Apr 19, 2018

360 degrees video from the cockpit of a plane in the Yom Haatzmaut flyover (video)

very cool, though dizzying at times...





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Israel: Defying the Odds (video)







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Ethiopian Jews blessing Israel for 70th Independence Day (video)







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Yom Haatzmaut torch lighting ceremony (video)

here is the entire torch lighting ceremony. the actual torch lighting part of the ceremony begins at about 1:30:00 in and includes 12 wonderful and amazing people, each with touch and inspiring stories and words, including people such as, but not limited to, Dr Avshalom Kor, Racheli Ganot, Margalit Zinani and Zeev Revach whoput on a kipa in the middle and said the bracha of Shehechiyanu.




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Facebook Status of the Day




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Eretz Tzvi - Shai Abramson (video)







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Six13 - Mi Shebeirach | מי שברך (a prayer for the IDF soldiers) featuring Chaim Dovid Berson (video)







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Ari Lesser - Jewish Refugees (video)







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Yonina- Israel @ 70 Mash-up (video)







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Apr 18, 2018

extremists accept authority of the State

I don't like getting caught up in the minhag of the day of pointing out Haredim, or other people (as I personally witnessed today), who do not stand still, or do other things, during the siren.

What I would like to point out, and have pointed out before, that when Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Hazikaron are pushed off to be celebrated later, or pushed up to be celebrated earlier - as it is this year - to avoid chilul shabbos, and the anti-Zionist extremists do their protests and provocations on both Yom Haatzmaut and on Yom Hazikaron, it is the greatest sign that they recognize and acknowledge the day as determined by the State and the Rabbanut. It is the greatest sign of accepting their authority and right to make decisions.

After all, if the State had no authority, if the Rabbanut had no authority, the extremists would hold  protests on 5 Iyyar to protest the formation of the State on that day against, in their view, halacha. Yet they protest on 4 Iyyar and 3 Iyyar, thus confirming that they accept the authority of the State.


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Kululam with Shlomi Shabbat, and everyone else, for 70th Yom Haatzmaut (video)







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From x to Israel - Talking Aliyah (videos)
















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Orthodox Jewish All Star, Yael Federbush, Today Show Producer (video)







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What does it mean to be an Israeli? (video)







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The Maccabeats - Megillat Ha'atzmaut - מגילת העצמאות - Yom Ha'atzmaut (video)







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Apr 17, 2018

Book Review: Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered

A Guest Post by Dr Harold Goldmeier

Before diving into Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered by Sarah Tuttle-Singer (Skyhorse Publishing, due May 8, 2018), I wondered, what more might be said about Jerusalem that hasn’t been presented over centuries?

Moreover, how is Tuttle-Singer, with a reputation as a social media virtuoso, in a position to write a meaningful book of polemology that practically defines Jerusalem? Can this lurching work in progress I know from her posts on social media bring clarity to the world’s holiest City imbued with the Divine Spirit?

Sarah does so much better.  The book is one idiosyncratic, irresistible fast-read, revealing nitty-gritty life in the City.  She humanizes Jerusalem. Gone are screaming headlines. No polemics. No religious zealotry. No blazing battles over nationalism.

It is a tale about a young American woman coming of age in an explosively young country. Sarah moves into an ancient but vibrant City coming into its own after centuries of being drawn and quartered. If it were a book just about Sarah’s life it would be ordinary. But she has a comfortable writing style that carries the reader along with her.

Her mind works like an artist’s eye letting Sarah view her surroundings differently than most other people. Her personality is relatable, and together these functionalities result in her weaving two trendy topics, her personal growth and that of the bracingly straightforward modern Jerusalem. Her stories stimulate all five senses, and Sarah is a marvelous storyteller.  “The street smells like coffee and ripe strawberries and saffron. You can buy bags of pink and blue almonds, and Christmas lights during Ramadan, to illuminate the night.”

      Sarah offers snippets of the Old City’s history, politics, and religions mingling with her stories about the daily life of shopkeepers, residents, and tourists. All who pass through its gates, she discovers, share her love and lust for the Old City and its people.

Sarah is a mix of Holden Caulfield and Lady Bird propelled by her Jewish soul. Sarah flashes revelatory memories of teenage rebellion and angst. Memories of her mother take on context and new meaning for Sarah in her adulthood and motherhood. We watch Sarah learn to be an adult and like herself. Jerusalem is no longer allowing its bad memories of being drawn and quartered hold it back and Sarah’s bad memories help her find her own voice.


