Jul 16, 2018

role reversal of schnorrers and benefactors

The Jewish Press is reporting that a recent conference of North American jewish school principals held in Jerusalem dealt with finding ways to have the Israeli government help these North American Jewish Day Schools with tuition funding and economic support for Jewish children that cannot afford to pay the high tuition required there.

I am sure there will be a lot of discussions as to whether the Israeli government should or should not partially fund the school systems in the United States of America or other countries. if they decide to, it would be groundbreaking.

First of all, would the Israeli government get a say, or demand a say, in the educational content and curriculum of schools that take their money - can the Israeli government insist on the inclusion of Zionism, Israeli history, and modern Israeli politics, for example, in the school systems? If they do, will the schools still take the money?

Second, while Israeli schools are vastly subsidized by the government and therefore very cheap (with exception) for parents sending their children to Israeli schools, I don't know how much the Israeli government can send to North American schools and how much that will anger Israeli parents to see their tax money go to fund private schools abroad while they perhaps feel to be getting the short end of the stick back here in Israel with shorter school days, perhaps less (less than schools abroad, not less than what was taught here already) diversity in the curriculum, and with perhaps many other benefits or "pluses" in the school system abroad.

I don't know if it is a good idea or not, and I dont know if Israel has the money for it or not. I also dont know how it will actually affect the tuition and education in North America - will the kids really benefit from this or will the money go to funding higher salaries and whatnot, or even extracurricular activities, while the tuition is kept the same. Whatever the answers might be to those questions, I find it interesting that Israel used to be (and still is in many realms) the schnorrer and the Jews of North America (among others) used to be the benefactors, and those roles might very well be reversing...




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Borsalino rescued at auction

a few years ago it was reported that the Italian hatmaker, Borsalino, had gone bankrupt. I don't care, personally, one way or the other, as I have no money in that game and don't stand to win or lose if they do or don't go the way of the dodo bird, but it is a slice of Jewish life and history and culture, so it is a bit melancholy, as any other cultural icon that disappears.

It is now being reported that the Borsalino company was put up for sale at auction, and a group of investors has submitted a bid and purchased the company. The company of investors to rescue Borsalino is called Haeres Equita.
source: Reuters

I have no idea what percentage of Borsalino hats manufactured and sold are in the frum "black hat" community, nor do I know how they will restructure and what divisions they will keep and what they will cut, but it seems very possible that along with seeing the iconic Borsalino hats in general, we very well may continue to see the Borsalino black hats in our shuls and yeshivas...


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Headline of the Day

Incendiary balloon ignites hummus field in Sdot Negev Regional Council


  -- Ynetnews

now they've gone too far!


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football or shabbos? (video)







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Israelis: Why does a Jew from New York have more rights than a Palestinian born in Jaffa? (video)







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Tisha B'Av: The People Are Ready (video)







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Synagogues of England (video)







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Jul 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

If Hamas doesn't get the message today, it'll get it tomorrow

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Best comment seen online was that Netanyahu must have sent the message via the post office...


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Headlines Podcast: 7/14/18 Hilchos kibbud Av Va’Eim: How much and when? (audio)







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Israeli Frenemies- July 13, 2018 (video)







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U.S. 242nd Independence day in Israel (video)











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The Jerusalem Post tours Israel's Ben and Jerry's Factory (video)







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Jul 12, 2018

Synagogues of England (video)







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Beatdos - Shabbat Medley (video)








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Jul 11, 2018

apologies

I normally do not manually check my blog and look for comments. I get email notifications. Suddenly the notifications stopped coming and I actually wondered why suddenly I was not getting any comments to the blog, but I did not really spend time looking into it.

I have no discovered that Blogger has a glitch right now and many blog sites have been affected by it. The glitch has caused the comment notifications to not work. They are working on a solution, and int he meantime have posted workarounds and temporary solutions, which I have now implemented.

