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Jun 29, 2012

Quote of The Day

Quote of The Day

The potential for tourism of the State of Israel is great, but when it comes to tachlis, there are a lot of problems, among them the geopolitical situation and the negative image around the world that filters out tourists. After on filters out the danger and the image, one gets to the main problem; it is very expensive. We are very expensive when comparing with a similar product in other similar countries in the Mediterrenean region and also compared to Europe.
For example, after Egypt and Tunis lost tourists because of the uprisings in those countries, I recommended to the travel agencies in France to send us the tourists instead of to Tunis and Egypt. They checked it out and said no thank you.Why? Because we are twice as expensive. Vacation in israel is expensive, among other reasons because of governmental regulations on the industry including in security, kashrut and arnona....
Just like Minister Moshe Kachlon brought to the government meetings the reform in the cellular industry and overturned the entire industry, I am also able to bring reforms to the government in order to make vacationing in Israel cheaper and overturn the industry. There will not be a minister who will oppose this.

  -- Minister of Tourism Stas Maseshnikov

I just hope he does this right away, before the summer tourism season that we are about to embark upon..






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Abie Rotenberg sings "It's Time to Say Good Shabbos" for Shabbat.com (video)

Abie Rotenberg sings "It's Time to Say Good Shabbos" for Shabbat.com



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Cantor Helfgott Sings "Esa Einai El Heharim" at KMR Summer 2011 (video)

Cantor Helfgott Sings "Esa Einai El Heharim" at KMR Summer 2011



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Jun 28, 2012

Women Eulogizing Goes To Court Against Chevra Kadisha

If you thought the issue of women being allowed, or not allowed, to eulogize their loved ones was simply an emotional and sensitive issue, think again.

With the Moatza HaDatit, the Religious Council, having recently issued new instructions to the chevra kadishas of Israel instructing them to allow women to eulogize if they should so want, it seemed like the story was over. If a woman would get up to eulogize, the chevra kadisha would have to bite their lips and allow her to.

Turns out that it is an issue that is bigger than just emotions and sensitivity. It is now also a monetary issue.

Ladaat is reporting that a family just sued a chevra kadisha from somewhere in southern Israel  for not allowing the widow to escort the body of he rhusband to the grave, for forcing gender-segregation at the ceremony against the family's wishes, and for not allowing the daughter of the deceased to eulogize her father.

They sued the chevra kadisha for 31,900 NIS (I dont know how they came to that number).

The chevra kadisha's response was that it was not them, but it was the rabbi who insisted on all that. he does not work for them, they said, but was independent. According to the chevra kadisha, they have received the instructions regarding womens participation, and they act accordingly.

After testimony was received proving that the claims were true regarding the segregation at the ceremony and that the daughter had not been allowed to eulogize, the chevra kadisha apologized and took responsibility. They also said that they are renewing their instructions to all the rabbis affiliated with them to allow women to eulogize and be a part of the ceremony, should they want to.

The court granted the verdict in favor of the family and obligated the Moatza HaDatit to pay the full sum of 31,900 NIS.


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Proposed Law: Who Can Be Appointed As The IDF's Chief Rabbi

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) proposed a new law this week that is upsetting many in the establishment. They are seeing it as an attempted haredi takeover of the army.

Can you imagine that? Picture the headlines side by side - one headline reads something like "Haredim refuse to serve in army, fight against new law that would draft them" while the second headline would read something like "Haredim trying to take over the IDF".

Huh?

Zeev's proposal would legislate the identity of who qualifies to be appointed to the position of the IDF Chief Rabbi. According to the proposed law, the qualifications would have nothing to do with army service (not even as an additional point), but would say that the candidate must have served as a dayyan or rav of a city prior to the IDF appointment. as well, the appointment would only happen after consultation with the Chief Rabbis of Israel.

Zeev explains in his proposal that with the issue of army conversions coming before the Supreme Court, and with the army increasing its activities in this realm, the appointment of the IDF Chief Rabbi should be in line with the criteria of good governance, in consultation with the Chief Rabbis and set in law.

In order to avoid the situation where the army performs conversions using different criteria then what the haredi gedolim require, Zeev's best option is to make sure the IDF Chief Rabbi is also haredi (or at least approved by the haredim), thus ensuring similar standards.

The critics are calling this an attempted takeover, since in recent years the situation has become one in which most city rabbis and dayyanim are more aligned with the haredi parties, rather than the dati leumi party[ies]. if the law were to pass, by definition only haredi or haredi-approved rabbis would qualify.

The haredi political power has not, until now, really had much of an effect on the IDF. This would change that instantaneously. This really is a cynical move. if it included that the candidate be someone who served in the army and moved in the ranks accordingly, and was simply adding a new qualification of stature, that would be more acceptable. Anybody who qualifies, even a charedi soldier, is acceptable. To say though that the only qualified people to serve this position are those brought in from the outside is a cynical suggestion.

Of course, with the new law regarding the drafting of Haredim coming out now and possibly changing the IDF forever, it might very well be, it is not unrealistic to assume, that haredi soldiers will eventually be among the eventual candidates for the position of IDF Chief Rabbi.




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Hassidic Jew Efrayim Goldstein To Be Torchbearer for London Olympics

This is amazing. I don't know how I missed it until now. I only saw this item for the first time yesterday when it was reported in Ladaat..

The UK, hosting the London Summer Olympics beginning at the end of July, has chosen its team of torchbearers for the ceremony before the opening of the Games. One of the torchbearers is a 22 year old Hassidic Jew from Stamford Hill in London.