      Sarah is notoriously independent and flouts societal norms and expectations. At the same time, she reveals herself to be a hena, i.e., a very sweet, beautiful girl, whose interactions with strangers evoke a smile and trust getting them talking. She tells about her conversations with the Palestinian taxi driver boyfriend of a Jewish Israeli, and the ultra-Orthodox wife and mother starving for affection. The cold stone Old City can appear rough and raw, but believers and the faithful can touch the indentation in one wall “left by Jesus Himself when he stumbled and almost fell.”  When Sarah touches the cold Jerusalem stone, she feels warmth from the spot.  

      Sarah defines herself a patriotic Jew choosing to live in her homeland, while yearning for a connection with ultra-religious Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Armenians. Sarah cringes at the limited interaction between them. “We all live in different worlds” in the same four quarters. It’s a chasm she tries to bridge. She and the City are hip and novel today, centers of attention. “Cell reception sucks in the Old City. It’s like, the closer you get to God, the worse the network and the harder to communicate with humans.”

      The Damascus Gate is it’s most interesting entry point, “Where old women sit cross-legged in the sun and sell ripe figs, where ultra-Orthodox Jews enter the Muslim Quarter in their black hats and black suits to get to the Yeshiva or the Kotel, where tourists waft down the steps into the shuck speaking French or Italian or Russian, where young guys speaking Arabic with gelled hair are frisked and searched without any reason other than the fact that they’re young guys speaking Arabic, where you won’t see any Jewish Birthright groups because they’re warned ‘It isn’t safe.’”

       There are three subjects this reviewer prefers the author explored in more depth. I want to know more about her failed marriage. She uses it as a reference point more than once and seemingly laced with love.

       A second lacuna is a story she tells of a mysterious male friend of her mother. He was unknown to Sarah or her father. She tracks him down after her mother’s death but there is no insight into his role in their lives. It niggles at the reader why she mentions him, and though Sarah dismisses the notion he might have been her mother’s lover the reader is never quite certain. Sarah includes the story in the book for some reason. Why and what does she learn?

       Another problem with Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered are the consensual sex scenes. They feel gratuitous. Perhaps the editor cajoled the author to include them to make the book racier because sex sells? I have no doubt Sarah had these experiences, but the sex is bath foam to her insights. Two mise-en-scènes are salacious but not organic to the story.

       The book includes candid snapshots of the author in various settings. It’s a nice touch reflective of the social media channel on which Sarah is a rising star. They symbolically meld Sarah and the City. The book is not a memoir but an enjoyable telling of personal stories about her life and Jerusalem’s in shared discovery.  Sarah is too young to write a memoir, but no one is too young or old to read her breakout- engrossing book. Keep writing like this and she better get fond of celebrity status.


Cover picture below

Reviewer’s Brief Bio:
Dr. Goldmeier received the Governor’s Award (Illinois) for family investment programs in the workplace from the Com. on the Status of Women. He was a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard earning a doctorate. His first book is HEALTHCARE INSIGHTS: BETTER CARE BETTER BUSINESS

He worked in the administrations of four Governors. Currently, Harold is Managing Partner of an investment firm, a consultant to firms in commerce and industry, writer, and public speaker on public policy issues.

He teaches Mid-East Politics, Business Management & Marketing, & Values & Ethics courses to international university students in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Harold is a writer for GreenPoint Global and Seeking Alpha both international firms specializing in topics about healthcare & medicine, business management & investment, marketing & culture, and the publishing industry. 

His articles and book reviews appear in Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, The Jerusalem Post, Seeking Alpha financial website, Life in Israel, Arutz Sheva, Times of Israel, and US GreenTechnologies. Harold contributed a series of articles in the Gale Business Insights Handbook of Investment Research. 


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interesting psak: releasing an aguna from Yemen

an interesting case came before the beis din in Tel Aviv of a Yemenite woman who could not get a divorce from her husband.

