Aug 21, 2017

Interesting Psak: telling Waze you are the passenger

Have you ever sat down in your car and used Waze, or even to put in an address while driving, maybe while sitting at a red light or while sitting in traffic, and got that annoying pop-up warning you not to use Waze if you are the driver and forcing you to confirm that you are the passenger, even if you are driving?

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, was asked if it is permitted to click on the button in Waze stating you are a passenger when you are the driver or is it considered lying.

Rav Eliyahu responded that this falls under the prohibition against lying just like any other time, even though you are not lying to another person and it is just clicking a button and in an app. Rav Eliyahu responded saying you are not allowed to lie because it is a lie. You cannot lie to Waze, you cannot lie on the computer, you cannot lie on the Internet. You cannot lie to yourself. Lying has nothing to do with anybody else. Not lying is for yourself. Don't teach yourself to lie.
source: Srugim




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Picture of the Day



I hope his prayers were answered!

caption contest!


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Palestinians: Is slavery allowed in Islam? (video)







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Shaking in the Shuk! (video)







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Rap war between African American vs. Hassidic kid (video)

wait for it..




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Jewish Shark Tank' Helps Entrepreneurs Find Success (video)








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Pinny Einhorn - V'emunatcha (video)








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Aug 20, 2017

everyone needs a little R&R

 A chassidishe Rebbe vacationing in Italy tells his chassidim that the purpose of his travels is to gather that the sparks of tumah around the world and turn them into sparks of holiness. (source: Kikar)

Come on. Just say you need to get away for a bit and relax. There is nothing wrong with getting away for a little R&R...



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Quote of the Day

In our generation there is a new phenomenon..a person goes to sleep at night, wakes up in the morning and suddenly he is a "Baba", a miracle worker... Then he oublicizes himself and everyone begins to go to him, some giving money and some not. Stupid people go and get blessings and pay money...

  -- Rav Dovid Yosef



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Book Review: Rebels in the Holy Land

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: Rebels in the Holy Land, by Sam Finkel
 

The premise of Rebels in the Holy Land is that the history of the First Aliyah of Jews to the Land of Israel largely ignores the contribution and participation of the religious element. The First Aliyah took place during the late 19th century and was agricultural in nature as Jewish farmers from Russia immigrated to the Land of Israel (called Palestine at the time under the rule of the Ottoman Turks) and established agricultural communities. The First Aliyah was largely funded and supported by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

Finkel explores the history of the religious element of the First Aliyah through the story of the establishment of the farming community of Ekron, later renamed Mazkeret Batya (in memory of the mother of Rothschild), and produces a fascinating story. Rebels in the Holy Land begins with the search in Russia for Jewish farmers willing to move to Palestine and establish a community there. 11 Jewish farmers made the cut and the book follows their arduous journey and challenging experiences on the way to Palestine, and in Palestine in the founding of the community.

Rebels in the Holy Land is chock full of pictures of the various people involved, along with ancient maps and images of the relevant people and places. All the main Jewish newspapers of the time are described and reports from those papers are included. The history is researched thoroughly and we are given much detail about the day to day life of the farmers and their struggles; their successes and their failures.

As you read through this piece of history you will be amazed by the names of famous personalities that were somehow involved in this experiment in one way or another - from Rothschild to Rabbi Mohilever to Rabbi Shmuel Salant, to Rabbi Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor to Eliezer Ben Yehuda to Ahad Ha'Am and on and on.

The second half of Rebels in the Holy Land focuses on the struggle the community had with the approach of the first shemitta they would experience. The struggle focused on if and how to keep shemitta. The religious farmers intended to keep shemitta to the fullest, but found their benefactor  to be less interested despite previous agreements. In this recounting we learn how the famous hetter mechira came about and who supported it and who opposed it. It seems to shed some light as to why the issue of hetter mechira is such a fractious and heated issue even to this day. The community of Mazkeret Batya insisted on keeping shemitta to the fullest despite the opposition and the challenges they knew they would face, and the community was nearly decimated because of it. As much as I thought I knew about the hetter mechira previously, after reading this I now realize how little I really know.

The fighting between the community members and the representatives of the Baron left me with questions, such as how much did the Baron really know what was going on? were the reports given to him skewed by his administrators or did he get reports from other sources as well? How could the Baron, who had found such favor in Mazkeret Batya until then - it seemed this was his favorite among all the communities he had supported - suddenly do a 180 degree turn and consider Mazkeret Batya such a problem? Were the people of Mazkeret Batya "double crossed" by both the Baron and his people and by the rabbonim they followed and nearly lost everything because of?