Efrayim Goldstein was given the honor of being a torchbearer during the relay due to his already long career in charity work and other work on behalf of London's Jewish community. By age 16, Goldstein had already established 7 charities! Goldstein's organizations are run with over 3000 volunteers. Goldstein is also active in other organizations and charities.

Goldstein told VIN:

“I am very proud to show that there will be a Yid holding the Olympic torch,” Goldstein told VIN News.  “I am honored to have been accorded such a special privilege.”
Torchbearers will wear specially designed gold and white uniforms during their route.“My tzitzis and kappel will be visible with my uniform,” said Goldstein, who will run his three hundred and thirty yard leg of the relay on Sunday July 23rd in Lewisham.
I found this interview with Efrayim Goldstein about his selection as a torchbearer:



Goldstein has clearly already made a kiddush Hashem with his great work for the community and for the needy. This experience should give him and his organizations some nice exposure, along with the well-deserved honor and recognition.

Kol Hakavod!

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"All Out War"

The details of the Plesner Committee's recommendation for the replacement to the Tal Law about drafting haredim into the IDF are still vague. What kind of sanctions will be applied if boys don't go to the army at the designated time - personal or communal on the yeshiva? What the exact numbers will be, etc.

According to Ynet, "Haredi elements in the Knesset" responded to their inquiry by saying that "if the revised Tal Law will include quotas and personal sanctions on yeshiva students "all out war will break out." The elements said that rabbis can issue halachic rulings against military service adding, "What will they do? Put in tanks in Bnei Brak?."


That being the case, I dont think anyone has anything to worry about. they are saying it will be an all out war... but since haredim don't go to the army, they wont be fighting in it... (humor, people, humor..)

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Headline Of The Day

Headline Of The Day

Islamic Movement outraged at Putin's visit to Western Wall


You can't get any better than this!
Wearing a kippah (a skullcap worn by religious Jewish men), Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Western Wall — Judaism's holiest site — in Jerusalem on Tuesday, sparking the rage of many Israeli Muslims.
The official spokesman of the Islamic Movement — a group that advocates Islam among Israel's Arab citizens — issued harsh criticism against Putin, saying that the "Russian bear, who licks the blood of our relatives in Syria" had adopted a stance that "sucks up to the Israeli institution at any cost."
Putin's visit to the holiest site in Judaism was held in the early hours of Tuesday morning, following a day of meetings with Israeli leaders on Monday.
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage — a part of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement — posted a statement on its website saying "We say to Putin and his ilk that the Buraq Wall is a holy Muslim site that is exclusively Muslim."
Muslims often refer to the Western Wall as the Buraq Wall — a reference to the wall where the Prophet Muhammad tethered his miraculous winged steed.
"[The wall] is an integral part of the blessed Aqsa mosque," the statement went on to say. "No one but the Muslims have a right to this wall or to the blessed Aqsa mosque, and all historical documentation proves the Islamism of the Buraq Wall, including the British Shaw Commission." (The Shaw Commission investigated the reasons behind the rioting in Palestine in late August 1929).
"We would like to remind Putin that the Israeli occupation, having occupied east Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque 45 years ago, destroyed an entire neighborhood, including all its homes and buildings, and turned it into a Jewish prayer grounds without any authorization or right, and later carried out extensive excavations, including excavations along the blessed Aqsa mosque," the foundation added.
During these "extensive digs, the [occupation] destroyed Muslim and Arab artifacts, and suffice it to say that the excavation caused cracks and collapse of walls in Al-Aqsa mosque and its structures. The occupation Judaized the place, and we want to stress that every stone and every structure in Al-Aqsa carries the mark of Islam and every stone in Jerusalem represents the Muslim and Arab character of Jerusalem."



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Israeli Horse Riders Experience Samaria Firsthand (video)

Israeli Horse Riders Experience Samaria Firsthand



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"Jewish Nobel Prize" Worth $1 Million to be Awarded in Science and the Arts (video)

"Jewish Nobel Prize" Worth $1 Million to be Awarded in Science and the Arts



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Serving Your Country: Jewish Canadians joining Israeli army (video)

Serving Your Country: Jewish Canadians joining Israeli army



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Jun 27, 2012

Interesting Posts #392

Interesting Posts #392


1. Rav Kaminetsky on the moon and whether chazal can be wrong - the title does sound like Rav Kaminetsky is on the moon, but it is about the moon landing...

2. If There was an Israel in the '30s, maybe my father would have lived

3. How Rocket Fire Nearly Ruined A Young Bride's Special Day

4. Nachal Charedi - Reality check

5. Does College Football Need a National Champion?

6. Update on the Steamroller in Jerusalem

7. Time for Vegan Tefillin



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Proposed Law: Interest On Bank Accounts In the Black

One of the fundamentals of banking is that a deposit into a bank account is like a loan to the bank. The depositor is lending the bank money, of which a large percentage of that can be used by the bank to lend to other people.

The banks take deposits, but offer no interest on a bank account with a positive balance. On the other hand, they do collect interest on credit, on loans and on bank accounts with a negative balance. Bank accounts with a negative balance, also known as overdraft, minus and being in the red, are considered as if the bank gave the account holder a loan, and they collect interest on it.

While "fair" is never really a good word to use, this situation is unfair, or perhaps unbalanced. the banks do not pay interest on the money lent to them in the form of deposits, but the bank collects interest on the money  lent out by them in the form of overdraft and credit.

Yesterday, MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas) proposed a new law by which, if it were to pass, banks would have to pay interest to account holders with a positive balance.

The law has been unsuccessfully proposed in the past.
(source: The Marker)

I hope this law passes, It is absurd that we lend the banks money but get no interest, even if it would only be a little bit, while they take high interest on our overdraft.

