Mar 23, 2017

outrage at fum guy taking selfie at scene of terror attack

The following picture from the scene of yesterday's attack in England has sparked outrage, at least in news headlines.


in the bottom left corner you can see a frum guy taking a selfie at the scene of the attack.

In case you think this might not be what it looks like, a video has been published in which you can see he is clearly Jewish and taking selfies, and his wife also appears in a snood.


It might seem insensitive, but I do not know why or what the big deal is. other people are also taking pictures. Perhaps he is taking pictures and video and posting it to social media or a website and "reporting" on the situation to the wider public - and then what makes him different than the professional media who are all there taking pictures as well and have cameras pointed on their reporters? Right next to him is someone else taking a picture -  outrage should be directed at him simply because he is including himself in his pictures?




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Quote of the Day

The time has come to have equality regarding inspections among all the educational institutions that are funded by the State. There is no reason to discriminate specifically against the torah institutions, to count them as if they are refugees or prison inmates, while academic institutions are granted complete independence..... when will there be equality in inspections and reviews between all funded institutions both higher education academic and torah institutions?

  -- MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ), after a number of yeshivas were recently subjected to inspections on Purim day and sanctioned for students not being present.

The main difference, I think, between the types of institutions is that in the "torah institutions" (read: yeshivas and kolels) basically anything goes - there might be a test for admissions into the yeshiva, but after that there is no measure of performance, no tests, no graduation, no critical development, while in academic institutions there is regular testing and submissions of work and performance reviews.. it is far easier for the State to know what is going on and examine that which is produced by the academic institutions and therefore fund them, than it is to do so by the yeshivas. By the yeshivas they are flying blind and have no idea if the money is going to further education or to line someone's pockets or if it is being used efficiently for the purpose for which it is given. They don't even know who really shows up and who does or does not do any work in the yeshiva system, while in academic institutions attendance is taken and test results are published, etc.  They have to perform somewhat regular inspections on the yeshivas to get at least some minimal information.





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Israel Baseball vs Palestine Baseball

will we one day see Israeli teams, or an Israeli National Team, play baseball against Palestinian teams and a Palestinian National Team? Peace would probably have to come first, and we know how likely that is...






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"Algeria, where are your Jews?" - Hillel Neuer at UNHRC's day against Israel (video)







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Eri silkworms have two connections to the Bible - one is that silk is a material mentioned in the Bible, and the other is that this particular species feeds on the castor bean plant, which many identify as the kikayon - the tree that shaded Jonah. But perhaps the most powerful religious aspect of this creature is the sheer inspirational wonder of it! 





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Synagogues of Massachusetts (video)










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Carpool Karaoke With Strangers (video)

On a cold winter day in New York City I decided to break the ice with strangers and sing their favorite songs in Carpool Karaoke With Strangers. Inspired by the James Cordin Carpool karaoke series I hit the streets of Manhattan to sing song with new friends. Enjoy! 





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Mar 22, 2017

Proposed Law: paying victims of terror abroad

If the "heritage rule" was good for Team Israel in the recent World Baseball Classic tournament, it has to be good enough for the victims of terror...

The Knesset yesterday passed a law by which the State of Israel will pay compensation to victims of terror attacks abroad, even if the attack was not directly directed at Israel or the Jewish people. Payment would be made to a victim of a terror attack performed by a terror organization who has in its charter the stated goal to attack Israel, Israelis or Jews.

The law qualifies the payment to allow it to be lessened in cases where the foreign country in which the attack took place also pays compensation for the attack, or for other reasons to be determined later.
source: Kikar

My main question or concern would be, who qualifies for payment? Only Jewish victims? What about any victim of ISIS terror, or some other jihadi or Islamist group that wants to destroy Israel and kill Jews, among whatever other goals it has - will Israel start paying out money to victims of Islamic terror all over the world? Syria wants to destroy Israel - does Israel now have to pay all the Syrian victims of the civil war, and especially of ISIS, compensation as victims of terror?




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Mar 21, 2017

Facebook Status of the Day




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Interesting Psak: selling land in Eretz Yisrael

Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, Rav of the Ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq, issued an interesting psak regarding selling unused land in Eretz Yisrael.

Someone inherited a piece of land but had nothing to do with it. The parcel of land is located in a rocky and mountainess area and he basically has nothing to do with it. He came to Rav Zilbershtein asking about the possibility of selling it.