Regardless of my questions, reading Rebels in the Holy Land left me with a sense that I was reading about heroes. These were people who gave up everything to settle the Holy Land and got little more than heartache from everyone around them. There is a certain sense of tragedy as by the end of the book we learn from brief biographies of each of the founding members how things turned out for them. So many of the children became secular as they fell to the influences of the maskilim. This happens all over, but it is particularly tragic to see that after reading about how the parents gave up so much to keep religion involved int heir lives. Alas, this too is a part of the history.

Rebels in the Holy Land is an amazing piece of history that seems to have largely been left out of, or ignored, from the story of Israel and the immigration to it, and the foundations of Israel, as it is is normally told. People interested in learnign about Jewish Palestine and the history of Israel would do well to read this book. People interested in the history of shemitta observance and the hetter mechira would also do well to read this book.

You can buy Rebels in the Holy Land on Feldheim

You can buy Rebels in the Holy Land on Amazon.com

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.


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Interesting Psak: throw them out of the neighborhood

The fight between the factions in the Litvishe Haredi world - the Peleg Yerushalmi led by Rav Shmuel Auerbach and the general litvishe Haredim under the Degel banner led by Rav Shteinman -  has reached new levels...

The Jerusalem neighborhood French Hill has gone from being a largely secular neighbor with a relatively small religious community to being more and more mixed as Haredi couples and families move in and decide to take up residence there.

Besides for the neighborhood being mixed, the Haredi community there is mixed as well - a mixture of Sephardic Shas voters along with some Chabad families and a mixture of both factions of the Haredi Litvishe - Degel and Peleg - families.

Besides for the general power struggles and the fighting over limited resources in a mixed neighborhood, there is also an internal power struggle among the Haredi factions. Cutting to the chase - the Peleg people and the Degel people are fighting and supposedly the Peleg people are even working to convince the secular residents to not support granting of resources to the Degel community and making accusations of connections to the Reform movement and whatnot.

To that end, the rav of the Haredi community went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky to ask how to proceed. Rav Chaim Kanievsky's answer was, supposedly, to throw them out of the neighborhood and give them their own, separate, neighborhood.
source: Kikar

Obviously this is a one-sided psak and not a decision of a beis din, as Rav Chaim Kanievsky did not wait to hear the other side of the story as a beis din is supposed to. Clearly he is also relying on the history of the fighting in general between the factions and not just on the local issue, as he considers the Peleg people to automatically be wrong and against daas torah.

All that being said... how do they plan to throw the Peleg people out of the neighborhood? What exactly are they going to offer them and how will they split the neighborhood or offer them a spot somewhere else in a different neighborhood? How does that work?






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Israeli Frenemies - Aug. 18, 2017 (video)






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A proud Jew in Charlottesville. Singing, and lighting the world. (video)







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Water Balloon Fight With Strangers (video)







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Synagogues of New York (video)

surely there will be about a million episodes of the New York series...









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Gad Elbaz - Just Like That (video)







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Aug 16, 2017

We All Speak Ball: Ep 5, Meet the Families of Israeli Football (video)







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Itzik Orlev Bo Nadlik T'Esh Official Music Video (video)







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Aug 15, 2017

Brigitte Gabriel - raised in Lebanon - now pro-Israel, anti-Islamist activist (video)








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Israelis: Do you see Arab-Israelis as "second-class" citizens? (video)







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Israel's First Whiskey Distillery (video)







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We All Speak Ball: Ep 4, Women's Football League in Israel (video)







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Ata Kadoch - David Hababou Feat Los Primos Compas - אתה קדושׁ - Cover Duele El Corazon E.Iglesias (video)








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Aug 14, 2017

Proposed Law: PM to declare war on his own

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing an amendment to the law of how the government functions. The amendment would allow the Prime Minister to declare war or begin a military operation without requiring approval from the government, and at times even without the presence and vote of all the members of the Cabinet. The amendment is being prepared to be voted into law immediately after the Knesset vacation will be over.