I apologize for not responding to any comments - it isnt that I was ignoring them, but had not known they existed. I will go back somewhat, time permitting, and look for comments I might respond to, but I will mostly concentrate on moving forward and trying to ensure this doesnt happen again

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Tweet of the Day



translation:
Feminist screening of the World Cup semifinals with the youth division in Tel Aviv and with the Feminist faction of the Labor Party and with my friend Zohar Bahloul, as the time has come that we should understand that football is not nothing and it is not nonsense, it is power, and we also want some.

idiocy. you want to go have a good time, go have a good time. I am not sure how watching football is power, and nobody ever stopped a woman from watching football. Arrange watch parties and go have a good time. There is really no need to turn a sporting event, one that you are only watching anyway and your country is not even involved in, into a political or social power event. Gei gezunt. Go have a good time, and if watching some Europeans kick a ball around makes you feel empowered, more power to you!




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but at least I don't have a cellphone!

I find this story a little bit humorous, as an outsider, as sad as the situation might be.

A case has come before the courts about a yeshiva trying to throw a boy out of yeshiva but the boy being unwilling to leave. The yeshiva administration is trying to get a restraining order against this young man that would force him to keep a distance from the yeshiva.

So what did this fellow do that the yeshiva so desperately wants him gone?

According to the director of the yeshiva, associated with the Gur chassidus, this young man has basically wrought destruction upon the yeshiva. He has started fires, he has destroyed property, he has leveled threats of physical violence against people. According to the director, this young man has caused over 120,000nis worth of damage to the yeshiva plus damage to the yeshiva's reputation and good name.

According to the director this has been going on for a while. They have given him many chances, as per his requests and begging, they've tried to go to beis din, they've tried many things and now it is time to throw him out of yeshiva.

The young man's lawyer presented his client's case saying the young man is willing to leave, but only if the Admor of Gur says so - he wants the Admor to hear the case and make a decision as to what should happen. The director of the yeshiva has thus far refused to involve the Admor saying he has thousands of chassidim, is elderly, and cant get involved in such matters.

The young man's claim to stay is that he follows the rules, the takanon, of the chassidus, to the letter. he does not have a cellphone, he does not go to swimming pools, and does not work on the side. These rules, he claims, are of supreme importance to the Rebbe, and his adherence to them should protect him.

the court has thus far rejected the request for a restraining order and is hearing the arguments.
source: Kikar

Far be it from me to say whether this young man should be allowed to stay in yeshiva or to be forced out. That is them to work out. While normally it would, I think, require extreme situations, it is possible this has gotten to that point. I am not sure why in a chassidus with so many rules, they cannot have rules or instructions as to how to deal with such situations, and if they really do not, perhaps they should sit with the Admor and work out the situation and rules for similar situations in the future.

Anyways, throwing the young man out of yeshiva might be necessary from the perspective of the yeshiva, he really needs to get help and learn to deal with his violent tendencies or anger or whatever it is that is causing his behavior. I hope they don't just toss him to the curb but give him some direction, help him find the right place that will help him grow and deal with his problems.




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Headline of the Day

10 Buildings that it wouldn't be so bad if they were destroyed in an earthquake


  -- Haaretz

ok


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Sivan Rahav Meir with MonitHer (video)




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Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn and Rabbi Dov Lipman on the Nationality Bill (video)







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Hot Docs 2018 Trailers: 93QUEEN (video)

looks like an interesting film..





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NFL's Tarik Cohen, 'I'm Not Jewish, But I Love the Hebrews!' | TMZ Sports (video)

Chicago Bears star Tarik Cohen says despite his last name -- he's NOT a Jew, but says he's gotten so much love from his Hebrew fans, he's ready to finally try out a Jewish deli!






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Jul 10, 2018

Facebook Status of the Day




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Proposed Law: voice confirmation for kosher phones

MK Michael Malkieli (Shas) has proposed a law that would require cellular phone companies to receive a voice confirmation via telephone before changing the plan, thereby increasing the rates, of a customer, after the end of the initial contract.

The purpose of this law is to provide protection to those people using kosher phones who cannot receive the sms messages sent out by the companies until now to inform customers of the rate change. Because the kosher phone owners dont get the sms messages, they are not aware of the rate change and end up paying the higher rate without an opportunity to renegotiate or to look for other options.

The proposal passed its final readings in the Knesset by a vote of 45-0.
source: Actualic

sounds good to me. I just dont know if this is required only for kosher phone owners or if the law now says a voice message must be sent to everyone. Also, what happens if the kosher phone owner doesnt answer the phone, maybe thinking it is spam or whatever, and never gives the voice confirmation - can they raise the rates with no objection noted or will they not be allowed to??





