Feb 24, 2021

Quote of the Day

Yamina will not sit in a government led by the Left, including Lapid as Prime Minister... he can say what he wants, even that he is a kangaroo. We will not sit in a government led by the Left. We have no problem with Lapid sitting with us in a government.

  -- MK Naftali Bennett (Yamina)

responding to a question if Bennett would sit in a government led by Yair Lapid who claims he is not Left but Right

 




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Interesting Psak: getting drunk on Purim during Corona

Kikar is reporting on an interesting psak issued by several rabonim from Bnei Braq, including Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, Rav Shimon Baadani, Rav Sariel Rosenberg and Rav Yehuda Silman.

The psak the rabbonim issued says that because of Corona people should not get drunk this year on Purim.

What's the connection between Corona and getting drunk on Purim, you might ask?

During Corona if someone gets drunk and clouds his ability to make good decisions he might end up not being careful with the necessary care to be taken to protect oneself from becoming exposed to Corona. This will also cause the infection numbers to rise and will cause a danger to the public.

 Additionally, the rabbonim add, this year with Purim on Friday, getting drunk can possibly lead to chilul shabos.

 

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Book Review: The Israel Bible Scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther)


NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: The Israel Bible Scroll of Esther


I know it is close to Purim already, but you should really do whatever you can to get your copy of this version of the Megillat Esther, The Israel Bible Scroll of Esther, published by Israel365 and Teach for Israel. I just got my review copy last night, so apologies for the last minute review. As soon as I opened the package and took it out I was struck by how stunning it is. 

The megilla is Megillas Esther, and I am sure most of you are familiar with it. I am not going to comment on the translation, but it is from The Israel Bible and that was really well done. The layout makes reading it easy and comfortable, with the Hebrew and English test side by side, accompanied by an interesting commentary below the text. Any verse that has commentary on it below the text is also fully transliterated so it will be easy for people (some of whom might not have strong Hebrew skills) to understand and identify key passages.
The book, Scroll of Esther, was published and dedicated in memory of Esther Horgen. Esther was murdered by a terrorist this past December while running in the woods near her house. Esther worked as a therapist but was also an artist. You can read about her elsewhere, but after she was murdered the articles about her showed a special person was taken. 

Not only is this version of the Megillat Esther dedicated, aptly, to the memory of Esther Horgen but it is decorated with her artwork as well. I didn't know Esther or anything about her until she was murdered, but her artwork in the Scroll of Esther leaves me with the impression that she was a soft, joyful and tasteful person. If her art could define her, that is what I would assume. The colors are pleasant and soft, and the designs intricate but clear and not overly busy. The blend of Esther's art along with the clear text really makes this an appealing publication. I am including below a few samples of her artwork adoring the pages of the megilla.

The book is written with letters from the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and President of Israel Reuven Rivlin. It includes an introduction from her husband Benjamin Horgen and a foreword by Rabbi Tully Wiesz. After the megilla there are a couple of articles about Esther (both Esther Horgen and Queen Esther), followed by various charts, maps, prayers and other pages of interesting information, including information about the Esther Horgen Memorial Forest and Park. (where you can plant a tree in her memory).










  • "buy" The Israel Bible Scroll of Esther on TheIsraelBible.com ("buy" is in quotation marks because, as you'll see on the website, it is really free with a donation)






NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.


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Rafi Reshef follow-up interview with Efie Herchik (video)

she is fabulous. I hope she enjoys her 15 minutes of fame, and I hope it lasts longer than 15 minutes....











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street survey with Oded Menashe: who are you going to vote for? (video)







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Black guy asks Hasidic Jew to sing (completely unexpected) (video)







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Moti Weiss - Machshavot Tovot (video)







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Feb 23, 2021

Kashrut Alert: Fuse Tea from Georgian Coca Cola plant

The following kashrut alert seems important.

We've discussed numerous times the reliability of Coca Cola (and related products) imported form countries without a hechsher. There are different opinions on this. And not too long ago the factory of Coca Cola in Ukraine started to be certified by the kashrut of Machzikei Hadas, Belz kashrut - and regarding this too some say it is reliable and some say it is not.

The current kashrut alert is regarding a Coca Cola product, not Coca Cola itself, manufactured in Georgia. 

Funnily enough, the main Coca Cola headquarters is in Georgia, but in the State of Georgia in the United States of America. That plant and headquarters is perfectly fine and certified kosher. The problem, or the alert, is with the Coca Cola plant in the country of Georgia.

The specific product in the alert is peach flavored Fuse Tea. The import label of this product bears the hechsher of Belz, Machzikei Hadas, along with the confirmation of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.


Machzikei Hadas put out an alert stating that the Coca Cola of Georgia (the country) factory is not under their supervision and certification and they do not certify any drinks produced there. The label on that product is fraudulent..



The problem is on the import label, which is not uncommon. The import labels are printed by the importer, and the importer can put whatever he wants on it. There is no oversight or supervision on the import label. 

Be aware.





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The Bloc Loyalty


Channel 12 News has reported that PM Netanyahu has once again signed his potential coalition partners on a loyalty document saying that after the elections they will only negotiate together as a bloc, and each will not go off on its own and support any candidate other than Netanyahu for Prime Minister.

Shas, Likud, and UTJ have signed this loyalty pledge.

I am not quite sure what the purpose of it is, other than to give Netanyahu a slightly better night of sleep.