If this passes, it will require us to relook at at our hetter iska and possibly create a need for new arrangements. Right now we have hetter iskas with the banks so they can collect interest from us. For us to collect interest from them, we might need new arrangements.

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Feldheim and Egged Team Up To Throw Sephardim Under the Bus

This is just too much! It is so pathetic that I laughed when I first read it. In today's day and age? And then to just shrug it off rather than immediately correct it?

Feldheim Books in conjunction with Egged advertised a special sale that upon presentation of an Egged smart card and a minimum purchase of 30 NIS, the cardholder would be given a free siddur with his name imprinted on the siddur.

It turns out, this deal is only applicable to Ashkenazim, as they did not include any Sephardi siddurim (nusach Eidot Mizrach) in the deal. Sephardim who tried to collect their prize, asking for a Sephardic siddur, were told they are not included in the deal.


When Kikar asked Feldheim representatives about this, they did not even realize the PR disaster they were about to walk into. They should have apologized for the oversight and immediately moved to correct it.

Instead, they just shrugged it off and explained that the deal is not to choose a siddur, but you are given a siddur. Sephardim who want to take advantage of the deal can claim their siddur and give it to an Ashkenazi friend. The rep said they printed for this deal siddurim in nusachei Ashkenaz and Sephard (hassidic), but not Eidot Mizrach - and what's the big deal, we can't answer everybody's needs!

Egged's representative laid the blame on Feldheim. They said the deal was until supplies last from a repository of siddurim. They had been of the impression that the stock of siddurim was a mix of all the various nusachs.

Amazing. Astounding.

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Headline Of The Day

Headline Of The Day

Putin 'at a loss' after Bethlehem street named for him

 -- Yahoo News

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Bethlehem yesterday, he was taken to see the road they named in his honor. Putin was surprised, considering the European custom being to only name after someone who is dead.

Sounds like the difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Ashkenazim only name babies after dead relatives, considering it an honor to the dead, while Sephardim name after living relatives considering that to be an honor to the [usually] grandparent.

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Good people Return 42000 NIS and Tefillin To Owner

This nice story was in the Yediot Metro yesterday. It's always nice to hear a nice story reported, rather than just the usual fighting and anger and bitterness.

Here's the story:
Last week a fellow named Eliyahu from Tirat Carmel traveled by bus to Jerusalem in order to try to raise money for his son's wedding.


At the end of the day, Eliyahu got back on the bus (the 940 line) to go home after having raised 42,000 NIS (RG: wow! where'd he raise so much money??) in cash. He had stashed the cash, along with two diamonds and a ring that he had been given by Rav Kaduri many years ago as a segulah, into his tefillin bag. 


Eliyahu fell asleep on the bus, waking at the end of the route. Rousing himself, he got off the bus, forgetting his tefillin behind. A passenger getting off at the last stop noticed the tefillin bag and gave it to the head of the security department, who passed it on to the head of the lost and found department. Yaakov Meimon, head of the lost and found, said he opened the bag and saw a large amount of money. He immediately instructed everybody in the northern region of Egged to immediately inform him if someone comes looking for a lost tefillin bag.


A few hours later, Eliyahu realized what he had left behind. He went right away to the station and told them that he had lost his tefillin. He was immediately put in touch with the head of lost and found, who later said how surprised he was that Eliyahu had only kept asking about his tefillin and had not even mentioned the money. After he gave over details of the package he had left behind, Meimon returned the tefillin and the money to him.

I dont know if the guy who found the bag opened it and knew there was money inside. I presume not because if I had found such a tefillin bag with money I would definitely have tried to locate the owner myself and not deposited it in the lost and found. Still, between all the various people involved, it took good people to ensure that this guy got his money and tefillin back.


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An Inside Look at the IDF Border Crossing Unit (video)

An Inside Look at the IDF Border Crossing Unit



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10 Year Old Sings Avraham Fried's Don't Hide From Me (video)

10 Year Old Sings Avraham Fried's Don't Hide From Me



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Shyne Freestyles Straight From Israel (video)

Shyne Freestyles Straight From Israel



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Jun 26, 2012

Haredi Rabbonim Open New Child Abuse Hotline In RBS

An email was sent out the other day, and has since been passed around and spread further, announcing the formation of a[nother] organization in RBS that will deal with claims of child abuse. The organization, called "Maaneh" is more haredi in structure, presumably, and that is probably the main difference between it and Magen.

Here is the bulk of the information that was in the email. The rest of it, the part I am not including, was fundraising to get a base of support and help get it off the ground stably.
A few years ago, an organization was conceived of and formed by a few Rabbonim here in RBS, who also decided that it should remain "under the radar" as long as it is able to, and certainly as long as it is still organizing its structure and its manpower, and establishing its ties with the relevant governmental agencies.
The name of the organization is Maaneh, and it is dedicated to work towards prevention, education, and treatment of forms of child abuse which exist and occur.
BH, the organization is up and running for a while already, has the necessary ties with law enforcement and social governmental agencies, and has a highly professional team in place for all aspects of the problem, from a crises hotline to a treatment center, to a training center for counselors, to a community relations center which has informational forums for those who need to recognize the issues.
The Director of the Center is R' Aryeh Levi, who, together with Dr Ephraim Rosenbaum, work under the guidance of a Rabbinical Committee to have the Center function as it should.
I see this as a very positive development.