The story goes that this woman was forcibly married off to her husband as a child in 1993 in Yemen. The husband was a violent man and would beat her along with other violent acts against her. At some point in a complicated mission, the Jewish Agency and the security forces pulled off the complicated task of sneaking her out of Yemen with her 6 children. Initially they were taken to the United States and eventually to Israel. The only problem remaining was that she remained married to her husband back in Yemen and communication with him became very difficult due to the complicated security situation in Yemen. This husband had converted to Islam in Yemen and seemingly all hope of getting a gett from him was lost due to the complications.

The dayyan in Tel Aviv investigated the case and analyzed her kesuba and the details of her wedding speaking to family members and friends and others of the few Jews in Yemen.

The dayyan's conclusion was that the original marriage can be nullified due to a number of justifications to invalidate it retroactively. In a 250 page psak, Rav Aviran Yitzchak HaLevi details 19 halachic reasons to release her from the marriage, including the kashrus of the witnesses, the process of the wedding itself, the husband's eventual conversion, and the fact that she was married against her will, and more.

At the end of the psak Rav Aviran Yitzchak Halevi and the beis din declared her marriage annulled and declared her a single woman who could marry another man if she so desires.
sources: Behadrei, Haredim10, Kikar





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new chumra: bought from a goy after Pesach

I was in the supermarket the other and spotted this sticker on some items. I had never before seen such a sticker that I can remember...



It says the item was purchased from a goy after Pesach 5778.

We've gotten used to stickers saying it is made from flour ground after Pesach. This is an interesting new sticker. Things generally would be covered by the hechsher or by the ishur that the store sold its chametz, but who is to say that after Pesach they did not buy chametz, even unknowingly, from a Jew that did not sell his chametz for Pesach? This sticker assures the consumer that the item was bought after Pesach from a goy. It could also mean that they sold it for Pesach to a goy and after Pesach bought it from the goy. So this does not really tell us much, but I guess it makes people feel like they are being machmir on something


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PM Netanyahu meets with the Israels born on 5 Iyyar 1948 (video)







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Dov Eichler: Haredim also mourn for the fallen soldiers (video)

the interesting discussion continues...






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Nas Daily s Interview i24NEWS Eng (video)







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Avi Does the Holyland | Mascots for the IDF (video)







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Es Brent, Tel me where shell I Go - Vi Ahin Zol Ikh Geyn - Shai Abramson

for  Yom Hashoah







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Apr 16, 2018

After 70 years of the Zionist state, I am happy to tell you that your concerns have proven false

Yehuda Meshi Zahav is an interesting fellow. His uncle was Rav Amram Bloi, famed head of the Neturei Karta and avowed anti-Zionist. Meshi Zahav grew up in that direction as well, living in Mea Shearim, protesting against everything Israel, being arrested numerous times for activities against the state and violence during the protests he arranged or participated in. At a later stage in his life Meshi Zahav did a complete turn around and is now a supporter of Israel. His sons have served and continue to serve in the IDF and he is openly proud of them. I would be remiss in not mentioning that he founded ZAKA, that does tremendously important work, though I think it is less relevant in this regard.

Yehuda Meshi Zahav has now written this letter to his uncle Rav Amram Bloi, entitled "After 70 years of the Zionist state, I am happy to tell you that your concerns have proven false". It is a brilliant letter and I am posting the original Hebrew below, and  hopefully my brief translation won't mangle it too much.

