Jul 29, 2010
Thank you for already reading and signing the petition for the Temple Mount.
Here is an update on the situation. A few months ago a historic debate was
held in the Knesset Law Committee to decide if hearings should be held on
the issue of Jewish ascent. Despite false testimony by a representative of
the Minister of Internal Security, a vote to hold the Temple Mount hearings
passed by a vote of 12-0 along with 1 abstention. However the head of the
Law Committee MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beitenu is stalling the hearings for
political reasons. In addition the Israeli Police are again allowing large
scale illegal digging
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138823 on the Mount.
Friends, now is the time to act! The Knesset is on summer break and will
resume in 3 months. This gives us time to rally the world Jewry and all
those who love justices and mercy for the sake of the Temple Mount. We have
an historic opportunity to return Jewish Prayer to the Temple Mount; we have
an historic opportunity to turn the Mount as is written in Isaiah 56:7 into
“A House of Prayer for all Nations”. Where all Nations can find a common
spiritual ground and stand as one before He whose Name is One. Maybe this
place can help bring a little peace and tranquility to an increasing
Please urge all your friends and family to sign the petition for Jewish
Prayer on the Temple Mount http://www.gopetition.com/petition/35455.html
and help insure that all humanity can come together and pray together. Post
the petition on blogs, websites, twitter, facebook and send via email! I
have spoken to Knesset Members and they want to hear your voice! They want
to be empowered and emboldened to take the courageous steps that are needed
to make this dream a reality. Today Knesset Member Danny Danon stated in a
interview on Temple Talk
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/2406 , that he needs
this groundswell of support! Help us reach an ambitious goal of 100,000 on
the petition! At this time nearly 5,000 have signed, if everyone brings
another 20 we can easily reach the goal and even more! Check the petition
homepage http://www.gopetition.com/petition/35455.html for more actions
in the coming weeks and months!
Also, he even goes to Hebrew in the middle, as if that would ever be necessary.
Jul 28, 2010
2. Between Jm and TLV analyzes a good QOTD
3. Rabbi Adlerstein reflects on some points made by Shimon Peres in a recent interview
4. DovBear puts Jews in a box - an interesting thought exercise.
He is right now on his way to Israel to spend some time learning Hebrew and learning about Judaism.
Stoudamire first announced his intentions via his Twitter account.
Will he give up his NBA career and sign with an Israeli team? Will he give it all up and sign with Aish HaTorah?
According to Shmuel Peppenheim, Bechadrei reports, they have been considering finding ways to ban the phenomenon and make it prohibited, and while they have not decided to declare an issur at this point, they definitely have not come out in support.
While there are no claims that the signs were forged, just that they are a number of years old and the Eida is not currently promoting the wearing of the shawl (Peppenheim uses the term - this extremist mode of dress), the fact is that it is an Eida sign, albeit an old one, and the Eida is obviously not really so against it, even if right now they are not willing to speak out one way or the other.
Pashkevilim have gone up around Jerusalem in support of the women who wear "shals", covering their heads and bodies (the shal does not cover the face like the burqa, but is one step away from it).
The pashkevil (below) praises the women who have gone back to the minhag of not going out to the street not covered by a shal. The purpose of it is to increase the level of kedusha due to the increased level of tumah. The sign concludes by saying that the prayers of women who wear shals are answered above.
The pashkevilim are signed by the rabbonim of the Eida, including the Gaavad, Rav Weiss. So unless they are forgeries, it looks like the Eida is in support of this phenomenon, and I don't see why they would praise the shal and ban the burqa. It is definitely a reprint of an old pashkevil, as the date is a few years old, and some of the signatories are no longer with us in this world any longer...
What I would like to see is if the wives of all the signatories on the pashkevil wear the shals...
I don't care about all these other bozos who come to sing in Israel or cancel their performances (like some stupid band called The Gorillaz just canceled), but Guns n Roses is big.
Jul 27, 2010
2. Israeli Kitchen has street portraits of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
3. ISRAELITY describes the "new" Israel Museum.. that first picture reminds me of The Bean in Chicago Millenium Park.
4. Observations about foster parenting
5. Changing demographics in Monsey
6. LaMikdash has images from a recent drill the security forces performed of a takeover of Har HaBayit.
The story takes place in New Square, USA. Where all the Skverer Hassidim live. They opened up their camp, "Camp Malka" to people from Lakewood and other communities in New York. The girls, 16 year olds, were taken on a trip to New Square to tour the town, daven at the graves of previous rebbes and to go in, as a group, to the Admor and receive words of inspiration and bracha.
A counselor noticed one of the girls who was very disturbed and emotional. She approached the girl and suggested that she write a kvittel for the rebbe, if she has a personal issue. The girl, not being a Skverer Hassid, refused. The counselor suggested that after they go in as a group, perhaps she will feel differently, and if she should change her mind and want a word with the rebbe, she would try to help her.
While they were by the rebbe, she started to tell her story in tears. Her sister, it turns out, has been happily married and her husband is one of the best guys in Lakewood (aren't they all???). Shortly before the birth of their third child, the husband became exposed to some bad things (the way it is written sounds like he suddenly found the internet and fell into some bad ways) and gave in to his Yetzer Ha'Ra. His descent was sharp and quick.
Eventually this husband picked himself up and left her. he just disappeared. Abandoned his wife and kids, abandoned religion, and disappeared.