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making it hard to leave the ghetto

The Haredi media reported the other day of a weird situation in Modiin Ilit. It seems that the rabbonim in Modiin Ilit have instructed Kavim, the local public bus service, to not operate lines from Modiin Ilit to Tel Aviv or even to nearby Modiin.

According to Kavim, they do not operate such lines upon orders from the local rabbonim. The rabbonim do not want the town's womenfolk to spend their time in secular cities such as Modiin and Tel Aviv. They definitely do not want to be "responsible" for providing the opportunity for the women to go to such places and do who knows what or be exposed to who knows what.

It can be nice to live in a ghetto. The problem with this is that the women are complaining. Being that so many of them need to go to work to support their families, as the husbands are avreichim, they need to be able to travel to their workplaces in Modiin, Tel Aviv, and other places. The way it is know they waste a lot of time and money on multiple buses to get where they need to go, as they need to go from Modiin Ilit to Jerusalem, for example, and then transfer to a bus back to Modiin, or other such combinations of bus lines - Modiin Ilit to Bnei Braq and then bus lines from Bnei Braq to Tel Aviv.
source: Actualic

These women just don't know their place. Such a shame. If they are already being moser nefesh so their husbands can learn, they should not be complaining about a little extra transportation required of them. And maybe they should not even take jobs in secular cities and only accept jobs within Modiin Ilit or Bnei Braq (or other Haredi cities). Sad. So sad. 😖



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Interesting Psak: modesty on separate beaches

Chief Rabi Rav Yitzchak Yosef paskened in his weekly shiur this week that even on a separate beach, women are not allowed to swim unless they are wearing a robe, in the presence of a male lifeguard. Wearing a regular bathing suit would be causing the male lifeguard to stumble.

Rav Yosef stressed that this is not a chumra or a midas chassidus, but is the basic halacha. It is absolutely prohibited.

The best would be to have a female lifeguard, but if the lifeguard is male, it is a problem for him, and a problem for the women of "lifnei eever".
source: Kikar

I would not put words in Rav Yosef's mouth, but presumably the modest bathing suits that are common now, sometimes known as the frumkini or the burkini, would probably be ok as well.

I am a bit surprised that Rav Yosef doesn't take into consideration that the lifeguard is "osek b'melachto" - women see, for example, male gynecologists, and other doctors, and it is ok because he is busy with his work. He might say that isnt enough, but it should at least be a consideration. Perhaps in the expounding on the topic he considered it though it wasnt brought in the article linked above.




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Quote of the Day

Learning Torah is a value, the army is a need. Everybody would wish that here would be no need at all for an army, but because there is a need there is an army. Learning Torah is a value that stands on its own

  -- MK Uri Maklev (UTJ), in a discussion in a Knesset committee about the Draft Law




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The Jewish Underground (video)








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Meet the Haredi Serial Entrepreneur Who Employs 140 Ultra-Orthodox Women (video)







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Synagogues of England (video)







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Jul 9, 2018

Quote of the Day

I am not willing to accept any situation of acceptable polygamy in Israel - and that is the instructions given to the Ministerial committee dealing with the issue. This is damaging to the standing of women, along with shaking the demographic balance in Israel by importing women. This is not acceptable to me. Along with strengthening the weaker sectors of the Bedouin community, we also must guarantee strong enforcement of this issue.

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu

it is the first time I have heard demographics being used as an argument against polygamy. I thought the harm caused to women was enough in today's world...




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Proposed Law: Dont shoot your guns

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan has proposed a law that would make shooting a gun  illegally or in any way that puts human life in danger a crime punishable with up to 5 years in prison. This would include shooting your gun in a residential area, on roads, or any other place that might be deemed a danger to the public. If the shooting is in a place or way that is not life threatening to anyone it would be punishable with up to 2 years in prison.

According to Erdan the law has been proposed because until now the courts have sentenced such incidents to minor punishments, and police enforcement has not been effective.

The proposal has been approved by the Ministerial committee and will go to the Knesset for its second and third readings.
source: Channel 20 News

considering how tight the guns laws are here I am surprised to learn that shooting in such ways has until now been dealt with so flippantly.

