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Aug 31, 2012

Behind The Scenes With Yeedle Werdyger (video)

Behind The Scenes With Yeedle Werdyger


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Aug 30, 2012

The Benefit Of Going To Uman According To Rav Shteinman

Every year right about at this time of the year, a couple of weeks before Rosh Hashana, the public debate about going to Uman for Rosh Hashana heats up. Should you go, shouldn't you go, the Ukranians are anti-semites and killed so many jews we shouldn't give them our money, there are tzaddikim both alive and dead in Israel, etc.

I look at the pilgrimage to Uman as an adventure. people like exciting adventures, and this is one masked in religion, so it excites people and it is socially and publicly excusable. of course for a Breslaver it is perfectly ok anyway, as that is what Hassidim do - they go to their rebbe, even if he has been dead for hundreds of years. The debate is really around the thousands of non-Breslavers who go.

I see the repeated debate as really an people making excuses. I don't go because I don't want to go. The need to go ask rabbonim if it is a good or bad thing is really just for someone who really feels guilty about not going and is looking to assuage that guilt. So he asks a rav if going to Uman is a good thing or a bad thing. Put it this way - if you werent going to go anyway, why do you need to ask if the other guy should or should not go? That's his business, his shaila, his decision, his psak - not yours. So people ask, or seek out the rabbonim being quoted against, and that way they no longer feel like they are wrong for ignoring a tremendous chizzuk event.

This year Rav Shteinman was asked his opinion on the matter. His answer was, reportedly, along with a backhanded compliment, "What's so bad about them going to Uman? It wont do any harm. Just the opposite - with such a large crowd, there will definitely be a minyan of people davening properly..."

Did he mean:

  1. most people in Uman don't daven properly?
  2. most people in general, in shuls all over the world, don't daven properly?

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Murder in Mea Shearim!

Rav Elyashiv's untimely passing has led to all sorts of infighting in the leadership of the haredi community, that even spawned a new newspaper as an attempt to wrest control of the haredi "street".

There are now allegations that Rav Elyashiv was actually murdered. Why someone would have murdered him I am not sure, but seeing the chaos his death has caused, I can only imagine what the motives were.

By now you are definitely wondering if I have gone crazy. Very possibly that [my going crazy] happened a long time ago, but this murder allegation was actually just alleged yesterday.

According to Bechadrei, Rav Birnzweig, a rav in the Mirrer Yeshiva, claimed during his mussar shiur, that Rav Elyashiv was murdered. He said:
Recently we have heard of gedolei yisroel who have  passed from this world, everybody must arouse themselves [to teshuva]. Rav Elyashiv and the Admor of Shomrei Emunim were murdered due to the yeshiva bochurim and kollel avreichim who use smartphones.
I thought Jewish moms were the experts at guilt trips. That's a pretty wild claim. It almost sounds like they were fighting over an iPhone in the school yard and it led to murder... "murder" isnt even "died for the generations sins" - it is much worse. I wonder if someone is going to call the police to report the murder...

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

There is no budgetary cost, and there is a statement to be made. It makes no sense that Ariel or Merom Golan will be added, yet not a single Arab village is included in the weather forecast. I don't assume my request will be rejected, as that would be discrimination under the guise of the weather. That would be a spit in the face, and we would not be able to say it is rain. 

  -- MK Dr. Ahmed Tibi

I see no reason this needs to be made into a big deal, or into a political issue. Pick a large Arab village or city in different regions of the country, and include them in the forecast. At the same time, there are plenty of large enough Jewish cities and towns that should be added as well, such as Bet Shemesh...

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Rabbi Soloveichik's Invocation At The RNC 2012 (video)

Rabbi Soloveichik's Invocation At The RNC 2012

Rabbi Soloveichik did a fabulous job, with a great message and blessing. Rabbi Adlerstein had thoughts worth reading about this invocation..

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Israel looks to burnish glittering Paralympic record (video)

Israel looks to burnish glittering Paralympic record


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Edon Pinchot on America's Got Talent - The Semi-Finals (video)

Edon Pinchot on America's Got Talent - The Semi-Finals

Edon got a standing ovation for his performance at the semi-finals Tuesday night, though Howard Stern wasn't impressed......


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Lipa Schmeltzer "Mizrach" Official Music Video

Lipa Schmeltzer "Mizrach" Official Music Video

from the Youtube description:
Once again superstar Lipa Schmeltzer is using his celebrity status as a springboard for the greater good, with the release of a music video that uses a hit song to promote solidarity among Jews worldwide, no matter what their background or religious leanings.

The video features the dance sensation Mizrach, one of the most popular tracks from Lipa's recent Leap of Faith album and shows the bespectacled icon singing and dancing with a group of Israeli soldiers, members of the noted Netzah Yehuda Battalion of the Nahal Haredi. Part of the Kfir Brigade of the Israeli Defense forces, Netzah Yehuda was created to give religious Israeli soldiers the opportunity to serve in the army while maintaining a strict adherence to their religious convictions. 
With the expiration of the Tal Law one month ago, the Israeli army has been the subject of much media scrutiny as yeshiva students who were previously exempted from military service are now facing the possibility of joining their fellow countrymen in the army. Thousands of Israeli yeshiva students are expecting to receive draft notices in the upcoming future, further widening the division between Israel's secular and ultra-Orthodox communities.

With the release of the new video which clocks in at just under five minutes long, Lipa hopes to help bridge the gap between the two groups, with the clear message of unity amongst all Jews expressed in the lyrics of the song.

"There are chareidim serving in the army and we should value their service" explained Lipa, who has strong ties to the Nahal Haredi. The singer is a close friend of David Hager, a staunch supporter of the religious battalion, who just recently donated an Aron Kodesh to Lipa's Airmont Shul.

Directed by producer Danny Finkelman, the video was shot in various locations around Israel and features the outspoken singer, who is known for his unabashed love of Jews of all affiliations and support of countless Jewish causes, dressed in army fatigues as he dances in a Jerusalem square with Israeli soldiers and with six Israeli teenagers in several other spots across the country.

