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Mar 30, 2012

Joining A Korban Pesach Group

Don't forget to sign up to join a group for this years korban pesach. Machon Hamikdash is organizing it. Should it become possible at the last moment, you won't want to miss it..

The cost this year to join a group is 12 NIS per person...



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Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Starting the day with prayers at kivrei tzadikim
Rabbis at the tomb of Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyah while prepping for the Global March on Jerusalem
(RT Photo)
It looks to me like that Neturei Karta guy 2nd from the right is having a little fun and giving the donkey ears" to the senior rabbi... young at heart...

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'Vehi Sheamda' - SA Chief Rabbi's Pesach Message featuring Yaakov Shwekey (video)

'Vehi Sheamda' - SA Chief Rabbi's Pesach Message featuring Yaakov Shwekey



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Helfgot At Sheva Brachos, With Rav Kanievsky (video)

Helfgot At Sheva Brachos, With Rav Kanievsky



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Mar 29, 2012

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day


When Gilad Shalit met with PM Netanyahu earlier today, he said "I've come to thank you for getting me back"
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The Problem With Defining Livni As Anti-Haredi and Mofaz As Pro-Haredi

When Tzippi Livni was defeated by Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima primary on Tuesday, the first reaction publicized was that of UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, along with Yisroel Eichler. Gafni said that the Kadima voters rejected Livni's anti-haredi rhetoric.

In a Ynet article about haredim gloating over Livni's loss, a UTJ "source" explained that "it isn't gloating or hitting someone when they're down, it is sending a message with a lesson to every rookie politician who adopts a dialogue of hate against the haredi public – it isn't worth your while. It may make a great media slogan, but the public does not accept it, and yesterday, Kadima voters proved they don't either.


"The Shinui party had a single anti-haredi agenda and went from 15 mandates to complete collapse and disappeared completely – parties that follow that path will share the same fate," he said. "Mofaz won't be voting for United torah Judaism, he won't be joining the Council of Torah Sages, but his agenda is different and more mature. He chose a different approach and attitude."

I am not going to defend Tzippi Livni. I am happy she lost, as I did not like her style of politics. I dont think Shaul Mofaz is going anywhere either, which is why I consider the Kadima primary to have been fairly insignificant. I would point out that any such gloating is a bit premature. I am fairly confident that even if Tzippi Livni is anti-haredi, which I am not sure is true, the Kadima voters rejected her for a combination of reasons and issues about her that they did not agree with. Boiling it down to one idea is probably an extreme oversimplification and does not so anybody justice. I am sure that most people were not even thinking about her stance regarding haredim when they made their decision for whom  to vote.

Gafni's statement is, again, indicative of a trend to attack anybody who opposes the UTJ agenda as being anti-haredi. I am not sure the two go hand in hand. Somebody can not agree with UTJ and still not hate haredim.

I also think UTJ, if Gafni's statement is any indication of what they think of Mofaz in relation to what they thought of Livni, is fooling itself f they think Livni was anti and Mofaz will be pro. Again, aligning votes for or against UTJ does not indicate anti-haredi sentiments or pro-haredi sentiments. It simply indicates what they party believes should be done on a specific issue for, hopefully, the good of the country.

However, thinking Livni was anti and Mofaz is pro is ignoring the fact that Shaul Mofaz opposed the Tal Law, which UTJ now considers as a sign of being anti-haredi. As well, one of the first things said by Shaul Mofaz after his electoral victory was that he will lead the social justice battle this coming summer. One of the major parts of the social justice protests has been equality of serving in the army, i.e. that haredim should be drafted into the army.

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Faster Than A Speeding Bullet..

How does this guy still have a driver's license?

The police caught a 48 year old fellow for speeding. he was driving on Kvish 6 at 204 kmph. That is a bit over 126 miles per hour.

Upon further inspection, the police discovered that this guy has a record with 170 moving violations, of which 38 were for speeding. (source: Ynet)

How does a guy like that still have a drivers license?

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The Spiritual Grout of the Kotel

In an announcement on Matzav about the cleaning of the notes out of the Kotel (they say they ensure no notes will be read), included was also a mention that engineers are regularly brought in to examine the stones of the Kotel to determine that there is no safety issue and that the stones will not come loose and fall on anyone praying below.

I was wondering to myself what one has to do with the other. it could be the engineer issue was mentioned only to add to the word count, to make the article a little longer. Then I had another idea. It could be that some people think the only thing holding up the Kotel are those notes that people stick in the cracks with prayers written on them. The notes are the spiritual grout holding up the Kotel. Such people might be concerned that the removal of the notes would endanger the structural integrity of the Kotel. Therefore it was necessary when saying the notes are being cleaned out to also mention that engineers are brought in to ensure the safety of the mispallelim below.

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The Newly Inducted Chametz Police

Pesach time annually brings out the OCD in most of us. Besides for the level of cleaning and preparation we do, we also have the craziest of stringencies and things we are each careful about, with each year intriducing newer and crazier stringencies.

This year's winner, so far, by my nomination, is the newly formed "Chamtez Police" division of the Tiberias Religious Council.

While many religious towns and cities have arranged with Mekorot (the company responsible for Israel's water distribution) in recent years to receive the water supply from cisterns rather than from the Kinneret during Pesach, not all have and not all can. Some continue to receive their water from the Kinneret.

What's the problem with receiving water from the Kinneret? There is no real problem with it, but it is an extra level of avoidance of chametz, out of concern that a tourist might toss some bread, or other chametz (eg. might spill some beer), into the Kinneret on pesach. While chametz is able to be nulled before Pesach,, by having a majority against it, on pesach itself chametz cannot be nulled by a majority.

So, while the bread thrown into the Kinneret before Pesach is not a concern, the bread thrown in on Pesach is a concern to the neurotic among us. So, communities make arrangements with Mekorot to change the water source for the duration of Pesach. A different way around this problem is what some people do by collecting water before Pesach in large containers for use over Pesach, and not using water from the water company at all during Pesach. I cannot even imagine how this would work for a large family for an entire week, but some people do this.

Tiberias, receiving their water from the Kinneret, and with their ever-growing religious and haredi communities, is getting even more neurotic about the water concern this year. The religious council has recruited and appointed "Chametz Police" to walk around the Kinneret, on Chametz Patrol, looking for tourists who might be throwing their bread or beer into the water. They will be distributing pamphlets to different areas, explaining what the issue is and asking people to be careful and not throw their bread into the water. (source: NRG)

It is a bit of a ridiculous attempt, considering there is absolutely no way they can keep an eye on everyone the entire time. No matter how many of these guys they recruit who will be willing to walk around different areas, there is no way they can see everyone all the time, and there is no way they can be everywhere all the time. And it is not just the Kinneret, but all the rivers that dump into the Kinneret. And if they are this concerned about it, then even missing one person or one incident is the same as missing 100 people or 100 incidents.