Rav Zilbershtein responded that right now it seems worth little to him but in the future one day it will be extremely valuable.

This is not just astute real estate advice being handed out by Rav Zilbershtein, but something more esoteric.

Rav Zilbershtein explained that in the future the value will jump and increase tremendously. He quoted a "Chacham Laniado" who said (quoting a medrash) that all the stones of Eretz Yisrael will be very valuable as every single stone has a hidden "segulah" associated with it but at some future time all those segulahs will be revealed.

He gave some examples of stones that will be good for causing peace (Netanyahu and Abbas should get some of those now!), others that relieve tooth pain, stop bleeding, cut through other stone, remove kidney stones, etc.

Rav Zilbershtein concluded quoting his brother in law Rav Chaim Kanievsky that mashiach is going to be coming literally at any moment, so the land is surely worth holding on ot until it will be very valuable in the days of Mashiach.
source: Kooker







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grandfathered city rabbi being forced out of his position

The Ministry of Religious Affairs is reportedly trying to force the Chief Rabbi of Kfar Saba, Rav Avraham Shlush, to retire. Rav Shlush is 87 years old and they have discovered through reports and investigation that he is hardly functioning. It seems that he only goes into his office once a week for a short amount of time and he does not even live in the city - he lives in Jerusalem.

The problem is that despite the fact that the law was changed a while back limiting city rabbis to a maximum age of 70 with the possibility of an extension to 75, Rabbi Shlush is grandfathered into the old system of the appointment being for life. And the law now is that a city rabbi must live in the city he is rabbi of.  A further problem is that Rabbi Shlush was never formally appointed to the position, but started functioning in it unofficially in the 1950s and it just became his.

So they want to push him out, but the Minister of Religious Affairs, David Azoulai, is fighting to keep him in place, as it seems he and his family want him to retain the position.

In my opinion, this is the biggest support for the forcing of a retirement age. Here you have a rav not functioning and the city suffers because of it, but there is really nothing anyone can do about it. I do think that because he is grandfathered in, he should not be forced out and taken to court. He is a remnant of the old system, and that's the way it is, and this is the reason the law was changed. He should be pressured to retire with perhaps some coordination regarding the granting of an honorary position and title that might make him happy. Surely he and his family can be persuaded that for the good of the city it is time to move on and let a younger rabbi take this leadership position.


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Picture of the Day



when the extreme yeshiva guys started wearing blue shirts....


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Chag HaSemikhah 5777 Highlights (video)

I like the name "Chag HaSemikhah"..





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Prague's Old-New Synagogue gets first new Torahs since World War Two (credit: REUTERS) (video)







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Mar 20, 2017

Facebook Status of the Day




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NAS Daily and the Abrahamic Reunion (video)




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Israelis: Do you believe in evolution? (video)







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Religious women in the army now (video)

Do religious female soldiers face special challenges in combat units? • What support is available for them? • Host Steve Ganot speaks with Lt. (res.) Elisheva Elazar about the Aluma organization's efforts to assist religious women in the IDF.





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Publicly Walking With Israel's Flag in Berlin (video)







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marathoners dance with protesters (video)







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Mar 19, 2017

transgender refuses to give gett for presently being a woman

This is just a crazy item to make the news...

Two women come to the beis din fighting about a divorce. It turns out that one of them had previously been a man before undergoing a sex-change operation. They married as classic husband and wife and raised their children together. When the husband went through his changes, a year ago, the couple separated. The wife could not move on and date and marry anyone else, because she was still halachically married to her "husband" - he/she had not [yet] given his wife a gett.

After hearing the unusual situation, the dayanim decided that this is good reason for granting a gett, and there is no reason to insist on shalom bayis counseling as it clearly won't lead to reconciliation and a happy marriage. The beis din ordered the parties to begin the process of divorce.

The problem was then raised by the "husband" when s/he said that he cannot grant a gett because he is no longer a man but a woman, and a woman is unable to grant a gett.

The wife then requested an annulment of the marriage, but the dayanim said that would not be possible. The dayanim decided that the husband had to give a gett and if he would not he would be considered as a gett refuser and would end up in jail.

After some arguing about the details of their relationship, the dayanim decided that halachically the husband is a man and is obligated to give the gett.