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Aug 29, 2012

Members of Government Should Be Removed from Their Personal Finances

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made some crazy mistake the other day. he requested permission to make changes to his investments portfolio.

Now, after the mess with Dan Hakutz on the eve of the Second Lebanon War, Netanyahu should have known that making such a request would cause a ruckus. What does he know about either the economy or about a possible attack on or by Iran that we do not know about? I don't know how he could have thought that this request would not get picked up by the media and turned into a big deal. Granted, it is not as bad as what Halutz did - Halutz was sellling his stocks as he decided to declare war. Netanyahu might have some foreknowledge of events, but he isnt declaring war while preoccupied with his stocks.

I was thinking about this for a bit, and then I saw the MK Shelly Yachimovitch wants to make all MKs and ministers declare their investments and holdings. This would add a level of transparency and remove some suspicion of conflicts of interest or taking advantage of secret information.

I think that that is not enough. I think all MKs and ministers should be obligated, upon being sworn in to the position, to liquidate all their investments and the money could be put into some low-risk fund controlled by a money manager employed by the Knesset or Finance Ministry. that might be going too far and might be considered unfair to those wanting to serve the public, so another option would be that the MK or minister would have to disassociate himself from his holdings and have a financial adviser deal with all aspects of his investments. To the point even that the MK should not even know in what companies he holds stocks or bonds. he should not know anything about it. it should all be completely controlled by his financial guy, who will have power of attorney to buy and sell on the MKs behalf and they will not be allowed to consult with each other.

I don't know which idea is better or worse, but both of them, I think, solve the issue of conflict of interest. The problem is not just with the PM or DM about to declare war but trading stocks instead. the problem is found in every vote that any MK is involved in. Is he voting this way because it will affect his protfolio like this or that? Is he supportive of this bill because of how it will affect his portfolio? Is he trading based on inside information he has becaus eof his work in the government? I mean, how many wealthy MKs and ministers have we seen who have been public servants their entire lives? Somehow enough  of them are getting wealthy by working in government, and that raises suspicion as to their sincerity and honesty.

Completely removing them from the picture of handling investments would remove the suspicion, and especially the conflict of interest.

What do you think?


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Haredi Women Cannot Be Arrested

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

en·ti·tle·ment

 noun \-ˈtī-təl-mənt\

Definition of ENTITLEMENT

1
a : the state or condition of being entitled : rightb : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2
: a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
3
: belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

A lot of the problems that the general public has with the haredi community, I think, all come from one same issue - the sense of entitlement in the Haredi community. At least on certain issues the Haredi community thinks that they are deserving of whatever resolution is appropriate for them, be it the automatic discounts for arnona, be it automatic exemptions from the army (which is why they are so upset that the army sent draft letters to yeshiva bochurim, and why they recently made a big ruckus about bochurim not signing anything in the draft board office), and this last example of a woman who was arrested - how dare they arrest a haredi woman!

A haredi woman, a Chabadnik it seems, went into the army offices because she wanted to travel abroad. Never having arranged her exemption, which is one of the easiest things in the world for a haredi girl to do, she first had to check with the army office whether she would be allowed to travel or if there is some restriction on her. When she asked her question, the army clerk said, we've been looking for you, you are under arrest.

Turns out, though the details are still sketchy, this woman never bothered to arrange her exemption. The easiest thing in the world for  haredi woman to do. Through her high school or seminary, a letter is sent to the army declaring her as a haredi woman and the exemption is just about automatic. Yet she never bothered to do it. She perhaps figured she just does not need to go to the army, or maybe she was a baalas teshuva who had been AWOL for other reasons and only later became haredi (though there is no indication of that in the original article - just the opposite as it says she was raised in a haredi family with a haredi education). Either way, she did not bother arranging her exemption, and was therefore AWOL.

That was one sense of entitlement.

Then she was arrested. After all, she was AWOL.

The askanim and politicians got involved. I have no problem with that, as that is what they are there for - to help people form the community who have these situations that need their intervention, and this is clearly such a case. I am sure it is no picnic for her to sit in jail overnight, and she could definitely use their assistance in getting her out and getting her situation resolved. What bothered me is the public statement put out by those askanim.

The MKs who got involved, and then the outrage by the Haredi media, show the sense of entitlement. They say as a haredi woman she should never have been arrested. It is shameful that she was. it is an attack on her modesty to have made her sit in jail.

In other words, she did something wrong, something illegal. She could have easily gotten her exemption, but she did not. Yet the army, in their opinion, is not allowed to arrest her, just because she is haredi. I dont even know how the army is expected to know she is haredi, if she never bothered to declare that, as she never filled out the forms. So she just shows up one day with her sheitel and they are supposed to automatically ignore the fact that she was AWOL for x number of years?

(source: Kikar and COL)

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Quote Of the Day

Quote Of the Day

The parents cannot rely on the current municipal leadership... This impure mayor, all the institutions of the Dati Leumi educational system are more important for him. It bothers him that their educational system is falling apart, and he tries to hold on to their buildings by force, even if the demographic balance has changed and there are no longer any children from that sector in the neighborhood..

  -- Jerusalem City Councilman (SHAS) Shmuel Yitzchaki, at a protest of French Haredim in Bayit Vegan for not having a school building while there is a building that is only sparsely populated but still used for a DL school.

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IDF Soldiers "Advertise" For Axe (video)

IDF Soldiers "Advertise" For Axe


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May the Gush Katif Synagogues be Rebuilt, Like the Hurva (video)

May the Gush Katif Synagogues be Rebuilt, Like the Hurva


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Amazing Artistic collection of Reb Yakov Weisberg in Jerusalem Meah Shearim (video)

Amazing Artistic collection of Reb Yakov Weisberg in Jerusalem Meah Shearim

this fellow is very talented!

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Matisyahu - Tel Aviv'n (video)

Matisyahu - Tel Aviv'n


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Aug 28, 2012

Gilad Shalit and Moishie Holzberg

A news site is reporting that today is Gilad Shalit's 26th birthday. Happy birthday. It goes on to report how he plans to celebrate his first birthday back as a free man with his friends, and it asks the readers what they would wish him for his birthday.