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Buckle Your Kids Up!

The Knesset's Finance Committee yesterday approved a change in the amount of fines one would receive for not buckling your child in safely in the car.

Until now the level of the fine was 250 NIS across the board, for not buckling properly a child from the ages 0-14.

Now, with the new level of fines, it will be a staggered amount, depending on the age of the child, with the largest increase being an increase of 400%!!!

The new fines are, for not properly buckling a child..:

  • 0-3, in a car seat: 1000 NIS (an increase of 400%!!)
  • 3-8, in a booster seat: 750 NIS
  • 8-14, in a seatbelt: 500 NIS

I imagine that with the fines being so high, the police will probably be on the lookout as a way of increasing revenue...

So, besides for buckling your kids up due to safety reasons, you will also want to buckle up out of financial concerns...
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Leaning To The Left or Right?

An alert reader sent to me the following article published by the American Society of Anesthesiology from their annual meeting of 2011, presented by a Dr. Roger Marks.

From the ASA:
Do Anesthesiologists Lean Toward the Left of the Right?
Roger L. Marks, M.D.,M.P.H.
Univeristy of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, United States
Some may initially think that the topic of this article is political. However, the purpose is to discuss the placement of the patient in the recovery (rescue) position. This question actually was raised recently at our Passover Seder, the festive meal celebrating the emancipation of the Jews from Egypt. In the Talmud, Pesachim 108a, it is stated that “even the poorest man in Israel must not eat until he reclines” and from here the tradition is brought down that the meaning is to recline to the left, as was the custom of royalty, in order to eat with his right hand. Therefore, a person is required to eat matzah and drink the four cups of wine during the Passover Seder while reclining to the left, as a reminder of his becoming free from slavery on this day. But what about the person whom is left handed? Should he perhaps lean to the right in order to hold his food and drink in his left hand? The majority opinion of the Rabbis is that he must also lean to the left, because leaning to the right may “cause the food to go into the windpipe and thus endanger himself.”


This, I believe, represents the first historical reference to the increased risk of aspiration associated with lying on the right versus lying on the left.


This discussion can also be found in the medical literature in regards to the choice of which side to use when placing a patient in the recovery position. The left lateral decubitus position is the most common recommendation and this is probably due historically to the fact that most ambulances have been designed to have the medical provider located on the right. Therefore, having the patient lying on the left, facing the provider assists in being able to identify and treat problems with the airway, including facilitating laryngoscopy and intubation, buy having the tongue displaced to the left. It is also well known that having a pregnant women lying in the left lateral decubitus position helps avoid pressure on the inferior vena cava and the associated changes in oxygen delivery to the fetus. Also patients with GERD have been shown to have fewer symptoms when sleeping on the left1. From anatomical studies, it has been shown that at the level of vocal cords, the esophageal inlet is in fact displaced slightly to the left of the trachea. Therefore, without any other extenuating circumstances, most anesthesiologists lean to the left.


References:


1. Khoury, RM, Camacho-Lobato, L, Katz, PO, Mohiuddin MA, Castell, DO. Influence of spontaneous sleep positions on nighttime recumbent reflux in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol 1999; 94(8): 2069-73.


Copyright © 2011 American Society of Anesthesiologists
Not that we needed proof in order to sanction our minhag of leaning to the left when we recline at the seder on Pesach, but it is interesting to see when medical science supports our customs, and is far better than trying to justify our customs after finding medical science in opposition...

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

The time has come to return to all the houses in the City of our Fathers that were stolen by the enemy. If we are talking about the rule of law, the most basic step would be to allow Jews in Hebron to return to the tens of houses that belong to the Jewish community

  -- MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari

overnight a group of Jews in Hebron moved into a house near the Me'arat HaMachpela that they bought. When soldiers came to remove them, they showed their proof of purchase, and now there is a standoff between protesters and more people trying to join them, with the question hanging of whether the government will allow them to stay in the house they purchased or will evict them.

gg

gg

הגיע הזמן לחזור לכל הבתים בעיר האבות שנגזלו על ידי האוייב. אם מדברים על שלטון החוק הצעד הכי בסיסי הוא לאפשר ליהודים בחברון לחזור לעשרות בתים ששיכים לקהילה היהודית
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Holiday Bustle in Meah She'arim (video)

Holiday Bustle in Meah She'arim

United States Ambassadot to Israel Dan Shapiro spends a lot of time out visiting communities around Israel, learning the dynamics and what makes each unique. Shapiro visited Mea Shearim to see the preparations being made for Pesach...



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Jon Stewart: More Hummus, Please - Co-Occupation (video)

Jon Stewart: More Hummus, Please - Co-Occupation


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After 6 Years, Avraham Fried "Keeps Climbing" (video)

After 6 Years, Avraham Fried "Keeps Climbing"



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Mar 28, 2012

Jon Stewart: Shaq Talks Jewish (video)

Jon Stewart: Shaq Talks Jewish

good interview with Shaquille O'Neil, and at the end he uses all his Jew-words...


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Interesting Posts #372

Interesting Posts #372

1. Double Standard or Higher Standard?

2. 4 Inspiring Things You'll Find In The IDF

3. No Photographing In the Matza Factory  - What are they Hiding?

4. Running From.. 

5. Why/How Aish Allowed Pastor Hagee To preach On The Roof

6. The Dartmouth Jewish Sounds Archive

7. Tiyulim: Nimrod's Fortress and The Saar Falls and Banias

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First-World Problems: No Coke For Pesach

In a strange announcement that seems to have upset some people, Kosher Today announced in it's newsletter that kosher consumers in California will not be able to enjoy Coca Cola this Pesach, as they had to change the formula in order to meet new California regulations regarding one of the ingredients, and the new formula will not yet be Kosher for Passover. Even in other places where it will be Kosher for Passover, it will be limited to regular Coke and diet, and no other versions.

California is not alone in the tzurres of a First-World country - the same newsletter also informs us that in Chicago there will be confusion in the supermarkets as Pepsi Cola is offering its kosher for Passover drinks under two different kashrus certifications - the Kof-K and US Kosher. I don't know if one is more or less reliable than the other, but people who want to rely on one and not the other will need to pay attention when they go shopping for Pepsi.

