she had against immigrants and admitted that her parents had made aliyah with her when she was a baby. That meant that she, too, was an olah. I then made the point that our aliyot were superior to hers, since we did it for idealistic reasons. Abie Nathan agreed.
That's my Abie Nathan story.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Letters From Planet Corona- A Book Review

Letters From Planet Corona is a series of "letters" written by Chaya Passow during the first half year plus of the COVID corona pandemic, which has changed our lives in so many ways.  They had been sent out to numerous family and friends, who enthusiastically read them and encouraged her to publish them in book form. Now all of us can buy and read Letters From Planet Corona, which also makes a great present for others.

Chaya Passow is, davka, someone I had known in my teens way back when in the old country, and we had just gotten reacquainted* a short time before COVID corona closed down what we all now refer to as "before" or "normal life." 

It's rather ironic that Chaya began sending out these letters to friends and family, as my blogging went into paralysis of sorts. But I must admit that Chaya's letters are much better than any of my musings aka blogposts. She combines, humor, stories, philosophy, news, religion, fantasy and more.

We can all identify with the subjects and emotions Passow describes in Letters From Planet Corona. I love how she suddenly notices the flowers in front of her building, because on Planet Corona she exits the front door to walk in her immediate neighborhood instead of going out the back to her car. Yes, on Planet Corona our world has shrunken. For many of us, we only travel to go to a doctor or the dentist.

I look forward to seeing Chaya again in person, but in the meantime I've enjoyed getting to know her via Letters From Planet Corona. I'm sure that you will, too; buy her book.

Product details

  • Publisher : City of Gold Press (December 1, 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 239 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9655994058
  • ISBN-13 : 978-9655994056

*Chaya Passow's son plays quarterback for the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions which is coached by my son. Yes, it's a very small world. We had been looking forward to cheering the team onto its fourth straight IFL national championship when all sports activities were stopped in order to prevent/reduce infection.

Monday, February 8, 2021

When Will The COVID "Typhoid Marys" Admit Their Mistakes?

I wear a mask even when walking. Why doesn't everyone wear masks and keep the rules to keep us all safe?

Here in Shiloh, when the COVID corona positive person agrees, there are detailed public announcements that ____ has been diagnosed. 

In addition a list of places where the person had been are listed, and it always says, so far at least:
"wore a mask and behaved according to instructions." 
One thing bothers me. The sum total of those sick and the names announced don't tally. 

Then I realized that not everyone has agreed to have his/her name publicized. OK... 

In cases I've heard of people sick with COVID corona who've refused publication, they've been neighbors who flout the rules. I guess that's why they won't let their names out. 

The announcement would have to give that detail, no masks and mocked the rules. 

I'm waiting for one of those to allow their names to be publicized and then say: 
"Chatati, I've sinned and I'm sorry."
Get Vaccinated!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Plea For Honesty and Openness, Please Admit When COVID Positive

Funeral for illustrative purpose
I should hope that by now everyone, even the most fanatic of the doubters, admits that COVID corona can be very deadly and is extremely contagious.

Here in Shiloh we periodically get notices about neighbors being COVID Positive, meaning that they have been officially diagnosed as sick with corona. 

In the beginning, I was pretty relaxed figuring that not too many neighbors had gotten the disease, since so few names had been released. But then I began to notice a major discrepancy in the numbers of those whose names had been released and the total number announced of  affected people living here in Shiloh. You don't have to be a CPA's daughter like myself to know that the numbers weren't adding up at all. 

Then I discovered something very, very disturbing and worrying. Quite a few people had been refusing to release their names to the general public, insisting that they would let everyone they had been in "close" contact during the crucial contagion days know. Technically, the law is with them on that. But it means that if their family members -including young kids- aren't keeping the legally required quarantine, we innocent/ignorant neighbors have no idea of knowing. That's dangerous, especially since children are known to be asymptomatic COVID Positive in many cases. 

Another "privacy" issue concerns who has been vaccinated and who hasn't?