It seems that the purpose of this amendment is to minimize the chances of top secret information being leaked to the public and ruining the element of surprise and the effectiveness of an impending operation
source: Channel 2 News

I think such a law grants too much power to one person while removing the few checks and balances that are in the system. That is dangerous to society because it leaves too many opportunities for the system to be abused. There should perhaps be a method by which the Prime Minister has the ability to decide on a moment's notice without getting approval from others in an emergency situation, but that should not be the default. That should be the exception



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Facebook Status of the Day




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smartphone macht frei?

the people behind these campaigns have gone from extremist idiots to insane and probably dangerous..


this is part of the anti-smartphone campaign. Here they spoof Auschwitz, with its famus gate that said "Arbit Macht Frei" - work will set you free. Here they are saying the smartphone will set you free, meaning it will cause you to leave religion - "frei" also meaning not religious..


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online mincha will meet at 1:15

Remember the psak from Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Yosef that allows, as a bdieved, one who is unable to go to shul for services to watch a minyan online and it would be considered as davening with a minyan?

That is now happening. The horses have left the stable.

The organization Ayelet Hashachar now have a live broadcast of services from their shul in Modiin. Ayelet Hashachar is broadcasting services of Shacharis, Mincha (twice - once early and once later in the afternoon), and Maariv.

You can see the broadcast online at http://ayelethashachar.org/he/%D7%AA%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%94-%D7%91%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%93%D7%95%D7%A8.html

They have a disclaimer on the site saying that davening via the online broadcast would not be considered "tefilla btzibbur", but it would be beneficial for the preference in halacha of davening ins sync with a local minyan when one cannot actually be present. I would note that this is not what Rav Yitzchak Yosef said - he paskened that it would be tefilla btzibbur but can only be used in bdieved situations such as someone who is sick or for other reasons cannot physically go to shul - not just someone who is lazy and does not want to bother going.

Once the horses have left the stable, bringing them back in is not so easy.. The psak is out there and is being used. People will use the online broadcasts however they want and nobody will be the wiser. The only thing lacking is the ability to do this for longer services such as Shabbos or holidays.. but maybe with time and technological advancements and organizations like Machon Tzmoet and others eventually that might happen as well...

By the way, I connected to the online minyan at 1:15 to see the mincha services. It ran smoothly and all was fine. I would ask that if in the video screen one sees less than ten men, is it still like davening in the minyan because there are ten in the room or must one see at least ten in the video screen to be considered a part of the minyan?



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easy conversion of foreign license in effect

Big news for new immigrants in Israel. The reform for converting foreign drivers licenses has gone into effect and now new immigrants will have an easier, and cheaper, experience converting to an Israeli license.

To qualify for this, the new immigrant must have been in Israel less than 3 years, and must have had a valid foreign license for a minimum of 5 years (and it must still be valid). More information is available at *5678

I suspect that there will be glitches at the beginning. Some clerks might not know all the details of the required procedures and when this works and when it does not, but I would guess that soon enough it will proceed smoothly.

good luck and drive safely!








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Why Jewish People Are Taking Over the World (video)

hmmmm





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Israeli Frenemies - Aug. 10, 2017 (video)








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Chanan Ben Ari on Cahn (video)







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We All Speak Ball: Ep. 1, American Football in Israel (video)








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Lev Tahor - Hallelu (Official Music Video)








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Aug 13, 2017

fool me once, shame on you...

An Arab Israeli has recorded on video work performed on Shabbos on the train lines. he has done this before and sent it in to the Haredi press and MKs and becaus eof it the MKs caused a bit of a crisis after which they were promised this type of unnecessary chilul shabbos would end. Behadrei has video footage supplied by the same Arab Israeli from this past Shabbos of work still being done on Shabbos on the same train line. The Arab says he has not seen such deception ever to be told work is stopped because of Shabbos but then it is continued as normal.

"Worst deception ever" sounds to me a little exaggerated but it seems the rule "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" idiom does not apply to the Haredi askanim, as they keep letting this happen.

The entire crisis over this is weird to me, considering in Haredi communities they are very willing to turn a blind eye to chilul shabbos that benefits them. Back in the days when RBS C was being built we regularly could hear the sounds of construction in RBS A echoing through the valley between us. My boys went out there at the time and saw it with their own eyes. When my boys tried to report it, they were told to ignore it as it is not a big deal and it is just bored Arab workers doing light work on their but not under instructions from the kablan.  And now that RBS C is populated, friends there tell me they see work being done on Shabbos as if it is a regular day building RBS D. While they fight over the train lines, they let the Haredi neighborhoods be built [also] on Shabbos with no problem.