To quote Kosher Today:
Los Angeles…Kosher consumers here that were expecting to find Coca Cola for Passover on supermarket shelves were disappointed to learn that the coveted beverage would not be available this year in the State of California due to a quirk in the law that would make the ingredients unacceptable. In a statement, Coca Cola said: “We will not be able to offer Kosher for Passover products in California this year. We expect to offer Kosher for Passover products in 2013.” Coca Cola explained that “the new alternative process caramel required to meet the State of California’s guidelines related to Proposition 65 does not meet the Kosher for Passover requirements. We believe it will in 2013.”
Meanwhile in Chicago, products produced by Pepsi Cola had two different kosher certifications, the Kof-K and US Kosher, based in California. The latter was distributed by independent wholesalers while the company itself distributed the Kof-K products.
But even in states where Coca Cola is available with an OU-P for Pesach, it will only be available in Regular and Diet flavors (not even a Caffeine-Free version). Aside from the New York metropolitan area, Coke will be available in Boston, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia. This year, in New York, Coca Cola items will be made with an OU-P in 2 liter bottles.
Several retailers reached by KosherToday said that customers were growing increasingly frustrated at the slim pickings offered by Coke. Pepsi on the other hand was offering Kof-K kosher Passover beverages that included a Caffeine-Free version of regular and diet Pepsi. In addition Pepsi was also producing Passover versions of Seven-Up, Sierra Mist, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime Seltzer, Mandarin Orange Seltzer and regular seltzer. It was also offering a variety of Dr. Brown’s flavors.
My thoughts on this are about the same as the burning desire to change the minhag (not from an academic perspective) and eat kitniyos on pesach, or to complain about the lack of chametz foods and how unbearable it is for the week.

That would be - Pesach is only a week long. Get over it.

You can live without rice for a week, you can live without barley in your cholent for a week, you can live without Sprite for a week. There are so many things to be upset about, to be depressed about, to be confused about, in todays world, be it the economy and the Jewish community members who suffer because of it (along with the broader community suffering), be it the terror, be it the Iranian threat, be it whatever serious situation we find ourselves in at any given moment - missing Coca Cola for a week is not a reason to be depressed and confused.

First-World Problems, as we say...

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2 Interesting Responses To Recent Tragic Deaths Of Children

This past week has seen the tragic, horrific, deaths of 8 children - 3 murdered in France and 5 on Tuesday night in a horrible fire in Rehovot.

2 interesting responses I have seen regarding the tragedies:

  1. Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau said that the mothers should realize that the tragic deaths of their children was, perhaps, to atone for harsh decrees that were possibly meant to be brought down upon the nation of Israel. (source: Ynet). Maybe yes, maybe no, at least he offered comforting words suggesting there might have been a greater purpose.
  2. Rav Shlomo Aviner, while acknowledging the aspect of the personal tragedy of mothers losing their children and husbands, said this should not be played up to a national tragedy. Rav Aviner said that before modern medicine 2/3 of children would die from disease, and now it is rare for a child to die of disease, and that is only due to modern medicine. The death of each and every child is a tragedy and the general picture of statistics does not solve the suffering of those families. If even statistically only one out of a million children die from a certain disease, for the mother of that one child it is 100% - to her it matters not what happens to the rest.

    We, with a broader perspective, are living in paradise, but we must remember that people die all the time... every year more than 350 people, including children, die in car accidents, more than 10,000 from smoking while up to 1/6th of them dont even smoke - why does nobody get emotional about all of them? That does not even take into account all the people who die of heart diseases from poor eating habits. Because those are large numbers.

    It is not right to turn to Hashem and ask why He did this to us, when just about everything we have is very good. There are countries in which the people have almost nothing to eat. Every day 30,000 children die of hunger. Have you seen anybody get emotional over that?

    Every death is a tragedy. But the personal tragedy of a person should not distort everybody's thinking. For that family it was truly a tragedy, but there are many other families with tragedies. A family that was killed in a car accident is less upsetting than that killed in a terrorist attack or in a fire? (source and more: Srugim)
While Rav Aviner is putting this into perspective, I am not sure what he is trying to do. While it would make sense if he would be saying to be more emotional and recognize the tragedy in even less dramatic tragedies, it seems more like he is trying to get people to be less emotional about these tragedies. 

Personally, I think we are all too disconnected from each other and from the concept of areivus. yes, perhaps we don't recognize enough the tragedy when reading in the news about a tragic car accident that wiped out a family. Maybe we do, but let's give him that point for argument's sake.So, maybe we don't personalize other forms of tragedy - does that mean we should also not empathize and relate to this tragedy? Does he want us to be completely cold and ignore everyone's tragedy just because we don't relate to all other situations equally?
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Likud Blesses Shaul Mofaz On His Victory

The best part of Shaul Mofaz's defeat of Tzippi Livni in the Kadima primary yesterday was the official response of the Likud Party. The Likud Party's published response said "We wish Mofaz many years as head of the Opposition.."

The only problem with it is that it is a bit insulting to Sheli Yachimovitch and the Labor Party....

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

As president of the country, I attribute great importance in working with great determination to bring about the release of Jonathan Pollard.... In all my meetings with President Obama and with American government leaders I raised the clear request to release Pollard. The President's House is in close contact with the Committee For the Release Of Pollard and together, hand in hand, we will work to advance in any way possible the desired return home of Jonathan Pollard...

  -- President Shimon Peres

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Passover Rhapsody - A Jewish Rock Opera (video)

Passover Rhapsody - A Jewish Rock Opera

Aish's new holiday video in time for Pesach...



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Paschal Pooches (video)

Paschal Pooches



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Kolot: VaTikach Miriam (video)

Kolot: VaTikach Miriam



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Mar 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

The Council of Human Rights of the United Nations made a decision to establish an investigative committee regarding the settlements. We don't need to give an accoutnign to them. On the Council sits nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya. We are not going to learn morals from them... We should lay out before them our rights to the land that is based on the Tanakh. Our answer to the committee will be to continue to build Eretz Yisrael. The more that we will build, that much stronger will our answer be...

  -- Minister of Education Gideon Saar, at groundbreaking ceremony of a new school in Kedumim

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Touring in Eretz Yisrael: Nahal Dragot, a.k.a Darja

There are two types or touring that can be done in Eretz Yisrael - there is the sightseeing edition, such as when you go to Mini Israel or to a museum, etc. And there is the hiking edition, where you climb up or down mountains, hike through canyons, wadis, riverbeds, nahals, ponds, etc.