I thought about it, and I connected it to another event from a couple of days ago. When the new school year started this week, many of the news websites had pictures of little Moishie Holzberg entering first grade. Moishie Holzberg is the son of the Chabad shlichim in India who were killed a few years ago in a terrorist attack.

I wish to Gilad Shalit, and to Moishie Holzberg, that they should be able to live out their lives at some point without the prying eyes of the media and the public continuously looking to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. it is enough that they have to live with their pain and memories, they should not also have to live forever with the torture of having the public attention never let them have a quiet moment...

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Good Luck To Edon Pinchot

Good luck to Edon Pinchot who will be performing tonight on America's Got Talent semi-finals...

This was Edon's quarterfinals performance:


Edon is a nice, sweet, Jewish kid competing on one of Ameirca's biggest television shows, and he wears his kippa and is proud of his Judaism. he has captured the attention of American Jews everywhere. And for me he is also a landesman, as he is from Chicago (Skokie really).

The Chicago Sun-Times had this to say about Edon, who credits his success to his older sister who is on her way to Israel for a gap year in seminary:

Little brothers always want to best their older sisters.
Except Edon Pinchot, 14, of Skokie.
What began as a fond admiration for an older sibling’s musical might has the teen standing on one of America’s biggest stages.
The kippah-wearing pop singer/pianist is one of 24 acts currently vying for the $1 million grand prize on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Known simply as Edon in the talent competition, the young crooner gains more fame and fans with each performance, just as he did when he first started performing from home a few years ago.
The fourth of five siblings, Edon said he looked up to his sister, Arianne, now 18, not only for her musical talents but because she was “always happy.”
He mimicked his sister’s singing and took up the piano at age 9. Once he reached adolescence his voice became the stronger of the two, Arianne said.
Though all her children enjoy singing together, Laurie Pinchot said Arianne and Edon share an extra-special bond. As kids the siblings would re-enact plays together at home and on stage. Whenever Arianne sang and dance Edon was there watching, she said.
“She has been feeding him a steady diet of Broadway musicals since he was a baby,” Laurie said of her daughter. “Music is what they share.”
Edon’s success has only strengthened Arianne’s support, Laurie said.
“She is just so encouraging of him,” she said. “There is no jealousy.”
Arianne said her friends also took notice of her kid brother’s talent and began making requests for their favorite songs.
Some girls recorded his performances on their smart phones to replay later.
Two years ago, Arianne and a friend hatched the idea to post the videos online. Thus a teenage heartthrob — now sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Justin Bieber” — was born.
Edon practiced for each round of “America’s Got Talent” the past six months —covering “Good Life” by OneRepublic and David Guetta’s “Without You” and “Titanium” — in the family’s living room with both his sister and dad by his side.
Now, when friends visit they want to take photos with that “famous piano,” she said.
The performer has taken his newfound fame in stride. The show’s judges and fans know him for his humble demeanor and poise as much as his big voice.
“It’s really cool that people pick me to make a connection with,” he said. “With these performances, so many new people come along.
“Everything keeps building.”
He tugs at the heartstrings of Jewish youth in particular.
Arianne said a summer family trip to the Big Apple resulted in a mob of teenage girls spotting Edon and following them down the street.
“If that was me I would be standing there all day soaking it up,” she said. “But he wants to be regular. He’s very modest.”
When Edon steps onstage Tuesday for his grandest performance yet, his big sister will be on a plane bound for the Middle East for a “gap year” of study with other Jewish teens.
She said she would watch a recording of the show with Edon’s fans in Israel. Future classmates have already inquired whether she’s related to the young star.
“I think I’m going to be slightly famous because of him,” Arianne said.
Laurie said the brother-sister duo would like have jam sessions via Skype while Arianne is abroad.
“They’re really going to miss each other,” Laurie said.
Edon and the first wave of semi-finalists compete Tuesday. The remaining 12 contestants, including comedian Jacob Williams of Chicago, compete Sept. 4.

Good luck, Edon. We are rooting for you. Jews everywhere are rooting for you. No pressure.
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Egged Wont Display Women Or Men in Jerusalem

After Egged and Cnaan (the advertising/marketing company they work through) found themselves in a pickle, they had to come up with a creative solution. The Supreme Court and the Ministry of Transportation were obligating Egged to post advertisements on buses with images of women. To not do so, as they have refused to do in recent years in Jerusalem and some other cities, has been declared discriminatory against women. They now found themselves with no choice. Claims of bystander violence against their buses would no longer absolve them of their obligation toward gender equality.

Egged has now come up with a creative solution, though members of the Yerushalmim group that were so excited that Jerusalem buses would start bearing images of women are going to be sorely disappointed. Instead of accepting advertisements regardless of the gender in the image, Egged has decided that, for now at least, they will no longer be posting any images in advertisements on the buses. not just that, but from now on the ads will only be the smaller ads on the backs of the buses, and no longer will ads be on the sides. Egged says they did not want to go against the Supreme Court ruling, but they also had to take into account the fact that posting ads with women would bring us back to the days where people would vandalize the buses.

Looks like a win-win decision. The ads will no longer be discriminatory. egged is not violating the law any longer. The Haredim will have nothing to get upset about. The only losers in this case are going to be when Rabbis Ovadia Yosef, Kaduri, Abuchatzeira and politicians can no longer advertise their faces on political ads on the buses.

Being that I believe in equal exploitation, meaning when they say women shouldnt be exploited and used in such imagery on billboards, I say men shouldnt be either - either a picture being publicized is appropriate for both or for neither - I think this solution is reasonable.

I particularly enjoyed the additional statement released by Egged, as you can see at the end of the Haaretz article (which is quoted by all the other news sources), in which they said:
The job of the bus is to transport passengers, and it is NOT to be a platform for upsetting and disturbing advertising. We estimate that at the end of the contract [with the Cnaan advertising agency] we will re-evaluate anew the use of city buses as platforms for advertising.

I find this statement particularly amusing...


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Rabbi Soloveichik To Give GOP Invocation

I think this is pretty cool, that an Orthodox rabbi has been invited to give the invocation at the opening session of the Republican National Convention.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Rabbi Meier Soloveichik has been invited to give the invocation, and has accepted:
An Orthodox rabbi from New York City's Yeshiva University has been chosen to give the invocation at the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik (Soh-loh-VAY'-chick) said Monday that it is an extraordinary privilege to deliver Tuesday's invocation. He said he has been teaching courses about the connection between Jewish ideas and American democracy and that makes it all the more meaningful.
Soloveichik is the director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva. He is also associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (Kuh-HEEL'-ath JESH'-uhr-run ) in New York.
The head of New York's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has been chosen to give the benediction on the night Mitt Romney accepts the Republican presidential nomination.
Rabbi Meier is the son of Rav Eliyahu Soloveichik of Chicago (now in New York), and grandson of Rav Aharon Soloveichik zt"l. And that would make Rav Meier the nephew of Rav Chaim Soloveichik, a local [Ramat] Bet Shemesh rav. Though I knew, or have met, some of the Chicago Soloveichiks, I don't remember ever meeting Rav Meier. I guess that sort of makes him, from my perspective, sort of like another nationally famous Chicagoan, Rahm Emannuel. I knew his father, but did not know him.

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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

The settlement report of the Supreme Court Justice is a very important updated report that was written after very thorough work. In my opinion, the new report should be incorporated and its conclusions regarding settlement in Judea and Samaria should be accepted. Adoption of those conclusions will strengthen the settlement activity.

  -- Minister Moshe Kachlon
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Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day




The largest mezuza in the world was just installed at a gate of the entrance to the Kotel plaza, donated by French-Israeli businessman Sammy Flato Sharon..

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Migron Residents Change Name to Arabic Al-Majroon (video)

Migron Residents Change Name to Arabic Al-Majroon

The residents of Migron came up with a great idea to get the government to be more sympathetic and decide not to raze the community  - by changing it to an Arab village!

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Kids Talk News: What do people have to say about cell phones (video)

Kids Talk News: What do people have to say about cell phones



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The Jerusalem Kite Festival 2012 (video)

The Jerusalem Kite Festival 2012



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Gad Elbaz - Keeping The Faith (video)

Gad Elbaz - Keeping The Faith


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Aug 27, 2012

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day


Mayor Nir Barkat presents PM Netanyahu with his 6th grade report card and notebook from 1961. He has to bring it back tomorrow signed by his parents...
When it was arranged that Netanyahu would visit his alma mater on the first day of school, Barkat sent his chief archiver to seek out Netanyahu's original report card. he found it, along with a notebook, and his brother Yoni's report card as well. Bibi's report from his teacher was pretty good, calling him diligent, smart, quick to understand, disciplined, etc.



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Youkilis To Play For Israel

With the World Baseball Classic tournament coming up, Israel is attempting to field a team and qualify to play. If the Israelis do qualify, they might actually end up succeeding in the tournament, considering the rules would allow even non-Israeli Jews to play for the Israeli team.

Kevin Youkilis of the Chicago White Sox (I am a Cubs fan, but this guy is a Member of the tribe) has already announced that if the team qualifies and he is healthy and available, he would play for the Israeli team...

After that maybe Nefesh b'Nefesh can sign him, and other Jewish ballplayers, up for an upcomign aliyah flight...

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Send Lenny and Daniel in Babylon To Broadway

Lenny Solomon of Shlock Rock has an ambitious plan. He has written a new musical based on the Book of Daniel. And he wants to take it to Broadway!

You can see details of this awesome project at Daniel in Babylon. Funding is needed to get the project going, and so far, with just two days to go for the fundraising project, over 75% of the funds have been raised. You can donate as little as $2 for seed money for this project, or much more. However, it is not just a donation - every level of donation gets you something different in return, whether it is copies of some, or all , of the music, or tickets, or one on one time with Lenny to review the musical, etc.

Check out Daniel in Babylon, and help send Lenny to Broadway! Shlock Rock has produced albums called "Almost on Broadway" and "Still Not Quite on Broadway", but this project can put an end to that - this project might finally send Shlock Rock to Broadway!

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Making Arnona Discounts more Difficult To Obtain

Jerusalem City Councilwoman Meirav Cohen is petitioning the finance ministry to take away the control over arnona exemptions and discounts from the hands of the local municipalities and turn it over to more central control - via Bituach Leumi. Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, etc..

Cohen claims the problem with the current system is that the Ministry of Interior determines the table of discounts, but then leaves it in the hands of the local municipalities to process, which causes three levels of inefficiency:
1. weak areas become weaker as the residents reliance on the increased discounts becomes greater. The fact that they control deciding who qualifies, ends up weakening them rather than strengthening the local governments.
2. It is expensive for the local authorities to have systems to check qualification for discounts, especially when the central government already has such systems in place.
3. The fact that the local municipality is doing the checking means the potential work ability of the applicant is not taken into account. Somebody not working but also not looking for work will qualify for the discounts while at the same time someone trying to work but only making a very low salary will not qualify.

You can see on Ynet more details of Cohen's explanation of why the current system is bad and how it causes the local municipalities to lose money.

Basically, her main idea is that by not making the qualification take into account potential earning power, less and less people are paying. The main victim of this change will be the haredi sector, whom, under the current rules, qualify almost automatically for arnona discounts if the man is learning in kollel (and the wife is not working or earning little enough), but will have to work harder to qualify if the rules get changed and more checks are put into place, which would only happen if it were controlled by a central system.

They actually change the qualification rules all the time. I remember from way back when, when I was learning in kollel, that they had different rules which changed every couple of years. Sometimes stipends were included in income, sometimes they were not. Sometimes parental assistance was included and sometimes it was not. Sometimes they checked, and sometimes they automatically approved. Sometimes the applicant had to bring a letter from his rosh yeshiva or rav, and sometimes his word was enough. It does seem that without a uniform system in place, there is too much room for unbalanced flexibility. However, those who actually do qualify under the rules should not be punished for bureaucratic inefficiency. People who qualify for discounts should not be blamed when they take advantage of the allowance.