The husband eventually agreed to give the gett, but during the process recanted and explained that s/he was upset that s/he is being related to in the text of the gett as a male. She criticized the beis din for living in the Middle Ages. After being warned again about possibly ending up in jail, s/he agreed to complete the process and give the gett.
source: Ynet

fascinating. Whatever the exact details of the case are (Ynet is not reliable to get the details and halachic aspects correct), the debate and potential ramifications are just fascinating. I know that the Tzitz Eliezer has a different position on the matter of transgender people and considers the possibility of considering them as their new gender, but I am not sure he comes to a definitive conclusion. In the few shiurim I have heard on the matter, the general consensus is that halachically there is no such thing as a sex change and the Tzitz Eliezer is only referenced in limited situations.

In the article they say that it seems this is the first time such a case, of a transgender coming to give a gett in beis din, has ever happened. Perhaps this will open up the debate and discussion and help things get clarified in society. In the meantime, much pain can be avoided if people in such situations would deal with this in advance...










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Pictures of the Day






these marathon runners didn't let some measly protesters get in their way..



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Tweet of the Day





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Israelis: What country do you most want to visit? (video)







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Eating Twinkies With God (video)

Eating Twinkies With God: We don't need to look for and wide for God. He's in every one of us and in every thing that we do. Whether you believe or not, we all can agree that by helping each other, each good act that we do makes this world a brighter place. Let us rise to the occasion and be kinder to each other, to help one another. We are all on the same team.





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can you smoke "weed" according to the Torah? (video)






and that leads nicely into this video of a rabbi, a priest and an atheist smoking weed together..



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Synagogues of Massachusetts (video)








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Have you been to the "Shuk"? (video)



Jerusalem's Machne Yehuda Market ("Shuk", in Hebrew), is one of Israel's most popular markets. The standard daytime market becomes a bustling nightlife scene, with restaurants, bars and special cultural events. To make sure you don't miss a thing - there's even an app offering a self-guided tour to walk you through the market's many attractions. Watch to get a taste of this special place:






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Mar 17, 2017

Six13 - Lecha Dodi (video)








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Mar 16, 2017

Proposed Law: speaking against IDF drafting of women

The situation with Rav Levenstein, head of the Army Preparatory Yeshiva of Eli and the Defense Ministry continue to stay hot. Rav Levenstein spoke harshly against the IDF drafting women and specifically against religious women who go in to serve. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman already threatened to de-license the institution. The public outcry has been hot as well, with many speaking against Rav Levenstein, and a common thread in Purim costumes this year was poking fun at what he said.

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) is now proposing a law as a result of that friction. Stern is proposing a law by which sanctions will be placed on rabbis and rosh yeshivas that speak out against the drafting of women or any specific sector. The law would target the army prep institutions specifically and say that such institutions that preach against the drafting of women would lose official recognition and would lose funding from both the Defense Ministry and the Education Ministry.
source: Kipa

I am not sure what they expect of a rabbinic figure. Any relatively mainstream rabbinic figure would be opposed to the drafting of women. They always have been and will largely continue to be, even with increasingly more liberal elements taking a more liberal position on the matter.

Rabbi Levenstein might have been a bit crass in the way he said it, and he could probably take a few lessons in being more tactful, but what he said is not really anything new - rabbis in both the DL communities and the Haredi communities have been taking that position since the IDF first tried to draft women decades ago.

This is a silly proposal and it wants to be the thought police. It wants to tell people what they can say and what they cannot say. Obviously people, rabbis, cannot say things that would incite violence and it is distasteful, or worse, to speak disparagingly about other people and groups just because you disagree with their style, but to criminalize regular speak against public policy? That is shameful.

And for the specific proposal, I am surprised Stern limited it to just the army prep institutions and didn't include any rabbi or rosh yeshiva of any institution. Instead of leaving his law so limited, he could have made it so much broader to deal with the same problem. I am against, in general, making laws to deal with specific people rather than broader issues. It is a good thing this law won't pass anyway, because it is a bad law, both in what it tries to do and in how it tries to do it.


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ITN: Israel-Orthodox v Reform (video)







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Why I Support a One State Solution (video)

I just discovered this series of videos..

Faith Goldy is on assignment in Israel for TheRebel.media. Visiting the Jewish state changed her mind on one important issue... 



there are some others as well, including:











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What Inspires You? (75 Sec) Rabbi Ari Enkin (video)







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Balti and Achiya playing ancient Breslav tune Vayavo Amalek (video)







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Derech Achim - Od Yishama (African Style) (video)








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Mar 15, 2017

Haredi reps want truth on status quo kept quiet

In budget negotiations between Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat and Haredi representatives, the issue of shabbat desecration in the city has become a contentious issue, with the Haredim making threats to not support the budget unless the status quo is restored.

