Sep 27, 2016

Housing minister Yoav Galant @ IAC 2016 (video)

an island?





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Israelis: What do you think of America's international role? (video)







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Israel gets past Great Britain (video)

the Israel team goes to Soul (Seoul, Soul, potato, potahto).. soul is a good thing to have, all the time but especially right before Rosh Hashana...




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Samsung Kosher Smartphone Commercial (video)







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Moti Rotman: Lemaancha (video)







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Sep 26, 2016

Tel Aviv is not Mea Shearim

The City of Tel Aviv has decided to allow the minhag of kapparos to be fulfilled in the streets of Tel Aviv but they are banning the slaughtering of the chickens in the streets.

According to Behadrei, the city spokesperson said that they will not allow slaughtering or harming of animals in the public and open spaces of the city. Tel Aviv is a city that leads the way in the protection of animal rights and will do whatever necessary to prevent the harming of animals and damaging their rights. They also, therefore, do not allow the use of animals in circus performances in the city.

The Haredi representative in Tel Aviv rejected the claim that Tel Aviv is working to prevent the performance of the kapparos minhag, explaining that they are allowing kapparos to be done just not allowing the shechita to be done in the streets - indoors, in a private house, a butcher shop or in a shul is perfectly fine though. To quote Natan Elnatan - "there is no halachic oblogation to shecht the kapparos chicken in the street".

Elnatan also said that the fact that in Mea Shearim they take the coops out to the street and shecht there does not mean that it has become a tradition from our forefathers. In Bnei Braq also, he says, the merchants have taken over Rabbi Akiva street and you cannot pass by because of the shechting of chickens - not in Tel Aviv.

I love his answer. So sensible.







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Kahlon attacks Lapid to get to the UTJ MKs

MK Yair Lapid has come out against the "3rd apartment tax" of Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon. Lapid's reasoning to oppose it is, as he said, that this tax will cause some apartment owner in Dimona with 3 small apartments to pay this tax while a wealthy owner of a 30 million shekel apartment in Tel Aviv won't have to pay any tax. And Moshe Kahlon is upset about Lapid's opposition and has called him out for it.
source: Behadrei and Kikar

This logic comparing the two is faulty because the 30million shekel apartment owner might also own other apartments and also have to pay tax. And the Dimona guy won't have to pay very much tax on a small apartment that is not worth all that much.

But that is not the main point I want to make. And that is, Yair Lapid is mostly irrelevant. He is a member of the opposition and has no influence on any of the coalition members. Some coalition members consider him an enemy and will not follow him at all, while others see him as a rival trying to take votes.

Yair Lapid can oppose any coalition-proposed law he wants, and that is even part of his job being in the opposition, but he has almost no influence and has no ability to block this law from happening, if the coalition wants to pass it.

So, when Moshe Kahlon chooses to attack Lapid for his opposition to the tax, it is disingenuous, and even a bit wily. Kahlon is a smart guy. Kahlon knows that Lapid's opposition is meaningless. He chose to attack Lapid instead of the MKs in his coalition who are even more vocally opposed to the tax, for very good reasons:
1. attacking coalition members could put the coalition at risk
2. By pitting Lapid as the opponent to the tax, he is putting the Haredi MKs, the more problematic (for Kahlon) opponents to the law, into a difficult situation - if they continue to oppose it, they are basically taking a line with Lapid - something they are averse to doing. Kahlon, by pitting Lapid as the main opponent, might be trying to pressure the Haredi MKs to remove their opposition to the law.

Kahlon is a smart guy. I can't wait to see if his strategy works or not.


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Picture of the Day


Team Israel players in the World Baseball Classic tournament don kippot for the playing of Hatikva, the national anthem...

very cool, even though I am not sure why they felt it necessary to do so. But good for them, and make us proud! so far the Israeli team is 3-0!


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Re-imagining Zionism for the Twenty-First Century (Oshman JCC, Sept 2016) (video)

in this video he is introduced as Dr. Daniel Gordis instead of the usual Rabbi Daniel Gordis. I wonder why...





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interview with PM Netanyahu after UN address (video)







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Israelis: What do you think of America's international role? (video)







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iTech Show episode 4: Zack Weisfeld, Microsoft Accelerators & Ido Engel, Wisdo (video)








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Be a dreamer and not a sleeper (video)








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Sep 25, 2016

having an affair with a statue

How do these things start?

JTA and Yediot are reporting about a statue, a piece of art, located, on loan, in Ramat Gan that has become a focal point of women looking for divine assistance in conceiving a child and giving birth.

The piece of art in question is a piece entitled "Birth" and is a statue in the shape of a woman laying down with a smiley face on her tummy. The artist, Menashe Kadishman, died last year at the age of 83.

The report says that women gather around the statue and take turns laying down on the statue and reciting chapters of tehillim and other things.

How do these things begin? How did women think, and how did word spread, that this statue has mystical powers and the ability to somehow help them conceive?

When a rabbi is involved in creating the story, like the story of the chair of Rav Kaduri in a shop in Ashdod,  at least it is somewhat understandable why some people ascribe spiritual power to it. In this instance, nothing is mentioned as to why people believe this or how it began.

At what point does it become avoda zara, and at what point does it become cheating on one's husband?




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numerous mitzvos like the seeds of a seedless pomegranate

Israeli agricultural technology is revolutionary, and we find them creating new strains of vegetables and adjusting the details of existing vegetables all the time.

The latest is a "seedless" pomegranate that is both sweeter and more pleasurable to eat.

It is not really seedless, unless you believe the headlines in both NRG and the Jewish Press, but the seeds have been altered and are softer and more edible.

If the headlines were accurate, would you eat them on Rosh Hashana as a siman for a year filled with mitzvos "like the seeds of the pomegranate"? There might become a "hiddur" to find the old fashioned pomegranate. Thankfully these pomegranates have seeds, but they are softer. Problem averted.  

I wonder if they will even sell them locally or just export them all for sale abroad.


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Proposed Law: Status Quo Law

This law proposal was not actually proposed in the Knesset, yet, but it is interesting. This proposal comes from the Council of Torah Sages of Agudas Yisrael and they encourage the Haredi Members of Knesset to pass this in Knesset.

The issue of Shabbos, and other religion-State issues, is all dependent on what is called the "status quo agreement". This was a communal agreement between David Ben Gurion and Agudat Yisrael regarding how to deal with religious issues in a secular State. This never had a real legal standing, and it is amazing that for the past 70 or so years it has actually held up and continues to direct the sensitive decisions in matters of religion and State.

The Moetzes has decided that it is time to move beyond the letter and turn it into actual law. They want the Haredi MKs to pass the various points in the status quo agreement into actual law.
source: Behadrei

on the one hand, the status quo agreement is unofficial and fairly flimsy, and any government can decide to not follow it any longer, so turning it into law solidifies it.

on the other hand, turning it into a law means any other government can overturn the law, the way each government overturns other laws passed by previous governments. So turning it into law puts it into actual risk of one day being rejected. But then again, not as a law it is also at risk of being rejected. But as a law it can be officially rejected.

Anyways, as until now the Status Quo has pretty much reigned supreme, I do not see it being too difficult to pass if the MKs decide to try and pass it.



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