The first couple of years they tried to stay in contact, and they tried to influence him in all sorts of ways to give her a get. He refused every time. Now he has been gone for 3 years, and in the last year he has completely disappeared leaving no trace of his whereabouts. He moved around a lot and is gone - they cannot find him.
The wife sits home and cries, and she has decided to ask the rebbe for a bracha for her sister.
The counselor took her in to the gabbai's room and she wrote a kvittel with her sister's name on it, and the husband's name as well.
After the group spoke with the rebbe, she gave him her kvittel and told him the story.
Instead of asking for more details and showing interest and finding out the details, as he usually does, he simply waved it off and said there is nothing to worry about, everything would be good and he gave a bracha.
A few hours later, the following morning the husband calls home, to his wife in lakewood, and says that he has reconsidered and has decided to give her a get right away and get closure. She said she can't fly to where he was located, as she has the little kids, so he said he could come to Lakewood and she should make all the arrangements in beis din for the next day.
He came, he divorced, and he left.
After the divorce, the younger sister told the family about the bracha she had just gotten the day before from the Skverer Rebbe, and the family then took a trip to thank the rebbe for the yeshua.
The Eida has called to people to oppose them and to reject them. Moshe Gafni has spoken about the need to demonize them and not praise them (he told the Haredi media that they should take steps to make them sound bad and not good, possibly not use the word sikrikim which has a more romanticized and idealized tone to it - like defenders of the faith).
The other day, in Mea Shearim, some people actually stood up to them.
Bechadrei reports that a group of these troublemakers started to push garbage cans into the street to burn and block traffic as a sign of protest for the grave digging in Yafo.
A small group of people, both litvishe and hassidic, saw what was going on and went and stopped them. They got in their way. The troublemakers started to fight with them, spitting at them, throwing garbage at them, threw lit cigarettes at them (if they would be using Green Smoke electronic cigarettes it would not have been a problem), and even threw a glass bottle at them.
Somebody in the crowd watching from the side then called the police, saying that he doesnt care about the burning garbage cans, but getting physically violent is crossing the line. Another small group then joined the opponents and went and started to push the can back at the troublemakers and then started to chase after them threatening to beat them up.
Way to go! Little by little, more people should, and will, start to get up the courage to stand up to them.
Mazel tov to Henry Kerr and Valerie Berkowitz in a wedding that just took place in an old age home in London. Kerr is 97 and Berkowitz is 87.
After he moved into the old age home, he was struck by her and spent four years trying to win her over.
Proving that you are never too old to find love, Henry Kerr, 97, and Valerie Berkowitz, 87, are marrying at Sunridge Court residential home in Golders Green.
When Henry Kerr met an attractive younger woman, he feared she wouldn't give an older man a second glance.
So he embarked on a four-year campaign to win over the object of his affections, writing her love poetry and spending hours exchanging life stories.
And yesterday, 97-year- old Mr Kerr proved you can't hurry love, when he finally wed his younger companion - Valerie Berkowitz, 87.
He said: 'I would have asked her much earlier, if I had thought such an attractive, witty young lady of 87 would have anything to do with an old codger like me.'When they started talking, the pair discovered they had both lived in South Africa, and both had families scattered across the world.
Mr Kerr believed his love life was over following his wife Gladys's death in 2004, but said he was 'struck like a thunderbolt' when he met Mrs Berkowitz at the North London care home they share.
He said: 'I thought she found me pushy and conceited - until she acquired an analytical interest in the poems I read at the poetry circle I founded when I moved in here. Then we found our affinities.'
He wrote several love poems in an attempt to win her affections.
Mr Kerr, who moved to the care home in 2006 when he was 94, said: 'When I did ask her to marry me a few months ago she went hysterical - she put her head down on the table and couldn't stop laughing.'
Even once Mrs Berkowitz had accepted the proposal, the couple expected to stay permanently engaged to avoid the ' complication' of marriage.
But Mr Kerr, who ran an investment company before retirement, said: 'I felt people were whispering behind their hands and gossiping about us moving in together, and that it was important for us to be Mr and Mrs.'
The couple finally married in a traditional Jewish ceremony yesterday at their care home in Golders Green, followed by a high tea for 90 guests.
Beautiful story, and they helped solve the shidduch crisis - he married someone ten years younger!
Jul 26, 2010
Unfortunately, when Lema'an Achai has troubles, the most needy members of our community pay a terrible price.
Two years ago, when the stock markets crashed around the world, and an international economic crisis of then-unknown proportions shook every community and household around the world - Lema'an Achai's cash-flow projections suddenly became unrealistic. We faced the choice of making deep cuts in the number of impoverished families we help, or...well.. asking you for help.
We publicly explained the situation, and our supporters made incredible and selfless efforts to help us through that dark period.
We have not made any emergency appeals since then. Although the economic crisis is beyond that grim shock-point two years ago, it has continued to impact us.
Many local families who were entirely self-sufficient, have taken a severe blow. Unemployment, difficulties obtaining payments, spiraling debt, have hit the managing-ok-classes. Lema'an Achai therefore has more families calling for help than ever before. And many of the families now needing help, were once donors.
Friends, here's where we stand...
Lema'an Achai is 'leaking' at between 10-20% each month.
Which is to say, our approved 2010 budget has been leaping ahead of our actual fundraising/revenue.