But first, let me add, I don't see here, and haven't seen elsewhere, contact information. What should someone do if chas v'shalom they are in a situation in which they must contact Maaneh? It does not say anywhere. I guess they can call Dr. Rosenbaum's home number as listed in the phone book. I guess they would have to go to their rabbi (assuming the persons rabbi is affiliated with Maaneh rather than Magen or perhaps encouraging the person to avoid both and just go directly to the police) and he would direct them to Maaneh. Or maybe they are just not yet ready to announce that info yet, and are still structuring the organization before announcing to the wider public.

I see this as a very positive development. For the most part.

Is there going to be a redundancy of services? Probably. Will there be confusion (e.g. who to call)? Perhaps, probably not. Will there be a division along lines of affiliation? Most likely.

But so what?

We have a redundancy of services and divisions already in every other locally provided service, whether public or private. And where we don't already have such inefficiency and redundancy, someone somewhere is striving to create it.  Be it shuls, tzedaka organizations, mikvas, shops, activists - we have too much of everything except clean streets and clean parks (and of course we don't have too many swimming pools or other forms of entertainment locally), so why not this too? That should be the worst of the problems.

This is a breakthrough. As someone said to me, this is probably the very first time a group of haredi rabbonim are acknowledging there is a problem and that it must be dealt with differently than the way it was previously dealt with. While before things were kept quiet, the rabbonim ran the investigation before involving the authorities, now they are working together with government agencies, counselors, etc. This is ground-breaking in the haredi world! Nowhere else in the world, that I am aware of, has a haredi community  even acknowledged the problem, let alone moved towards implementing such a solution.

The biggest problem I see, the thing about this that upsets me, is the possible perception now that there is so much abuse in the neighorhood happening that we need two organizations to handle the load!

Is this better or worse than Magen? I have no idea. Only time will tell, though I hope there will never be enough cases to get that much information. Will; there be a redundancy? Yes, but so what. If there is a lack of trust among different communities (or even if it's not a lack of trust but a sense of different communities do things different ways) , so just like each has its own kashrut organizations, mikvas, poskim, dayanim and whatever else, so now they each have their own child abuse hotlines as well. Nu nu. Redundancy of services should be the worst of our problems.

As said above, I hope both of our community organizations dealing with child abuse have to deal with a lot of boredom due to a lack of incidents.


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Headline Of The Day

Headline Of The Day


Turkey threatens Syria with retaliation over downed military jet 

  - Fox News

Maybe Syria should have apologized...

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Specifically for this I came here, to pray that the Beit Hamikdash should be rebuilt. I wish for you that your prayers should be accepted.

  -- President of Russia Vladimir Putin

Putin went to visit the Kotel today, and while there someone called out to him in Russian. Shortly after, Putin went over to him and started chatting...








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Picture of The Day

Picture of The Day



The first group of families were moved today out of the Ulpana in Bet El...

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Taanis Dibbur Prevents Home Birth Mother From Going To Hospital

In a ridiculous story, worse than ridiculous really as lives were in danger, a woman in Jerusalem refused to go to a hospital to give birth, or even after birth for examination and care, because she was in the middle of a taanis dibbur -  a speech fast -at the time of birth.

According to this report on Kikar, on this past Motzei Shabbos MDA and the police were called in to deal with a woman who had given birth earlier in the day but refused to allow herself to be brought to the hospital for care. Her husband called the authorities. he claims to not have been home at the time of birth, but at some point during the day he had come home and discovered his wife in the bedroom holding the newborn baby that was still attached by the umbilical cord.

They tried to persuade her to allow them to bring her and the baby to the hospital, but she refused to communicate with them.

They brought the rav who released her from her taanis dibbur and told her that it is a mitzvah for her to go to the hospital to be checked, but she still refused, not allowing the MDA team to examine her or the baby.

The police ended up forcing the situation and gave the MDA team an opportunity to check the baby, who was fine and healthy, and then she finally agreed to be taken to the hospital.

When she got to the hospital, she broke her taanis and thanked the MDA team.

All around weird.


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Who Was Responsible For the Violence In Tel Aviv?

Interestingly, according to this report on News1 (Yoav Yitzchak's news portal), the police have information, including testimony, that the bank windows that were smashed the other day at the social protests in Tel Aviv were actually smashed by Sudanese migrants who had each been paid 400 NIS to smash the windows.

1. It could be a libelous charge to make the Sudanese look bad.

2. Assuming it is true, which was really my initial belief, I am impressed that even at a protest in which the protesters got violent, and clearly intended in advance to get violent, they still did not want to carry out the violence themselves and instead hired non-Jews to be violent on their behalf. What can I say - Jews just don't like to get their hands dirty!

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Litzman's Driver Marries off Daughter

hmmmm, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman married off his daughter, according to a report in Ladaat. Mazal tov!

I wonder if this was the same driver of Litzman who was involved in a recent crash in which it was discovered he had been toking up.

No criticism here. I think marijuana should be legalized...