If Netanyahu can put together a coalition after the election, these parties are in anyway, as they are part of the coalition. If Netanyahu can't manage a coalition of 61+ MKs, this document is meaningless. If Saar, for example, successfully manages to get 61 MKs to support him, will UTJ or Shas really not try to also get into the coalition? Same if Bennett succeeds. Maybe not if Lapid succeeds, but the other two - I don't see why not. And I dont see why UTJ or UTJ would go to the Opposition with Netanyahu just because it is Netanyahu.

Here is what is reported to be the text of the loyalty document.


I don't see how it does anything except ask the people to support them. 

And what will happen if Netanyahu is close to 61 but does not manage to cross that minimum for a governing coalition. if he then tries to entice Labor or Kachol Lavan (Gantz) to join and push him over the top, he will have broken the loyalty commitment of forming a government together that is truly Right.

This document does nothing except make them all look like Netanyahu's lapdogs jumping at his every whim.





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Quote of the Day

I call upon the Haredi community to feel comfortable not allowing yeshiva bochurim collecting money to come into the house, even if they are vaccinated.

  -- Corona Czar Professor Nachman Ash





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Interesting Psak: Kever Rachel, Bethlehem, and Purim

Kol Hai News is reporting on an interesting psak issued by Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch, rav of the Kotel and other Holy Sites regarding Purim in Kever Rochel.

In the past, ages ago, Kever Rochel was within the city of Bethlehem and Purim in Kever Rochel was celebrated on the 14th of Adar, as it is in all cities outside of Jerusalem (and a few select others). In recent years, Kever Rochel was separated form Bethlehem by a security wall, and in more recent years it was connected to Jerusalem by a wall and even with an extension of the Jerusalem eiruv. Municipal services in Kever Rochel are provided by the City of Jerusalem - such as the water supply and electricity. Kever Rochel is now in all ways connected more to Jerusalem than to Bethlehem.

The question is that while nobody lives in Kever Rochel and the question of which day to celebrate in Kever Rochel is not relevant to any residents, there are police forces that stay there regularly and they need to know what the status of Kever Rochel is so that those who wish can celebrate properly on the right day. The commanders of the police force asked Rav Rabinovitch what to do about this.

Rav Rabinovitch paskened that Kever Rochel should now be treated like Jerusalem, with Megillat Esther to be read on the 15th of Adar. This year because of the 15th being on Shabbos, in Kever Rochel they should do as Jerusalem does with the Megilla being read on the 14th along with giving the Matanot Laevyonim, and the meal on the 16th with the delivery of Mishloach Manot, on Sunday.



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Ichud Hatzala requiring Covid-19 vaccination to volunteer

Kikar is reporting that Ichud Hatzala management has made a major decision.

Until now most of the major discussions of forcing vaccinations has been via the government - in the education system, in various capacities such as tourism servers, government clerks, there was a situation in the religious courts (the batei din), etc. the private sector hasn't really been discussed much, except by people wondering what might be.

Ichud Hatzala management has announced that all Hatzala volunteers must be vaccinated by March 7 with both doses in order to continue volunteering in the organization. Any volunteer not vaccinated by then will not be allowed to continue in Ichud Hatzala.

Eli Beer, head of Ichud Hatzala, said the decision has been made in order to safeguard the health of the patients, the volunteers and their families. It hurts to have to remove volunteers from the system,  but it will hurt more if anyone else will get sick or die because of refusing to take the vaccine.

Beer also hopes that other organizations will follow in his footsteps on this issue and make similar decisions, and hopes that the government will require vaccinations for all volunteers and government workers. This is the only way to prevent unnecessary deaths.

This is a big decision. The only fault I see with it is that the date given, March 7, is less than 2 weeks form today. If a volunteer hears this announcement even today and immediately runs out to get vaccinated so as to not lose his ability to continue volunteering, he or she would not be able to be fully vaccinated by March 7. It takes 3 weeks from dose 1 until you can get dose 2, and then it takes another week to ten days for the immunity to become maximal.

Obviously after the deadline people can get vaccinated and become volunteers, but it seems that the date of March 7 for losing status doesn't give current volunteers a fair chance to keep their status.





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Amazon Frum Sellers Being Hurt by Amazon

Selling merchandise on Amazon, Ebay and other similar website portals has become a very popular business over the past decade. Like any other group, a lot of frum businessmen and businesswomen are involved in such online businesses and selling through Amazon.

TOI is reporting on a new policy implemented by Amazon that could cause a major problem for frum sellers on Amazon.

Amazon's new policy is that all sellers delivering from non-Amazon warehouses through Amazon Prime will have to fulfill orders six days a week. Sellers can choose Sunday instead of Saturday, btu that creates a shipping problem as Fedex and UPS only offer limited shipping options on Sundays. So with no options for shipping on Saturday, because of Shabbos, and a very difficult shipping situation on Sunday, it is going to be nearly impossible for frum sellers not using the Amazon warehouse to continue to sell on Amazon. or they might have to fill the orders from the Amazon warehouse, which entirely changes the terms of the business arrangement.

No solution has yet been found. According to TOI, StandWithUs proposed a solution that would allow sellers to turn off Prime for Shabbos sales, but Amazon has not yet responded to the proposal.

Unless a solution is found, this is going to hurt a lot of people, including many in the frum community.


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Purim with Mayim Bialik | You Know How I Know? (video)








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Behind the Bima - BRS Rabbis and Rebbetzins Edition (video)








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Protecting the Health of the Kotel stones (video)








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