Lema'an Achai has squirreled away a small reserve - which is now largely used up.
We are now faced with heart-wrenching decisions.
What to cut?
Every single family which receives help from Lem'an Achai desperately needs it. They are usually earning just 10% BELOW the (already dismally low) Israeli poverty line. These families lack food, clothes, utilities and shelter. They often have other multifaceted problems, for which Lema'an Achai is their one-stop-shop giving support and solutions.
Lema'an Achai is not solely in the hand-out business; our comprehensive aid and services includes long term planning with families. Fifty-nine families are currently participating in courses to up-grade their employment and earnings potential. Many other families are receiving critical therapy and financial & business development counseling, which cannot be simply stopped mid-way.
With one hundred and eighty families (over A THOUSAND local residents) currently obtaining our aid and unique Smart-Chesed support from Lema'an Achai - and more requests coming through weekly - we now need to tell around 30 families (nearly two hundred residents) that,
tragically, we cannot help them any further. No supplies of food, or assistance with utilities and other critical bills; and no more support to get through today's crisis or planning to avoid tomorrow's crisis.
No Help - and no Hope.
Before we do that, we are making this last-ditch appeal for your help.
We know that you already give generously to many wonderful causes.
We are asking that you now do even more.
1. Buy some raffle tickets. For details: www.SmartChesed.org. (There, that was easy).
2. Take a deep breath, and make an exceptional one-time generous donation, to help us over this hump.
3. Sign up for a regular commitment. You know your projected earnings, Be"H, and can already calculate your ongoing maaser kesafim obligations. So, please make a horaat kevah or credit card ongoing commitment to Lema'an Achai.
4. Sponsor a Lema'an Achai program - we have almost 30 innovative programs, and several of these are still available to be named after a special person, in their honor or in their memory. Who do you know who merits the honor of an ongoing chesed program, in their name?
5. Any other ideas?! If you could help with fundraising ventures, please step forward. We have some great ideas, and I'm sure you do too. We need people to step up to the plate, and help implement these plans, hands-on.
Click on this link to make a donation (or ongoing commitment) now:
Call our 24/6 Donations Line: 02-99999.33
Or send your check to: Lema'an Achai, 40/7 Nahal Lachish, Ramat Bet
Shemesh, 99093, Israel.
You are welcome to send this on, with your personal recommendations, to your friends and family members, who could be interested to support Lema'an Achai, "the Jewel in the Crown of Ramat Bet Shemesh".
David & Avrohom
Someone presented the question to Rav Cherlo. A new branch of the Rami Levi supermarket is opening up at "Tzomet Gush Etzion", and the opening has created a dilemma for people. Should they shop at Rami Levi for better prices or continue to shop at the local makolets that have been around until now despite the prices being higher?
Rav Cherlo's response was a suggestion that the consumer should divide his purchases between the supermarket and the makolet. Buy 1/3 of your needs at the makolet and 2/3 at the supermarket.
Rav Cherlo said that a person really has no obligation to the makolet guy. A person has the right to buy his goods in whatever store he wants to save money, even if it comes at the expense of the local makolet guy.. However, the Torah also obligates us to be concerned about supporting our fellow Jew and finding a way to not harm him in a way that would be disastrous to him.
Rav Cherlo therefore came to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to divide one's purchases, with 1/3 being purchased at the local makolet and 2/3 at the supermarket where he will benefit from better prices.
Here is a good example of what happens when you don't follow instructions..
This couple was mauled by a bison the other day in Yellowstone Park.
and here is an interview with them after the fact:
They were arguing that it should be allowed just like Palestinians and left wingers are allowed by the courts to tour the Jewish areas. they argued about human rights. They argued the "Hebron Agreement" specifically allows for free access of those areas to Jews.
The most interesting argument is when Itamar Ben Gvir said that facts on the ground have changed and clearly things have calmed down and are less hostile, and therefore they should be allowed in as their visit would not really be provocative considering the relative calm atmosphere. His proof of tensions calming was a reference to the recent video of the IDF soldiers dancing through the streets of Hebron.
They call the natural phenomenon of their sea splitting "The Moses Miracle". It occurs twice a year, and they have turned it into a festival..
This years second Moses Miracle just happened last week.
I will quote from the official site:
Jindo Island is the third largest island in Korea, next to Jejudo and Geojedo Island. It is made up of 250 smaller islands, and it is famous for the appearance of a dry road in the middle of the sea, near the end of February and mid June of the lunar calendar. As it resembles a passage in the Old Testament in the Book of Exodus, the event is called “The Miracle of Moses”. When the water recedes, a road about 30-40 meter wide and 2.8 km long appears, which stays for about an hour before being submerged again.
Jindo Island has some legends which are still popular today, especially that of “Old Woman Bbyong of Hoedongri”. A long time ago, there were many tigers on Jindo Island. When tigers began appearing frequently in the village, the people fled to Modo Island. In the process, only the old woman Bbyong ended up remaining on the island, so the lady prayed everyday to Yongwang, the god of the ocean, to let her see her family again. Around February, Yongwang appeared to her in her dream and said, “I will send a rainbow to the sea tomorrow; ride it and cross the ocean”. The next day old woman Bbyong went out to the sea and prayed again, and the seawater parted as the rainbow road appeared. Through this road, her family and the other villagers came back to the island. Therefore when the sea parts, the people celebrate this phenomenon by holding the Yeongdeung Festival to remember the Old Woman Bbyong. During the Festival, original folk plays of Jindo Island are performed and draws many tourists into Jindo Island.