Hikes range in difficulty, and when planning a hike one should be sure it is appropriate for the level of the group participating. the Nature Authority in Israel rates each authorized trail with level of difficulty  -if you are hiking with a stroller, or with small children, be sure to find a trail rated appropriate for families, for strollers, etc. Don't take a 5 year old on a hike rated "Difficult", and a 20 year old out looking for an adventure might be bored on a trail rated "easy".

Nahal Dragot, commonly known as "Darja", is one of the most difficult and extreme hikes in Israel. When planning a tiyul, Darja is the one trail that puts fear and consternation into even the avid hikers heart. Planning for Darja requires bringing along a long rope appropriate for rappelling down sections of the trail, along with the ability to swim through mostly filthy water.

Darja is a trail in the mountain range across from the Dead Sea. The hike starts at the top of the mountain and goes down into and through the canyon. At times the trail is just a few inches wide.

I went the other day with my son and 16 other people to hike through Darja. I did Darja about 19 or so years ago when I was in yeshiva, and I remember it being difficult back then. We took two different approaches - 19 years ago we went with our gear and plans of how we would avoid our cameras getting wet, we had maps and other stuff in our backpacks, and we worked very hard to ensure our packs would stay dry. That required using ropes and ingenuity that took a lot of time and effort. And it failed. This time, our guide told us that we should plan that everything we take along will get wet. It is impossible not to. With that advanced knowledge, nobody even bothered trying to be a chochom about it and we all packed accordingly. We triple wrapped food, and anything else somebody might have brought along that he wanted to keep dry he made sure to put in a water tight bag.

As we began hiking down into the canyon, there is a set of caves that have been identified as a hiding place for the troops of Bar Kochva when he led the rebellion against the Romans. Scrolls have been found there, some even bearing the signature of Bar Kochva himself. The terrain of the hike is difficult, very difficult, but absolutely stunning views and topography. The reddish-brownish rock, the fauna, the interesting birds, the vultures above that made me think they were waiting for us to get stuck in the trail so they could have dinner, were all but some of the beautiful features of the trail.

The hike in total was 6.5 hours long, and included sections that we needed to rappel down walls of mountainside that were 15 or 20 meters high, slide down mostly smoothen rock, wade or swim through ponds of stagnant water that had turned a horrible color and at times included a horrible smell, jump from heights of 5 or so meters into ponds of this colored water, along with climbing over and under rocks and boulders of all sizes. At points the Nature Authority had installed metal hand-holds in sections of trail, where climbing down nearly blind or when climbing across a sideways trail that required some twisting and physical contortion was absolutely necessary.

The video below was made by one guy who brought along his camera and kept it in a water-proof divers bag. That is also why the images are a bit dark and fuzzy - he took his pictures while it was in the bag.





I would add that we passed a group of 50 guys, many of whom could not swim, who were having a great time hiking but were also having great difficulty with it. They had started at 7:15 in the morning, while we started at about 8:30, and we passed them at about 9:30 in the morning. They were hiking with inner tubes and inflatable rafts to  be used in the water sections to help those who could not swim get across. There were also a couple of small groups of hikers that we encountered on the hike.

Darja is a hike that every hiker in Israel should do, but you must plan for it appropriately.

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Don't tell me that we don't have a partner for peace. Abu Mazen has never supported terror. He opposed [the use of] terror when Arafat ruled...

  --- Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking at a JStreet conference

Olmert must have forgotten Abu Mazen's involvement in the Maalot massacre 38 years ago, along with his being in charge of funding the Black September group of terrorists responsible for the Munich Massacre among others..

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Zivotovskys Win First Stage Of Suit Against Clinton

9 year old Menachem Zivotovsky, from Bet Shemesh and son of the famous Dr. Ari Zivotovsky, is suing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in order to get the word ", Israel" included in his passport as place of birth - Jerusalem, Israel rather than just "Jerusalem". The case has gone to the Supreme Court, and not many gave the case much of a chance.

A milestone was recorded yesterday when the case passed a very important hurdle. The Justice Department was trying to get the courts to stay out of the issue, saying it is not in their jurisdiction to decide such a matter, as they claim it to be an executive decision to say or not say "Israel" rather than a judicial decision.

The Court decided yesterday that the case can be heard and will continue.

From CNN:
A 9-year-old boy's request to have Israel listed as the place of birth on his U.S. passport was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem, a disputed region in the eyes of the Obama administration, which claimed the larger issue should be resolved by bilateral negotiations, not by a 2002 federal law favoring the family and 50,000 other Americans born in the holy city. The Justice Department urged the courts to stay out of the matter.
But the justices by an 8-1 vote said the courts could intervene and decide the matter. That jurisdictional barrier is now overcome and the family can continue to pursue their legal claims.
The case is a classic fight between congressional and executive authority, with foreign policy the source of the current controversy.
At issue before the high court were two questions, one narrow, one broad: Can courts intervene to enforce a federal law explicitly directing the State Department how to record the birthplace of an American citizen on a passport? And does the law impermissibly infringe on the president's power to recognize a foreign sovereign?
"There have been 50,000 Americans in the last 10 years that were born in Jerusalem, and many of them would like to have Israel indicated as their place of birth in the passports," Sarah Cleveland, a Columbia University Law School professor, and until recently a counselor on international law at the State Department, said in November. "But this is also an extremely important geopolitical issue and a very sensitive foreign relations issue for the United States."
The high court case was Zivotofsky v. Clinton, but the key player in this dispute is perhaps the most famous city in the world, and one of the oldest human settlements still in existence: Jerusalem. Its name translates as "City of Peace" to some, "Holy Sanctuary" to others. It is Israel's largest city and its capital, though that is not recognized by the United Nations and most of the world community.
The city is home to Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky. The couple and their two oldest children were born in the United States, but the family migrated to West Jerusalem a decade ago, and in 2002 the youngest, Menachem Binyamin, was born.
"We're very proud of the fact that he was born in Israel and that we live in Israel and it's the modern state of Israel," Ari Zivotofsky told CNN Correspondent Kate Bolduan last year. "Religiously and historically, that's very significant."
Just three weeks before Menachem was born, the United States Congress gave U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem the individual discretion to ask that Israel be listed on passports and consular reports, where it says "Place of Birth." President George W. Bush signed the bill, but issued an executive "signing statement" indicating he would not comply.
The law, he said "impermissibly interferes with the president's constitutional authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs and to supervise the unitary executive branch."
That law, and the Zivotofsky's long-standing request, were at the center of the 70-minute arguments before the justices in November.
"They're both proud American citizens but feel a very strong affinity, religiously too, to the state of Israel," said Alyza Lewin, the Zivotofsky's Washington-based lawyer, last year. "Their son is very proud of the fact that he is the one sibling born in Israel."
It is not the first time the Congress and White House have clashed over the region. The U.S. Embassy remains in Tel Aviv, over U.S. lawmakers' objections.
The boy's mother made the "Israel" request about two months after his birth, but embassy officials refused. His passport in fact shows his round, innocent face, and "Jerusalem" is listed as his place of birth.
"That's been the State Department's practice, the general rule for American citizens born abroad is that their passport lists only a country of birth," said Lewin in November. "So if a citizen is born for instance in Paris, it says France. If they're born in Tel Aviv or Haifa, it says just Israel. If you're born in Jerusalem, instead of saying the country, the city is listed -- just a city -- Jerusalem."
The attorneys for the Zivotofskys have framed their case as a modest request, one that does not implicate the president's foreign policy power. They are asking the high court not to decide a political question, but simply tell the administration to enforce the law, for the sake of a little boy.
"It is a very personal case. What's at stake is their deep personal pride and sense of identification with the state of Israel, and their right, given by Congress, to express that, on the passport," said attorney Nathan Lewin, who argued the family's case before the high court in November.
"That pride, and the national pride of others, is clearly what makes that region as much front page news as it often is. But I don't think that this case itself is asking for any kind of broader determination than allowing these individuals that opportunity. Congress has recognized that it's part of his self respect, that he should be able to say Israel, and that's all that we're asking for in this case."
The government is thinking of the bigger picture. State Department officials would not comment on the record on a pending case, but President Barack Obama has acknowledged the stalled peace process has created divisions both in that region and in the United States.
"Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met," he said in a May 2010 speech. "I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians."
Choosing a home, and being able to decide what to call it may seem like a fundamental right. But nothing is so easy when Jerusalem is mentioned. The Zivotofskys say they recognize the geo-political complexity, but think in this case, in this judicial forum, the solution is simple.
"Everybody knows Jerusalem is in Israel. Why is the State Department refusing to recognize this?" said Nathan Lewin. "They have this fear of nonexistent hobgoblins, which has caused them to follow this policy, and it's about time -- Congress thought it was about time -- they get rid of that policy ... all that we're asking the Supreme Court to do is agree with Congress, that this is a foolish policy, and ought to be eliminated