With the report on the status quo, as prepared by the Director of City Hall and city legal counsel, ready to be publicized, things have changed. They have come to a tentative deal, and one of the demand sis that the mayor not publicize the report and its findings.

Why would that be an important point to add to the negotiations? Because the report is expected to conclude that there has been no significant breach in the status quo.
source: Kikar

The Haredi parties do not want that publicized, as it would hurt their image and campaigns.

In other words, the Haredi reps in City Hall in Jerusalem prefer to keep pumping out "fake news" about the status quo to its people so it can drive them emotionally and ride their waves of support and draw more votes and more support. The fact that it is not true makes no difference. They prefer to hide the truth from their people, because it weakens them.





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Eida upset about female police officers

I always love the brazenness, if that's the right word, of the Eida Hachareidis. It makes for interesting, and often humorous, situations.

Recently the Eida has renewed its protests in Jerusalem on Shabbos to protest against what they describe as the increasing levels of chilul shabbos in the city.

No problem there. Every person has the basic human right to protest. I have no idea if they apply for police permits for their protests, but that is really irrelevant to the discussion.

The Eida people protesting in the streets of Jerusalem means the police have to send out the forces to secure the protest and to ensure it does not get violent, something that has historically been prone to happen at Eida protests. There is also irony in protesting chilul shabbos on shabbos itself thereby causing additional chilul shabbos by the Jewish security forces, but that too is irrelevant to this discussion.

The Eida is upset that the police send female police officers among the forces to deal with the protests, and when putting down the violence or keeping them in order, they get physically involved and speak to them not nicely. And, the Eida is unable to photograph and video these incidents because it is Shabbos.

To that end, the Eida has drafted and sent a letter to the police demanding that they not send female police to these protests and saying that it raises the level of conflict unnecessarily.
source: Behadrei

1. the problem of no cameras available can be solved multiple ways using creative thinking. For example, they can hire a "Shabbos Goy" to photograph these events. Or, they can move their protests to a weekday.

2. the brazenness mentioned above is in holding protests and getting violent (as historically has been known to happen) and then demanding which type of police should be sent and how they should respond and act. They want to control the protests and the police.

3. Another solution, knowing in advance that the police are going to be sending violent women to quell their peaceful protest, is cancel the protest. Is a person allowed to put himself in a situation that he knows in advance will violate his halachic sensitivities? There is definitely a discussion about that worth having, but if one does put himself in such a situation he should surely not then complain about the results of it...







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can Zionism and feminism go together?

In an interview with The National, Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American feminist activist, said the Zionism and feminism cannot go together. A person cannot be a Zionist or support Zionism while being a feminist.

There are many Zionist feminists, but Sarsour would simply write them off and not truly being feminists. The contradiction in her very essence with what she says, though, is that feminism is far more compatible with Zionism than it is with Islamism, or even with just plain Muslim. If Sarsour as an Islamist, as a Muslim, can be a feminist, as she says she is, then it is far easier to imagine the existence of Zionist feminists. Muslim countries treat women with terrible inequality and oppression, and Israel does not even compare in the slightest to that. Feminism is just the one thing she should not be complaining about regarding Israel and Zionists. Sure, things are not perfect with Zionists and Israel, for women as well, but they are immeasurably better than the way Muslims treat their women and people.

Many of the examples given by Sarsour as to how Palestinian women are oppressed have nothing to do with them being women. They are oppressed because of the situation in which they live, and in that regard are treated by Israel as equals with the men. If Palestinian women don't have access to scholarships it is either  not because they are women but Palestinian, if Israel is preventing that access, or because it is their Arab leaders who are preventing it.

Sarsour is able to be a feminist because she lives in the USA. If she lived in any of the Arab countries, she would have been jailed or killed long ago.

Zionism is far more compatible with feminism that whatever Sarsour is.