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Threatening To Leave Israel

Kikar is reporting that the Neturei Karta members of Jerusalem have been plastering the walls with signs calling on the people, in light of the situation of the governments attempts to take the bnei yeshivot to the army and civil service, to run away from the country set on destroying Judaism and go to countries around the world that respect the Torah and the Jews.

According to an activist quoted, the threat of the possible draft is a greater threat than attack by Iran, and therefore people should leave..

I would suggest that they lead the way and set an example of what they want. I feel fairly confident that most people would not mind if these thugs and crazies all carried out their threat and left the country. Some people might even throw a kiddush. And while they might have a hard time finding a country to take them in, as it is not easy to immigrate to any country and go through all the bureaucracy, they will probably be welcomed with open arms in Iran, so the transition should not be too difficult for them...







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Quote Of The Day

Today's Quote Of The Day is really an interchange between the Minister of Education and the Director of Chinuch Atzmai upon the opening of the school year..

Quote Of The Day

In opposition to previous Ministers of Education who were only interested in the general State education, I see myself as the Minister of Education of everybody, and it is also important to me what happens in the haredi educational system... There is a need to help the haredi community implement educational programs, such as the MEITZAV and the necessary core curriculum for integrating the children eventually into society and into the economy... Administrators who will cooperate will benefit if they implement the new programs...

  -- Minister of Education Gideon Saar

The only people in charge of our education system are the gedolei yisrael, who are in essence our Ministers of Education. Only they are authorized to establish the educational programs in our educational institutions and what is allowed to be brought into the educational programming, what is prohibited and how much. The pure education is only in the hands of our rabbonim, and it is they who will decide...

  -- Director of Chinuch Atzmai Rav Avraham Yosef Lazerson

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Joy of Aliyah 7 and aliyah employment (videos)

I am always happy to promote aliyah. Here is the Joy of Eliyah episode #7 - the actual aliyah clip, taking off and landing in Israel..  and then after that is a new video by Nefesh b'Nefesh about employment opportunities in Israel..

two very good videos..



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Israel Donkeys with Onboard Wifi at Galilee Tourist Theme Park: Wireless Routers at Kfar Kedem (video)

Israel Donkeys with Onboard Wifi at Galilee Tourist Theme Park: Wireless Routers at Kfar Kedem

At first i thought this was cool, but now finally seeing the video about it, it does seem a bit overboard to me. They can't just enjoy the 25 minute tour without surfing the Internet? Upload their  pictures later? They cannot be disconnected for even 25 minutes?


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Huggies Go Pro - Case Study (video)

Huggies Go Pro - Case Study

Huggies used Israel in its case study commercial...

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Dovid Moskovits "You Raise Me Up" (video)

Dovid Moskovits "You Raise Me Up"


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Aug 26, 2012

Received for book review

Just received for book review:

Israel: The Will To Prevail, by Danny Danon

Contact me for information on where to send review copies of books (Jewish/Israeli content) for book reviews.

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Interesting Posts #406

Interesting Posts #406

1. Are you a tzaddik for filling someone else's meter?

2. Aly Raisman, not a tattoo kind of person

3. The hard part of aliya

4. Whats wrong with Orthodox Judaism today

5. New hashgacha in Shechem

6. Life without risk

7. a cool mikva saga

8. Michael Jordan and Knaan on repentance

9. The beis medrification of our shuls

10. good enough

11. hating the Lakers

12. at a random shop in Tel Aviv..

13. A unique Navajo Moose

14. With a mighty hand

15. baseball season and the school year..

16. Travelling the land, kosher style..

17. Marrying A Soloveitchik




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The Leftist Version Of Neturei Karta

Who knew that there were people on the left as radical and crazy as the Neturei Karta radicals on the right?

One of the 613 rabbis who signed on to the campaign of Rabbis for Obama is Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb.

Gottlieb is part of J-Street and another anti-Israel group called the Jewish Voice for Peace and is an advocate of the BDS.  That is all peanuts compared to the main event - Rabbi Gottlieb has dined with president of Iran Ahmadinejad, and has traveled to Iran to meet with him. That makes her as crazy, as radical, and as rejection-worthy as the Neturei Karta. Maybe she and they can find ways to work together on such projects...

The Washington Free Beacon has a video of Gottlieb talking about boycotting Israel, which I won't post here.



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Israeli Researcher Solves Date Rape

I think it is pretty cool that an Israeli is developing the technology to solve the date rape drug problem.

Reports say that Israeli researchers have developed a sensor that can detect if a person's drink has been spiked with any of the common date rape drugs. The sensor is put into a straw or stirrer, and as soon as the straw is put into the drink, it will detect if the drug is present. if it is, the straw will light up, and obviously the drink should not be drunk.

From GeekoSystem:

Researchers at Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry have developed a sensor that can detect if your drink has been spiked by the most common date rape drugs. The sensor can be used as a straw or a stirrer that will light up to indicate if someone has slipped something into your drink.
The sensor absorbs a drop of the beverage, and brings it into contact with a chemical formula created by lead researchers Fernando Patolskyand Michael Ioffe. So far, the exact make up of the chemical formula hasn’t been released. But, the researchers say it is extremely effective at detecting the drugs.
Ioffe told the AFP:
“The drug itself is reacting with this chemical formulation and the previously clear formula becomes dirty and when the light shines it you can detect it. You don’t have to do anything but dip it in your drink.”
The sensor was tested on a variety of common cocktails and soft drinks using the drugs GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine, with what the researchers say is a 100% accuracy rate. Now, because the research hasn’t been fully published, the reported accuracy rate hasn’t been confirmed through peer review, or challenged by other researchers. The device is also not in development, and the researchers are soliciting for more funding. So a little healthy skepticism is warranted.
But if the research is the real deal, the detector should be able to provide a quick and easy way for people to make sure their drinks haven’t been tampered with. The researchers claim that the sensor is cheap and the chemicals used aren’t a human health threat so the device probably wouldn’t need government approval for production.
In the future the researchers would like to expand the device’s capabilities to include detection of Rohypnol (roofies) and other drugs used to sedate victims. The researchers say that with the necessary funding their sensor could be in production in the next year and a half. We hope so, we also hope that it actually works.
(AFP via Gizmodo, photo via Flickr/Shopangelica)


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Talking Nasty About Shas

The people in SHAS are upset about a satirical piece that was in the weekend edition of Haaretz. I did not see it, nor could I find it on the Haaretz website when I looked, but it seems to have been scoffing at the Prime Ministers consultation last week with Rav Ovadia Yosef regarding a possible Iran strike.