I am not sure how this helps the police enforce the law more. If they did not until now, why should they start now? There isnt much road rage with shootings in Israel. The only type of shootings I normally hear about in the news that this might affect would be mafia-style shooting, but those are usually criminal and might not fall under the jurisdiction of this law, and Arabs at weddings shooting their guns in celebratory fashion...




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Feminist activist groups to awaken homosexual activist groups

According to Ynet, women's activists groups have pressured government agencies against continued advertising with the erasure of  women from pictures, even within the Haredi community.

For more details, see the Ynetnews article (in English) on the subject.

I will only comment on the picture attached to the article, within the context of the article:



It seems, after the success of the women's activist groups, the homosexual activist groups will now protest and petition those same government agencies against the banning of the advertising of alternative lifestyles within the Haredi community.
(just a joke)





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calls against racism against Haredim turn extreme

Motka Bloi and others are, somewhat rightfully, complaining about racism and discrimination against Haredim, right now focusing on the city of Givat Shmuel that is trying to keep Haredim from nearby Bnei Braq out of its parks during the vacation period.

Fair enough. The residents of Givat Shmuel have a point, that the parks they pay tax to design and build are filled during vacations by residents of other cities who did not pay those taxes, making it difficult for the residents themselves to enjoy. Then the visitors also leave the park filthy, requiring more tax money from the residents to keep cleaning it up. They say the city of Bnei Braq should use the tax money they collect to build similar parks for its residents and provide these services on their own.

The problem is that it is a public park and everyone, even Bnei Braq, is part of the public. I think in the end the issue will end up in the courts, as it has before, and Givat Shmuel will not be allowed to block anyone from entering.

Until that point, we are getting a lot of screaming about racism and discrimination, with some even calling Givat Shmuel elders "Nazis" and other such epitaphs.

It might be an appropriate moment to point out that the Charedi community of Bnei Braq, and other places, have their own issues of discrimination. Such as, let's see a secular Jew try to buy an apartment and move into Betar or Modiin Ilit or Bnei Braq. Such as, this video report (below) on discrimination within the Haredi community when trying to register for yeshivas - with them discriminating against students of sefardi and russian descent with hurtful epitaphs of their own. Or the recent incident with the winery that was forced to move Ethiopian employees off the wine line by the Eida kashrut agency (until a public outcry pressured the owners to reverse the decision). And more and more.

Some might use the words of chazal of "כל הפוסל במומו פוסל" . I would simply say that we all have our problems and few are clean of acting with discrimination. Before calling anyone a Nazi, one might want to first look inward and evaluate of he or she is clean of such behavior.



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why do Jews wear kipa? (video)







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Palestinians: If you had unlimited power, what would you do with the Israelis? (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- July 5, 2018 (video)







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Jul 8, 2018

young man goes to army and throws off religion

To strengthen his statements against the new Draft law that is in the process of being passed, Rav Meir Mazuz referenced a story he heard about one of the talmidim from his yeshiva that was taken to the army (for reasons that he seems unsure about). Rav Mazuz says that 10 months later the young man had thrown off all his religion. Obviously the point being that the army is bad because of such a story.
source: Haredim10

1. I dont believe the story. I believe it is made up just to strengthen his point. He heard about a talmid that was taken to the army though he is not sure why that threw away his entire religion with 10 months. It sounds like a bubba maiseh. He knows no details about this talmid or what actually happened.

2. Maybe he threw everything away, if it really happened, because the rosh yeshiva and his rebbeim did not call him or stay in touch with him. For whatever reason he had to go to the army, supposedly. Does that mean his rebbeim should not stay in touch with him and give him chizuk when he needs it? Where were his friends? Did they all just abandon him to the wolves because he did not have the right connections - and then they blame the wolves for eating him?

3. After however many years in yeshiva, are the students faith and beliefs so fragile that within 10 months everything is gone? Is that a quality education?

4. Perhaps his case is an outlier, and no proofs can be brought from an outlier case.

5. I am sure the army is a difficult place for many people. Depending on the circumstances, people can face enormous challenges in the army, as they can anywhere else in life. I would bet though, considering the story, if it even happened, plus my thoughts above, that this young man was already on the path to off the path well before he ended up in the army. I know of many young men that dropped their religion while still in yeshiva, and I would bet that this young fictitious man is one of them.





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Israeli Park Nazis

The City of Givat Shmuel is supposedly closing off its park to non-residents. The complaint seems to be that during vacation periods many residents of other cities, especially the nearby Bnei Braq, come to spend their time in the nice free parks of Givat Shmuel, especially because they don't have similar parks in their own areas, and it is nice to get away and see other parks.

Motka Bloi, some Haredi askan that condemns everything that moves that he does not like, has compared this act to old Russia and Nazi Germany.
source: Kikar

While I think Bloi has gone overboard with his comparisons, as per his normal behavior, I do think his issue is correct that Givat Shmuel is wrong in their blocking residents of other cities from enjoying the parks, especially if it can be shown that the move is targeting residents of one specific city as Bloi claims).

The solution is really simple. This has been tried before and the courts, when petitioned, made it illegal. Ranana tried to close off its Park Rananana to non-residents, or to charge an entry fee to non-residents, but that was deemed illegal. They partially solved it by charging exorbitant fees for parking in the area surrounding the park, but still they couldnt bar anyone entry into the park. Modiin tried to do similarly by blocking residents of Modiin Ilit from coming to Park Anabe, and that was also shot down and deemed illegal. There might have been others, but these are the two I remember.

This simply has to be taken to court. No need to compare the city administrators to Nazis.

But yes, Bnei Braq should also build some parks for its residents to enjoy. No need to force them to run away to other cities for a simple park. Let them enjoy their own city (as well).


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Picture of the Day




when the marketers know halacha and decide it is time to inform everyone explicitly rather than just let everyone take advantage on their own...


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Headlines Podcast: 7/7/19 Music in Halacha (audio)







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Israeli Frenemies- July 6, 2018 (video)







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from the garden to your plate (video)

strange





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Synagogues of England (video)







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Yonina- Love Your Fellow/Ve'Ahavta (video)






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Jul 5, 2018

Facebook Status of the Day

I have no idea if the numbers and ideas presented here are realistic or wishful thinking, but it is definitely an interesting presentation and worth consideration..





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Quote of the Day

Today we heard about an earthquake. Perhaps we should do an accounting of our deeds that the earthquake was because some people are trying to touch what is holy to us? Hear our pain, they are not Jews. Would you give them access to the Al Aqsa Mosque?... What do you have to do anyway with the ancient stones of the Kotel? I recommend that you take all the money you invest in Israel and build yourselves a Kotel in the USA.

  -- MK Yinon Azoulay (Shas)




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US National Anthem - Yiddish (video)



at the Interen Riken play at NJPAC in 2016





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MK EIchler: the right to rebel against the authorities (video)

he makes a decent argument..





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Haredim watch soccer (video)

I think it is fine





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Synagogues of England (video)








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Israelis sing the United States Anthem (video)




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Jul 4, 2018

Watch how Dina and Eli Kamionski are saving lives! (video)

nice





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5 Year of Growing for Nigeria (video)

fascinating





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Synagogues of England (video)







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Learn Popular Yiddish Words with Amy Walker! (video)







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Jul 3, 2018

Quote of the Day

The declaration of war is late. The one who paid the salaries of the slaughterers of Hadas Fogel, Dafna Meir, Shalhevet Pas, and of many many other citizens of Israel - we must declare war on him - unless we are willing to accept the coming victims.
These murderers, against whose salaries we declared war, they are the "Palestinian Nation"? If so, the law of these Palestinazis will be extinction and to disappear from the world, and the sooner the better.

  -- MK Amir Ohana (Likud), responding to PA President Mahmoud Abbas's response to the Pay For Slay law passed in Israel about it being a declaration of war.





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Facebook Status of the Day




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Pay For Slay law finally passed

The Knesset yesterday finally passed the "pay for slay" law it has been talking about for a long time. That is, if the Palestinians continue to pay money to terrorists for their acts of terror, the PA tax monies held by Israel that are meant to be transferred to the Palestinians on a regular basis will be frozen.

Part of the debate around the bill was whether to freeze the payments or to deduct them from the tax monies. Another aspect under discussion was a proposal by the PM to include a clause that would allow the Security Cabinet to make an executive decision allowing the transfer of frozen monies of it is deemed necessary and no money had been paid to terrorists during that calendar year.