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Hundreds Gather in the Desert - Cry Out to G-d (video)

Hundreds Gather in the Desert - Cry Out to G-d

This is weird.. details after the clip



More information from Arutz 7:

Hundreds of Israelis gathered this week for prayers, dancing, and singing in what has become an annual event. “The Tza'aka” (crying out to G-d), an event where Israelis of all ages and backgrounds go out to an isolated areas and raise their voices loudly in prayer, is “communicating with G-d on a very basic level, without the need to dress it up with speech or actions. In essence it is like blowing a shofar,” organizers of the event said. “As a result, the prayers here are more concentrated and directed.” The events have genrally been held in the Judean and Negev deserts.
Eldad Eilat, one of the event's organizers, said that the event was the result of the need for prayer under unusual and pressurized circumstances. “We learn about the concept of crying out before G-d from the Exodus, where we see that the Jewish people cried out. G-d heard their cries, and redeemed them. Since then, our rabbis – including Maimonides, the Chafetz Chaim, and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov - have recommended that we conduct prayers in this manner,” he said.
Eilat said that the idea for the “Tza'aka” was born several years ago, when war appeared to be on the horizon. Seeing the situation, he and a group of friends decided that this kind of activity would be an appropriate response. The event was a major success, and as word spread several well-known rabbis, as well as hundreds of people, sought to participate. An event that was held last week, at the request of a well-known rabbi, drew some 2,000 people, Eilat said.
The events attract people of all backgrounds, he said – religious, secular, and otherwise. “There were many deeply religious people at recent events, many teenagers and young adults, well-known rabbis and individuals from the religious world, and some who don't fit any category,” Eilat said of the last event. “It is a wide-ranging crowd. What unites them is their caring and love for the Jewish people.”

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There is no Zionism without Zion (Jerusalem) (video)

There is no Zionism without Zion (Jerusalem)



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Graduates Of IAF Pilots Course 2012 (video)

Graduates Of IAF Pilots Course 2012

Notice how they don't show anybody in an identifiable way...

good luck graduates! Fly well, fly safe, and do your part in protecting Israel!


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Matisyahu - Sunshine (video)

Matisyahu - Sunshine

A little while back I found a video of how this music video was being made.. a behind the scenes look.. here is the final edition of Matisyahu's Sunshine.....



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Jun 25, 2012

Interesting Posts #391

Interesting Posts #391


1. Times of Israel Bloggers - are you getting paid? - the post itself raises an interesting discussion, and one ensued in the comments. It even was the impetus for the next interesting post...

2. Grace and Respect

3. Hummus Ice-Cream!

4. Pompous Insults: Treating Us Like Pawns and Furniture

5. What About The Children of Tomorrow?

6. Kinda Sucks Getting Your @ss kicked By Those Sworn to protect you

7. Visiting Judenrein Lands



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Interesting Psak: Late For Kollel

If you are a rosh kollel, this interesting psak from Rav Shteinman might just be for you..

Rav Shteinman paid a visit to a beis medrash in Bnei Braq. At the end of his visit, the Rosh Kollel asked Rav Shteinman a question about how to deal with the avreichim in his kollel.

The Rosh Kollel asked if he should deduct money from the stipend of an avreich for coming late. Doing so, or at least threatening to do so, might prevent him from coming late and weakening the entire beis medrash. or, perhaps, he should not deduct for the already meager stipend, and should try to find other ways to strengthen the atmosphere and attendance in the beis medrash?

Rav Shteinman paskened that despite the fact that this fellow coming late can cause a weakened atmosphere in the beis medrash, the Rosh Kollel should not deduct from his stipend. The avreich is probably already barely getting by at the end of the month, and taking money away will be taking food away from his family.
(source: Kikar)

I would guess this question must be referring to a new situation. I imagine that if this is a new problem, this would be the right answer. If this has been going on for a long time already, and if he has been warned many times but continues to come late for learning, perhaps kollel, or specificially this kollel in which he is unmotivated, is not for him..


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Coca Cola Targets SodaStream's Cage For Legal Action

SodaStream is one of the Israeli companies regularly targetted by BDS proponents and supporters. SoaStream is a small beverages company specializing in allowing the consumer to carbonate his own water and flavoring it with a variety of syrups.

SodaStream is typically used by people looking to drink soda pops that are healthier than the mass-produced brands, people who are concerned about the environment, and people looking to drink soda pop  while saving money, among others.

Not only does SodaStream have to worry about the BDS movement, but now they have to worry about a lawsuit from soft-drink giant Coca Cola.


SodaStream has been running an awareness program that they call "The Cage". They take a cage and fill it with empty soda pop bottles and place it in busy areas. They place on the cage a sign detailing different combinations of information, including how many bottles are in the cage, how long this garbage would take to decompose, how many bottles are used yearly by the average family and how much is recycled.
Coca Cola is upset that The Cage contains Coca Cola (and Fanta and Sprite, etc) bottles in it. they are claiming misuse of its trademark.

Obviously, you cannot really see Coca Cola bottles prominently. it is just a mass of empty bottles. Coca Cola bottles do not stand out any more or less than the bottles of any other company. The garbage was all taken from landfills for this project.

All was quiet until SodaStream recently took their Cage to the airport in South Africa. When they did, Coca Cola gave them all the publicity they could ever dream for, sending them cease and desist letters in order to have the display removed.

SodaStream Cage located in Yankee Stadium



SodaStream Alternative Consumer Go Green
Speaking to Globes, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, besides for the comment on the legal issues, "It doesn’t really matter whose garbage it is," he says. "If Coca-Cola wants to contend that the garbage belongs to it, that will only help us. I want that to happen, for Coca-Cola to take responsibility for the garbage it produces worldwide every day." and also had this exchange:

You're not under pressure?"
Not at all. I won't fold and I'm not afraid. I won't lie and I'm not a thief. I'm merely saying the truth, and I hope that the world will realize this."
Birnbaum says that he is just getting started. "We didn’t start this war," he says. "The Cage is not only directed against Coca-Cola. There are a lot of other companies that could have been annoyed by it, but weren’t. The displays have been making the rounds for two years, and I don’t understand why only now tensions have arisen with Coca-Cola and because of the display in South Africa."
Can you hazard a guess?
"I don’t know. Maybe because in South Africa it's easier to protect trademarks. In general, this is a social question, not a legal one, and that's why we don’t care whether or not we'll have to remove the display or not."
You're not worried that other companies, such as PepsiCo, might follow in Coca-Cola's suit?"
I doubt it. PepsiCo is sitting quietly and hiding behind this story. It's a shame to be on the side of these polluters. A shame and a disgrace! They're doing nothing to currect the environmental damage."
SodaStream is an Israeli company and is finding innovative ways to bring attention to its product. According to this, the display is in a small corner of the SA airport, and most likely it would have gone largely unnoticed to the majority of people passing through the airport. It is Coca Cola's campaign that is drawing much attention to SodaStream.