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John Hagee exposes all on Aish HaTorah's Old City rooftop overlooking Temple Mount (video)

John Hagee exposes all on Aish HaTorah's Old City rooftop overlooking Temple Mount

Hard to believe Aish HaTorah allowed Pastor John Hagee to say all this hosted from their rooftop in the Old City..


Find more videos like this on Jewish Israel


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Eva Sandler Interviews About Post-Murder (video)

Eva Sandler Interviews About Post-Murder



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CANTOR Y. STARK AT CONG. BETH SHOLOM SINGS SHMA YISRAEL (video)

CANTOR Y. STARK AT CONG. BETH SHOLOM SINGS SHMA YISRAEL



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Mar 26, 2012

Interesting Posts #371

Interesting Posts #371

1. My Mother's Visit To Rav Sheinberg - Portrait Of A Gadol

2. The Jerusalem Light-Rail As Political Israel

3. 2 years ago, Esther Petrack's participation in a reality tv show called America's Next Top Model made waves. People questioned whether she could be called frum considering she would have tzniyus issues, and particularly she seemingly had said she would work on Shabbos to get a modeling job. Well, Esther Petrack is now a volunteer in the IDF training to be a tank instructor....

4. Using Electronic Devices on Shabbos

5. Rebuilding The Temple Will Ruin Everything

6. The "Other" Passover Cmmemoration

7. Hagadda Roundup

8. The Golan Hiking Trail

9. Sping Time In Eretz Yisrael

10. The Courage To Embrace Imperfection

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Theft On Mehadrin Bus Lines

The level of "bus fare avoidance" on the mehadrin lines is in the news again.

The supporters of the mehadrin bus lines every now and again publish advertisements reminding, or encouraging, riders to be sure to pay the bus fare even when they get on at the back of the bus. There are regular complaints about the high percentage of riders who use the cover of the mehadrin bus line honor system to ride without paying. At a transportation committee meeting in the Knesset two years ago the director of Superbus claimed that on mehadrin bus lines 30% do not pay. While that number seems impossibly high to me, that is what Balilius claimed at the time.

In this past week's Chadash newspaper, the issue came up again. Superbus drivers regularly catch people who did not pay. They decided to make an example out of someone they repeatedly have caught not paying when getting on the bus. They figure, they say, that they have been screaming until they are blue in the face to no avail, and if they now make an example of someone it will go a long way to ensuring riders pay.

How are they making an example of one rider?

Superbus is suing a female passenger that did not pay when she got on the bus using the back door. Superbus has installed "smart card readers" next to the back door for the "mehadrin" buses and by the honor system riders boarding in the back are meant to swipe their card. The article says they plan on suing for thousands to tens of thousands of shekels for damages.

Superbus responded, when asked, saying that they spent a lot of money installing systems to make it possible, all out of desire to respect the wishes of the community that wanted it, while trusting that the riders in the haredi community would be careful to pay. After investing a lot of money in machines that are easy to use, instead of making it easier for everyone involved, it has become a source of a breach in the system, allowing people to not pay and causing them a lot of loss of fees and has become a tremendous bother for them.

Superbus has admitted that the lawsuit being filed is in order to teach a lesson so that others will begin paying and not be prone to such suits of their own. Riding without paying is illegal and each time it is done it is subject to a fine worth thousands of shekels. Suing one person, they say, will hopefully cause others to decide to start paying for their rides.

Who would have ever thought that riding with separate seating was more important than theft? With the knowledge that this has been going on for years and all their encouragement to pay, a significant enough percentage of people (whatever the actual percentage is, it is clearly significant enough) still do not, the rabbonim and askanim should simply cancel the mehadrin lines. They should say that enabling theft is not an acceptable byproduct of sitting with gender-segregation, and if people are going to continue not paying for their rides they will make everyone get on in the front of the bus and pay the driver directly.

We don't blow shofar when Rosh Hashana falls out on Shabbos out of concern of one ignorant fellow that might carry the shofar in a place he isnt allowed to. We have many takanos in our religion to prevent people from getting anywhere near sinning inadvertently, or to prevent temptation of sin. Here we have a situation that is causing the temptation of theft - if theft is rampant on these buses, the mehadrin status should be cancelled by the rabbonim who have backed them until now.