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) was behind the law, and it had support across the benches, not including the Arab MKs. This is the Israeli version of the Taylor Force Act that was recently passed in the USA.

sources: Ynet, Walla News


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The Iranians compliment the Israelis

 The Iranians are now accusing the Israelis of stealing their clouds. Actually,stealing clouds and/or extracting from the clouds the ability to create rain or snow.
sources: Times of Israel, Newsweek

I am pretty honored. They must think we are extremely smart and talented. I think this, stealing clouds, would be even more difficult than stealing all those documents about their nuclear program from right under their noses.

The only problem is that if we are stealing their rain and snow clouds, how come we are in the 5th year of a drought here in Israel and have to cut our showers down to 2 minutes,flush the toilet with the the half drain and turn off the water while brushing our teeth?


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The Only Israel Debate You’ll Ever Need To See - Fleisher vs. Beilin on SPIN ROOM MIDEAST CROSSFIRE (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- June 28, 2018 (video)







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Rachel Bloom - The Hunt For Adolf Eichmann - Drunk History (video)







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Drawing for Girls, computers for boys (video)

this really happened, with the brochures advertising these programs, but this presentation of it is pretty funny..




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the first Mr Iron Haredi competition (video)







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Jul 2, 2018

very strange government coalition

what a weird coalition.

Yair Lapid (in Opposition) says he is going to vote for the draft law. He might be bluffing to throw the Haredim off and make them not come up with a backup plan, but basically Lapid is planning on saving the government. Lapid claims the proposed law is basically the same as the law he passed when he was in government and therefore he feels responsible to support it.

Ayelet Shaked is attacking Lapid for claiming credit for the law, as if it was his. She seems to be doing everything possible to stop him from supporting it, even though she wants it passed and it looks to be dependent on Lapid.

Uri Maklev is upset that Lapid is supporting it for what he says are "political reasons" rather than for truly being in support of the law. Maklev says they arent relying on Lapid to pass the law but are working on alternatives. Of course, the alternatives do not include the Haredi parties themselves voting for the law they want passed, as they are all planning on abstaining or voting against. They want other people to do the work for them.

The coalition is for some reason not enforcing discipline to protect itself. They could say all coalition partners have to vote in favor of the coalition proposal, thus ensuring its passage. But they arent. Because the Haredi parties, who want the law, dont want to vote for it.

Very strange, all around.






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BOOK REVIEW: THE WORLD IS MUCH BETTER OFF THAN YOU THINK

A Guest Post by Dr Harold Goldmeier

BOOK REVIEW: THE WORLD IS MUCH BETTER OFF THAN YOU THINK

Book Review:
FACTFULNESS: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—And Why Things are Better Than You Think (Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Flatiron Books, 2018)

Review by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

One of my children is a graduate of a prestigious university. He tells me he stopped reading newspapers, does not faithfully read news reports online without checking them out further, watch much TV news, and rarely listens to radio news broadcasts while driving. “My head can’t handle all the facts and commentaries from pundits, and they don’t seem to care when their facts are wrong. It’s all mind-numbing and paralytic.”

People use fake news, misstate facts and misinterpret them to support their worldview. It is not a new strategy. Spies sent into the Promised Land returned to Moses with fake news, concocted facts and wild stories. Because of them, the Hebrews trekked the desert another 40 years.

Hans Rosling had enough, so he asked people in 30 countries, Do you think the world is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?  He collates the answers in a 330 pages new book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—And Why Things are Better Than You Think. Rosling built intelligence architecture for testing worldviews against truthful facts.
  
Rosling is a deconstructionist. He encourages everyone to question all traditional worldviews and assumptions by researching and exposing facts. His work gives gravitas to the notion that ideology is an excuse for not thinking, or, as Dorothy Kilgallen said, “A dogma is a man’s best friend.”

A large contributor to worldviews built on shifting sands stems from  “Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.” The book is filled with eye-opening facts, it is extremely relatable, and engrossing peppered with real-life stories.

Hans Rosling led a storied life. He writes in such a personal way it seems effortless.  His extreme work ethic had him traveling the world from his base in Sweden helping people. The stories he tells are fascinating as is learning how the Doctor figured out the real facts in any given situation, in order to apply successful solutions. The more people he encountered the more I inquired, “The more ignorance I found, not only among my students but everywhere…. People were so wrong about the world.”  Ignorance of the facts is the “most concerning problem of all.”

Dr. Rosling passed away before finishing the book. He was blessed to have capable and like-minded children to participate early in his mission and complete the book. It teaches a new way of thinking and arriving at conclusions. It is the most fascinating “how to” on the market. Rosling demonstrates how facts prove his worldview that things are improving and there is hope for humanity.

For instance, most people he surveyed hold a grim picture of the world. Rosling looks at the facts concluding:
·         The vast majority of people around the world live a middle-class life.
·         They are not impoverished and suffering and their lives improve regularly.
·         Their girls go to school.
·         Their children get vaccinated.
·         They live in two-child families, and
·         They want to go abroad on holiday, not as refugees.
·         Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving.

There are huge challenges in the world, but using his methodology one can change a prevalent overdramatic worldview that is “stressful and misleading.”

Factfulness has eleven chapters including, The Gap Instinct, Negativity, Fear, Size, Destiny, etc. Then each chapter has subheadings that make the writing and ideas flow and connect.  It concludes with Rules of Thumbs. The book offers tests for readers to take about facts they “know,” and conclusions they construct for themselves and their countries. 

On a personal note, his point makes me less stressed about conditions we’re told afflict the Jewish community. Many Jews get their facts from social media and Jewish newspapers where gloom and doom prevail. Here are facts for another worldview:
·         Rabbi Sholom Gold points out there are more than 65 million refugees in 2018 and not one is Jewish. It’s the first time in 2,000 years.
·         There are more young men learning in one Jerusalem-based yeshiva (institutes for religious studies), the Mir Yeshiva, than learned in all of Europe at any time before World War II.
·         More Jews make kosher food choices than ever before with the industry topping $11B annually.
·         There are more literate well-educated women graduates from Jewish schools than in the history of the Jewish people.
·         The Jews are more physically and economically well off than any time in history.
·         While there are hundreds if not several thousands of anti-Israel activists on any individual college campus, e.g., UC Berkeley, the fact is there are 42,000 students studying at UIC-Berkeley who exhibit a demonstrable lack of concern or animosity for Israel.
·         Polls show Israel has the support of 74% of Americans, and most polled have a higher education.
·         Every democracy has laws punishing anti-Semitism and protects their Jews.

Rosling claims the Blame Instinct is to “exaggerate the importance of individuals or of particular groups…. Following your blame instinct isn’t going to help.” At a time when EU countries are blaming one another for the misery of refugees, Rosling offers a particularly innovative solution based on facts he offers to the existential threats refugees face fleeing on boats.

I believe Factfulness offers a pathway to sensible thinking the world can especially use in the new age of abusive political rhetoric. The examples and stories the Doctor includes makes Factfulness a fun read, and the complementing plethora of graphs and charts add an evocative welcome visual experience. Do not miss the outro from Dr. Rosling’s daughters that offers a moving message about his impact on the family.


Dr. Rosling was a man who apparently loved practicing medicine, improving public health, but most of all, and teaching. His TED talks have been viewed 35M times. I hope I got his message right, but to make sure I am going read the book again and discuss it with my students.

Buy Factfulness on Amazon.com

Harold Goldmeier is a writer and college teacher in Tel Aviv with a degree from
Harvard. He is an award-winning businessman and public speaker @
Harold.goldmeier@gmail.com


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deduct taxes on company car for Shabbos-observant people (among other things)

When you get a "company car" you often get full use of the car, even for personal use, with gas covered by the company, along with maintenance. The recipient, the employee, generally only pays the taxes on the car.

The amount of taxes paid for this benefit is now under review and discussion in the Knesset Finance Committee. The main complaint is about how the amount of taxes is being determined, with no difference being made depending on the age of the car - the taxes on a 10 year old car are supposedly the same as the taxes on a new car (each on its level - not comparing a Subaru to a Mercedes, but comparing equivalent model cars).

There are other issues under discussion as well, such as the level of taxes collected on these cars, which is generally considered high. In addition, another issue, is comparing the amount of personal use and the amount of use on behalf of the company - why should the employee pay full taxes on a car that he uses mostly for work - the employer should pay or there should be some other arrangement, but it seems, the complaint goes, that the State is simply taking taxes from the people that are not being evaluated fairly.

During the discussion MK Yaakov Asher (UTJ) raised another issue to be considered. Asher wants the State to give discounts on these taxes to drivers who are Shabbos-observant. These drivers drive one day less per week and benefit from the car one day less per week so should not have to pay full taxes.
source: Ladaat

A similar model is often used by insurance companies, giving discounts on insurance for Shabbos observance, along with car rental companies. Considering the risk on the road is minimized by one day per week for such people, it makes some sort of sense to give a discount for this. Car rentals make less sense, as the car isnt available for the rental company to rent out, but they are a private commercial enterprise and for them it is a way to attract customers.

I am not sure why it might affect taxes. I choose to not use my item for one day a week, it does not help anybody else. Maybe less cars on the road? Less pollution? With insurance there is a benefit of less risk of car accidents and injury, but I am not sure why taxes should be affected, as there seems to be little benefit to the public or the State by my not using my car one day per week.

In general, taxes are too high and are a burden on the people. Any excuse to lower them, even just a bit, is good


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Ben Shapiro: Civil Discourse | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) (video)

I stay out of the fighting about US politics, but Ben Shapiro wears a kipa, so he gets included here..





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Palestinians: Is the two state solution a phased plan to take all of Palestine? (video)







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Test Drive with Rav Dovid Bloch about Haredim in the army (video)







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Ami Horowitz: An Interview With Hamas (video)

lol





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Six13 A Capella Shares Their Passion for Jewish Music - Interview (video)







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Jul 1, 2018

Headline of the Day

Jerusalem chulent shop held up in attempted robbery


  -- INN

they must have caught them by following the smell...



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Israeli Wonder Woman does it again, sort of!

Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, or I should say Wonder Gadot, just won the Queen's Plate horse race.

Wonder Gadot is a racehorse named after Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.

The horse wore blinkers to help it keep focused, and the jockey wore pink.

The special powers must have helped because Wonder Gadot took home the gate.
source: The Star



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Quote of the Day

I have no problem with each person doing what he wants in his own private space. I met Reform Jews in Argentina - they are very nice and wonderful, if they want to be Reform in Argentina. Here in Israel - they should act in accordance with the way we do things here.

  -- Minister Miri Regev, regarding the issue of the "Reform Kotel"


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6/30/18 Vacations in Halacha (audio)







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Israeli Frenemies- June 29, 2018 (video)







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Wolf Blitzer interview with MK Yair Lapid (video)







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Synagogues of Denmark (video)







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Ari Goldwag interview about new album (video)







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Jun 29, 2018

Beatdos Shabbat Medley (Hellelujah/Finesse) (video)







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Jun 28, 2018

Tzohar makes mistake with wedding witnesses

A wedding took place yesterday of a secular couple. The wedding was officiated by a rabbi from the Tzohar organization. It was discovered today that a serious mistake happened at the wedding and the witnesses were related to each other (through marriage) and were invalid. Tzohar says the wedding will be redone to correct the mistake.

That mistake is now being used against Tzohar and is being used to tell the public how poor of an organization Tzohar is and not knowledgeable about halacha and should not be used.

Mistakes happen. I am not going to defend the rabbi and come up with excuses and explanations as to how he made such a mistake. I can think of a few reasons off the top of my head even without knowing details of the case. But that is not my business nor does it interest me.

I would point out that there are plenty of rabbis, and I think Rav Shach was among them, who believed that it is proper to use invalid witnesses at the wedding of a secular Jew in order to invalidate the wedding from the start. According to that opinion, this would protect the couple from future problems in case of divorce and possible mamzeirus scenarios. Obviously that is not what Tzohar believes, I dont think, they made a genuine mistake, but still, this isnt as big a deal as some might make it out to be.

Further, we just learned recently of two cases in which the batei din found ways to invalidate the witnesses of old weddings and declare the couple retroactively not married. Meaning, the Rabbanut, and/or other rabbinic organizations, have made such a mistake in the past as well. So don't hold it against Tzohar when it can happen to anybody.

Mistakes happen. It is upsetting for the couple and for their family, but it isnt the greatest tragedy ever. Move on. Rely on Tzohar or not, this should not affect your approach to them in any way.



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