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Women Of the Wall Monthly Fight Now Revolves Around Whether Wearing Mens Or Womens Tallit

The fight over women's prayer at the Kotel continued this Rosh Chodesh with the Women Of the Wall trying to get their monthly Rosh Chodesh services in at the main part of the Kotel rather than at the designated area further south.

The story is generally pretty dull by now, as the same thing happens every single month - they try to meet and pray, some protest, some get arrested, and the world moves on. This time though, I learned something new.

One woman, Deborah Houben, was arrested because she was wearing a male-style tallit, a black and white tallit, rather than a woman-style tallit which is colorful and worn draped around the neck. According to the police, it is illegal for women to pray by the Kotel wearing a male-style tallit, but they can wear the female-style tallit.

I never heard of such a thing before. Men's tallit vs womens tallit? I know plenty of men that wear a colorful tallit - are they wearing women's tallit? Is it dependant on draping it around the neck? What if she had worn a black and white (aka mens) tallit but draped it around her neck?

Anyways Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch, rav of the Kotel, denies this and says it is illegal for them to wear any tallit. He says all the women wearing tallitot should have been arrested, and not just Houben.
(source: Jpost)

I sometimes wonder if the more extremist groups/people at the Kotel would, instead of fighting them every single month rather embrace them and welcome them, if perhaps their group would shrink instead of grow. With all this fighting, they are motivated to keep coming back every month. the group continues to grow. Perhaps conflict is a bad tactic from the haredi point of view, in this instance. Maybe if they would be allowed, many of them would lose interest...

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Tomatoes Are Christian..

Did you know tomatoes are Christians? I wonder what is considered a Hindu vegetable, or a Buddhist one.. What about Jewish - which veggie is a Jewish vegetable? And what about Muslim? And is there a differenrce among Christians regarding their vegetables - I mean, is the tomato Catholic? What about Anglican? Episcopalean? Southern Baptist? Does each group have their own veggie?

According to the Facebook status update of the Popular Egyptian Islamic Association, tomatoes are offensive to Muslims because they are Christians. if cut a certain way they can show the shape of the cross.
(source: INN)

I don't know. You can go into prety much any restaurant in Israel and order a "Salat Aravit" - an Arabic salad, and it will be mostly diced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Funniest is this paragraph:
A writer for The Blaze categorized most news coming out of the Middle East as "intriguing, bizarre and unceasingly concerning," but said the forbidden tomatoes story "actually crosses into a comical sphere."
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Slovakia Commemorates Chasam Sofer With Minted Coin

The country of Slovakia has decided to honor the Chasam Sofer. The National Bank of Slovakia has minted a new coin commemorating the 250th year of the birth of the Chasam Sofer.


As you can see, the front side and the back side each bear half of the Jewish Star, and were they to be combined they would make the full Jewish star, the Magen David.

The front side of the coin also bears the image of the Chasam Sofer (or the Chatam Sofer as they write it) atop a 7-branched menora laid within the scroll of a Torah, along with the years he lived.

The background, as written by the Coin Update website, is:
The National Bank of Slovakia has issued (18th June) a new coin which marks the 250th anniversary of birth of Chatam Sofer (1762 - 1839) one of Europe’s most noted scholars of the Talmud and founder of the Bratislava Yeshiva which continued as a primary institute of Hebrew education until the outbreak of World War II. Born in Frankfurt, Sofer traveled to Boskovice, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) as a scholar in 1782 where he became recognized as an authority in the teachings of the Talmud. The Yeshiva he founded in Bratislava in 1806 eventually became the most influential institute of Hebrew studies.
The coin, a 10 EURO silver issue, is the work of designer Pavel Károly and depicts a portrait of Sofer inspired from an Oil painting by Ber Frank Halevi's original drawing. The depiction is placed within a triangle, one half of a traditional Star of David, and a menorah is positioned below the portrait. His year of birth and death, 1762 and 1839 is seen on either side of the menorah. The text “CHATAM SOFER” is placed around the upper left edge and the same – in Hebrew letters is positioned on the right side.
The reverse design includes a scenic depiction of Bratislava during the time of the founding of Sofer’s yeshiva within a triangle, in opposite position along with the coin’s face value of “10 EURO” seen on the left side and the year “2012” seen on the right. The text “SLOVENSKO” appears above the primary design along the top edge. The coin is struck at the Kremnica Mint in both proof and FDC or UNC quality. Both versions are minted in .900 fine silver with a weight of 18 grams and a diameter of 34 mm. Mintage figures for the proof version is authorized at 7,900 pieces and the FDC version has an authorized mintage of 5,800 pieces.
That is very cool.
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Stephen Colbert: Egypt's Presidential Election & Hosni Mubarak's Health (video)

Stephen Colbert: Egypt's Presidential Election & Hosni Mubarak's Health

Judaism makes a surprise cameo...