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Restoring Heseiba To The Seder

One of the things about the seder night on Pesach that I never really like is the heseiba - the need to recline while drinking the wine and at other points during the seder. I find the reclining to be unnatural and even uncomfortable. I am partial to the opinion that says that nowadays we do not have to do so heseiba because heseiba is a symbol of freedom yet nowadays people no longer do it. Despite being partial to the anti-heseiba opinion, I still do heseiba.

Rav Yoel Bin-Nun has an interesting suggestion, and personal approach, to dealing with the necessary reclining on Pesach night. Rav Bin-Nun says that we really do heseiba nowadays, just not when we are eating - we do it when we relax on the couch rather than at the dining room table. Rav Bin-Nun says that the common style of heseiba used today - on couches - changes the halachic requirement.

Rav Bin-Nun says that what he does, and what he sees as being the proper way to fulfill the mitzva of heseiba, is by moving the seder from the dining room table to the living room couches. He says that he and his family sit  at the couches from Kiddush through the eating of the maror. When it is time to start "Shulchan Oreich" and begin the meal, they move back to the main table. During the interim, they use tv tables for the necessary eating and drinking in the first half of the seder, and when reading and discussing the Maggid portion the tv tables are removed.

Another benefit of this is that it encourages the children to really be curious and ask natural questions. While much of what we do at the seder is meant to encourage questions and discussion, we still tell the kids what to ask and we are told what to answer. It does not encourage natural questions and discussion. Making such a drastic change, sitting on the couches instead of at the table, does encourage the natural curiosity.

source: YBN
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Saying Shma To Protect from Trouble

Often when tragedy strikes the frum community, or when a series of traumatic events is identified, something is targeted to work on for improvement,  for the merit of the community so as not to suffer such tragedies again or to attempt to stop the series of events from continuing.

Often the action targeted is something like strengthening issues of modesty or prevention of speaking lashon ha'ra or the like.

Because of the recent tragedy of the murders in Toulouse, France, the rav of a shul in England, Rav Chaim Halperin of the Divrei Chaim shul in London, encouraged the strengthening of a matter, in a way I don't remember hearing before, and I thought this was interesting.

This rav said that the words "Shma Yisrael" - שמע ישראל - contain as an anagram the words "Sar" and "Yishmael". The rav said that when we would be careful about saying kriyas shma in its proper time and with kavana, Hashem will then protect us from Yishmael - from  terrorists and danger. He said if we would be more careful about the mitzva of reading shma in the proper time, most of the troubles would not befall us. (source: Bechadrei)

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Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day

Neturei Karta with the help from the almighty will be attending the global march to Jerusalem in Jordan Lebanon and Palestine and more

-- Neturei Karta USA twitter account - yes, this is real.

One of the basic tenets of the Neturei Karta is that the Jews returned to the Land of Israel "as a wall", which is a rebellion against God, and is breaking one of the three oaths made between god and the Jewish people. Ironic that the Neturei Karta themselves will now come to Israel "as a wall", as part of a march on Jerusalem...
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We Are Synonymous with Israel (video)

We Are Synonymous with Israel



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Street Survey About Pesach (video)

Street Survey About Pesach

This is an interesting clip..



I guess this was filmed last year, as they mention wishing for Gilad Shalit's release, though it was only uploaded yesterday.

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Intel Israel (video)

Intel Israel



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Mar 25, 2012

Fitness Parks and Garbage Collection in Bet Shemesh

The local Chadash newspaper always provides good fodder in at least one of it's articles on a weekly basis. This past week's edition provided at least three potential blog posts..

Here is the first..

Chadash reports that the City has removed the fitness equipment from four more parks around Bet Shemesh. To remind you, three years ago the City removed the fitness equipment from a park in RBS. Now four more have been removed from other neighborhoods.

What do these reports have in common (besides for the fitness equipment)?

The removal of all the fitness equipment was from religious neighborhoods, specifically the latest four which were removed in recent weeks were all from haredi neighborhoods. In other neighborhoods around Bet Shemesh, the fitness equipment continues to function.

The article says the reason for the removal was that these parks were cited for safety violations. It seems the equipment was installed not according to standard safety guidelines.

Another point is that they removed the equipment immediately, and said that it would all be reinstalled when they get a budget to do so, which they currently do not have. Hopefully it will be within the year.

It makes me wonder why the low standards are only discovered n the religious neighborhoods..
Do they:

  • install the parks initially using lower standards for the religious citizens, as a way of saving money where they perhaps consider it less important?
  • inspect in these neighborhoods using stricter standards?
  • Make up reasons in order to take it away from these residents?
  • make up excuses to cover for other reasons to remove the equipment?
On a separate note, and I only bunch it together here because it was in the same article, a year and a half ago the City decided to save money and cut down on garbage collection around the city. RBS, for example, was being cut from four days per week of garbage collection down to 3.

According to the report in Chadash, the City is bumping garbage collection back up to four days a week. With City Councilman Reuven Cohen pushing hard for a while, Mayor Moshe Abutbol has now agreed that the situation has gotten bad with the garbage piling up, especially in neighborhoods where collection is not done on Fridays and the garbage piles up throughout Shabbos, and he is giving the order to bump the collection back up to four days per week. Good job! This was a no-brainer from day one.  



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VaYikra: The Greatness Of The Sin Offering

I don't normally post divrei torah here on Life in Israel. That is usually, or used to be, reserved for a different blog (that has been dormant for a while). I decided to share a thought I had that is relevant to both this past Shabbat's parsha along with the upcoming parshiyot. Bear with me and let me know what you think.

It must have been very difficult for a person to bring a korban - specifically any of the variety of sin offerings. By doing so, by appearing in the Beit HaMikdash with a sin offering in hand, he was publicly announcing that he had done something wrong - committed a sin.

Perhaps for the nondescript, fairly anonymous, average person maybe it was not such a big deal. Or maybe it was. People from his community, or relatives and friends from elsewhere, might see him or know where he was going and what he was doing. Especially, though, someone "important", "popular", well-known, was risking a lot by going to bring his or her sin offering.

I can imagine the crowds of people milling about in the Mikdash, suddenly see a famous politician appear, an important rabbi or community leader, to bring a sin offering. Immediately the rumors start spreading, as people  start whispering and passing the information along.. "Do you know who i saw bringing a sin offering?" You know who I heard brought a sin offering? I wonder what he did wrong..", "you know I heard that so and so doesn't really keep Shabbos and had to bring a sin offering", etc. Maybe the kohen who serviced this fellow and facilitated the korban went home and bragged who he helped that day and what the fellow had done. The rumors started, it made the newspapers, the bloggers picked up on it. Suddenly, this poor guy who wanted a kapara for his mistake is famous for what he did and probably more for all sorts of things he never even thought of doing.