Here are some very cool pictures from the festival two years ago...
The festival really only began in 1975 after the French Ambassador to Korea saw it for the first time and publicized it. The Koreans then capitalized on what was until then just their own local miracle:
In south-western Korea, Jindo will host its 28th Yeongdeung Festival July 22~24. For a few days each year, a wide sandbar appears during low tide and temporarily connects the two islands of Jindo and Modo. The 2.8 km land bridge draws countless visitors who are eager to make the crossing and explore the ocean floor.
Following his trip to Jindo in 1975, a French Ambassador to Korea, Pierre Lande wrote an article of the tidal phenomenon for a French newspaper. He witnessed the sea parting and dubbed it the “Moses’ Miracle in Korea”, thus propelling Jindo into the global public’s spotlight. Visitors to the Jindo Yeongdeung Festival will have a rare opportunity to bask in the poetic sunset seen from Jindo Island as well as soak up the rich cultural heritage present in the region. Peruse the works of Heo Yu, a great painter during the Joseon Dynasty at the Ullimsanbang studio. Or traverse the islands of Dadohae Haesang National Park, which consist of more than 1,700 islands and islets.
Here is some video from last years Moses Miracle festival:
After the Eida has received letters from people complaining that their wives are starting to wear the burqas and they wanted them banned, the situation has gotten a bit tenser.
Bechadrei is reporting that now, a group of 20 families, I guess the women because it says the men (some of? all of? most of?) dont approve of the burqas at all, has sent a letter to the administration of the school their kids go to saying they are dissatisfied with the school because the wives of the rebbeim do not wear burqas.
Ostensibly they are threatening to remove their children from their school and start their own school.
I would guess that that means they are forming a more official community of their own providing their own services, which will give them a stronger base for future growth.
Jul 25, 2010
A friend of mine in Geulah sent me these pictures. They are from a protest that took place early this afternoon in Geulah. The group of people from Mea Shearim protesting the selling of clothes that are not tzanua in their neighborhood - not tznua based on materials used, and based on appearance (tight, form fitting, short, etc). They went to a couple of stores and broke window panes.
They promise to keep on top of the situation. There is no way such stuff can be sold in "our neighborhood", just like we would not accept pork being sold in our neighborhood.
2. Flavors in Israel has a Yemenite Food Bar in Safed
3. Army of Achdus on judging a book by its cover
4. Parsha blog on sock puppets defending the Rebbe
5. Tzedek-Tzedek celebrates a year
6. Mrs S with an only in Israel story to counteract the meraglim
7. Are the organizers of the NY Triathlon anti-semites or just an excuse to not compete...
8. Lens on a Fertile Land on Morasha
9. Dixie Yid with a story from the Steipler
The blurb on the book, Into The Whirlwind says:
When the Rosenblums and Kahns, both typical families with teenaged children, decide to relocate to Israel, little do they dream of the repercussions that will soon follow. The struggles begin on a small scale, but it doesn't take long before they snowball into challenges of mammoth proportions. As each family deals with issues in its own way, readers get a very real glimpse into the world of family dynamics - when they come under attack. Whirlwind weaves together the emotional drama of hurting teenagers with the insight and brilliance of those attempting to alleviate that pain, for a book whose realness will astound you.Let me start off by saying that "frummie novels" are getting much much better. As someone who grew up reading "real books", frummie novels were almost always a disappointment in their quality of writing, their story development, their character development and every other aspect of a book you can think of.
But frummie novels are getting much much better. The quality of the writing is improving tremendously. Stories are being developed far better than they used to be. And reading frummie novels is becoming a much more pleasant and enjoyable experience than it used to be.
"Into The Whirlwind" is a book that is very well written. The overall story is developed very thoroughly, in a way that makes the reader relate to the characters, the incidents, and the emotions in the story.
The book is about two families that make aliyah at the same time, and the story follows the two families as they adjust to their new lives in Israel. It focuses on the difficulties of each family with their childrens adjustments and how they each dealt with their situation.
Rav Leff says in his approbation of the book, "Although the situations take place in Eretz Yisroel, the book does not intimate that these problems are endemic to Eretz Yisroel or caused by the nature of its society, hence there is not even a hint of "Dibus Haaretz" - malignign Eretz Yisroel."
The book really focuses on the difficulty these kids had in adjusting to Eretz Yisroel, and despite the above approbation, I did feel uncomfortable that the book seems to be painting a dismal picture of what will happen when families make aliyah.
Thinking about it though, I came to the realization that the problems described in the book are as a result of aliyah adjustment, but it really could have been about anything. Kids have trouble adjusting to all sorts of situations, and aliyah is just one potential problem of many. I still would have liked to see another family in the book that was well adjusted with no problems, just to balance it out and show that not everyone who makes aliyah is going to go through these difficulties.
The story of the book is, as I said, very well written. It started off slowly for me, as I have a tough time remembering names and personalities, and the story introduces many people, many names, very quickly. I would have had an easier time if it introduced the characters a bit more evenly distributed through the first few chapters, letting me get used to who is who.
But the book picked up quickly. After the first couple of chapters, suddenly I could not put the book down. I began to relate to the different characters in the story, and kept wanting to know more about what they did and how they decided to do whatever they did.