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Headline of the Day

Polish villagers hold Jewish wedding without Jews


  -- JTA

it was a recreation of a time and culture that no longer exists there, and some call it part of some sort of national therapy, but the headline was funny nonetheless..

and here is some video from the event..






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break a leg in the Satmar camp

Kikar is reporting about a Satmar summer camp that is going to be runnign an unusual activity. They are, supposedly, going to have a couple of people dressed up like Israeli Haredi soldiers, aka chardakim, and have them jump out of a helicopter into the camp and then try to convince the young Satmar boys to join the IDF. The boys will be given beans to throw at them and will refuse to be convinced by them.

The idea of this is, seemingly, to give the kids a sense of participation in a holy battle. As well, it probably will be in order to also make the issue more palpable to them.

When playacting it is common to wish the actor "break a leg". "Break a leg" in theater is an idiom for wishing the actor good luck, but there is a superstition against saying "good luck" directly.

In this instance, wishing these actors "break a leg" before they go jumping from the helicopter into this den of hate would be more literal...





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Tensions between Haredi and secular communities of Zichron Yaakov

The calm community of Zichron Yaakov is having its nerves tested. Normally we hear very little about the goings-on in Zichron. Despite it being a "mixed" community -largely secular and traditional with a relatively small Haredi community - we never hear about fighting there the way Bet Shemesh, Jerusalem or others makes the news regularly. The various communities seem to live i relative harmony in Zichron Yaakov.

This past Shabbos, a Haredi youth was caught on camera throwing a rock at a car. The driver posted pictures and video to Facebook with some comments.

After Shabbos, Rav Rafi Manat, director of some educational organization of the Haredi community put out a response saying that the boy must be a guest for bein hazmanim as it is common in the Haredi community for families to travel to other cities and swap apartments. He points to the Yerushalmi-style dress of the boy and says that nobody in the Haredi community in Zichron dresses like that and this boy is clearly a guest. Rav Manat talks about the harmony between the communities that normally reigns in the city and that the entire Haredi community in Zichron should not be judged by the actions of this boy who is not even from the city.
source: Kikar

It is a shame that good neighborly relations can be so quickly ruined - one act of hooliganism can threaten years of quiet. It perhaps shows how tenuous the relations really are, but still, one act should not be such a threat, though it should be stopped immediately and not allowed to perpetuate itself. It was good of the rabbi to condemn the act and not just say he isnt one of us so I don't need to say anything - why do I have to condemn what someone else that I have no connection to does? - if he wants to keep the good relations he needs to make sure such actions don't continue.

One more thought - the Haredi community knows very well how to warn people from the other direction when coming into "our" neighborhoods and towns - dress modestly, don't drive on Shabbos on our streets, etc. Maybe they need to come up with a strategy to warn guests from the other direction as well to not ruin our neighborhoods and town - here we do not throw stones at cars on Shabbos, do not enter our neighborhoods looking to fight with the secular, etc.






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Culture Shock in the Shuk - Culture Shuk

walking through the shuk (Machane Yehuda) last night at 12:30am was quite an eye-opening experience.

It was the first time in like ever, or at least since my yeshiva days that I had been there at that time of day/night, and boy is it different. Back then it would be deserted at 12:30am and only used as a shortcut to get to the other side. Now it is bustling and the inner section is even crowded. There are bars and pubs and restaurants and real night-life. Young people, old people and middle-aged people - but mostly young people. Secular and religious of all stripes and types, and a lot of mixing between them. Lots of drinking beer, smoking hookahs/nargilas, some backgammon, and people just sitting around talking, with music blaring and the din of the other active vampires all around.

I have read a lot about the new culture and night-life in the shuk, but this was really the first time I have seen it.I did not see anything bad or untoward or anything like that - it was nice seeing people enjoying themselves.


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Galilee Archeologists Unearth ‘Tantalizing’ Link to Second-Temple Era (video)

too much Jesus-talk that seems unnecessary to me..