When it happened it was big news. Everybody was upset that it seemed as if Rav Ovadia is really the person deciding and signing off on such a crucial decision affecting the fate and future of Israel. Personally I just figured it was politics as usual. Netanyahu needs, or at least wants, support from SHAS, and the door to SHAS support swings through Rav Ovadia. That's just the way it is, and this was nothing new.

Anyways, so it seems that Haaretz scoffed at the consultation and specifically at Rav Ovadia. It seems that the scoffing by Haaretz must have been harsher than the scoffing in the general press and public, as it really got Shas's goat and knocked them off kilter a bit. SHAS people have been speaking out against Haaretz because of it.

I am not going to defend Haaretz, as while I read Haaretz fairly regularly I usually dont like their opinion. I am more in tune with the SHAS criticism in this instance than I am with Haaretz.

However, after Rav Ovadia last week called about 80% of the country wicked and evil, when he said that anyone who sends their children to the public schools rather than to Talmud Torahs is evil, along with the teachers who teach there, along with the students eventually becoming that as well, I am not sure why they think they can talk nasty about most of the country but nobody can talk nasty about them.

As we used to say when we were kids, don't dish it out if you can't take it...


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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

The dates that we eat, one should say on them "Yehi Ratzon that our enemies and our adversaries and all those who see evil for us should be consumed (or perhaps orphaned). When one says this he should focus its meaning on the rulers of Iran, the wicked who are threatening Israel. Hashem should finish them off. On the night of Rosh Hashana one should have in mind against our enemies. We have Hezballah, we have Iran, Hashem will finish them all off and wipe them off the face of the earth. 

  -- Rav Ovadia Yosef in his weekly shiur

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Say No To Palestinian Oppression (video)

Say No To Palestinian Oppression


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Queens woman searches for purse nabber (video)

Queens woman searches for purse nabber



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The Jewish Mister Softee (video)

The Jewish Mister Softee



The Jewish Mister Softee from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.


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Arik Sinai and Benny Elbaz Duet Bein HaChomot (video)

Arik Sinai and Benny Elbaz Duet Bein HaChomot


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Aug 24, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

It is an amazing thing that the German-Speakers display such sensitivity to the cries of a baby and to the drop of blood, I did not see this in my youth. The blood of the Jewish child then was hefker and his life was given to be trampeled by the Gestapo boots, and tens of millions of the German people either collaborated or stood by the side. We don't need a license from them to live as Jews. If this is how things are, and if the German parliament will approve this law, something I don't believe will happen, we have nothing to be there for. Perhaps from the harsh will come something sweet and the Jews there will understand that that is not their place...

  -- Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Meir Lau

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Lipa and Yishai Lapidot (video)

Lipa and Yishai Lapidot




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Denver Community Kollel - Heartbeat of our Nation (video)

Denver Community Kollel - Heartbeat of our Nation


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Aug 23, 2012

Interesting Posts #405

Interesting Posts #405

1. Walking Away From Judaism

2. Igloo Park: Keep the Kids Away

3.  Time For A Mass Exodus From Eretz Yisrael

4. Speaking Of Isaac

5. Giving A Meshulach less Than A Quarter

6. Top 10 Back To School Tips

7. Synagogue Yahrtzeit Boards

8. Can Judaism Survive the Internet?

9. Attacking Iran Becomes A Contract Clause

10. Of Shuls and Rabbis

11. Rav Shmuel Auerbach's grandfather was a Zionist rabbi


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Israeli Archaeologist Digs Up History At Sobibor

I got chills reading this article of Yoram Haimi's work to discover what the Sobibor death camp was like, how it operated, and especially some of the things he has uncovered from the victims.

It is amazing to think that the Germans could have burned the camp to the ground and destroyed everything in an attempt to hide what they had done, yet it is now being discovered and unearthed by a Jew with a shovel and a sieve.

Haimi talking about his findings
From The Ottawa Citizen:

When Israeli archaeologist Yoram Haimi decided to investigate his family's unknown Holocaust history, he turned to the skill he knew best: He began to dig.
After learning that two of his uncles were murdered in the infamous Sobibor death camp, he embarked on a landmark excavation project that is shining new light on the workings of one of the most notorious Nazi killing machines, including pinpointing the location of the gas chambers where hundreds of thousands were killed.
Sobibor, in eastern Poland, marks perhaps the most vivid example of the "Final Solution," the Nazi plot to wipe out European Jewry. Unlike other camps that had at least a facade of being prison or labour camps, Sobibor and the neighbouring camps Belzec and Treblinka were designed specifically for exterminating Jews. Victims were transported there in cattle cars and gassed to death almost immediately.
But researching Sobibor has been difficult. After an October 1943 uprising at the camp, the Nazis shut it down and levelled it to the ground, replanting over it to cover their tracks.
Today, tall trees cover most of the former camp grounds. Because there were so few survivors — only 64 were known — there has never been an authentic layout of the camp, where the Nazis are believed to have murdered some 250,000 Jews over an 18-month period. From those few survivors' memories and partial German documentation, researchers had only limited understanding of how the camp operated.
"I feel like I am an investigator in a criminal forensic laboratory," Haimi, 51, said near his home in southern Israel this week, a day before departing for another dig in Poland. "After all, it is a murder scene."
Over five years of excavations, Haimi has been able to remap the camp and has unearthed thousands of items. He hasn't found anything about his family, but amid the teeth, bone shards and ashes through which he has sifted, he has recovered jewelry, keys and coins that have helped identify some of Sobibor's formerly nameless victims.
The heavy concentration of ashes led him to estimate that far more than 250,000 Jews were actually killed at Sobibor.
"Because of the lack of information about Sobibor, every little piece of information is significant," said Haimi. "No one knew where the gas chambers were. The Germans didn't want anyone to find out what was there. But thanks to what we have done, they didn't succeed."
The most touching find thus far, he said, has been an engraved metal identification tag bearing the name of Lea Judith de la Penha, a 6-year-old Jewish girl from Holland who Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial confirmed was murdered at the camp.
Haimi calls her the "symbol of Sobibor."
"The Germans didn't discriminate. They killed little girls too," he said. "This thing (the tag) has been waiting for 70 years for someone to find it."
Haimi's digs, backed by Yad Vashem, could serve as a template for future scholarship into the Holocaust, in which the Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews.
"I think the use of archaeology offers the possibility of giving us information that we didn't have before," Deborah Lipstadt, a prominent American Holocaust historian from Emory University, said. "It gives us another perspective when we are at the stage when we have very few people who can speak in the first person singular."
She said that if the archaeological evidence points to a higher death toll at Sobibor than previously thought, "it is not out of sync with other research that has been done."
Haimi's basic method is similar to what he does at home, where he does digs for Israel's antiquites authority in the south of the country — cutting out squares of land and sifting the earth through a filter. Because of the difficult conditions at Sobibor and the sensitive nature of the effort, he is also relying on more non-invasive, high-tech aids such as ground-penetrating radar and global positioning satellite imaging.
Based on debris collected and patterns in the soil, he has been able to figure out where the Nazis placed poles to hold up the camp's barbed wire fences.
That led him to his major breakthrough — the mapping of what the Germans called the Himmelfahrsstrasse, or the "Road to Heaven," a path upon which the inmates were marched naked into the gas chambers. He determined its route by the poles that marked the path. From that, he determined where the gas chambers would have been located.
He also discovered that another encampment was not located where originally thought and uncovered an internal train route within Sobibor. He dug up mounds of bullets at killing sites, utensils from where he believes the camp kitchen was located and a swastika insignia of a Nazi officer.
Along the way, he and his Polish partner Wojciech Mazurek, along with some 20 labourers, have stumbled on thousands of personal items belonging to the victims: eye glasses, perfume bottles, dentures, rings, watches, a child's Mickey Mouse pin, a diamond-studded gold chain, a pair of gold earrings inscribed ER — apparently the owner's initials — a silver medallion engraved with the name "Hanna."
He also uncovered a unique version of the yellow star Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, made out of metal instead of cloth, which researchers determined to have originated in Slovakia.
Marek Bem, a former director of the museum at Sobibor, said the first excavations began at the site in 2001, with several stages before he invited Haimi to join in 2007. He said the mapping of the 200-meter (yard) long Himmelfahrsstrasse opens the door for looking for the actual gas chambers.
"We are nearer the truth," he said. "It tells us where to look for the gas chambers."
Haimi is not allowed to take any of the items out of Poland, but he consults regularly with Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research, which helps him interpret his findings and gives them historical perspective.
Dan Michman, head of the institute, said Haimi's research helps shed light on the "technical aspects" of the Holocaust. It also grants insight, for example, on what people chose to take with them in their final moments.
"His details are exact and that is an important tool against Holocaust denial. It's not memories, it's based on facts. It's hard evidence," he said.
But the accurate layout is Haimi's greatest contribution, allowing researchers to learn more about how it functioned, said Deborah Dwork, director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
She said some critics have suggested that the sites of former death camps are "sacred" and "should remain untouched." But she said she believes the excavation is justified. "I feel that our need for knowledge outweighs those concerns."
Once his work in Sobibor is done, Haimi hopes to move on to research at Treblinka and other destroyed death camps.
Though archaeology is usually identified with the study of ancient history, Haimi thinks that with survivors rapidly dying it could soon become a key element in understanding the Holocaust.
"This is the future research tool of the Holocaust," he said.



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Jewish Hero Of The Month, Perhaps Year

My Jewish hero of the Month, or perhaps even the year, is this Rabbi Dovid Goldberg.

Rabbi Goldberg is a rav and mohel in Germany, and has recently been charged for the crime of performing Jewish circumcision on a baby despite the recent court decision outlawing it.

Despite the imbroglio he finds himself in, he is not being apologetic, nor is he giving up. Rabbi Goldberg has said he has no plans to stop, but will be performing the circumcisions with the same regularity he has until now.

I must say that not only is Rabbi Goldberg the Jewish hero of the story, but the m,embers of the Jewish community who continue to circumcise their children despite the legal uncertainty and the threat of jail or fines.

Judaism has outlasted many attempts in history to stop its religious practice, and specifically many attempts to stop circumcision. The heroes throughout history who have insisted on continuing the mitzva despite the threats they faced have been a major force of Judaism. The people of Germany with Rabbi Goldberg have now, like it or not, joined the long list of Jewish heroes who will preserve Jewish circumcision despite the threats against.


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Quote Of The Day


Quote Of The Day

Explicit threats are being made these days on the security of Israel and its citizens..These threats indicate an erroneous evaluation of our strength and our capabilities. Anyone who thinks he can ‘get rid of Israel’ and try to harm our country will discover the deadly power of the IDF. We are poised and ready along the borders to handle threats facing our doorstep. The IDF is armed with the best and boldest soldiers and commanders in the world, including the Golani Brigade.

  -- IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz


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PM Campaign Showing he Brought Down Cost Of Living (video)

PM Campaign Showing He Brought Down Cost Of Living

The Prime Minister's Office has started a campaign showing how they have saved people so much money by bringing down the cost of living. I imagine this is an effort to counter the rising prices of many basic items, along with the recent increase in VAT, and possible tax hikes as well. These are the first two videos of the campaign - one about new tax credits for children and the other about free education from age 3.


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Largest Moissanite Stone In World Found In Israel (video)

Largest Moissanite Stone In World Found In Israel


 

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Sword Dance Finals 2012 - Josh Segal (video)

Sword Dance Finals 2012 - Josh Segal

Josh Segal, sword dance competition finalist at the 2012 Haidong Gumdo World Championships in Daejeon City, South Korea. And he competed to the tune of, that's right, you guessed it, Hava Nagila..

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Walking Israel (video)

Walking Israel

this is a cool stop-motion video of someone who hiked the Shvil Yisrael, the Israel National Trail, that was recently included in National Geographic's list of top 20 epic trails of the world.

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Aug 22, 2012

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day



After 8 days of Har HaBayit being closed off to Jews due to the Ramadan, today Har HaBayit was re-opened. Tens of Jews ascended in various groups, and were reportedly surprised to find garbage strewn around from the post-Ramadan celebrations, and Hamas flags hanging in the trees.
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Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Most Germans are anti-semites, and their anti-semitism has been aroused due to the court decision prohibiting circumcision.. Most Germans think that the Supreme Court decision is above everything else. I have already received a number of communications, by telephone and by email, from people who said 'this is the law and if it is not goo for you, you can go back to where you came from'. Most Germans don't know anything about the circumcision ceremony, and they connect it automatically to female circumcision. They don't understand at all what it is.

  -- Rav Dovid Goldberg, rav and mohel in Germany who was recently charged with the crime of performing a ritual circumcision
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High Speed Donkey Rides

On your next vacation, you might not need to give up your tech gadgets for the duration. At least, not if you go to Kfar Kedem's historical amusement park.

According to this item on Engadget, Kfar Kedem is outfitting their donkeys, or at least some of them, with wireless routers so you can enjoy your wifi while enjoying a taste of history. I don't want to know what the routers are plugged in to...
It's WiFi for your ass -- the animal kind -- and it's only available in Israel. Yes, as unreal and inappropriate as that proposition may seem, an historical amusement park located in the Middle Eastern country will offer tourists the opportunity to tweet, email and upload photos on-the-fly from the back of a burro. Known as Kfar Kedem, or Village of Yore (sounds exciting!), the unique attraction attempts to reenact life from the Common Era's First and Second centuries, albeit with a healthy dose of wireless internet. So far, only five of the village's 30 available donkeys are currently outfitted with routers, but park manager Menachem Goldberg's toying with an expansion to the rest of his "fleet." Sure, a biblical ren faire might not be your number one vacation destination, but if you're in the area, there's no way you can pass up this low-tech ride back in time.
Enjoy your connected vacation...


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Letter To The Editor: Our Responsibility

I saw this interesting Letter to the Editor yesterday in the weekly free edition of Mishpacha newspaper..

The Jewish Nation is now entering the beginning of the month of mercy and selichot. In the sefardi shuls the tunes of selichot can already be heard and by the ashkenazi shuls they are trembling from the sound of the shofar.
There is no doubt that this last year has been one of the stormier ones that haredi Judaism has known visa vie the State and the general public in Eretz Yisrael.
It is known what the gedolim said about the passuk "The eyes of Hashem are on Eretz Yisrael from the beginning of the year until the end", that the conclusion of the year has special divine assistance in Eretz Yisrael.
In normal days, the words "national responsibility" and "mutual responsibility/gaurantorship (ערבות)" arent always appropriate for us, but in these days when the eyes of the general public are fixed on our backs, when every movement of ours is analyzed, registered and filed, it is our obligation to pay attention and be careful to remember that in the public domain we are the messengers of the community, and we are the shofar, the megaphone, of Hashem in this world.
Shaul Weissman, Bnei Braq
I thought his approach was interesting, if not a bit haughty and demeaning..

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Frank Sinatra In Israel , a rare footage (video)

Frank Sinatra In Israel , a rare footage

wow. this is great..

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Senator Storobin Visits the Shomron (video)

Senator Storobin Visits the Shomron


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Yehi Ratzon (video)

Yehi Ratzon


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Aug 21, 2012

Tzaddikim Feeding The Meters

A nice story is spreading through Facebook, as reported by Kikar. I first saw it shared by Jameel, both on his FB page and then on Muqata.

Nir Mennusi wrote, on his Facebook page, that he went out to his car on a busy street in jerusalem and as he gets to his car he sees a young haredi fellow, Litvishe and clean shaven, feeding the parking meter where his (Nir's) car is parked.

Nir stopped him and asked if he is aware that he is putting coins in the meter of "my car"? The young man responded that in another moment you would be getting a parking ticket... Nir looked up and saw2 meters away and advancing was a city meter maid checking all the cars and giving tickets.

"Ashrecha" - praise to you, he called out to the haredi fellow, though as he turned back he saw the young man was already running off to stick a few coins in the next row of cars that might have gotten tickets.

That's not the end of the story... after all, one can get in trouble for feeding the meter of someone else's car to avoid a ticket. the metter maid caught up with the young haredi fellow. the meter main, a bare-headed and stubble-faced man, stopped the young men and explained that he should check better as he showed him some cars had a digital parking device in the window so did not need the meter to be fed. The meter maid took the young man along with him and showed him which cars needed their meters fed..

Nir says that after he watched this he could not control himself and he went over to them and said "the two of you have made my day! you are simply two tzaddikim, and there should be many more like you in Israel!". The meter maid responded saying "I am no tzaddik, he is the tzaddik and I am just helping him..."

The meter maid might have just been helping, but he probably could have gotten in a lot of trouble for giving up all those tickets by helping the young men feed the meters...

Ynet spoke to Menussi, who seems to be the son of someone famous and is himself a baal teshuva who manages a website and teaches Chassidut, says that despite the cynics who have commented on his status claiming it to be an urban legend, it really happened and he saw it. All he wanted to do was share a nice story that happened to him.

Such a story also raises halachic questions, such as could this young man, if he wanted to, have demanded Nir, or the other car owners, reimburse him the money? if he had gotten in trouble, would they have had to pay his fine? Would they have to not just reimburse him but also pay him for his time? If he saw the meter maid coming, would he have been obligated (rather than just good-will), if it was not too much effort that would incur him a serious loss, to go out and feed the meters?

Despite all those side-questions, there are good people out there doing good things. And it is nice to share a good story every now and then.. Kol Hakavod!

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