The overall story is made up of a lot of smaller sub-stories, and the sub-stories at time left me wanting more. the sub-stories would get cut off in the middle, just describing the beginning of a conflict or of a troubling situation. I was left wondering what the character decided to do in that specific instance, even though for the overall story it was not important. I guess if Mrs. Price had followed every sub-story all the way through, the book would probably have turned out to be thousands of pages long!
The story takes the reader through the difficulties of the teenage children in their adjustments, and it really drives home the issues well. It made me empathetic with what they were going through. It made me, as an outsider picturing these families, think to myself how this situation could have been dealt with differently, this father was clearly blind to what was going on and if he would be less self-absorbed would be able to deal with his kids and save them from where they were headed. It really makes the reader rethink and reanalyze how he approaches issues of conflict and what can be done in a given situation, what should be done, and hopefully will make people step back and not think their kids difficulties is just "acting out" or an immature disturbance into "my life", but will look at the situation and try to resolve it in the best way possible.
Tzippora Price is a family therapist who probably deals with these types of situations all the time, unfortunately. She is writing this book from knowledge and experience. One can tell from reading the book that she put he professional skills and knowledge as a therapist into the book, turning out a story that is totally realistic and shocking in watching how peoples prejudices and mistakes cause the development of problems to accelerate.
As I said, I got to a point, fairly quickly, in which I could not put the book down as I wanted to find out what happend to Avi, how Josh solved a situation, what Devori did, and how Shira hurt her friend. The truth is that at times some of the issues that cropped up were surprising in how they were dealt with, and some of the personalities developed were also surprising, after reading about how the person was developing, I would have expected a different end-result or different decision to be made. It really was refreshing and made me rethink how situations can, and should be, dealt with, along with being a reminder to not think you know everything about a person and what they would do just because you see one facet of the person. People will surprise you, both for bad and for good.
I can easily recommend this book. It is a great book, a troubling story that you just don't want to put down because you just have to know, and you hope to high heaven, as they say, that everyone will turn out ok in the end, which in real life is sadly not always the case, but because you have already become part of the family in the book, you hope that in this case it does.
The book is available online, in many bookstores as well as in our local Feldheim (if you live in RBS), and also from the author herself on Nachal Revivim - in which case you can also get a discussion guide, a guide to fostering healthy communication with your teenager, and an autographed copy!
As the author said to me, Ideally, this is a book that both parent and teen can read and discuss, a conversation which the discussion guide helps to facilitate.
The problem is that the haredi community loves to boast when a secular politician or diplomat expresses admiration of the haredi community - often for their dedication to values, to a way of life, to education, or for anything else. Enough accolades, and the haredi community will love you and talk about you as a great friend of the haredim. They will say how you love haredi style education and wish to emulate it in secular schools. they will praise you to high heavens for your accolades of them.
Then suddenly that same person will offer some words of criticism, or perceived criticism, and suddenly they become anti-haredi, somebody who is mixing into our values and telling us what to do, a truncoat.
It happened recently with Gideon Saar, the Minister of Education. He toured haredi schools in a number of cities, and was impressed with the respect show to him and to teachers, with the vast knowledge of Torah, with methods of teaching, etc. In the past Saar has shown support for a certain level of independence of the haredi education system. Saar was hailed as a great friend of the haredi community. Suddenly he is hated. He made a comment on the issue of the "leeba" - the need to implement a core curriculum of secular studies, and suddenly he is the biggest anti-haredi in the Likud.
The latest is Stanley Fisher. After his comment last week, which was a QOTD here on LII, about the need to integrate haredim into the workforce for the good of the economy, suddenly media personalities in the haredi media are talking about him as a turncoat, somebody who hates the haredim when we thought he admired us. etc.
People need to realize that nothing is black and white. While someone might like you, they can still offer criticism on issues, they can still offer ways of improvement, they can still be friends and looking out for your good even if they offer a different direction.
And when that happens, it is sometimes worth looking to see if there is truth in that persons words. Chweck it out. see if there is room for improvement. Stop with the knee-jerk reactions "he hates us", "he is influenced by groups with ulterior motives", "they are afraid of our growth" they are anti-semites", etc. Take it as a sign that you should be "mefashfesh b'maasecha" - look into your ways - maybe you will see your way is still right and he is wrong, maybe you will see there is truth in his words and there is room for improvement.
That goes personally, for Israel, for the haredim and for every other group of people out there. Just because someone says something that does not meet your exact wishes, does not mean he hates you.
I read an interview, a couple of weeks ago, with his son Rav Shmuel Eliyah, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat. He said that since the death stories of his greatness have been pouring in non-stop. Some stories related miracles the rav had been involved in performing for people. Some had been stories that showed his sensitivity, caring and empathy to every person from the simplest to the greatest of people. Rav Shmuel Eliyahu said they were compiling stories into a book.
An interesting story was printed in this book that was just published. I have not seen the book, but Ynet has reported on it.
I am not going to translate it completely, but will review it briefly.
It came to light after his death that Rav Modechai Eliyahu had been a judge on a special, secret, beis din that had been formed of mekubalim. His participation was meant to be kept secret, and only after his death did the other mekubalim feel it appropriate to tell his family about it.
This beis din met once a year and debated whether or not the jewish people were "ready" for the geulah. Has the time of geulah come yet, or not.