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Safe in Jerusalem, Iranian blogger thanks Israel for ‘saving’ her (video)







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Synagogues of Ohio (video)












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LifeHack: How To Get Free Ice Cream (video)








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despazaltov |official video (Prod. by Sruli) | despacito (video)







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Aug 10, 2017

Palestinians: Do you think prayers should be enforced? (video)








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PM Netanyahu speech at rally in support of him (video)







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PM Netanyahu at inaugural ceremony for new Highway 38 (video)








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We All Speak Ball: Ep 3, The NFL Meets the IFL (video)







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Itim Latora - Official Music Video (video)







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Aug 9, 2017

Picture of the Day




that woman on the left (left within the group - not the policewoman) grasping the Palestinian flag at a protest in Mea Shearim is none other than the demure and soft-spoken wife of Yoelish Krausz. Somehow the Krausz family went on a brilliant marketing campaign portraying themselves as undeserving victims, fine upstanding people just trying to get by quietly and help people and got caught up in some trouble along the way. The quiet mousey wife was a victim of circumstances with her 16 or 17 children in close quarters and her husband away in jail... a picture speaks a thousand words...



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We All Speak Ball: Ep 2, Kathy Tackles The IFL (video)








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the media crisis of the Haredi community (video)







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Synagogues of Ohio (video)










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Meilech Zilbershlag on the shtetl's version of AirBNB (video)








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Horachman - Martin Meir Widerker (video)







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Netanyahu's motives

Palestinians in Gaza (I don't know which organization is responsible for the shooting, but Hamas is in charge overall) shot a rocket a short while ago into Israel, with it landing in Ashqelon (no injuries BH). Reports say that Israel retaliated with the Air Force attacking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

How long will it take until the mainstream media claims that Netanyahu ordered the IDF to retaliate immediately in order to distract people from the negative news cycle he is suffering from right now? Pretty much anything he does nowadays is attributed to ulterior motives to save his own neck...



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Aug 8, 2017

everybody loves crocs... really?

I knew crocs have been in style for a few years now, but this seems like taking the trend just a bit too far..

According to the Head of Local Council Of the Jordan Valley, they are tring to get rid of the alligators in the area and have 1000 alligators looking for a home. They have dedicated 3 million shekels to the efforts to give away 1000 crocodiles. He also says he has no idea what it costs to buy a croc, but they just want to get rid of them..

I guess if you have always wanted to buy crocs but never bothered, now might be your opportunity to get crocs and get paid for taking them! Just lease don't put them on your feet!










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loving Bet Shemesh


in honor of the day of love yesterday, Tu B'Av (aka Israel's version 
of Valentine's Day)..

I had a secular Israeli from Tel Aviv come to my house this afternoon to conduct some business. We were sitting on the porch doing our business enjoying the nice breeze in the warm but not unpleasant weather.
This fellow starts asking me about the neighborhood and he comments how beautiful the entire area is. He then complains about how the media portrays Bet Shemesh so badly and it is not right because the city is so beautiful and so many nice people (he has recently come to Bet Shemesh a few times for various business deals he tells me).. 

He asks me more about the Haredi community in the area and again complains about the way the media portrays them and Bet Shemesh. I explained the media gets it because of a community of extreme Haredim living adjacent to a general neighborhood and they cause a lot of trouble. He shakes his head and complains again about the media. He also said what do people prefer - that everyone should be like people in Tel Aviv with 1 child and a dog? And he repeated how beautiful Bet Shemesh is and how the people are so nice...


sometime's it is good to get an outsider's perspective...



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Palestinians: If you met an Israeli, what would you do? (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - Aug. 3, 2017 (video)







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The Brooklyn Kid Whose Kosher Barbecue is Impressing the Best Pitmasters — The Meat Show (video)








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Ask the Rav: should I keep in touch with my friend who came out of the closet? (video)







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I Did It My Way - Shai Abramson (video)








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Aug 7, 2017

The parade of supporters

the parade of Likud MKs and Ministers expressing support for beleaguered PM Netanyahu makes me wonder, and comment on a situation I had no interest in commenting on until now.

Just like with the Sanhedrin - if the entire court unanimously finds an alleged murderer guilty, they throw the case out of court. Why? Because there cannot be any unanimous decision on such weighty matters, and if a court of 23 or 71 finds someone guilty by unanimous decision, it means they missed something in the arguments. It means everyone went along with someone else's opinion, maybe they were pressured to or they felt it beneath them to argue with Rabbi X or Rabbi Y.

If some Likud MKs were calling for Netanyahu's head and others expressed their support for him, that would make sense and be fine. A parade of MKs and Ministers only expressing support for him and nobody being willing to say anything in opposition to that is suspicious to me. Netanyahu or one of his people must be pressuring all the Likud MKs to speak up and express support.