Meshi Zahav writes:
In my youth I was a small soldier in the system, when I joined in the protests that you headed - whether it was the protests every Shabbos against chilul shabbos, or during the week against any other breech. For me you were the leader, the unrelenting fighter, one who would not compromise on any of the principles of Judaism. I remember standing with you astonished each time anew at the blows you would receive from the police, or when you were repeatedly arrested. We grew up on the stories of your heroism, such as when you smashed your head through the window of the ticket booth of the Edison Theater while the police were hitting you with their nightsticks until you lost consciousness, in order to prevent chilul shabbos. 
On your knees I was raised and educated. From your mouth we heard again and again about the great danger hidden in the Zionist state, so much so that more than once you tried to cross the border and take protection under the government of Jordan. We heard about the decrees against religion of the Zionist government, whose entire goal was to take the nation of Israel away from its belief and religion. We heard your warnings about how within a few years there would be nothing left of Am Yisrael, We learned form you the importance of Isolation in regards to everything regarding the State: not to benefit from the State's monies and not to participate in elections and one who does is like participating in idol worship. I remember you once said that the Zionists are the greatest enemy of the Jewish people, even worse than the Greeks who tried to destroy Am Yisrael. 
In your public speeches I would be shocked from the stories of different incidents in ways the Zionist leadership tried to destroy Am Yisrael. You called them the "Cantonist decrees". You said the Zionists are responsible for all the troubles of Am Yisrael, including the horrific Holocaust. 
As I grew up, in the heat and passion in the belief of your ways, I too was involved in organizing protests. I was arrested many times, my bones were shattered from the blows of the nightsticks of the "Zionist stormtroopers". But you taught us that every red bruise on the body from these blows is another level and sign of praise in the ladder of mesirus nefesh, so we did not even feel the pain. 
Todaym after 70 years of the Zionist state, mercy upon us, I am happy to inform you, my dear uncle z"l, that your concerns have proven false: We have a Jewish Zionist state that is wonderful and amazing, that serves as a wonderful example to all the nations of the world. She is flourishing in just about every realm: security, economy, education, health, absorption,  and in Judaism. About 7 million Jews - more than 50% of the Jewish people - already live in Israel and Jerusalem alone is approaching 1 million residents, something that might not even have happened in the time of the Beis Hamikdash. 
Who would have believed that 73 years after the horrific Holocaust, in which Am Yisrael was nearly wiped out, mercy upon us, and there was almost no trace left of the Torah and Hassidic worlds, that we would have our own Jewish state. The State of Israel. A state in which the Torah world would flourish in a way that it never before did in the history of Am Yisrael. From the time of King Hizkiyahu there was never so much Torah learning in the Land of Israel as there is today, and you'll be surprised to hear who is the greatest supporter in the world of the Torah: the Zionist government. Every single year the government of Israel invests billions of shekels into the Torah world. 
It is hard to believe that just 75 years ago, not hundreds of years ago, a Jew could not find a place to put his feet down. Nobody wanted us. We were the most disgraced and disparaged people, the lowest of nations, we rolled from DP camps to European forests like animals struggling daily to survive. With the end of the war, each refugee went home, to his country, but the Jews were the only ones in the world that had nowhere to go back to - not a house, nor a country. Until the State of Israel was established. Thousands of generations of Jews dreamed about a state, and behold, we are meriting to what so many others did not. The State of Israel was established against all odds.
Who will wipe the dust from your eyes, dear uncle Rav Amram, leader of the Neturei Karta, to see that in the Zionist State Of Religious destruction 73% of citizens like Chanuka candles, 78% fast no Yom Kippur, and in the last selichos at the Kotel annually more than 200,000 people participate. How much you had to fight for every street in Haredi neighborhoods to be closed on Shabbos. Today it is difficult to believe that even Mea Shearim St and Kikar Shabbos were only closed on Shabbos after innumerable rallies that you led. 
 
At the end of 70 years of the Zionist State, there are 7 cities at the helm of which stands a Haredi representative, and their streets are closed on Shabbos and on the yomim tovim hermetically. In the other cities, in the neighborhoods where Haredim live, the streets are closed on Shabbos and on holidays, without any need for fighting. 
The Neturei karta anthem, that we would sing loudly at rallies, said "in the rule of the deniers we do not believe, and in their laws we do not participate, in the way of the torah we will go through fire and water, to sanctify the name of the Heavens". We would get murderous blows, and get arrested, and we were sure we were sanctifying God's name in public and that our place in Gan Eden had been secured. And now, in the Zionist State, the level of mesirus nefesh has become the greatest level, symbolized the holy tanna, Rabbi Akiva. Close to 24,000 soldiers of the IDF have died, giving their lives al kiddush hashem, protecting with their souls and bodies, on the State of Israel and on the People of Israel. 
If only you would know the amazing youth we have here. How many times a year thousands of the youth that were raised and grew up in the Zionist State gather by the remains of the Beis Hamikdash , and affirm or swear their readiness to give their lives al kiddush hashem protecting the State and am yisrael. How many tears I cried standing at this holy event, when I saw my two sons being drafted, one to Golani and one to the paratroopers, and affirming so. Nobody forced it on them.  They did so of their own choice and free will.  
"The State of Sodom and Gemorrah" - so you called the Zionist State in your article in Hachimah, the Neturei Karta newspaper.So listen, my dear uncle Rav Amram z"l, to how mush evil of Sodom is on this State. The state that leads the world in the number of Chessed organizations established in it. The one that is first offering help around the world in every tragedy. The State that actively illustrates the concept of shared responsibility for each other. The Zionist State does all it can to hep every Jew no matter where he is in any time of trouble or distress, and sometimes at tremendous risk and danger during operations such as Operation Jonathan. And, not just that, but most of the large chessed organizations in the Zionist State were established by Haredi people: Yad Sarah, Ezer MeTzion, the Hatzala organizations, Zaka that I head, and more and more. And these organizations are staffed by thousands of Haredi volunteers that the Zionist State has not yet succeeded in removing them from religion, mercy upon us, and they sanctify God's name in the land and around the world.  
In the State of "by my power and my might", when there is concern of drought, the Minister of Agriculture calls for mass prayer at the Kotel to pray for rainfall. This is the State in which 100% of the agricultural crops are tithed according to halacha. The State that financially supports farmers who keep the laws of shmitta, to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels. 
So, rest, dear uncle Rav Amram z"l, peacefully. There is no need for any more fighting. While your generation rightfully was concerned about the Zionist State, but after 70 years it has been shown that the State of Israel, with God's help, is the one saving and protecting Am Yisrael, and it is the safest and best place to live as a Jew keeping the Torah and the mitzvos.