Can you imagine someone who just decided to bring a korban for something he had done wrong - he is thinking to himself, man, I really think I need to bring this korban, but everybody is going to be talking about what I did. They are going to make up stories about me. How am I going to live that down. I am going to lose my job, nobody will respect me, my kids are almost in shidduchim, etc.

Yet this fellow, because he was serious about his growth and repentance, decided anyway, knowing that he was "going public", to bring his korban.

The sin offerings show us how great a person is who is seeking repentance. How much he has to overcome to do it right. How serious he is about it. A person who does this, who brings his korban because that is what is necessary despite all the stuff around it, is a true person of growth. And that shows us that we must do what is right, despite the knowledge that some chips might fall, rightly or wrongly, because of it.

And perhaps that is why the sin offerings have the status of kodshei kadashim rather than kodshe kalim - offerings of greater sanctity rather than offerings of lesser sanctity. Because he had to overcome so much to bring the sin offering, the korban is granted so much more holiness and importance.

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Warren Buffet Buys Jews Chametz

When you think of selling your chametz to a goy, maybe you picture the annual image of the Chief Rabbi of Israel sitting down with a prominent Israeli-Arab to perform the mechira. or maybe you imagine your local shul or community rabbi selling to a locally known gentile, perhaps the shul janitor or the stock-man at the local grocery shop.

Warren Buffet buying the Jewish community's chanetz
The sale of chametz just got upgraded when the goy selected for the mechira was none other than Warren Buffet!! And he agreed to do it!

Unfortunately, it did not work out as planned because the only time he could free in his schedule the the event was 6 weeks prior to Pesach... The rabbi decided to keep the appointment anyway and sell Buffet some chametz..

Why did Buffet agree to do this? Doesn't he have anything better to do with his time? According to Buffet, this is a ceremony very important to the Jews, and as an agnostic he has the liberty to do all sorts of things without raising judgement.

In the words of Omaha.com:
It might be his best deal yet.
Warren Buffett got a bottle of Scotch, a loaf of traditional Jewish bread, a bag of Cheetos and the rights to the food in three large drums and a box.
All for free.
For thousands of years, Jewish people have sold their leavened goods — anything containing grain that rises when baked — to non-Jewish friends before the eight-day observance of Passover begins. Any unsold leavened products are donated to charity.
Jewish law forbids eating or having leavened goods during Passover, which celebrates the Exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt after being freed from slavery.
Rabbi Jonathan Gross of the Beth Israel Synagogue in west Omaha had an idea. He would ask Omaha investor Buffett — an 81-year-old agnostic and the third-richest man in the world — to take part in the "Sale of Chametz."
Gross typed up a letter.
He included a little background on how the sale would work: Buffett would buy the goods, Gross would buy them back later.
"Price is low before Passover. Price is high afterward," Gross said. "It's a great short-term investment. So who would really appreciate this better than Warren Buffett?"
Gross also included the name of his friend Rabbi Myer Kripke, for whom the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion & Society at Creighton University is named. Kripke has been friends with Buffett for 50 years, since they were neighbors in Dundee.
A few days later, Gross got an email from Debbie Bosanek, Buffett's longtime secretary, saying Buffett liked the idea.
"The beauty of being an agnostic is that you are in no position to make any judgment about anything," Buffett said in an interview. "You can join in on anything."
He said he decided to participate because it's "a ceremony of enormous importance to Jews."
One problem: Passover begins at sunset on April 6, and Jews regularly sell their leavened goods just one day ahead of the observance. Because of his schedule, Buffett wanted to meet Feb. 23 — six weeks before Passover.
Gross decided that he couldn't actually sell Buffett his boxes of goods under Jewish tradition. "The sale is real, not a joke," Gross said.
He called a mentor rabbi. Scratch the official sale, the mentor advised.
Gross decided to keep the meeting with Buffett, because he wanted to raise awareness about the need for donations to the Food Bank for the Heartland.
During the afternoon of Feb. 23, Gross packed up the goods and his meeting script — he didn't want to waste any of Buffett's time. He picked up Yossi Stern, Kripke's son-in-law, and Rabbi Kripke, who at age 98 uses a wheelchair.
At Berkshire Hathaway's offices in the Kiewit Plaza near 36th and Farnam Streets, Buffett showed the men around his 14th-floor office.
They saw his signed Shaquille O'Neal sneakers and shelves of Husker memorabilia.
"It's really very ordinary," Gross said of Buffett's office.
In a nod to the ceremonial sale, Gross gave Buffett four 50-cent pieces to finance the deal.
Gross gave him a bottle of single-malt Scotch, home-baked challah — traditional braided Jewish bread — and Buffett's favorite, a bag of Cheetos.
Gross also handed him two sets of keys — to Beth Israel Synagogue and to Gross' west Omaha home, where the box and drums of food are kept. (Buffett agreed to donate the food to the food bank.)
The Oracle of Omaha and the west Omaha rabbi shook hands, no signed agreement needed.
Buffett returned the 50-cent coins.
He joked that now that he knows the asking price — four coins — he'll bargain down to two coins next year.
"Why didn't anyone tell me about this earlier? This is a great investment," Buffett said. "I could have been doing this for years."
Word has it that Warren Buffet will also now be signing up to act as the "Shabbos Goy" for the local Jewish community...

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Disgusting Turkish shampoo commercial starring Hitler (video)

Disgusting Turkish shampoo commercial starring Hitler

I would not expect anything better to come out of Turkey..



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Stuff People Say on Pesach (video)

Stuff People Say on Pesach


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San Remo Conference of 1920 (video)

San Remo Conference of 1920

To whom does Eretz Yisrael belong?



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Mar 23, 2012

Douglas Murray at his best - Israel & Nuclear Iran (video)

Douglas Murray at his best - Israel & Nuclear Iran



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Six13: Good Shabbos (video)

Six13: Good Shabbos



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Mar 22, 2012

Interesting Posts #370

Interesting Posts #370

1. A lot of commentary has been written about Yitti Halberstams lamenting of the shidduch crisis and how the young women are not doing their best to look pretty.. Here are a few posts I noticed: The Wolf, Rabbi Fink, Mom in Israel, Bad for Shidduchim and Ms. Halberstam responds

2. We Must Create Intolerance

3. Three Sifrei Torah!

4. One Reason Not To Vote For Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

5. Shul Fees

6. Jewish Mosque in The Jewish Quarter

7. Unapologetically Frum, But Not Haredi

8. Krav Maga Instructors Course

9. A Yemenite Seder 75 Years Ago

10 Almost A Good Post

11. Nachal Zohar and it's Glorious Fortress

12. United in Tefillah

13. Cause and Effect

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Youth bring Peace To Bet Shemesh

I am not quite sure what to make of this article on INN..