And this has nothing to do with what I think of Netanyahu, his position as PM and the investigation into his affairs.


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Somehow they are surprised Deri staged his own comeback

all the frum websites are in a tizzy about some new revelation about how Aryeh Deri himself was the man behind the campaign to bring Aryeh Deri back to lead Shas, and how he went about it with some of his manipulations of the relevant people. A lot of the information seems to come from disgruntled former Shas activist and famous singer Benny Elbaz. Elbaz had a falling out with Deri after helping him return to the top of Shas, and now has done what he could to make Deri look bad. The revelation came initially from Yisrael Hayom, and has been picked up by all the frum media outlets online and given splashy headlines (example: Kooker and Kooker).

I am not sure what the tizzy is all about. Who did they think was behind it? Did they really think Deri himself wasn't behind the push for Deri to return to lead Shas? Did they really think a politician, a very savvy politician, would not use all sorts of manipulations and take advantage of visuals and timing to return to the leadership he so wanted?




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Picture of the Day



1. caption contest
(my submission: please shecht, skin, kasher, and cook it next time)
2. what is going on here? Why are there chickens in the house of Rav Moshe Shternbuch, Raavad of the Eida Hachareidis? They brought the chicken to Rav Shternbuch because of the latest kashrus debate raging in the Eida. This is some "new" breed of chicken never before found in Israel but now being imported form Europe. The debate is whether this breed is kosher or not - is it considered a regular chicken or because it is a different breed (Brakel) that was raised in an area with no Jews it has no accepted tradition of being kosher, and an important facet of kashrut of fowl is the tradition of it being kosher?
So far it seems Rav Nissim Karelitz says this chicken is kosher, as does some posek from Satmar, while rabbonim in the Eida are, at least for now, considering it non-kosher.


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Israeli Frenemies - Aug. 4, 2017 (video)








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Chareidi Extremists Protesting Monsey Store That Sells Smartphones (video)

and the ridiculousness comes to the USA as well now..




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You Won't Believe How Many Orthodox Jews Donate Their Kidneys to Strangers! (video)








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Sick Baby Prank at the Mall (video)

One bassinet was harmed in the making of this prank. Viewer discretion is advised 👶🏻😆🍼




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Dudi Kalish & Friends - Music Video: 13 Middos (video)







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Aug 6, 2017

defrauding the Palestinian Ministry of Terror Payments

Recently the body of a Michal Halimi from Holon was discovered. Halimi was 5 months pregnant. Halimi was having a romantic affair with an Arab from Shchem (Nablus), Mohammed Haruf, and they were even supposedly engaged to be married.

Haruf, after being captured, claimed that he had murdered her for nationalist reasons in order to pressure the Israeli government to release Palestinian prisoners from jail.

According to the investigation. Haruf had strangled her and then hid the body in the dirt and covered it with tires. As well, he stole her car and credit cards. He sold the car in the PA territories, and he tried to withdraw money from her bank account.

Haruf has now been served with an indictment for the murder of Michal Halimi. Despite his admission and claims of nationalistic motives, the indictment is for murder and not terror.

I would guess that his claims of nationalist motives is just an attempt to make the best of the situation and get his family paid by the Palestinian Authority for murdering an Israeli. His motives were probably personal and criminal, but if he can find a way to also get paid for it and scam the PA, why not? It seems the Prosecutors also think that, which would be why they ignored his claim.

And that is why, among other good reasons, the Taylor Force Act has to pass in the USA and the PA has to stop paying for terror. Even common criminal will try to get in on the act. The Israelis should probably release him to the PA and let him be tried there for his attempt to defraud the PA Ministry of Terror Payments.



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beis din paskens regarding possible cult in Bnei Braq

This issue has been going on for a few days already (in the Haredi news - probably longer before it hit the news wires) but it has not made much sense to me. I will have but one comment on it.

There have been claims in Bnei Braq of some sort of a cult operating in the area. The claim is that this cult is kidnapping children and abusing them. People went to a local beis din to raise the issue. the beis din investigated and has now come to the conclusion that there is no evidence of a cult, but people should be careful and supervise their children and that any situation in which suspicion has been aroused of trouble, experts should be consulted.
source: Kikar

I have no idea if there is or is not a cult operating in Bnei Braq and doing the things that are being claimed. I have no comment on that. I hope there is not one, and I hope all the children remain safe.