When I decorated our Shiloh 43rd Birthday/Anniversary poster, I added the "We've Been Vaccinated" sticker I had. I think it's very important to know if someone has or hasn't been vaccinated. Many of us are making great efforts to stay healthy and protect others.

I'm always masked when outdoors and do my best to keep my distance from those whose vaccination and health status are unknown and possibly dangerous. 

IMHO all those men and women too who pray in a minyan, whether inside or outside, must make a public notice if they're confirmed as COVID Positive. The same goes for any staff member in a store or a medical clinic. The health safety of others should override personal privacy. That's why I've written this: 

Plea For Honesty and Openness, Please Admit When COVID Positive

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wintery Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Chodesh Tov!

Today's Rosh Chodesh Shevat, and I had to decide between risking getting soaked and then stuck at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh or just walking to wear I could see the Site of the Biblical Mishkan Tabernacle and pray there. I went for the view of the holy site, rather than risk my health. Judaism stresses that one isn't supposed to risk their heath. That's why today, when group gatherings --including prayers-- are considered possible contagion sources for COVID corona, many people either gather in small minimal groups outdoors or stay home for prayers.


A friend and I joined together via WhatsApp video for Hallel, which we prayed out loud. I don't think anyone was within hearing distance to me. Considering the weather, it was perfect.

Of course the weather did get brighter immediately after we finished, but I expected that. And I also was sure that if I had walked to Shiloh Hakeduma Tel Shiloh it would have rained. One can always count on Murphy's Law

Next Rosh Chodesh will be Adar, which falls on Friday and Saturday/Shabbat, February 12 & 13. So we'll plan on praying together that Friday, 8:30am Gd willing.

בעוד חודש יהיה ראש חודש אדר, ימי שישי ושבת, אז בע"ה נתפלל ביחד בשילה הקדומה ביום ו', 12\02\2021 ב8:30 בבוקר.

In all the years I've been organizing Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh, this is the first year when two months in a row it rained Rosh Chodesh morning. Gd willing this is a good sign for the Land of Israel and the Jewish People.

If you'd like more information about our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, please email me shilohmuse@gmail.com with Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers as subject.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is a wonderful archeological site with lots to see and do. For more information contact 02-5789122,  visit@telshilo.org.il




Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Elections Again? This isn't Some Sort of Joke; Is It?

I don't know why it has taken me so long to blog about the upcoming elections here in Israel. Usually I'm right on the ball, blogging about the politics even before the decision has been made. This time, eh...

Are we all burnt out between elections and COVID corona?

The twenty first century isn't all it was cracked up to be. It's becoming more of a dystopian horror movie, and we're in it whether we like it or not.

The score card is now under "construction" or something like that. MKs and wannabes are scurrying around trying to find the best chance to "live their dream" or extend their minute of fame.

There will be a deadline in another month or so, and by then deals will be made and dozens more polls will be publicized. Political parties may come and go, disappearing without even experiencing a single election on its own, sort of like a miscarriage. 

Veteran parties will join other historic relics in the political cemetery of has-beens. And Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu will attempt to keep on lengthening his record-breaking reign as Israel's longest standing/sitting/ruling Prime Minister.

While most Israelis are trying to stay alive and healthy and financially solvent, it seems that elections are the last thing we need again. But unfortunately, we haven't had a "proper" government for years, ever since Yvette (Avigdor) Lieberman broke up the coalition, if I remember correctly. 

Please BLAME IT ON YVETTE, NOT BIBI. Look, I don't vote Likud, but this whole mess is the fault of Yvette (Avigdor) Lieberman. And the main reason no party leader can put together a viable coalition is that Lieberman's Bayit Yehudi party doesn't join anyone. He's proving himself to be an anarchist, not a believer/follower in the democratic legal system of government.

Gd willing these elections will result in a better mix/choice of MKs who want the best for the State of Israel and not just an ego trip. A coalition must work together for the good of the country, Knesset Members not just the ministers.