It says that during the visit yesterday of President Shimon Peres to Bet Shemesh, a statement of appeasement was signed by members of the various sectors - Haredim, Dati Leumiim, and Hilonim.

This is a blessed event, after the hostilities and tension in the city after the events that began in September surrounding the extremists and the OROT school.

The article then explains that students from the Bronco Weiss school and from the Ahavat Yisrael school got together to make peace, when the adults were unable to do so. The statement says "We, as Israeli citizens of Bet Shemesh - datiim, haredim and hilonim together, believe that in the spirit of this joint agreement we will be able to succeed in advancing the City of Bet Shemesh, in whose framework we live, and turn it into a better place to live in. We stand for all the sides reaching a compromise that will be good for the existing reality, with complete understanding that a multi-cultural society can be a disaster or a boom. - the choice is in our hands."

Richard Peres, the city councilman responsible for the city education and welfare systems commented on the importance of this statement and added that he is convinced that the haredi community will also be a part of this movement. He also said that he is trying to bring dialog among all the youth of the city - secular, dati and haredi while adhering to the restrictions of separation between boys and girls...

I don't know what exactly happened at this signing and who was involved. It starts off sounding like it included representatives of all three sectors - dati, haredi and hiloni, but then, from the comments made by Peres, and from the lack of identification of the school representing the haredi community, it sounds like the haredim were not included and hopefully they will be convinced to participate.

Does anybody know more details of what happened?

And here are some other thoughts and questions I have:

  • I don't remember hearing about the students, or parents of students, of Bronco Weiss or Ahavat Yisrael having conflicts with people or students of other communities. So does this statement add anything, despite being a nice start? 
  • Why are they representative of anybody but themselves, despite being a nice start?
  • Despite this being a nice start, I find the entire situation to be a bit shameful. That such a statement is at all necessary is a shonda. I find it to be similar to the almost regular news reports in the frum press about historic and dramatic meetings between different hassidic leaders who are usually related to each other who finally, after years of not talking to each other, get together and make peace. While it is nice to make peace among warring factions, isn't it a bit of a shonda that all these various hassidic rebbes have been fighting with each other for so long ? And similarly, isn't it a shonda that different groups in Bet Shemesh have been fighting to the point that such a statement is necessary?

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Old People In The News

A couple of interesting news items about old people in the news:

  • News1 reports that a 90+ year old man in Petach Tikva requested that instead of being registered at the Post Office near his house from which he would pick up packages that he should be registered at the branch in downtown. The downtown branch is close to the medical clinic he regularly visits and it would be easier for him to pick up his packages there than to have to go to the one he is currently registered in, even though it is closer to his house.
    Initially the Postal Authority refused to make the requested change, saying that their policy is to deliver packages and mail via the post office closest to the recipients house.

    Basically, that's the system and you are stuck with it.

    Eventually, somebody wised up and decided to take into consideration this fellow's advanced age and how difficult it must be for him. The request was approved and he is now able to pick up his mail and packages at the preferred branch, further away from his house.

    In general, the post office is a horrible place to have to go. They never have enough staff on hand to service the number of customers waiting.

    Big systems are not designed for the little guy, and often are not meant to accommodate personal requests. In Israel, even big systems are little enough that a little kvetching can get the system to agree to make changes.
  • A law was proposed in Knesset yesterday, proposed by MKs Gafni and Maklev of UTJ but supported by most parties, by which, if the law should pass its readings, public parking lots will have to designate parking for elderly people, anybody over 75, the same way it designates parking for handicapped. (source: Bechadrei)


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El Al Posts Major Loss For 2011 - Despite Keeping Shabbos

The numbers are out, and El Al has posted a loss of $49 million for the year 2011. This comes after posting profits in previous years.

There are many reasons that combined are the cause for El Al's loss in 2001, ranging from fuel costs to management costs, operations,. increased competition, etc.

I want to know how those who fought with El Al and forced El Al to commit to "keeping Shabbos", when they spoke about how El Al has been profitable only because El Al has kept Shabbos and if they would not keep Shabbos they would lose that edge, how would those people explain El Al's bad year in 2011?

I would note that I am not encouraging El Al to not keep Shabbos. I am saying that the reason to keep Shabbos is not so that the company can be profitable or avoid divine punishment in the form of a bad year were they to not keep Shabbos. The reason to keep Shabbos has nothing to do with that, and connecting the profitability of a company to whether or not it keeps Shabbos is a bad move. Now that they posted a big loss despite keeping Shabbos, will they now have leverage to say that they have no reason to keep Shabbos if it does not help them profit?

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OU To Hold Q&A Session for Pesach Kashrus

The OU is going to be holding a Q&A session regarding kashrus for Pesach at the OU Center in Jerusalem  this Sunday at 8 PM. Different rabbis from the OU, Rabbi Kuber, Rabbi Krakowski and Rabbi Bienenfeld, will be answering questions about how to kasher for Pesach, various halachachos of Pesach and whatnot.

If I was going to attend this session, which I think is very valuable to the community at large, I would ask why the OU was dropped from the recommended mehadrin list of hechshers of Pesach by the Rabbanut. I would ask for reassurances that despite the Rabbanut's move the OU standards have not changed or have improved. I would ask what the ramifications of the Rabbanut's decision are. I would ask what it even means, considering there is no legal definition or standard for mehadrin lashrus in Israel (let alone anywhere else where such a qualification is not even used except by a few small heimishe organizations).

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the session. If any of you do attend, I would appreciate if you asked, or if somebody asked, and if you could let me know what the OU has to say about this situation.

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Picture Of The Day

Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol with Minister of Education Gideon Saar at laying of cornerstone of Ahavat Yisrael school in Bet Shemesh yesterday.


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It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life... This terrorist crime is condemned in the strongest terms by the Palestinian people and their children. No Palestinian child can accept a crime that targets innocent people.

  -- Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad

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Mar 21, 2012

Quote Of The Day

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Israelis complain about over-draft, but in the United States of America there is no over-draft. As soon as you reach "minus" - they fine you immediately, and you need to request to pay the debt via credit card..

  --- Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fisher in a discussion in Knesset Finance COmmittee about bank fees and interest rates
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