My only comment is to ask on what authority or with what expertise does the beis din investigate this matter and make a decision? Why would the parents not involve the police about such claims and suspicions? At minimum they should call in an expert on cults - every baal teshva yeshiva/organization claims to have one. What can the beis din know about such things to be able to make a decision?

And if the beis din had decided that there is a cult - then what? Would the beis din order the cult to stop or to leave Bnei Braq and go to a different city, and expect the cult members to listen?

This makes no sense to me. I don't know what a lot of people expect from the rabbonim, and I do not understand why the rabbonim take on authority they don't and can't have.


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can someone be fired for being not religious?

interesting situation..

The Ministry of Religious Affairs appointed a news spokesperson. After the fact they discovered that this person is not religious, and posts things online publicly on Shabbos. There are calls for the appointment to be revoked, and the Minister has said that if he will not resign and remove himself from the office, he, the Minister, will have to fire him.
source: Kipa

While it seems to be logical that the Ministry of religious Affairs should have someone religious filling so public a role as spokesperson, I don't know that it is crucial for the job - he can probably perform the job of spokesperson perfectly fine even as a not-religious person.

So, if any other office in the country refused to hire someone, or fired that person, because he is religious, that would surely be illegal, and the religious parties would be up in arms over it, but firing someone because he is not religious is ok and legal? I wonder if this will go to court...




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This happened in Monsey..




I don't remember this but my wife reminded me that when we were newly married one of the rebbies in yeshiva called me in to tell me off because someone had seen us holding hands and told him

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Palestinians: Do you want there to be religious police in Palestine? (video)







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Steve Bartman and Processing Guilt (video)

NJOP Director Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald speaks this week on a very difficult topic: The guilt that we feel sometimes when we didn't really do anything wrong. For example, when you are riding your bike and a child darts out in front of you and the child is injured. It isn't the bike riders fault, but they still feel guilty. This is similar to the story of Steve Bartman. Steve Bartman is the man famous for reaching for a foul ball during a 2003 Chicago Cubs playoff game and tipping it away from the Cubs' outfielder. Some thought that error cost the Cubs a chance at the World Series. Steve Bartman became a pariah. He had to be escorted out of the stadium for his safety. For 14 years he was held accountable for that loss. This year the Cubs won the World Series after a 108 year drought and the franchise decided to make amends and give Steve a World Series ring as a way to redeem what he was put through for the last 14 years. It reminds us that baseball is just a game, but what happened in 2003 affected a person's life. The guilt that we feel sometimes when we aren't really responsible, when we did what any normal person would have done, can still become something we live with for the rest of our lives. Hopefully that is healthy guilt that makes us stronger and better and reminds us to be more careful in times to come. Mazel Tov to Steve Bartman on receiving this prestigious honor.





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What Does SABABA mean to you? (video)








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Synagogues of Ohio (video)











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Ḥazōn - Take Me Back (single) (video)







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Aug 3, 2017

Violence is only allowed in one direction

why is it that when a rabbi says something against the Pride Parade or against the Gay community (and usually it is not calls to violence), it becomes a very big deal yet when the Gay community or its supporters speaks harshly against rabbis, specifically issuing death threats or threats of violence, it barely gets mentioned? Violence is acceptable when it comes in support of the Gay community?

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu has been threatened due to his stance on the Pride Parade and the Gay community. Why is that ok? Why is that not considered a big deal?


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Tzitzis strings with a hechsher - good enough?

I'm not sure what to think of this. It is a bit shocking.

A class action suit worth 100,000,000nis was recently filed against the company "Mishkan Hatcheilet" claiming deception of the customer.

Mishkan Hatcheilet is the largest manufacturer of tzitzis strings and tallis garments in the world. The claim, and take pride in this, that their tzitzis strings are prepared and tied by "God fearing avreichim".

The person who filed the suit claims that Mishkan Hatcheilet employs prisoners to spin and tie the tzitzis strings. The claims includes testimony from some Arabs in prison that they too were employed preparing the strings.

Tzitzis strings prepared by non-Jews are invalid for use. If the claim is correct, not only are the strings not being prepared by God fearing avreichim, but they might not even be kosher at all.

The court has given Mishkan Hatcheilet 90 days to respond to the claim.