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Getting people to read The Book of Esther...Kind of.... (video)







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Heated Debate: Are Settlements an Obstacle to Peace in Mid East? (video)







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Haredi and Arab women in politics (video)







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I havent yet destroyed enough (video)

this soing is satire,  pointing at the Supreme Court






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YACHAD: THE CHOIR OF UNITY (A Miami Boys Choir production) (video)







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Mar 14, 2017

arrest of yeshiva student threatens the Jerusalem Marathon

I am not quite sure what they are actually threatening to do, but "the Haredim" are threatening to somehow shut down the Jerusalem Marathon this Friday if the yeshiva student arrested this past Sunday for being AWOL (as a follower of Rav Shmuel Auerbach and part of the "Peleg Hayerushalmi" he avoided all the IDF notices and did not even do the initial registration with the IDF) is not released immediately.

They seem to be particularly upset this time, as if the previous times boys were arrested they were not really so upset, because previous arrests were made randomly, when the authorities happened to stumble upon the relevant young man, while this time they planned his arrest and got him at home while he was out of yeshiva for Purim break after he successfully evaded the IDF arresting forces for over a year.

They consider this an escalation, though I am not sure why. Because they planned it and looked for this guy? I am not quite sure how somebody evades arrest for this for over a year. If he was learning in his yeshiva. How hard could it have been to find him?

Anyways, they say that with the marathon event requiring much of the city roads to be closed down anyway, and to prevent any disturbances they will have to deploy an immense number of police and security forces, along with dealing with traffic disruptions all over the country, and their protests will exasperate the disruption of traffic.

So, basically, they are saying they are going to hold some more protests at various major intersections in Jerusalem and in other cities around the country, and that will "seal the fate of the Jerusalem Marathon".
source: Ynetnews

Do they think the Israel Police does not have enough forces to deal with their additional disruptions? Even if their upcoming protest would be wildly successful, what fate would it seal for the marathon? Do they think the police will shut down the marathon because of some protest somewhere holding up traffic? The issue might be easily resolvable - divert some marathon runners, especially female ones, through the protests and have them cause some disruptions of their own...

They are a bunch of delusional loons who think they wield more power than they actually do.






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Proposed Law: no Bituach Leumi payments for yeshiva students

MK Michael Malkieli (Shas) has proposed a law by which yeshiva students would be exempt from paying Bituach Leumi's monthly payments until age 19.

The purpose of the law is to equate the yeshiva students in this regard to the students of the State school system, in which students are exempt from paying until the end of 12th grade or until they reach the age of 19 years old. Until now yeshiva students began making payments at the age of 18.

The explanation given is that the intent of the original lawmaker was clearly to exempt students from paying Bituach Leumi until the age of 19 and as soon as the State recognizes a school system, no matter which one, and supports it and funds it the same laws should apply to the students in all these school systems.

Malkieli says this will save 1400nis a year for yeshiva students and there is no reason they should be discriminated against.

The Ministerial Legislative Committee passed the proposal.
source: Kikar

Malkieli said it would save yeshiva students 1400nis per year, but actually that only applies until they hit the age of 19. After that they will have to pay the Bituach Leumi payments. I wonder how many and what percentage of yeshiva students will be affected by this, and for how long. If the average yeshiva student enters yeshiva at the age of 17, with some starting at 16 and some at 18, the main benefit will be for a year and a half, up to 2 years. He should also be proposing a law equating them to soldiers and exempt them from paying for a further 3 years - after all, if the State recognizes the yeshivas as an alternative to the army, and funds them and supports them and licenses them, the students should have equal terms as well.





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Palestinians: What can others do to help Palestinians? (video)






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Agudath Israel of America Purim video listing accomplishments (video)




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Synagogues of Massachusetts (video)











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Rabbi Simcha Sussman Singing 'Memories' - Purim 2017 (video)








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Mar 12, 2017

VeUhavtu Meilech Kohn מיילך קאהן #Unofficial Music Video #2016 - ואהבת - #Purim (video)







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Shoshanas Yaakov Modzitz (Imrei Shaul), updated (video)







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Mar 9, 2017

Book Review: The Weapon Wizards

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: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel BecameA High-Tech Superpower, by Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot


Reviewed by Dr. Harold Goldmeier


Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot, authors of The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower (St. Martin’s Press 2017), prove themselves to be far more than experienced and skilled military journalists (Mr. Katz is now the Editor of The Jerusalem Post). They keep readers engrossed with prideful descriptions about Israel’s arsenal of masterful weapons of war and defense. Most captivating, are accounts about the ingenuity and chutzpa of the wizards creating the weapons, and the Israeli culture that nourishes ingenuity and imagination. The package is wrapped in a sorrowful but realistic fixation of impending doom and annihilation.