wow

The original:







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Quote of the Day

I think that after 70 years, the state and society are ripe for a woman prime minister

  -- Minister of Culture Miri Regev, suggesting that she might be a worthy candidate after Netanyahu leaves office

please, Miri, let's not forget about Golda, though maybe she follows David Ben Gurion's opinion who once said about Golda Meir "she is the only man in the cabinet"


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Getting called Nazi is worth 200k

Itamar Ben Gvir went into a gas station in Tel Aviv and filled his car up with gas and went in to the shop to buy a can of coke. Ben Gvir was met with an employee of the station who recognized him and called him a Nazi and seemingly refused to sell him the drink.

Ben Gvir decided to sue. He sued the chain, the station manager and the employee. The case was just decided, at least partially. In the meantime, the courts found against the employee who now has to pay Ben Gvir 200,000nis plus  court costs. The case against the gas station chain and station manager continue.

200,000nis for calling someone a Nazi. That is amazing. Another few decisions like this and maybe this will put a damper on people here calling anyone they don't like or approve of a Nazi. Turning Nazi into a basic insult is demeaning to the magnitude of the Holocaust and to the victims.

I would next like to see the police, who are commonly called "Nazi" by protesters, video such insults and take the aggressors to court and make them pay out of pocket, as another method of fighting the violent protests and protesters.


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the Haredi that became the last victim of the Yom Kippur War (video)

an interesting piece of history..

Drechsler just died from complications of injuries incurred during his service in the Yom Kippur War, making him the last victim of the war, and making the last fatality of that war a Haredi Jew.




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Israelis: Can a Jew be an atheist? (video)







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Avi Does the Holyland | An Important Public Service Announcement for Young Jews (video)







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Synagogues of Santiago Chile (video)








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Ari Goldwag - Emes (Shmueli Ungar) A Cappella (video)







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Apr 15, 2018

Haredi Zionists

According to some sort of survey and polling done in advance of the 70th Yom Haatzmaut, while 95% of the Dati Leumi community considers itself Zionistic, 45% of the Haredi community considers itself Zionistic. Of the total Israeli population, 86% considers itself Zionistic.

I don't know if 45% is an increase or decrease from previous years, but I have a feeling it is a sharp increase. I looked around a little bit via Google searches for results from previous years and it looks like the numbers were much smaller, but it is really hard to compare as the descriptions of the survey are not exactly the same, and with surveys and polls everything depends on the precise wording of the question posed to people.

I think the results of the poll point to increased integration into Israeli society. More than pointing to feelings of actual Zionism, in the Zionist movement sense of the word, it probably points more to patriotic feelings for the country they grew up in and live in. There is probably some actual Zionism as well. The definition of Zionism is totally non-threatening, so as long as it isnt referred to in the political and ideological sense, more and more can feel comfortable describing themselves as Zionistic.

Zi·on·ist
ˈzīənəst/
noun
  1. 1.
    a supporter of Zionism; a person who believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.

As I like to say, Moshe Rabbeinu was also a Zionist





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no kippa allowed in the Anne Frank House

It is being reported that an employee at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam was banned from wearing his yarmulke on premises.

It seems that the reason given was that "wearing the skullcap might endanger the neutrality of the foundation which runs the museum and 'influence its work combating antisemitism'."

All's well that ends well. After appealing the decision and 6 months of discussions about the matter they decided to allow him to wear the kippa.

talk about cultural appropriation! The Anne Frank House, commemorating a Jewish child that was hiding out from the Nazis, feels it must remain neutral on all symbols, including Jewish ones. They are taking the Jewishness out of the commemoration of a Jewish girl hiding out because she was Jewish! Had she been not Jewish, she would not have been in hiding, so the Jewishness is integral to the incident and even the commemoration. You cannot just turn a Jewish situation like that into a neutral symbol of oppression, though you can rally around the banner of the oppression in that incident and apply it globally to all victims of oppression, but of course you cannot deny the Jewish aspect of it.

I would guess, humorously, that they probably allowed Mr Vingerling to wear his kippa when working in the attic, and the problem was only in the rest of the house.




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the insignificance of Berland

Despite significant improvement in recent years, the Haredi community still has a ways to go in how it deal with child abuse and sexual harassment and molestation issues.

Another good sign happened this past week when Eliezer Berland was sitting shiva for his brother. Despite some pressure on askanim from his followers, Haredi leadership, with minor exceptions, basically stayed away from paying shiva calls to Berland.  (source: Haredim10)

He can make statements and make efforts to display himself as holding communal significance, but clearly the community has largely rejected him as a current leader. He might have a few followers, but clearly they are as insignificant as he.

Good job all around


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Quote of the Day

I hope the situation will not arise that I will need to return to politics....When I think the situation is one that I must return, the situation must be very bad...

  -- Former PM Ehud Barak, at a ShabbaTarbut interview

I am pretty sure most people will agree that it must be pretty bad if Ehud Barak is returning..



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Picture of the Day


I wonder how long he's been waiting (how long/short was his beard when he first got there?)...and I hope he doesnt have to wait too much longer...

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4/14/18 The Big Beer Controversy in the Tri-State Area - Is it Chametz Shevar Alav HaPesach? (audio)

if you were interested in the complicated issue of the sale of a beer distribution business for Pesach as reported last week, you must listen to this podcast episode.

as I wrote to the host..

Getting the background on the story was invaluable and hearing the various halachic opinions enlightening.

I understand there are different opinions one can choose to follow regarding the sale of chametz and each and every individual can choose for himself whether to follow this or that opinion.

However, I do have a problem with institutions, especially kashrut organizations, coming out against. Here they have a situation where they have been trying to get this guy, for a long time, to sell his chametz, and for whatever reason it never worked out. Finally he agrees to sell it, and then the same kashrus organizations that have been pushing him to sell are saying thank you for selling, but we dont hold of it.

Why should any not-frum businessman bother agreeing to sell his chametz next year after finding out that many kashrus organizations spoke out anyway against him and his sale? Why should he bother?

I even consider it almost hypocritical from the perspective of the kashrus organizations, pushing people to sell and then saying we dont rely on it.





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Ethnicities of Israel: Afghanistan (video)







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Synagogues of Brazil (video)







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Micha Gamerman - Essa Einai | מיכה גמרמן - אשא עיני (Official Music Video)







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Apr 12, 2018

victory lap


In the list of possible Yom Haatzmaut activities to stick on your calendar, you might want to consider this one, as reported by INN:
Jerusalem activists headed by Evyatar Elbaz, who heads the rescue organization Elon to locate missing persons, plan to hold a "victory lap" with Israeli flags on the streets of the predominantly Mea Shearim for Independence Day. The protest convoy is expected to arrive in Mea Shearim this Sunday afternoon.
According to Elbaz, the "victory lap" was born in protest against the extreme haredi-religious riots in Jerusalem that "have turned the lives of Jerusalem residents into hell in recent months." he said, "The peak of course was the violent and despicable behavior of those extremists who desecrated the funeral procession and kidnapped the body of the baby who drowned in a hotel in Ashdod, adding to their roadblocks in Jerusalem, vandalism of city property, to their harming of haredim who decided to enlist in the army and, of course, their traditional contempt for state symbols such as Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel and Independence Day." He stressed, "They have to understand that by way of violence and crazy extremism they will not achieve anything."
a protest convoy victory lap in Mea Shearim with Israeli flags. This will surely end well.



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Quote of the Day

Tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors are living under the poverty line under horrible conditions. I will not stand for the siren that in my eyes has no significance, while the bureaucracy controlled by miserable politicians demeans and causes these wonderful people who survived the inferno and lost everything to continue their trauma. Symbols do not interest me. For me, life itself is important.

  -- Judy Nir Mozes



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background to the sirens

Being that the moment of silence, as observed by the State of Israel on both Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron is so rarely observed at a national level, though it is observed more commonly at small local and personal levels, one wonders how it came to be that the State of Israel decided to employ the siren with the minute (or two, on Yom Hashoah) of silence..

Here is the background, according to The Jewniverse:
You might be surprised to learn that it actually dates back to 1918 South Africa, when the mayor of Cape Town initiated the Two Minute Pause to remember the fallen soldiers on Europe’s World War I battlefields.
Another South African, the politician and author Sir James Percy FitzPatrick, was in England when the war ended. He had lost a son in battle the previous year. He suggested to King George V that they also adopt a moment of silence. It became part of Armistice Day events throughout the British Empire.
The tradition was imported to Palestine, which the British ruled from 1918 until Israel was established in 1948. The British installed air-raid sirens across Palestine at the outset of World War II. At first, the new State of Israel used the sirens for ceremonial purposes only sparingly: when Zionist leader Theodor Herzl’s remains were flown in from Austria in 1949, and after a 1948 massacre on a kibbutz.
In 1951, the Rabbinate established Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Memorial Day on the day before Independence Day. In 1959, the Knesset mandated Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Both have been marked by sirens — and silence — ever since.
I am not complaining, but I never really understood why Israel kept so many of the rules and processes that had been in place from the Brits and from the Turks. Anyways, that's the interesting background to the Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron sirens.




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Children Saved from the Nazis : The Story of Sir Nicholas Winton (video)

this story is one of many amazing stories of someone who risked his life to save Jews, and Jewish children, in the Holocaust...










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Shabbat.com Presents "Acheinu - My Brother" (video)

beautiful video and message, though I must point out that I do not like the inclusion of the common misperception of someone with a tattoo not being buried in a Jewish cemetery..






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Seth Meyers' Wife Gave Birth in Their Apartment Lobby (video)

great story, and, more the reason, Seth Meyers named his kid for a Holocaust survivor





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PM Netanyahu at Yom Hashoa cermeony (video)







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Apr 11, 2018

Amare Stoudemire wants to convert

According to an article in The Forward, Amare Stoudemire is in the process of converting to Judaism.

Stoudemire has been flirting with Israel and the Jews for a while now, as he discovered and explored his "Hebrew roots". Now he wants to take it further and convert to become actually Jewish.

The HBO interviewer asked if he is doing this just to become a citizen of Israel. He probably should have asked if he is converting just so that when he touches his new wine bottles he won't ruin them for all his potential customers...

I am just joking with that. If he goes through the conversion process properly, Stoudemire will be accepted with open arms.



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Interesting Psak: delaying medical treatments until the zman

Rav Gershon Edelstein stated an interesting "psak" that could easily be misunderstood.

Rav Edelstein was speaking at a conference about educational methods and he told the participants that when yeshiva bochurim have to undergo medical treatments it would be better to do so during the zman and not during vacation, bein hazmanim.

Rav Edelstein explained that during bein hazmanim there is less Torah learning happening, so the Torah learning that is being done is that much more important. So, stopping to learn during bein hazmanim is stopping a much more important level of learning, and stopping a more influential learning, and it would be better to undergo the treatments during the yeshiva session when there is so much more learning being done and his learning is far less influential overall.
source: Kikar

This seems to me to be similar to the concept of when someone learns torah at a time when few others are, the reward for that torah is much greater and the influence of that torah learned is greater. I heard it explained once as a pie of torah learning - when many are learning, each slice is smaller, but when only a few are learning, each learning portion is much larger. This is why many yeshivas or shuls or kollels encourage learning at unusual times, such as Purim night after the megilla or right after Yom Kippur, and other such "off times".

So, this yeshiva boy who needs medical care is causing a much more significant loss when he stops learning during bein hazmanim than when he stops during the zman.

A caveat that should be stated is that:
1. the yeshiva boy is learning during bein hazmanim. Not all do. Maybe his plans were for a tiyul, and not for learning. I dont think Rav Edelstein's policy would then apply, as during the zman he is stopping learning and during bein hazmanim he isnt learning anyway.
2. obviously this is talking about someone who needs medical attention that can wait until later. Someone who needs urgent care should not wait until the zman starts but should get himself taken care of as soon as possible.



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MK Lavie and Attorney Yankelovitz on integrating Haredim in workforce and gender separate courses (video)

interesting discussion





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Palestinian kids: How do you solve your conflicts? (video)







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9 Reason To Learn Yiddish║Lindsay Does Languages Video (video)







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Synagogues of Brazil (video)







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Ari Lesser - Holocaust - Yom HaShoah (video)







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Apr 10, 2018

rain for health

In Israel it is very rare for rain to fall after Pesach. The Gemara calls it a siman klala, though I heard in a drasha recently (though I dont remember what the source was) that this does not apply within the first 50 days after Pesach (I think it was 50, maybe 30), and if the farmers say they need the rain, it is not considered a bad omen even after that.

However, it is still very rare. In past years when it rained in the month of Iyyar, we learned of a segula of the chida that drinking from the rainfall is a segula for good health, or a refuah, based on an acronym and a passuk.

Today it has rained across Israel, and might rain some more tomorrow, though it is not yet Iyyar - it is still the month of Nissan. So, what segula do we associate with this?

It turns out that this too is a segula for health matters, even though it is not yet Iyyar. The sites are quoting Rav Pinchas of Koritz who wrote that when it rains between pesach and Shvuos it is good for healing all the ailments, unlike any other medical treatment, and that is to stand out in the rain, reveal one's head partially in order to allow it to rain on your head, and to open your mouth and let some rain fall into your mouth from the right side. After Shvuos, some rains are still good for healing.
sources: Behadrei and Kol Hai News

If you want to try this sgula out, it seems at least harmless and is free to try, so go for it while you still have a chance!


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Shame on Israel

A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

Israel advocates get their undies twisted in knots when enemies tag Israel an apartheid state. Polish officials set off a firestorm that threatens diplomatic relations between Israel and Poland by accusing Jews of collaborating with the Nazis. Words matter.
Yet, Jewish leaders in Israel and the Diaspora are unruffled and feckless at the bigoted, racist and misogynistic hate speech from Israel’s Chief and leading rabbis. I heard it all before in the 1960’s working the US Civil Rights Movement.
Shame on Israel.
Shame on the government.
Shame on our Jewish community leaders.
Shame on Chief Rabbi Yosef.
Ignoring hate speech encourages it. It molders the society. Hate speech embeds self-aggrandizement that leads to demagoguery.  Bigots attract followers like flies to dung. Next, they block the entrances to schools and lunch counters. They make the “others” sit in the back of the bus. They even run for President of the United States and rise to positions of power excluding Jews from equal rights marches.
A spokesperson for Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef recently justified to the Times of Israel (March 20, 2018), the Rabbi was quoting the Talmud when referring to black people with a pejorative and “a black person a ‘monkey’.” Reminds me of the white preachers and ministers using God to justify slavery and defy desegregation.
Say such a thing today in any Western democracy and you’re sacked from politics. The hater is a pariah in business, among the media, and in most pulpits. I hear no such shock and dismay in Israel. I see no action being taken that might reassure minorities and women the government and society do not tolerate haters.
There are no demonstrations outside Rabbi Yosef’s offices or home, at least those being covered in the media. Reporters are not hovering demanding at every turn explanations and further comments. There is no pot boiling over his remarks.
Torah scholars know words matter. They pick over every letter, word, and expression in the Torah and commentaries to define how Jews must act. It’s the words that define Judaism. Is Rabbi Yosef saying there is no place in Judaism except for white folk? Careful, Rabbi Yosef.  I’m told there are Ashkenazim who think only Caucasians are truly Jewish. Sephardim are on the outs. 
Where does the bigotry end? It doesn’t. It becomes institutionalized. There are reports some Rabbis will not marry black couples. There are other reports, