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Jan 31, 2013

Interesting Posts #451

1. last official day of mourning

2. taming the wild shul kiddush scene

3. Are mannequins kosher?

4. Jack, Jacqueline, Jim and John - cute

5. can Rashi interpret a passuk against halacha?

6. Jewish technology in the USA

7. Where is it hard to live?

8. funny bumper stickers about work

9. Syria - UN's greatest failure?

10. Mizrahim are missing from Meretz

11. HaRav Aviner declares war on Beit Hillel

12. tracking a CEO: Janine Kutliroff





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the banned Sodastream Superbowl advertisement (video)

If you were curious to see the banned Sodastream Superbowl ad, here it is:



It doesn't seem so bad to me, and it doesn't knock Coca Cola and/or Pepsi. It just makes an environmental claim that Sodastream would have saved, and always saves, many plastic bottles from being used, and therefore also disposed disposed of and being harmful to the environment.

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Headline of the Day

Sharing the burden: Person appealed to the Supreme Court requesting not to get a haircut


  -- Ynet

in today's focus on the issues of gender discrimination and sharing the burden, one Israeli inductee applied the titles and terms to a completely other issue. He showed up for his draft notice bearing a copy of his petition to the Supreme Court demanding the right to retain his long hair, and to give equal rights to men and women in regards to the styling of their hair as soldiers.

Before appearing for his draft he asked permission to leave his hair long. He was told he would have to ask special permission from his appointed "Kaban" - mental health officer (an army shrink). He didn't like that response, as he felt making a special request like that would label him as a troublemaker. I am not sure why he thought appealing to the Supreme Court would not label him as a troublemaker, but that was his next step. Talk about someone going to the extreme!

So, he showed up to the army refusing to cut his hair while bearing a copy of his appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, disciplinary proceedings against him have already begun.



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Moshe Feiglin announces his surprising legislative agenda

People consider Moshe Feiglin to be a super-extremist, and many probably expected him to enter the Knesset with plans to right away introduce legislation in all sorts of "Eretz Yisrael" or Jewish related realms, such as change the police policies for Har HaBayit, or legislate annexing Judea and Samaria, or maybe try to legislate more Jewish education in the school systems, or Shabbos observance, etc. (even though Feiglin s opposed to religious legislation, he is misunderstood often and is thought to be desiring to legislate much more observance). If people did expect that, they were wrong.

Feiglin, who will be soon be entering the Knesset, has already announced what he plans to tackle first. ANd his plans do not, yet, include any "Jewish" issues, but social issues.

The first is a plan to lessen the regulations on medical marijuana, along with legalizing marijuana to the general public, albeit with restrictions. The second is to legislate harsher punishments for serious traffic violations.

A few months ago Moshe Feiglin surprised everyone when he said, during an interview, that he was in favor of legalizing marijuana. It had not been a part of his platform, it was not an issue that was naturally his, and nobody had ever heard him speak about it before. Since then he has mentioned it a few more times, and has discussed it in length publicly a number of times and has clarified his position.

pranking the giant hand of The Voice in Ramat HaChayal
by sticking a giant "joint" between the fingers
Feiglin told NRG that he is planning to legislate on two issues that are close to his heart - marijuana and traffic violations. He wants to make the regulations easier for those who need medical marijuana, and at the same time also legalize it for the general public - for people over 21 and limited to certain amounts. Feiglin believes, and I agree with him, that marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, and it should not be lumped into the light or heavy drug category. Prohibiting its use, Feiglin says, is a violation of a person's freedom, it strengthens the trade in the underworld, and it causes a lot of pain to sick people who need better access to it.

The second item, serious traffic violations, is also close to his heart, especially since his son was badly hurt when hit by a car a few years ago. Feiglin would legislate stricter punishments for serious violations, such as  drivers who cross the bold line, driving through a red light, etc. If Feiglin has his way, these drivers would immediately lose their insurance coverage. If they were, God forbid, to be in an accident, the Bituach Leumi would continue to pay the victims medical coverage, but not the coverage of the violator that caused the accident.

Aleh Yarok has never been able to get its party into the Knesset, despite many years of trying, but it seems their main issue will be taken care of anyway. I hope the law passes. I think marijuana should be legal.




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Why Stanley Fisher opposed In God We Trust

"In God We Trust" is the motto of the United States of America and it graces the currency on both paper and coins.

In Israel there is no such statement on the currency. in Stanley Fisher's previous term as Governor of the Bank of Israel, there was a movement to start including the same phrase, in Hebrew of course - "בה' אנו מאמינים" - In God We Trust.  Fisher opposed the idea, and it was rejected due to that opposition.

The Director of the lobby for Jewish Values, Ofer Cohen, who had led the movement back then has now explained Fisher's opposition. Fisher had said he opposes it because he did not want to see God's name [on currency] that might be thrown out in the garbage, or mistreated.
(source: Bechadrei)

Though, it must be noted, that the document displayed on Bechadrei's website (see link above), signed by the Minting department, gives other, more official reasons, for having rejected the idea. Despite that, Fisher's reason for opposing the idea, so as not to see God's name on a surface that might be defaced or mistreated, is a more Jewish reason...


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Picture of the Day


yes, that is Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol leading a camel with a rider. Last Thrusday Abutbol was on his way to the Dead Sea to participate in a conference run by Ichud Hatzala. On the way down, they stopped for gas, and decided to hop on the local camel, led by a Bedouin for a short ride. Both Abutbol and his driver got on for rides. I don't know why, but the only picture I found was of Abutbol leading the camel with the driver atop, and no picture of Abutbol on the camel being led by the driver.


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Rac Chaim Kanievsky's preference for messy peiyos

Having long or bushy peiyos, sidelocks, is fairly popular nowadays among yeshiva students and graduates. Back in my day, it was just starting to become popular, but most guys still didn't have the long, or even bushy, peiyos behind the ears. Even I flirted with peiyos behind the ears for a short period of time.

Even when it was becoming popular and dominant through the yeshivas, most guys generally were wrapping their peiyos behind their ears. I don't think it was anything more than an attempt to look neat and clean, as much as possible, rather than the busy peiyos sticking out of the side of the head that look fairly messy.

That makes Rav Chaim Kanievsky's recent statement fairly intriguing.

According to Bechadrei, a Rsoh Kollel from Monsey went with his family to visit Rav Kanievsky in Bnei Braq. Rav Chaim saw that all his kids had their peiyos wrapped behind their ears, as is done by most in the yeshiva world..

Rav Chaim asked them if they are embarrassed by their peiyos.

The father, the Rosh Kollel, spoke up at that point, saying that this is how he has worn his peiyos, this is how his grandfather wore his, and the kids are doing the same.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky was not satisfied by that answer and asked that if the grandfather did something not wrong, does that mean the grandchildren have to do the same thing, following in his footsteps?

It is intriguing that there is a preference to have one's peiyos sticking out, as a sign of being proud of them. All those yeshiva guys with their peiyos behind their ears were not keeping them that way out of shame and embarrassment, but, I think, out of a sense of neatness and order. Perhaps it is too superficial of me, and probably of many others, but I would not want to look so messy, having all that messy hair sticking out of the side of my head. If I could even grow peiyos like that anymore, not a given, I would have a difficult time with the idea that I needed to keep them messy like that.


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Britain's Hidden Child Abuse - London's Orthodox Jewish Community (video)

Here is the video of the expose aired last night on Channel 4. I am pleased they pointed out in the middle that the Jewish orthodox community is no worse in regards to child abuse than any other community, and their investigation is in regards to how it is dealt with..

I don't get how this fellow was able to ask the rabbis his questions and they were willing to answer him straight out without suspecting that this irreligious fellow has ulterior motives. Why would they think he is asking for genuine advice?






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The Magic of Jerusalem (video)

Danny Ayalon makes another great video presentation for Israeli hasbarah, this time focusing on jerusalem. Some people say that when he talks about the Dome of the Rock he isn't saying anything so different from what Jeremy Gimpel had said...





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Yesh Atid's Rabbi Dov Lipman (video)







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Soul II Soul presents Face to Face with MBD & 8th Day (video)






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sruli williger - medley (video)







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Jan 30, 2013

Interesting Posts #450

1. remember the subway saxophonist who was playing Jewish music? JHC discovered more info about him

2. Ambassador Shapiro, the Football Fan

3. the frum blogger who wanted shlishi -  I accept stories that are made up as a parable to teach a specific lesson. When it is not a parable but an attempt to teach a lesson through the made-up story, the lesson is as specious as the story.

4. a skirt-wearer talks back

5. Blood, sweat and fears

6. suspended for singing

7. the unsung heroines

8. the Bogeyman hiding in the shower

9. Why God Cares about the Superbowl

10. Why a Jew wont find truth in India

11. female soldiers doing Temple Rituals on Temple Mount

12. A thought on Betar Jerusalem

13. So many women on the Temple Mount

14. The beauty of the "ugly side" of Israelis

15. Smart Voting -  I disagree with the premise. While I agree people should vote Likud rather than small parties, it is for different reasons. If one is inclined to vote for small or sectorial parties, I believe they should find the party they most closely identify with and vote for them, and not worry whether or not the party will cross the threshold..

16. Who is Yair Lapid? - all those details might be correct, but Lapid's political future will not depend on any of that. It will depend on whether or not he successfully fulfills his campaign promises and is successful in Knesset and as a minister. If he continues to be popular, and does what he promised to do, people will ignore all the details mentioned by Jameel. If not, his future is doomed.




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Psak of Rav Avraham Yosef taken out of context to inflame tensions with Amnon Yitzchak

I dont know if there is a concerted effort by someone or some group to keep the tension high between Amnon Yitzchak and the Yosef family along with Shas. I would have expected things to quiet down after the elections passed, especially with Amnon Yitzchak's party not winning any Knesset seats. Shas leaders continue to attack him, mostly blaming him for preventing Shas from winning a few more seats, though at a much lower level of intensity. Perhaps it is because Amnon Yitzchak has mentioned he is considering running candidates in municipal elections around the country in 9 months, so Shas still sees him as potentially taking power away from them, or maybe it is still just anger over the past.

Either way, while tension may be justified, to a certain extent, something like the following is either a really stupid mistake or part of a concerted effort to raise the tension level.

Kikar reports on a psak written by Rav Avraham Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Holon and son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef. According to the report, a week after the elections Rav Avraham Yosef has written a psak stating that Amnon Yitzchak's supporters must abandon him and thy are not allowed to donate money to him or his organizations and institutions. Rav Yosef says this is necessary because supporting him is considered supporting idol worship, as haughtiness will make a person crazy and remove him from his ways and away from God.

Rav Avraham says that they would have been able to ignore it had the attacks come from someone who was empty and reckless, a drunk and imbecile. but because it comes from someone who had a good relationship with, and was treated well by, Rav Ovadiah, and it is his stupid lack of gratitude that brought him down to the lowest level possible, and after anyone goes on the radio saying anything about him he goes on the radio and threatens retribution using the courts... about him it is said "one can lose his entire world in one hour".

It is a pretty harsh attack, equating him with idol worship, along with the rest of the attack. The problem with it is that this did not actually happen a week after the elections has passed. It happened about a week before the date of elections, at the height of the campaigning, when such an attack is a bit more understandable - in the heat of the campaign, at the height of the retorts and attacks going in each direction.

the source for this psak is the original post by Rav Avraham Yosef on the "Ask the Rabbi" page of the Moreshet website. The date the question and answer was posted on Moreshet was January 15th, a week before election day. NOT  a week after elections, as reported on Kikar.

As I said, either it is a really stupid mistake, not noticing the date of the post, that was then mistakenly convoluted to turning it into a continuation of the high tension, or it is part of a concerted to keep those tensions high, assuming people won't look for the original (no link was provided) and notice the date.

.






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Quote of the Day

In the next elections I will run for the prime ministership.  I expect to [win].... 
I tried calling [Bennet] and the phone went to an answering service. The operator asked what message to leave for Naftali. I told her, ‘Tell him Yair Lapid is looking for him.’ To which she responded ‘What about?’ That moment, when you realize that not everybody is concerned with you, gives you some perspective,” he said....
[international media mentioning Lapid had been listed as one of Israel's sexiest men] are out of date. The last time I was voted on that list was 20 years ago. Today I am closer to being one of the sexiest retirees. But it was nice of them. And it pleased Lihi [his wife] to hear that.

  -- MK-elect (and seemingly Minister-elect) Yair Lapid, in an interview about the electiosn

the rest is cute, but the first line above has drawn some criticism... Lapid is getting ahead of himself if he is already talking about becoming prime minister in the next elections.. He ran a successful campaign, and he got great results from it, but he needs to be a bit more humble, get some political experience, see how thigns work, and actually succeed at what he has promised to do before he can expect people to vote him in as prime minister!



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UK's Channel 4 to air investigative report tonight on child abuse in the Orthodox community

Tonight Britain's Channel 4 will be broadcasting an investigative report of child abuse and the reaction, specifically the attempts to keep such incidents under wraps and away from the police, of the Orthodox leadership. As always, it should be noted, this happens everywhere around the world, in all communities, among every sector of society.

Many community leaders around the world (not just Jews, and not just Ultra-Orthodox) still believe in the old methods of dealing with these things of either sweeping it under the carpet or keeping things quiet and trying to deal with things "internally". As we progress, as the world learns more about the damage caused by such abuse, it is incumbent upon us to begin dealing with these incidents using better methods than the old methods that have never really worked. Involving professionals, stopping the abusers, and especially getting them away from their potential victims - and that can only be done by involving the police.

Tonight, Channel 4 will be airing the report at 10:30 PM UK time, that being 12:30 AM Israel time (other countries can figure out their local time on their own), and will be viewable at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/home. It surely will be painful to watch, and unfortunately many will be hurt by it, whether victims reliving their trauma or unconnected people who will be laid to blame as the world stereotypes and then calls all orthodox Jews abusers or involved in cover-ups, but it is an important step in the process of beginning to deal with these situations properly.

In the meantime, Channel 4 has released a trailer of the show.

A victim of child sex abuse in one of Britain's religious communities goes undercover to expose the way his community has for decades been dealing with paedophilia.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, the man who leads the Strictly Orthodox Jewish community in London's Stamford Hill, is the subject of this secretly filmed interview. He is seen telling a man who says he was sexually abused as a child by a member of this community, that he must not report his claim to the police. He says that this is 'Mesira', meaning that it is forbidden for one Jew to report a fellow Jew to the authorities.

 Jackie (the reporter): We asked Rabbi Padwa to explain his actions. The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (the organisation he heads) sent us this letter ... It says 'The Jewish Community considers the safety and protection of our children as paramount.' It says we [the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations] have established 'Robust structures to deal with child abuse'. And that 'We work and will continue to work with police and social services ... to build trust and to create a system which does address and resolve allegations of abuse within our community'. But it also says, 'The authorities understand that, unfortunately, some in our community would simply not be comfortable participating in a police investigation'.





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Jews in the [sports] News

"Jews in the News" is not really a great feature for a website originating in Israel - almost all the news is of Jews, in some capacity or another. So, the Jews in the News can really only be a feature when looking at such people in the news abroad..

As you know, sports is always a subject close to me, and Jews in sports is even more so. Two Jews in sports have made it to the pages of the big media:

1. I am not sure of the significance of this, as I don't know how common it is for Jews to play soccer/football, let alone to be considered a star. The Algemeiner profiles a Jewish soccer star from South Africa, named Dean Furman.

Feisty Furman wins the hearts of Bafana fans,” screamed a headline in South Africa’s Sunday Tribune using the moniker for the national team. “Furman Bafana’s Foreman” wrote the Times of South Africa.
Furman, who is Jewish, was somewhat of an unknown entity in Africa before his first call up in September, as he spent most of his youth in England. Now the 24-year-old is making a name for himself among South African football fans and Jews in the country. One blogger for Talk Radio 702 said the station spent the week taking calls from many Jewish listeners calling in claiming a connection to the star.
For a country obsessed with race, Furman’s skin color and religion could be a big deal, but so far he’s approached his role on the team like any other player would.
“It’s not something I think about at all when I’m out there,” Furman said, speaking with The Algemeiner of his Judaism. “It’s not even something that comes into my mind. It’s just about playing football and trying to do the best that I can for my team. I put it aside, put my head down and just get on with the job.”
Furman plays for the English side Oldham in the country’s third tier, but has chosen to represent his country in recent weeks, skipping out on several club matches.
“When your country comes calling it’s very hard for me to turn it down. I’m very proud to be involved in national sport and I want to get as many caps as possible, ” Furman told The Algemeiner.
Go, Dean!

2. Orthodox Jewish basketball star Aaron Liberman has been featured here before, but now he has bene profiled in the NY Times, so he gets another turn at this.
Liberman, an Orthodox kid from Los Angeles, plays ball for Northwestern University. He has not actually played ball yet, as he has suffered all season from shin splints, but he suits up for every game and he travels with the team. Liberman did not even start playing basketball until he was a sophomore in high school, but he has shown incredible talent, which is how he got selected recruited to a top Division I team.
From the NY Times:

On a dark and cold morning last month, 19-year-old Aaron Liberman woke at his apartment and walked a block and a half to a two-story, redbrick synagogue in West Rogers Park, a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in northwest Chicago. Inside, he was met by the hum of worship and a smattering of older men — some in black hats, some wrapped in prayer shawls — seated at long tables, surrounded by shelves packed with books, Hebrew letters on their spines.
Aaron Liberman, center, is believed to be the third practicing Orthodox Jew to play Division I basketball. “I try not to make too big of a scene,” he said.
Liberman removed his jacket and unpacked his worn prayer book. He unfurled his tefillin, small boxes holding prayers printed on parchment, and bound them to his left arm and his forehead with black leather straps. Then he prayed.
During the service, a man walked over, politely interrupting Liberman’s meditation, asked how he was, and then, rather proudly, said: “We’re going to get tickets for one of your games. My kids, they are very excited.”
So met two worlds — Orthodox Judaism and N.C.A.A. Division I basketball — that are making an unlikely connection through Liberman. Liberman, a freshman at Northwestern, is 6 feet 10 inches of lean muscle, topped on and off the court by a skullcap. He did not play basketball seriously until he was a sophomore in high school. Now, he is believed to be the third practicing Orthodox Jew to be part of a Division I team.
[...]
Liberman, though, says he recognizes his situation is a bit unusual.
“If I had to choose, I wouldn’t be known as the Jewish basketball player,” Liberman said. “But I see how that might be difficult.”
After the morning service, Liberman drove his black pickup truck 15 minutes to Northwestern’s campus in suburban Evanston, Ill., where he went straight to the training room. Liberman, who has had shin splints and has not appeared in a game, has decided to redshirt this season but continues to practice and travel with the team.
As noted by Paul Lukas of the Web site Uni Watch, Liberman will probably be the first Division I player to wear zizit, the knotted tassels at the four corners of a prayer shawl, under a uniform.
“It wasn’t very long ago that I couldn’t make a layup, probably freshman year in high school,” he said. “It’s pretty strange that I’m here.”
The life of an Orthodox basketball player is one of discipline. Liberman prays three times a day, keeps kosher and travels only by foot on the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
However, Liberman has decided, after much reflection and consultation with rabbis, to play on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. On one Saturday afternoon, he walked eight miles to practice.
“Actually, playing basketball is not breaking any of the 39 laws of the Sabbath,” he said. “But I’ll only be taking cold showers afterward because you can’t use hot water.”
[...]
“All of a sudden, he got excited about playing basketball,” said Lenard Liberman, an executive at Liberman Broadcasting, a media company founded and run by the family. “It’s been amazing for our whole community to watch him become this player.”
The summer after his junior season, Aaron Liberman joined an Amateur Athletic Union team coached by Robert Icart, who has worked with N.B.A. players like Gilbert Arenas. Under Icart’s tutelage, Liberman pushed harder.
“Aaron is industrious in every rep,” Icart said. “He immerses himself in every drill. The difference between Division I, II and III kids isn’t necessarily the skill, but size and athleticism. At first, I had to convince him of his talent, but then he started competing, and he saw.”
In his senior season, Liberman led Valley Torah, an 86-student Orthodox high school without a gymnasium, to its first conference championship and a respectable showing in the state playoffs. He was nicknamed the Jewish Dwight Howard.
Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger, Valley Torah’s dean, recalled that after one victory, around Purim, students and teachers stormed the court, singing the holiday’s songs. “It was an underdog’s victory, just like the story of Esther and Mordechai,” he said, referencing the biblical protagonists.
After graduation, Liberman spent seven months in Israel studying the Torah at a cooperative settlement outside Jerusalem. Though he spent roughly 10 hours each day immersed in holy texts, he made trips to a Y.M.C.A. in Jerusalem to work out and shoot around to keep his game sharp.
Northwestern Coach Bill Carmody first saw Liberman at an A.A.U. tournament in Las Vegas. He was there to scout another player, but his eye kept returning to Liberman.
“He had a motor,” Carmody said. “He never quit; you could see it in his defense and rebounding.”
Liberman chose Northwestern over Georgetown and Southern California, and made the team as a preferred walk-on, meaning he was recruited but not given a scholarship. The fact that there was an Orthodox community near campus factored into his decision. Through his parents, he connected with a Jewish chaplain, and now Liberman lives in the family’s basement.
“I try to stay away from the party scene,” Liberman said. “It’s not a very Jewish lifestyle.”
He then motioned to his big-screen television and PlayStation 3 and added, “These are a little more college.”
Northwestern has made arrangements so that he never has to fly on the Sabbath. He takes separate flights if necessary. The university is also designing special skullcaps for him that Under Armour, Northwestern’s apparel sponsor, is having made by a company called Klipped Kippahs.
On the court, Liberman remains a work in progress.
“You look at the rotation of his shot and see he has a ways to go,” Carmody said. “He just hasn’t been doing it that long, but he’s learning and he’s working.”
Liberman, for his part, recognizes the novelty of his situation. He is happy to discuss his religion, his sport and their intersection, without any pretense.
“There’s been a lot of luck every step of the way in my life,” he said. “I definitely take pride in people in the Jewish community seeing me as a role model, but I try not to make too big of a scene. I’m not so vocal; I try to keep to myself.”
He mentioned that he might have interest in playing professionally in Israel after college, but his next hurdle is learning Carmody’s complex Princeton offense. As he tries to master that, one thought comforts him.
“It’s not as complicated as the Torah,” Liberman said.

I like that he wasn't given the nickname "the Jewish Jordan". "the Jewish Dwight Howard" has a unique ring to it, even though it sounds kind of silly. I would prefer something less using the names of professional stars and adding the word "Jewish" to it, and more the classic type of nickname based on his style of play.
Go Aaron! heal quick, and play well!






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Headline of the Day

Bedouin MK May Only Bring One Wife to Swearing-In

  -- Jewish Press



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Modern-day korban, of a mother who gave birth, on Har HaBayit

This is fascinating, and was very daring. A woman, Tzipporah Piltz, gave birth to twins, almost 3 months ago. According to the Torah, on the 81st day a woman who gave birth to a girl must bring a korban on the 81st day after the birth.

Tzipporah decided that despite being unable to bring the necessary korban nowadays, without the Beis HaMikdash and with the government refusing to allow the construction of the altar, she was still going to do what she could. With the concept of "U'nishalma Parim S'fateinu" (ונשלמה פרים שפתינו) - our prayers are in the place of sacrifices - in mind, she planned to go up to Har HaBayit, with her babies, and offer her verbal sacrifice - a specially composed prayer.

The group of women, including Tzipporah and her babies, went up the next day to Har HaBayit, after full halachic preparation, and upon arrival at the eastern side of the area, the point that is opposite the entrance to the Mikdash itself, Tzipporah said her prayer.
(source: Srugim)

I am impressed that she came up with the idea, had the inspiration to compose a prayer, that she had the strength to say it on Har HaBayit knowing the risks especially with her babies present, and that she was not arrested for doing so. Hopefully the beginning of a trend of people bringing these verbal korbanot for their obligations will be the next step in our meriting to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash...



The text of her prayer is:

בשעה זו שבה אני נצבת  במקום המקדש,
שהוא מקור האור בעולם,
מקום שבו התפילות עולות למרומים,
אני נושאת תפילה לבורא עולם:
שתזכה אותי ואת כל ישראל
בבנים ובני בנים המאירים את העולם
בתורה ובמעשים טובים.
לכל הרווקות-מצא את זיווגן,
לכל העקרות-  הבא להן פרי בטן.
עזור לנו לגדל את ילדנו
באהבה, בנחת, במאור פנים ובשמחה.
שיהיו בעלי יראת שמים, בעלי חסד ואהבת תורה.
שנדע איך לחנכם בדרך המתאימה לכל אחד מהם,
ושיהיו בריאים בגופם ובנשמתם.
יהי רצון שיתקימו בנו הפסוקים:
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת: אַשְׁרֵי כָּל-יְרֵא ה' הַהֹלֵךְ בִּדְרָכָיו: יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ, כִּי תֹאכֵל; אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ: אֶשְׁתְּךָ, כְּגֶפֶן פֹּרִיָּה בְּיַרְכְּתֵי בֵיתֶךָ:בָּנֶיךָ, כִּשְׁתִלֵי זֵיתִים סָבִיב, לְשֻׁלְחָנֶךָ: הִנֵּה כִי-כֵן, יְבֹרַךְ גָּבֶר יְרֵא ה': יְבָרֶכְךָ ה' מִצִּיּוֹן וּרְאֵה, בְּטוּב יְרוּשָׁלִָם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ: וּרְאֵה בָנִים לְבָנֶיךָ, שָׁלוֹם, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל.
שנזכה לראות בחזרת השכינה לציון, לראות כוהנים בעבודתם, לשמוע לווים בשירתם ולחזרתם של ישראל למעמדם.
ויקוים בנו הפסוק:
"הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמְּךָ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֵת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה לָנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ"(דברים כו)


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Ziontastic Superheroes Save the Day! (video)

The Creative Zionist Coalition and the World Zionist Organization called all superheroes to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2013. In Hollywood, these Zinomite and Ziontastic men and women were kryptonite to hate and spread sweet Israel truth and love!





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PM Netanyahu Meets Members of the US House of Representatives (video)







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Superbowl 2013 - Jewish Superbowl Winner (video)







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BENI Elbaz & GAD Elbaz - Hashem Meleh (video)







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Jan 29, 2013

Picture of the Day



Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat is training for the Jerusalem Marathon, and that includes running even when it is raining out... Barkat often runs from his house to City Hall, and today he did so with a group of runners from Intel Jerusalem....

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16 million lotto win doesn't get to their heads

One never knows what he or she might do when faced with any specific challenge, but one can hope that he or she would respond or react a certain way, each according to his beliefs. For example, I always wonder and imagine what I would do if I were to win the lotto (I am willing to be tested, God). We read in the news and in stories about the challenges of sudden wealth, how many people who won the lottery ended up wasting their money and even ending up in debt for going overboard with their excessive spending, and some who became mean or haughty. Occasionally there is the story of the people who came into sudden wealth and did not let it get to their heads.

A recent winner of 16 million the Israeli lottery showed that they are up to the challenge, they are good people, and at least initially they have good intentions and plans for what to do with their winnings.

Globes reports on the recent winners, describing them as a couple in their mid-60s with 8 children. He was up late and decided to check the lottery numbers on the computer. He had filled out an automatic lotto card for 58 shekel, and he almost gave up when he had checked most of the card line after line with no winnings. The last line of numbers on the card was the winner, and he says he checked and rechecked the card because he could not believe it. He then went and woke up his wife to tell her about it.

They said that thank God they have not been lacking for anything, they have money, and therefore will be giving some of their winnings to local people in the town where they live who have nothing and need help. They also said they are not going to tell their children about their winnings, which also means they will not change their lifestyle in any way, so that they will not stop working, so they will learn that nothing comes easy. They said they already give to their kids, and they will continue to do so, and at the end of the day, everything of theirs will eventually go to the kids, as they will not be able to take it with them.

They have no dreams they are looking to blow their money on, as they have already fulfilled all their dreams. The most important thing to them, they say, is to take care of their kids and that they have the opportunity now to do gemilut chessed with their winnings and help some people in great need.

And, Globes continues, there was another winner, of 8 million NIS, who spent 81 NIS on his lotto ticket. A divorced fellow in his 60s, with 2 children. He plans to buy for himself and his kids an apartment, to get a new car, and, he says, most importantly to buy a sefer torah and donate it to the shul in memory of his grandparents.







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Religious female singer puts fulfilling her dreams over her religious beliefs

A religious teenager named Ophir Ben-Sheetrit went to sing and compete on Israel's reality TV singing competition show, The Voice. Her performance and the responses of the judges is available on Youtube. She is obviously very talented, both with her voice and her ability to perform and stay sharp under pressure.

The big story of this is that Ophir is a religious young woman in a religious moshav called Nir Galim in southern Israel. Her school, also religious, in Ashdod was less than pleased with her decision to perform in the competition on tv. Other parents complained that she had done something so blatantly against halacha, singing in public. The shool, worked it out with the parents an a mutually acceptable "punishment" was agreed upon - the school would suspend Ben-Sheetrit for two weeks and she would have to take some courses on Judaism, and this serve as a deterrent for other girls from trying to follow her footsteps.

I am not sure what the "courses on Judaism" is all about - isn't that what they are supposed to be doing in school at her age? Regardless, it seems the other girls in her class are all equally talented and parents are concerned they will all embark on singing careers via television shows, so her punishment must serve as a deterrent for them. I don't know that they had to punish her so that it would be a deterrent for other girls. They needed to punish her because she blatantly broke the school rules and went against what the school tries to teach their students. If a kid breaks a rule quietly, it can be easier to get away with it, and it can be easier for the school to ignore. When a student breaks a rule (eve though it is probably not an official rule, it is more likely a rule that is a given and is expected of all parents/students without having been said) so blatantly and publicly, and in such a big way, the school cannot ignore it.

Interestingly enough, according to NRG the Ministry of Education could not allow her to officially be punished because there is a rule that says students cannot be punished for performing on a television show. Because of that, the parents of Ophir had to be the ones initiating the punishment, despite their position that she was perfectly ok in her performance.

The Forward had another interesting piece of information in their write-up of the incident:
Back at home at Nir Galim, a religious moshav near Ashdod, many in the community are reportedly fully behind Ben-Shetreet. On the other hand, Rabbi Zvi Arnon, the moshav’s rabbi, said he was understanding of Ben-Shetreet’s situation and praised her for being “a girl with strong morals,” but he reiterated the Halakhic prohibition against her singing. “There is not a single rabbi who will permit a woman to sing in front of men, especially on television. It is simply not permissible by Jewish law,” he said in an interview with Channel 7.
In terms of the punitive action taken by Ben-Shetreet’s school, the rabbi basically said the school, which deals with hundreds of girls and their families, had to do what it had to do
I don't know if she was compromising her ideals for the potential success and fulfillment of a dream, or if she, and her family, really consider it to be within the halachic framework in which they live. They justify it by saying kol isha is disputed as to when and how it is applied, as well as by saying that she loves singing so much and the Torah wants people to be happy...

I think the school handled it well. I think she got off with a fairly light punishment. Maybe the school does not see the performance as being quite as badly as is being made out. I think the parents cooperating with the school, albeit after the fact, was also a good move and showed integrity and honor on their part, along with goodwill.

I wish her success, not because I think she is doing the right thing or that she hasnt compromised on something a religious girl should not compromise on, but because we are given free will and free choice - I always wish everyone well when they choose to do something knowing the consequences, even if from a religious perspective it looks to me like they are making the wrong choice. That is how God created us humans - with free will, and with the ability to make mistakes and put other priorities higher on the scale. She has decided that fulfilling her dream is higher on her list of priorities than certain religious practices. But this is just going to be the first of many challenges and clashes between religious beliefs and career choices.





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Headline of the Day

A senior in the Health Ministry: Examining Sharon was unnecessary and wasted public money for nothing


  -- Mako News




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All for the Love of the Game (video)

On January 23, 2013, Ambassador Dan Shapiro joined members of the Israeli Football League in a lively and competitive game between the Ramat HaSharon Hammers and the Judean Rebels. In a atmosphere of enthusiasm and competitiveness, Ambassador Shapiro, witnessed American football building bridges between Israelis of all different backgrounds, along with Americans, Palestinians, and expatriates who came together on the field, all for the love of the game. With the voices of cheering fans in the background, Ambassador Shapiro, a Chicago Bears fan, spoke of sports transcending social divides, building bridges, and promoting social understanding.






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Competition for artists of Bet Shemesh (video)

for all you artists out there, whether photography, painting, sculpting, music, writing, or whatever else there might be, submit your work. There is publicity and of course a prestigious prize at stake!





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Post-election Bet Shemesh, with Rabbi Lipman (video)







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Srully Williger does Mbd/fried/lipa and more (video)

cute performance





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Jan 28, 2013

Interesting Posts #449

1. London Jewish scandal goes national

2. Kupat Ha'Ir's over the top advertising

3. Is internet or tv worse for your neshama?

4. communal representative, personal epiphany?

5. the Grand Dames of Jerusalem demonstrate

6. stages, pages and sages







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Will Harish be non-Haredi, and if not, why not?

By now you all must know that the main bids by Haredi purchase groups for plots in Harish were disqualified, due to a form of price-fixing. The disqualification of the Haredi purchase groups means the government is going to be taking in 113 million NIS less than they would have had the Haredi groups won the tenders.

Yaki Resiner, VP of Z. Landau Contractors and Engineers, told Globes that "The government gave up NIS 113 million so that Harish won't be haredi. Contractors can now sell apartments for less, even with a 15% profit. The question is whether haredim will forget about the prices promised them all these years, and will buy apartments from the contractors. With the grants offered to Harish homebuyers, the final price won't be far from the prices offered by the charities."

I would tend to disagree with the first part of that statement. The government, as far as I can make out, did not give up all that money so that Harish would not become Haredi. That is a seemingly absurd statement. harish was designed by the government to be a haredi town. The fact that some non-Haredi groups wanted to take advantage of cheap prices and buy sections of Harish does not change the fact that the original intention was for Harish to be Haredi.

Globes continues and says:
"Since the disqualification of the haredi charities, secular buyers groups have been in talks with the winning contractors. An example is the buyers group Our Harish, organized by Assaf Hovra and Israel Avital. Hovra told "Globes", "We're in talks with the winning contractors, and we'll close a deal with the contractor who offers us the best price. The contractors will sell to us, the general public, and not to the haredim for the simple reason that we have stronger purchasing power."
Hovra added, "We've have dozens of calls from people who were sitting on the fence, and realized after the results of the tenders that it is worthwhile buying in Harish because it won't be a haredi town, but a town for the general public"
I am sorry, but "dozens of phone calls from people" sitting on the fence is not going to sell 5000 apartments in Harish. It might sell a few dozen, or even a couple hundred, but it is not going to sell 5000.

The various non-Haredi leaders and groups need to stop complaining about the Haredim buying houses. When they buy houses in new neighborhoods of existing cities, people complain. When they buy homes in old neighborhoods of existing cities, people complain. And now, when they buy homes in new cities being built for Haredim people complain.

The non-Haredim have every right to mobilize and buy hundreds, or thousands, of houses in Harish, or in Ahisamach, or in Ashqelon, or in Bet Shemesh or anywhere else apartments are being built. Instead of continuously complaining about haredim buying houses at cheap prices, the non-Haredim should study how the haredim have been able to successfully keep prices low and mobilize thousands of buyers, and then they should do the same.

I can see it now. When Harish will be populated with 45oo Haredi families and 500 non-Haredi, all the same groups will complain that the haredim took over. Because the non-Haredim only had "dozens of phone calls".

You want a large number of cheap housing units where your people can live? Mobilize young couples and get them to be interested in Harish, or in one of any other building project around the country.



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Sodastream forced to replace Superbowl ad

For the first time ever, an Israeli company will be advertising during the Superbowl. That is big-time, as we say. It is probably the most expensive advertising spot in television, and now the Israelis are starting to play with the rest of the players.

The company to jump in is Sodastream (aff link: FREE SHIPPING on all Home Soda Maker orders with Promo Code: FREEFIZZ) - the maker of home soda-making machines, along with syrups and flavorings. 

They just announced their advertising scheme a short while ago, and they have already run afoul of the broadcasting company.

CBS has told Sodastream that they must revise their ad. CBS was not happy with the spot prepared by Sodastream, as in it one can see delivery men, truck drivers, with the Coke and Pepsi emblems on them. I don't know what happens in the ad, but with Coke and Pepsi both being advertisers in the Superbowl, CBS decided they could not run this ad from Sodastream that directly targets Coke and Pepsi. The ploy to target the big soda companies is not new. Sodastream has been running campaigns around the world showing how the big companies are the cause of much pollution, much waste, the drinks are unhealthy, etc.

According to Ad Age:

Every year, the Super Bowl attracts some of the best and most high-priced advertising in the world. But it also lures a horde of publicity-seekers claiming their commercials have been censored or rejected by the host network. In nearly all cases, the complaining marketers never really had a shot at the Super Bowl, thanks to shoddy production values, truly objectionable content and, more often than not, the inability to pony up more than $3 million for an ad. And it's a common occurrence for the network to ask event sponsors to tweak or edit the content for a variety of reasons (which also can yield a PR bonanza if a sponsor cries foul -- just ask serial offender GoDaddy.com).
But SodaStream, a mainstream advertiser that some time ago purchased a spot in the game's fourth quarter, said this wasn't a PR gambit.
So what's the issue? The content of its planned commercial seemed to have concerned CBS because it was a direct hit at two other Super Bowl sponsors and heavy network TV advertisers: Coke and Pepsi.
SodaStream, which sells home soda-making machines, has already run afoul of authorities in the U.K. for a Bogusky-crafted spot indicating its product is more environmentally friendly than established sodas; the spot shows branded bottles and cans of soft drinks exploding into thin air. For the Super Bowl, it hoped to up the ante with a spot depicting truck drivers clad in clothing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi marks on them, according to Ilan Nacasch, SodaStream's chief marketing officer.
"We really tried to comply with the standards" set by CBS, he said. At the same time, he added, "We were taking it to a new level, and that's the level where they apparently judged to be going too far."
Interestingly enough, Pepsi has scored big points with viewers over the years by showing Super Bowl ads with Coke deliverymen abandoning their employer wholesale for a sip of a Pepsi drink. Of course, Pepsi (and, for that matter, Coke) buys multiple ads in the Super Bowl each year, as well as spends millions of dollars on other broadcast-TV advertising. Another Super Bowl sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is also teaming with Pepsi this year for in-store displays and promotions.
A CBS spokeswoman said network executives declined to comment.
"Bummed," Mr. Bogusky, famous for his work at CP&B, tweeted Friday morning. "CBS rejected the SodaStream Super Bowl commercial I was working on. But SodaStream is still in the game with an older spot we tweaked."
He referred an inquiry regarding his comment from Ad Age to his client. SodaStream's Mr. Nacasch said a new version of the ad CBS rejected was being prepared to appear on TV in coming days -- likely before the Super Bowl airs Feb. 3.
It's always nice to see an Israeli company hit the big-time. I hope their revised Superbowl ad will bring them the attention, and ultimately the business they seek.

Godaddy, and other companies whose ads have been rejected in the past for a variety of reasons, have always turned the rejections into an advertising campaign of their own. I hope one day we will get to see the banned Sodastream ad so we can judge for ourselves what was so wrong about it.





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Technology helps grow Bug-Free Strawberries

the strawberry is one of the tastiest fruits available, yet also one of the most halachically controversial and difficult. Many oppose the eating of strawberries due to the supposed infestation by bugs that are microscopic in size. Even when they say strawberries might not be infested, they then say that the fruit are so doped up with pesticides that they still cannot be eaten, or they should at least go through a serious washing.

Those who say strawberries should not be eaten, because of the bugs, do allow the consumption of strawberries after they have been ground up into mush. It might make for a good milkshake or fruitshake, but it is not the same as eating fresh strawberries or a strawberry shortcake.

This attitude towards strawberries might hopefully soon change.

An Israeli chemical developer has come up with a new type of pesticide called Tamar Tech that might solve all these problems.

According to the AgroNews website, Tamar Tech, which has recently been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, is a new vegetable oil based emulsion product that will sharply reduce the need to use a chemical pesticide agent. Tamat Tech is safe for human consumption, as well as being environmentally safe. It is already being used in the growing of 40,000 tons of cherry tomatoes in southern Israel.

According to JKN, "The new product, called “Tamar Tech” (תמר טק), is a product of the Tamar Shelf (תמר שלף) Company in Kibbutz Ein HaBasor in the Gaza border area. The kibbutz has have been working with the emulsifier for a number of years and today can show data proving they are capable to growing produce clean of insect infestation using only 20% of the amount of pesticides used today. It can be used for other produce as well, not just ‘green’ items associated with the ‘Gush Katif’ vegetables.

Tamar Tech officials are pleased the product has received the necessary certification for marketing, stressing Tamar Tech is not a pesticide and it is non-toxic. Kibbutz officials remain optimistic, citing the fact the product is inexpensive and a farmer does not need to use a large quantity to achieve desired results.

Some of the growers of the bug free so-called Gush Katif greens have been testing the product and it appears it does live up to claims made by the manufacturer."

JKN says, "The new product is reportedly appropriate for growing lettuce, dill, baby salad leaves, parsley, mint leaves, tomatoes and more.", and I would add that the Agro Shelef website also includes strawberries in their list.

All the above news is really a few months old already. What's new is the following tidbit:

According to Ladaat, a strawberry grower in southern Israel has now grown his strawberries using the pesticide, Tamar Tech. He has grown 30 ton of clean strawberries over 6 dunam (1.5 acres) of land. The strawberries were also grown off the ground, keeping the bugs away from the plants.

I don't know which had more of an effect on the level of bugs in the fruit, but either way they successfully have grown a clean crop of strawberries.... and that is good news for the consumer..







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Quote of the Day

For the first time UTJ has grown to 7 mandates by the merit of all the people voting for the party, including those who are drafted into the army and integrate into the workplace. With this vote they all have said - and not just the yeshiva students - that they want the yeshiva students to continue to be able to learn in yeshiva because there is nobody who will protect the Jewish nation if there is nobody learning Torah. With this message we come to Lapid and say to him that if he does not come down from the tree he will find himself out of the coalition.
[If the government tries to pass a draft law for haredim] there will be a disengagement from the country , and the process that has begun of haredim integrating into the army and the workplace will be reversed. Lapid's goal will not be achieved, but the exact opposite will happen and the haredi public will go back to closing itself up. Once and for all we will show that they cannot force their anti-religious policy on the haredi public. And, if we survived Pharoah, and Meretz with Shulamit Aloni and Tommy Lapid, we will survive Yair Lapid as well.

  -- Menachem Kulitz, haredi journalist (he runs the media operation called Kav Itonut Haredit)







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The birth of the Israeli air force (video)

This is just completely fascinating and inspiring..





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Ladies and Gentlemen... David Finkelstein (video)

Orthodox comedian David Finkelstein has some funny moments, but overall I don't particularly enjoy his style... I'd really like to see what type of audience he is performing in front of, to see if they understand his Orthodox humor or not... I was actually shocked a bit by the content he chose in this performance...






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Soul II Soul presents Face to Face with MBD & 8th Day (video)

MBD and 8th Day will be performign together, for the first time, in February. This promo is an interesting interview with them about the upcoming experience..





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Chazan Yakov Yosef Stark: Achim Beyachad (video)







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Jan 27, 2013

Picture of the Day

another one from election day..


no explanation necessary!




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Quote of the Day

The whole issue of quotas (for the draft) is a red line for the Torah world. It is hard to believe the gedolei yisroel will accept that. Drafting from the age of 18 is very problematic. Therefore, if they want to make progress on this issue and not just turn it into a politicial and cultural fight - they need first of all to speak with us. If they can speak with Hamas and the PLO, they can also speak with the parties that have always been partners for so many years. With all due respect to the politicians, the decision is not theirs but is of the council of Torah sages and of the geolei yisroel

  -- MK Nissim Zeev (SHAS)






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Interesting Posts #448

1. Real colors of Jerusalem, Israel

2. discovering Jerusalem

3. 6 spiritual lessons from Words With Friends

4. Roshei yeshiva upset at promises of yeshuos and shidduchim for donations..

5. this is going to be fun (coalition building)

6. Israel cannot be a normal country

7. setting a shul poster policy

8. does a pomegranate really have 613 seeds?

9. A funny thing happened at the Kotel - Women of the Wall went to daven at the Kotel, with their tallitot, and nobody cared - because it was not Rosh Chodesh

10. random reflections on election results

11. the orlah man

12. seeing the daily miracles

13. Bibi's choice 

14. the tznius chase

15. Yair Lapid's catch 33

16. Britain's Channel 4 is about to show an investigative report on molestation on the haredi world of England.. Dayan Padwa is trying to deny an accusation that will feature in the show with a recording of him covering up such a situation

17. I Am Haredi - this is a bit old, just a few months, but I just became aware of it today...






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