The book is an important contribution to modern anthropological literature written by social researchers. The authors convey the point that first and foremost Israel’s weapons wizards consider the group (Jews) destiny beyond the importance of any individual. A former Defense Ministry director general told the authors, “We have: innovative people, combat experience to know what we need and immediate operational use for what we develop since we are almost always in a state of conflict.” Another wizard describes how living in “the shadow of the guillotine sharpens the mind.”

Israel relies on science, military technology, engineering, mathematics, and psychology for two reasons. First, it is a military program of deterrence with nuclear capabilities, America the superpower as its “go-to” defensive backup, and Israel’s enormously successful conventional military capabilities. University of Chicago professor Hans Morgenthau called it maintaining a ‘balance of terror’ during the Cold War.   

Second, Israel lacks allies and defense pacts guaranteeing its existence like NATO countries, though it is more a democracy, stable and better friend to the West than Turkey. Knesset member Yair Shamir told me in 2015 that Israel must be weapons independent with a homemade high-tech arms industry, because it cannot rely on vacillating allies. Their interests are not always those of Israel’s best interests. The whims and agendas of others have resulted in loan freezes, arms embargoes, withholding of intelligence, and most recently temporarily terminating domestic airplane flights into Ben Gurion Airport to punish Israel.

Key to Israel’s success is a deep and abiding sense of nationalism, and a culture that accepts even encourages breaking rules. Twenty-three year olds are officers in the IDF; they are ten years younger than those with equal rank in other militaries “leaving the young soldiers with no choice but to make key decisions on their own.” That’s exactly what an American Marine officer visiting an Israel Defense Force base told my nephew with a tone of wonderment when he asked the age of the Israeli officer leading the tour.

Several factors incubate IDF wizards. The General Electric motto, “Imagination at work,” is a meme taken to heart throughout Israeli society. The IDF is a melting pot for youth from a dozen different cultures and countries. Multi-disciplinary education is encouraged. Criticizing authority and decisions is accepted. The wizard behind the Iron Dome rocket defense system made a career in the air force, but took a leave to earn a doctorate in business management and electrical engineering. The story behind Iron Dome is his story. The highly successful rocket defense system is a product.

The authors share a feel-good story how Israel’s reliance and respect for all citizens serves Israel so well. Every citizen has the potential to contribute, and military leaders are on the hunt to find and harness them. Gathering intelligence relayed from satellites requires unusual patience and persistence as images are beamed to command headquarters. “The IDF created a subunit of highly qualified soldiers who have remarkable visual and analytical capabilities. The common denominator among its members is just as remarkable: they all have autism.”   

The stories behind other weapons told in the book are no different. There is the story of an ingenious wizard who solved an existential problem confronting the IDF: inadequate intelligence about Egyptian military Suez deployments in the 1960’s. He adapted a toy airplane for longer flight with a camera attached, thus building the first military-use spy drone. The US military ordered 175 Pioneer drones for use in 1991 against Saddam Hussein’s army invading Kuwait. Thinking the drones were going to drop bombs on an Iraqi unit they waived their white shirts skyward: “It was the first time in history that a military unit surrendered to a robot.”

The wizards adapted armor for tanks against enemy rockets. An Istanbul born (1939) officer came up with tech solutions like satellites for operational strategies. They designed new tactics to warn civilians of impending attacks other militaries later adopted in urban warfare.  Wizards created worms and cyber viruses used against Iran’s nuclear arms development program, and sabotaged key component parts. Meir Dagan kept a picture in his Mossad office where many imaginative super-secret intelligence actions were birthed. The picture is of his father kneeling and killed by Nazis. “I look at this picture every day and promise that the Holocaust will never happen again.” That promise motivates an entire nation having suffered so long and cruelly by others.   

The Weapon Wizards is a great companion read to the 2009 Senor and Singer book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. The latter describes how Israel established itself as a major worldwide player in high-tech and biotech, with many of the business founders being former military technology wizards. Katz and Bohbot discuss this military-industrial partnership, and how it underpins Israel’s economy through foreign sales.

The most important message Katz and Bohbot deliver in The Weapon Wizards is not about Israel’s admirable technological achievements. Israel’s current war is not going to be won or lost with weapons technology, warfare strategies or military intelligence. Israel must win on the diplomatic front. She faces an onslaught of delegitimization by leftists, Muslim cabals and world leaders with other agendas.

Weapons are “meaningless if Israel’s operations lack the international stamp of legitimacy.” Katz and Bohbot infer geopolitical implications forefend a blissful future. Rather than bask in the glow of a supportive administration in the White House, as Israel’s government leaders and sycophant pundits are doing, hopefully Israel’s leaders can employ the same chutzpah, ingenuity, and penchant for improvisation to win peace with her neighbors during these next four years. “For a country like Israel, legitimacy is not trivial…(nor is) particularly American support.” 



You can buy The Weapon Wizards 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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Ethnicities of Israel: German Israelis (video)







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Gad Elbaz sang the national anthem in Barclays Center (video)







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Rabbanit Kanievsky, Rabbi Kanievsky and Rabbi Elyashiv sit for a chat (video)

I dont know what she is saying, but this is fascinating to watch...





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The Onesie Dance: New York City (video)







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"Keep Up 'n' Just Smile" : Beri Weber's Purim Seudah (video)







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Purim Medley with Micha Gamerman (Official Animation Video)







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The Yam-Bam Trail (video)







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A Yiddisher Rastaman (Ft.Yoni Eilat) (video)

We are very Happy to share our Yiddish Cover version to the very popular 1982 Israeli song of the great great pioneer of Israeli music - Ehud Banai.





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Mar 8, 2017

Interesting: Taking a sick day

Kikar has a report on an interesting psak issued by Rav Chaim Kanievsky to Dr. Meshulam Hart (Hirth? Hearth? ). Dr. Hart, a seemingly renowned doctor (pediatrician) in Bnei Braq is relied upon by Rav Kanievsky for his medical opinions and how they affect halachic decisions.

By law, a parent is able to take a sick day from work when sick, and also when a minor child that needs parental care is sick.

A woman came to Dr. Hat's clinic requesting a doctor's note to submit to her place of employment due to the illness of her child. Dr. Hart does not just give out sick notes by request but has to make sure it is a request that meets the requirements. He asked for details and it turns out that the story offered by this woman was that her married daughter was sick for two weeks with a serious condition that required her to be admitted to a hospital and she needed her mother to help care for her. The mother is now requesting a sick note because obviously she was not able to go to wok but had to help her sick daughter.

Dr. Hart responded that the law only allows for a mother to get a sick note to help a minor child, not an adult child, and he therefore refused the request. She pressed further saying that this daughter needed her assistance no less than any minor child ever would.

They made an agreement that Dr. Hart would ask Rav Kanievsky and whatever he decided they would do.

After hearing the question with details of the illness and how the mother was able to help, Rav Kanievsky decided that she was really not able to work at all while her daughter was sick and she too could be considered sick in some way because of it and can claim it as sick days.

(the original publication this was taken from added a note not to extrapolate from this case and apply the decision to other cases)




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PSA: Program in RBS for teens about the impact of smoking




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can a menstruating woman go to shul? (video)

the new broadcasting authority seems to have an ask the rabbi program, and this is the most recent question.. He takes a roundabout path to getting to the answer, and his hand motions annoy me, but he talks clearly and seems dynamic...





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MK Oren Chazzan: Palestinian people aren't real (video)

the Knesset plenum is still the best show in town...





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the women of Yedidim (video)








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Not Your Typical Uber Pool Ride (video)







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Meir Rosenberg TACHLIS [AD DELOY YUDA] (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)







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Mar 7, 2017

Proposed Law: opening city council meetings to the public

MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud) has proposed a law that would require municipalities to open their city council meetings to the public.

They would have to live stream the meeting on the Internet and make it available to the general public via the municipal website or another external website linked from it. The Iryah would have to publicize the video of the meetings and post the transcript of the meeting within two weeks of the meeting having taken place.

Additionally, the Iryah would be required to open the doors of the city council meetings to the public. Currently they only have to make the meeting visible to the public, such as via a screen hookup in another room.

This proposal was pushed by the "social watch" organization in order to increase transparency and public awareness of what is happening.
source: Radio Kol Hai News

Opening the doors to the public seems to me to be opening the door to potential havoc and chaos. I am sure the public would not be allowed to speak,but on heated issues it might be difficult to control people. As well, on issues that the public is very interested in, spectators might flood the meeting and make it very crowded and uncomfortable. Personally I think the requirement for live streaming the meeting should be enough.








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cursing in English only

here is an ad that has been posted around the neighborhood (and probably other areas)..


this is an ad for a course for educators to teach them to educate according to a specific method.

For some reason, the advertisement is in Hebrew though the course itself is going to be in English.. That makes me scratch my head.

The funny part is that it says "the curse will be in English", instead of saying "the course". Funny typo. My explanation is that everything will be in Hebrew except for when they teach the curses because there are, famously, no curse words in the Hebrew language - so those they'll have to teach in English!

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Have bimba will travel!


crazy story.

A two year old boy disappeared from Bnei Braq the other day. The police put out calls with the kids description. He was found on a bus to Netivot, 95 or so kilometers away, with is bimba. All he wanted, he said, was to go on a trip with his bimba on a bus.
sources: Ynet and Ynet

How he got on without paying or anyone noticing that he was alone is strange. The driver must have thought he was with one of the other passengers - children under the age of 5 ride free when accompanied by an adult.

Anyways, the kid is ok and the visiting family went back to New York.

I admit that when I first saw the headline I thought that the kid had gotten on his bimba and rode on it all the way to Netivot which was both frightening and made me wonder how he could go so far without being stopped. The actual story was a bit of a relief.

Have bimba will travel!

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Husan residents apologize to Betar

Just a few short weeks ago there was a report about how the IDF closed off entry to the Arab village of Husan thus preventing the residents of neighboring Jewish town of Betar from entering to do their business there. The cause was the increased stone throwing incidents coming from the youth of Husan on to passing vehicles on the road below. The residents of Husan were upset as they stood to lose a lot of business, as Betar residents enter Husan to have their cars fixed, along with buying building materials, among other things. The residents of Betar were upset because they would now have to spend more money elsewhere to do the same things, and more time to pick up their equipment or get their cars fixed at other places farther away.

It looks like the IDF plan worked. The residents of Husan have published a letter they sent to the people of Betar apologizing for the stone throwing and expressing their intentions to pay and recompense for any damage caused.

In the letter they blame the issues on local youth that are out of control and are bored as they are not in schools and then get involved in things the local community does not approve of.

They express their desire to keep the good relations and the working relationship between the communities. They want to continue entering Betar to build the new houses and dont want to be kept out and lose their source of income.
sources: Kikar and Jewish Press

This is a fascinating turn of events. If they actually put forth the effort to stop the kids from throwing stones and keep the road safe, the IDF plan will have worked. "Economic Peace" works, at least to some extent.




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L'Chayim: Mordechai Kedar and Amit Deri (video)







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Palestinians: If you knew Jews were indigenous, would it make a difference? (video)







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Gershon Veroba in Israel (video)







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Illuminating The World Starts With You (video)







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Hamiltaschen, A Shushanian Musical (video)








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Mar 6, 2017

Picture of the Day


Players representing Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic tournament that opened today with a 2-1 Team Israel victory over Korea remove their caps and don yarmulkas for the rendition of Hatikvah..


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Har Habayit being given more importance in Israel...

Regarding Har Habayit, there have been a couple of interesting developments recently.

1. An Israeli court recently heard a case of a Muslim woman who had been arrested for disturbing and assualting MK Shuli Muallem on Har Habayit and preventing her unrestricted access. The court convicted this woman for that as well as for preventing access to a Jewish holy site.

The claim made in her defense was that Har Habayit is not in the list of Jewish holy sites and the law defending access to these sites should therefore not apply to Har Habayit.

The judge wrote in his decision that according to Jewish law there is no doubt as to the holiness of Har Habayit and that it is the source of all holiness everywhere else - such as a shul is considered a minor temple and that is why they are always designed facing the direction of Har Habayit..

The Jordanians did not like this court decision and responded that Har Habayit is holy to Muslims and Christians but not to Jews. They pointed to the recent UNESCO decision as proof.
source: Radio Kol Hai

2. MK Avi Dichter (Likud), head of the Foreign and Defense Committee of the Knesset, said in a meeting with Temple Mount activists that the police will be expanding the hours of access to Har Habayit for Jews due to the increased number of visitors wanting to ascend Har Habayit.

Dichter also commented on the Arabs recently calling the entire compound of the Temple Mount by the name Al Aksa which he says is unprecedented when according to Muslim sources only the mosque on the southern end was ever called Al Aksa.
source: Temple Mount News









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