The beis din debated it and paskened that the time for geulah has come.
I would venture to suggest that the purpose of this is a concept we have that when beis din down here in this world paskens a certain way, the beis din above in heaven follows suit and paskens the same way. If that is correct, this would have been a way to "force God's hand", kevayachol, and bring the geulah.
As part of the beis din, they kept detailed ledgers of the arguments and logics presented, along with the final decision issued by the beis din. In a very unusual move, Rav Eliyahu was buried with the folder of documentation of the proceedings of the beis din. The purpose was for Rav Eliyahu to take the folder to the beis din above and show them how they debated the issue, the logic presented, how they came to their decision, and the decision that it is time for the geulah.
This, too, would be a step in "forcing God's hand".
This was all revealed to the family right after the death, as the mekubalim had to tell them about it so that they could bury the rav with the folder.
Let us hope that Rav Eliyahu's powers of persuasion are good enough to work wonders up there!
The PA used to try to convince artists and performers coming to Israel to cancel their trips. Some would, considering it too political, not wanting to make a political statement, or whatever, and some would not listen and would go on with the show.
Last week the group Boney M came for a performance - in Palestine. In Ramallah. The PA refused to allow them to play their most famous song "By The Rivers of Babylon", because, as the AP reported, it represents the Zionists yearning to return to Zion..
I guess it makes sense to not sing such a song in the Palestinian Territories, even though it is their most famous song.
The funny thing is that the protest was against the words:
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down;What is funny about that being the point of protest is that, while not in the lyrics of the song, the paragraph in tehillim continues on and concludes by saying "fortunate is the one who will repay you for what you did to us, fortunate is the one who will grab your infants and smash them against the rocks..."
yea we wept, when we remembered Zion.
When the wicked
Carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
Now how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land.
Anyway, because they could not sing it, I offer to you their song here:
A Brazilian church has received the permits to build a massive replica of Solomon's Temple in Sao Paulo. It is expected to take 4 years to build, and will cost upwards of $200 million to build!
From the NY Times blog:
This week, as Jews around the world observed the fasting day of Tisha B’av, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples in ancient Jerusalem, a Brazilian megachurch received planning permission to build a 10,000-seat replica of Solomon’s Temple in the city of São Paulo.Hey - if they can do it, so can we! Or maybe they are practice to be able to consult to help us build ours afterwords...
As Tom Phillips of The Guardian noted, a Brazilian newspaper, Estado de São Paulo, reported that the church will cost an estimated $200 million and should be completed in four years.
According to a post on the blog of Bishop Edir Macedo, the founder of Brazil’s evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which is building the replica, the structure will be 180 feet high, making it nearly twice as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Macedo also said that stones of the same type used by Solomon had been ordered from Jerusalem to be used in a complex which will also house 36 Bible schools, television and radio studios and a 1,000-space parking lot.
Jul 23, 2010
Jul 22, 2010
--- Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fisher
Yesterday was the first half day trip of the summer vacation.
We decided to do an oldie but goodie. We always enjoy going to see the turtles at the Nahal Alexander nature reserve. We havent been there in a while, and the smallest of our kids haven't seen them, so it seemed like a good afternoon trip.
Nahal Alexander is a river right off of the Mediterranean, situated between Netanya and Hadera, right next to the villages of Kfar Vitkin, Hofit and Beit Yannai.
While the river isn't really swim-able, as it looks pretty dirty and murky, it is great for a visit as the soft shell turtles live within. If you go there, it is a bit hard to find. Head over to Kfar Vitkin, and drive through the Industrial Zone of KV, and you will see the Nature Reserve right alongside the river. They could use some better signage along the roads. Or actually, any signage at all would be a help.
You can go right up to the banks of the river and throw pieces of bread in. The turtles swim right up to you and eat the bread.
Last time we went, the river was swarming with catfish alongside the turtles. This time we didn't see any catfish (can they just disappear?), but there were these otter there. Or are they river rats?
After enjoying disturbing the turtles and otter for a while, we ate a late lunch on the boardwalk.
We left and headed out to what must be one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel. The beach of Beit Yannai.
One of the best things about Beit Yannai Beach is that it is practically empty, compared to most of the beaches around Israel. The beach is beautiful, yet it is mostly empty. I suspect the reason is because it costs money to go to, while most people prefer to flock to the free beaches. For a family outing, it is easy to find an empty swath of beach to take over in Beit Yannai.
The sand on the beach is smooth like a fine powder. The beach is clean and kept nicely. We have gone there a couple times already and it is such a pleasant and relaxing experience...
This was our first half-day tiyul for the summer.
To get to church on a recent Sunday morning, the Yeldell family walked no farther than their own living room to greet fellow worshippers.
The members of this "house church" are part of what experts say is a fundamental shift in the way U.S. Christians think about church. Skip the sermons, costly church buildings and large, faceless crowds, they say. House church is about relationships forged in small faith communities.
In general, house churches consist of 12 to 15 people who share what's going on in their lives, often turning to Scriptures for guidance. They rely on the Holy Spirit or spontaneity to lead the direction of their weekly gatherings.
"I think part of the appeal for some in the house church movement is the desire to return to a simpler expression of church," said Ed Stetzer, a seminary professor and president of Lifeway Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. "For many, church has become too much (like a) business while they just want to live like the Bible."
House church proponents claim their small groups are sort of a throwback to the early Christian
church in that they have no clergy and everyone is expected to contribute to the teaching, singing and praying
40 cats? That is what they are fighting over - he took them and she wants them back. That is the main fight here? Crazy people. 40 cats? Really?
The man, who was not identified, called his wife while she was travelling in Europe to tell her he was returning to their home country and taking all the furniture, the online edition of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper said.
The woman rushed back to Israel only to find their home empty. Even her clothes, jewelry and cats were gone. Her husband cancelled her credit card and medical insurance.
But she told YNet what hurt most was the loss of her 40 cats and two dogs.
She filed a theft complaint with the police.
Jul 21, 2010
By the way, just to make this post slightly more interesting, and less inane, I just wanted to let you know that the Hebrew word for octopus is "Tamnon".
back to the post...
Paul the Octopus is a German octopus that was somehow thrust into the limelight recently when it seemingly predicted correctly all the results of the Worldcup.
Rav David Stav gave an interview in which he said that these predictions go against halacha. Rabbi Stav said that the use of Paul as a prophet is evidence of the bankruptcy of the western world. The jewish people have successfully taken advantage of intellect, science, and medicine and has achieved great things... It seems that intellect is not enough to satisfy the needs of people, and the search for something other than intellect brings people to go to these idiocies.
So no matter how you look at it, octopus is not kosher.
The Eida Hareidis is also considering banning the burqa.
The "custom" of wearing the burqa seems to have disappeared from bet Shemesh. At one time it was gaining in popularity here, until the "Taliban Lady", the grand rabbi of the burqa movement in Bet Shemesh, was arrested for being abusive to her children. I have not seen burqas around in here in a long time, though scarves and shawls are still popular, and perhaps even gaining in popularity (from my unscientific study of seeing them more and more frequently in the supermarket).
However, it seems in Jerusalem the burqa is still popular, and even gaining popularity...
According to Bechadrei, members of the families of the burqa women have been complaining to the Eida and requesting that the Eida ban the phenomenon and say it is assur.
I don't know on what basis they can declare an issur, unless they make a takana (and then it would be up to people to say they either do or do not listen to Eida takanos), but it seems this craziness is getting out of hand.
If the Eida cannot come up with an issur (or if they do and nobody listens), and if it is really the families complaining to the Eida, the next step should be a few husbands threatening to, or actually doing, divorce their wives who wear the burqa. Let the husbands put their foot down. If they really disapprove of it, they should be the ones to stop it.
---- MK Danny Danon
This clip was first edited with the help of my friend Pisithpong Siraphisit who runs Compeung Art Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This dance is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit and a celebration of life.
Despite the systematic brutality and cruelty endured, we have still survived.
(Kol Isha (recorded singer) and Mixed (family) Dancing alert..)
I really wanted to post this video before Tisha B'Av. I think the message relayed in the video is very appropriate for Tisha B'Av. If not for the fact that the music and dancing was very strong in the video, and not just in the background, I would have posted it (though then the video would not have been quite as appropriate in its message - it is the performance that makes it a powerful message).
The video has sparked a debate about whether or not it is appropriate to be dancing in front of what were concentration camps.
My opinion on this is that for anybody but a survivor to do this would have been irreverant, disrespectful and inappropriate. Because it is a survivor and his immediate family, that makes it not just appropriate, but even a powerful message to the Nazis and to anti-semites.
The survivor in the video is sending a message to Hitler and his cronies, and those today who support them and would like to follow in their footsteps, that we have survived, we continue to live and we will dance on your grave. You wanted to destroy us, but we live life to the fullest.
--- MK Tzippi Livni
"umbilical cord"? don't they get cut?
Indonesian Muslims have been praying in the wrong direction, the country's highest Islamic authority has said.Just like in Judaism - at the end of the day the direction does not matter, as long as one directs his heart towards heaven...
The Indonesian Ulema Council told the country's Muslim populace in March to turn west when they offered their daily prayers. Muslims are supposed to face the Kaaba, the religion's most sacred site in the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
At the time, the council said that the direction of Kaaba from Indonesia laid to the west.
Turns out, it didn't. Africa did.
So, on Friday, the council issued a new edict: face northwest.
"After the first fatwa (edict) a few months ago that stated that the praying direction is west, we have announced that the correct direction for praying is indeed northwest, and we have issued a new fatwa (edict) to correct it," said Ma'ruf Amin, the head of fatwa division in the Indonesian Ulema Council.
"This is important because facing west will mean that people were facing Africa when they pray," he said.
Amin said the new edict does not mean that mosques in the country will need to be torn down. "They (those praying inside) just need to adjust their praying direction slightly," he said.
Some residents of the world's most populous Muslim country took the change in stride.
"I don't really worry about the praying direction," said Riza Irwansyah, an office worker in Jakarta. "The important thing is I prayed to Allah and I believe He will listen, no matter which way I'm facing."
Sentencing has not yet happened, but Alkaramla faces up to 10 years in prison along with a fine of up to $250,000.
A Jordanian national from the city's Far North Side was convicted today in federal court of mailing a bomb threat to a Jewish school in Chicago, officials said.Lock em up!
Mohammad Alkaramla, 26, of Chicago, was convicted in a two-day bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, according to U.S. attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn.
Pallmeyer revoked bond for Alkaramla and ordered him detained pending sentencing, scheduled for Sept. 29, said Samborn.
Alkaramla faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Alkaramla was arrested in March 2009 for mailing a threatening letter where he threatened to kill, injure and intimidate individuals and destroy the building, officials said.
The letter was addressed to numerous rabbis and leaders in the Jewish community and mailed to the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, officials said.
That means the job of manager is up for grabs. There have been a lot of names thrown about already... Here is my vote.
I say give Ryne Sandberg the job.
Ryno is one of the most popular choices, but probably the least likely of the choices. He is most popular because he is a popular figure in Chicago baseball. he represents playing the game how it should be played. He was a great player and the fans love him, and naturally want him as coach.
I have a different reason. In addition to that reason, that is.
Ryne Sandberg has been working his butt off to get an opportunity. Some guys with big names just come in, cash in no their name, and land big jobs very quickly. Whether or not they are any god.
Ryno has not done that. He was going to work his way up and learn the system from the bottom up. Ryno has spent 4 years working his way through the minor league system, with relative success.
He has shown dedication to the team, he knows the game, he knows the Cubs, and he has worked hard to put himself in position for this.
True, he has no big league experience, but you can only get that experience one way - by being given the job.
It is time for Ryne Sandberg to be brought up and given a shot at managing the Chicago Cubs.
Not just next year. I say give him the reigns right now. Let him get his feet wet right now, even if just as an assistant to Lou, since this season is basically done with anyway.
Ryno has worked hard, and it is time to move him up. This was the eventual goal anyway. Now is a perfect opportunity.
The Cubs have brought in big name managers the past few times they needed to fill the job, and those guys all failed, mostly miserably. Saying Ryno does not have enough experience is meaningless at this point for the Cubs - the guys with experience have not done anything successful, so it is time to try something new.
I vote Ryne Sandberg for Manager of the Cubs.
Jul 20, 2010
--- Highway 6 Spokesperson
This typical response of "you don't like it go elsewhere" was said in response to complaints about the roadworks slowing down travel on the highway that was meant to cut travel time down a lot, and suggestions that the tolls should be discounted while the roadworks are in process.
Tisha B'Av is not an easy day. Not even in a way similar to other fast days.
No matter how many shiurim and drashos one hears on the topic, no matter how many books on the subject one reads, it is still difficult to relate to the loss, that happened so long ago, of the Beis HaMikdash with a real sense of mourning.
Let's be honest - our lives are good, for the most part. Yes, we each have our pekelah. Illness, poverty, problems with kids, etc. But overall, our lives are good, especially compared to how people used to live. We live in relative comfort and wealth. We have the advantages of technology and modern medicine benefiting our daily lives.
No matter how much we, or at least I, hear and read about how horrible the churban was, and how much we are missing today by not having the beis hamikdash, it is still difficult to mourn the loss. Our lives are pretty good.
Intellectually I know. I hear the shiurim, I read the books, I pine for the Mikdash.
Yet it is still difficult to mourn. It is still difficult to relate to Tisha B'Av as anything more than an uncomfortable day, even a nuisance. No matter how much I know about it, there is still a disconnect - intellectually I know, but it is still difficult to relate to it as a realistic and familiar loss that engenders an emotional mourning.
Despite the "disconnect" and lack of any real emotional mourning, there is still a sense of solemnity coming into Tisha B'Av. The sad tunes, the dim lighting, the lack of greeting friends. While difficult to mourn, the sense of loss is in the air.
Perhaps, if the outer trappings of mourning don't actually cause us to mourn, at least they remind us of what we should be feeling and make us just uncomfortable enough to recognize that we don't mourn something we should, and that is sad too.
Tisha B'Av is not an easy day.
Then again, it was not meant to be an easy day.
Jul 19, 2010
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Tizku L'Mitzvos and Hatzlocha Rabba!
A number of blogs wrote about it, Mishpacha magazine wrote about it, Ynet ran an article about it, and more.
Now, as we head into Tisha B'Av, as our annual mourning ritual, much of which is just purely ritual for many of us without any actual understanding of what life was like back then and what life would be like if we got it back, comes to the climax of reading Eicha and the kinos, I feel like adding my two cents.
I don't know if life would be better or worse under Mashiach's rule. Would there be more infighting or less (at least initially)? I have no idea what life will be like then, and I have no idea if we will then prefer the life from before or the life then.
I don't even consider it worthy of discussion.
Any discussion on what life will be like under the future rule of Mashiach and/or the Temple, is based purely on speculation. We have no idea what life will be like then, and therefore have nothing but guesses to base any opinion on whether it will be good or bad, better or worse.
Even among the commentaries there are so many opinions as to what will be, and we really have no way of knowing. I avoid "What If" questions like the plague, because it is pure speculation, and trying to predict the future is also pure speculation with no basis provided for any possible opinion.
I don't know what it will be like in the time of Mashiach. I was raised to believe that everything will be better, and that is good enough for me. What will actually be? I have no idea. Will we have steak 3 times a week? Will we work for a living? Will we have the energy and level fo concentration to learn Torah all day? Will we disband all secular education facilities? Will the yeshiva system be changed?
I have no idea what will be. And it doesn't matter. We will deal with that when the time comes. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I believe it will be better, but in what way I have no idea. And t really does not matter to me, nor does it trouble me to worry about.