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Celebrating 13 Years: A Birthright Israel Timeline (video)

Celebrating 13 Years: A Birthright Israel Timeline



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Malcolm Hoenlein: Time to Get the Youth Excited About their Judaism (video)

Malcolm Hoenlein: Time to Get the Youth Excited About their Judaism




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NACHAS - Toiv Vehameytiv - Behind the Scenes (video)

NACHAS - Toiv Vehameytiv - Behind the Scenes




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Jun 24, 2012

Interesting Posts #390

Interesting Posts #390

(sorry for the more than average amount of posts linked - its been more than a few days without a roundup, and they have been building up..)


1. Can We All Get Along?


2. The So-Very-Jewish Peter Beinart


3. Punctuality: Yekkes, Stereotypes, Minhag Ashkenaz, and Bein Adam Lachaveiro


4. Will The Real Stan Please Stand Up


5. Rav Mordechai Gifter on Kannoim


6. I Have A Filter On My Computer


7. Building A Shul With A Whole Lotta Love


8. The 2 Times Rebbetzin Kanievsky Lost her Cool


9. The Future of Israel According To The Israeli presidential Conference 2012


10. A Steamroller in Jerusalem


11. The Paradigm Shift


12. The Yek Wedding - I had a mostly "yek wedding", and I dont think it is as uncommon as Dov Ber makes it out to be. but he asks an interesting question at the end...


13. Too Funny For Words


14. What's the Point Of This Blog?

15. Peter Beinart and Zionism

16. The Ropshitzer Explaining Shelo Asani Isha - To His Wife





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People Just Don't Like Eli Yishai

The State Comptroller report on the Carmel fire was expected to be a disaster for Minister of Interior Eli Yishai. It was expected to lay the bulk of the responsibility on him (jointly with Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz) and call on him to resign or be removed from his position as minister.

People don't like Eli Yishai. That is for sure. Sometimes it is the Right, sometimes it is the Left, sometimes it is Ashkenazim, sometimes Sephardim. Sometimes it is those "more religious" and sometimes it is those "less religious". Sometimes it is the Litvishe haredim, sometimes the masoratim, sometimes men, sometimes women, etc,. It all depends on who he is upsetting with his positions on any given issue.

Many people were looking to the Comptroller report with great expectations, as if this would finally solve our Eli Yishai problem. The Comptroller would call for his removal, and off with his head. We would be finally be rid of him, as if the PM would actually fire him or as if he would actually resign just because the State Comptroller recommended it.

Sure enough, the Comptroller released his report, and while still laying a lot of blame on Yishai, he did not call for Yishai's removal.

If people were relatively consistent, they should have bowed their heads in submission and said maybe next time.

Yet, since the Comptroller report has been released, people are upset the report didn't call for his resignation/termination, and they are publicly calling for it anyway. What's the point of an investigation and a report if the conclusion is foregone and pre-determined. And what is the point of the investigation and report if the report will be ignored and the desired outcome called for anyway?

I am convinced that instead of using democratic tools to run the country properly, people are just using them to advance the platforms, agendas and/or people they like, and to knock down those they don't. When the results aren't in sync with what people want, they ignore the results and promote their desires anyway.

I am no big fan of Eli Yishai, but the report didn't lay enough blame on him to demand his termination as minister. That's it. Maybe next time.


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Green Israel on CNN (video)

Green Israel on CNN

this program on CNN is running in conjunction with Israel...


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Herzl Museum Presents: The 1st Interactive-Zionist Wall (video)

Herzl Museum Presents: The 1st Interactive-Zionist Wall



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Former Ambassador to the US: Israel Should First of all Decide for Itself (video)

Former Ambassador to the US: Israel Should First of all Decide for Itself



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Kol Berama By Simcha Leiner in memory of the Fogels (video)

Kol Berama By Simcha Leiner in memory of the Fogels



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Jun 22, 2012

Yedid Nefesh (video)

Yedid Nefesh




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Shimon Peres And The Bloggers

The President's Conference is over, and I must say I greatly enjoyed the parts I was able to go to. I found it thought provoking, fun and educational.


President Shimon Peres has found a gracefulness as president that he never had as a politician. Peres was always brilliant, he was never short for words, he can speak forever on any topic without any notes, and get involved in minute details of the topic at hand. As president though, Peres has discovered an aura of respectability, gracefulness and wisdom.

We had a bloggers session with the President. For the first time that I can remember, I had the opportunity to really see Shimon Peres up close, in a fairly intimate setting, to hear him speak in a conversation rather than just saying a speech.

Perhaps it is his age, perhaps the three days of a conference were wearing on him, perhaps it is a combination of a bunch of other factors, but despite his warmth, wisdom and thoughtfulness, I noticed a change in Shimon Peres. I noticed that he seemed disoriented at times, he had a hard time hearing or understanding questions that were asked of him, and he seemed a bit off balance. When someone asked a question, almost every time he leaned over to his aide and asked what the question was. When he stood up he seemed a bit clumsy and disoriented. His mind was as sharp as ever, but it just seemed to me that his age is perhaps starting to catch up with him.

Despite that, the event with President Shimon Peres was a wonderful opportunity, and I thank him and the management team of Ruder Finn for arranging it.

The President even invited us all to get together around him for a group picture at the end of the session..




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Jun 21, 2012

ONLY IN ISRAEL: SOME STORIES FROM DAILY LIFE OF A NEW IMMIGRANT

A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier


The writer is a former Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University where he received his doctorate. He served in the administrations of three U. S. Governors, is Managing Director of a business marketing and development company after selling his companies in America. He consults on business, education, and community development matters. His writings frequently appear on the blog Life in Israel, on other blogs, and publications. He will be teaching business at the Jerusalem College of Technology this coming academic year.

                                                                                                                     
            I recently provided consultation to The Partnership For A New American Economy And The Partnership for New York City. In a report to the Mayor and corporate executives, it recommends America adopt the best immigration practices of other nations: NOT COMING TO AMERICA: WHY THE U.S. IS FALLING BEHIND IN THE GLOBAL RACE FOR TALENT, May 2012 (www.pfnyc.org).
            They asked me to describe the history of our aliyah (immigration) to Israel, and government support programs that make aliyah profluent and ultimately, we all hope, a successful transition from America. You can read some of my thoughts under the Personal Focus section, and on blogs like Life in Israel and Arutz Sheva.
             Israel funds a NGO whose staff addresses the special needs of immigrants. They claim a 97% success rate for over 30,000 immigrants they have helped since 2002. Immigrants get financial support underpinning the lifestyle change, education that bridges the social, language, and cultural barriers, and more.  Just two recent incidents:
            Immigration is facilitated by the government-sponsored group, Nefesh B’Nefesh (One Soul at a Time) that is responsible from beginning and for years after an immigrant’s arrival.  After three-months in Israel, we received an email from them reminding us to apply for our temporary passport travel document that allows us to leave the country (and return) without interrupting our government benefits; we might have missed this on their 14-point bucket list without the email reminder.  At five months, we got a phone call from a staff member just wanting to know how things are going, do we need any help with anything, and giving us their hot line number again to call.
            The call jogged me to think about events in our new lives.    Boycotts, settlements, two-state solutions—all way beyond me, not that I don’t have an opinion on all that stuff. But following are some of the smaller events we encounter that might be of more interest and revealing about life in Israel only in Israel:
1. My wife lost her camera—an old story. We never found out where it was found, but a young man called on Saturday night to say he found it.  He insisted on bringing it to us, which meant he had to take two buses.  He arrived near midnight, handed me the camera, and was about to leave for the two-bus ride back to his school when I offered him a reward.  He absolutely refused. I offered to pay for a taxi, but he insisted he has a bus pass.  My wife asked how he found us? He told us he was at a loss what to do with the camera.  He paid to develop the pictures (an old camera). Going through them, he saw one with a “welcome to Israel” plaque on the door of a family named Langer. He searched the phone book, and called Langers in the book asking if anyone lost a camera?  My brother-in-law told him “No,” but my sister lost one.” He got our phone number, and only in Israel, can you believe it or not?
2. My wife, an accomplished artist, published, works on commissions, and is now making jewelry, like when we met over forty years ago. After a trek to the Tel Aviv bead center—yes there is a neighborhood for beads and beading, we stopped for a kosher breakfast.  We had the most delicious meal. As great as the humus, shwarma, and the Argentine meat restaurants are, breakfasts are our favorite. Ethel asked the young waitress for a “bencher,” a Grace After Meals booklet of prayers recited after eating a meal with bread. Religious Israelis and most Orthodox know this prayer by heart, but we still like to look at the printed word. The restaurant does not have any, because people so seldom request one.  Then she says, “Rega (wait),” runs to grab her own purse, pulls one out, and hands it to Ethel.  Big tip on the way, and only in Israel, believe it or not.
3. We rent an apartment, rather than buy for reasons not important here.  Our lease has a clause that only appears in an Israeli document, and not many of them.  It claims we have 60 days to vacate the premises “when the Moshiach (Messiah) comes.” You think anywhere but Israel you will see that, believe it or not.
4. Traffic jams in Israel are second to none.  We do not own a car. We walk, and take public transportation. That might change in the future.  I have not ridden a bus, since I was ten years old. In the meantime, I am down 13 pounds and two inches from my waistline in three months from walking the hills of Bet Shemesh. We are on a bus that comes to a halt, because a loose donkey is blocking the road.  Ok, that might happen anywhere.  Chicago had a panther on the loose, and once my business neighbor and I watched a tiger walk by our stores. Our friends told us about a bus driver stopped for traffic.  A taxi driver going in the opposite direction of the bus, shouts out if the bus driver can make change for him?  The bus driver gives the money to a passenger on the bus who runs out, exchanges it for bills the taxi driver hands him, and scurries back to hand them to the bus driver. Horns are honking, you can believe it or not.
5. Finally, anyone who visits or lives here knows there are soldiers constantly travelling. I am waiting in the lounge area of a bus/train station seated amongst kiosks. They sell food, books, jewelry, wigs, knickknacks, make-up, and more. I watch a tough looking young soldier with a big gun slung over her shoulder resting on her backside; ribbons and pins on her chest; officer bars on the epaulets; heavy duty red combat boots, standing at a kiosk trying on different shades of nail polish. I wish I had my camera for Life Magazine. I had my camera on the train from Tel Aviv sitting across two young female soldiers. I was reading   about the Iran nuclear threat, and how the best-prepared, most sophisticated military is on stand-by to do whatever it takes protecting Israel from the existential threat.   I glance over, and watch these two young women lounging in their seats texting on their pink cell phones at break-thumb speed.  Were they texting orders to their charges, to their commanders, to their girlfriends?  But these are the guardians of Israel’s fate in whose hands we place our existential future, and I believe it.
Israel's special forces soldiers gearing up for an attack on Iran
6. Today I dropped off some cleaning at 2 in the afternoon.  I had to wait a few minutes for the clerk to remove his Rabbaynu Tam tefillin, before he could check in my clothes. There must be a joke in here somewhere about ticky no washy, but I can't think of it, believe it or not.
Daily, it is an unforgettable journey through a Holy Land.

           
           
           
           
              TTheyHE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY & THE PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW Y


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