Mishkan Hatcheilet has responded that all the tzitzis coming out of their factories have any of various hechsherim on them, including Eida, Beit Yosef, Rav Wosner and others. He admits they, as other tzitzis factories, use prisoners to make the strings, but the tying is all done with a hechsher.
source: Behadrei

It seems to me that the lawsuit is claiming a problem in the spinning process while the response from Mishkan Hatcheilet deals only with the hechsher on the tying process.

I have nothing against prisoners doing productive work, but some people might want to know this information. There is definitely a machlokes about non-Jews spinning the tzitzis strings. For people relying on only the best hechsherimm, they might want to know such information, and it is surprising that the Eida, for example, would allow this.







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The plus sign that became a religious symbol for boycott

The Pelephone store in Tiberias has run into some trouble it probably could not see was coming.

The store, in addition to cellphones, sells all sorts of other products of interest to its customers. Among the various items is a set of speakers made by Wonderboom.

Wonderboom speakers have a large + and - sign placed on the speakers, with the + above the - and it is their design. Together, with the + and - placed the way they are, somewhat resembles a cross.

This product placed in the store has upset some its customers. Specifically, the Haredi community of Rav Dov Kook. They have requested the product be either removed or the symbols be covered or distorted and they say the requests have been ignored.

Rav Kook has announced that if the issue is not dealt with the Haredi community will avoid and remove all products of Pelephone.
source: Kikar

Will the entire Haredi community boycott Pelephone over this? it seems unlikely. Maybe just the ones under Rav Kook in Tiberias? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, whether Pelephone acquiesces or not and whether the community actually boycotts them or not, some people need to be a little less sensitive about things. Of all the possible things to get upset about, this seems like one of the sillier ones...

And yes, I know that in the Haredi community a plus sign is not written as the full + but only a half cross, as depicted below:


but still...







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is the US peace envoy compromised?

When the photo of Jared Kushner sitting in shul on Tisha bAv on an overturned chair low to the floor like anybody else, I ignored. For some reason everyone seemed amazed and/or infatuated with the idea that Jared Kushner, a person who is religious (in whatever way and in whatever capacity), is commemorating Tisha BAv in the traditional way. To me it was rather boring and even invasive. Besides for the fact that it was a picture from the back - it might be him, but it might not be him.

However, that changes now. Now Hamas has come across the picture and is using it in its propaganda against the peace process (whatever exists of it, or whatever might one day exist of it). And that makes it more interesting.

The Shebab News Agency took this picture of Jared Kushner on Tisha bAv and posted it on Facebook saying that if the USA peace envoy to the Middle East is mourning over the destruction of the Temple from Har Habayit, how can the Palestinians rely on such a person and believe he can be impartial?

Now that is interesting...






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Ambutractor for Beit Shemesh! (video)







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the unusual day of MK Oren Hazzan (video)

it is a real shame. I was especially looking forward to this crazy brawl between Hazzan and the Jordanian paliamentarian. I was very disappointed when it was called off. Hazzan showed up on the Allenby Bridge for the round of fisticuffs, and the Jordanian did not. Then Netanyahu told Hazzan to call it off and go home. Then later the Jordanian guy showed up. Very disappointing. i was looking forward to video and pictures of this spectacle






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11-Year-Old Child Farhered By Reb Chaim On Entire Mishnayos (video)

impressive!





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Synagogues of Ohio (video)















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Harainu Mekasher - Meir Rosenberg (video)







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Aug 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

At the beginning of the 20th century, the rabbonim paskened in Poland not to cooperate with the Zionists. during the Holocaust rabbonim said to stay in Germany and not run away, and they made a mistake. With Har Habayit as well they are mistaken....100 years ago Rav Kook paskened it is prohibited for women to vote in elections.. Baruch Hashem the world has changed, though the rabbonim naturally get pulled along by the people but do not lead revolutions....

 -- MK Yehuda Glick (Likud)

that is a tough statement..



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MK Yehuda Glick interview about Jews on Har Habayit on Tisha bAv (video)

I merited being one of the record setting numbers on Har Habayit yesterday...

According to the numbers published by the police (thank Eli Duker for pointing me to them):
From 2011-2013 Har Habayit was closed on Tisha B'Av
2014- 80 Jews (HH was closed in the afternoon)
2015- around 300
2016 - 400 
2017- 1263

this was very likely the most Jews on Har Habayit in one day since the destruction of the Second Temple nearly 2000 years ago






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Israeli Frenemies - July 28, 2017 (video)








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Israelis try bagel donuts for the first time (video)







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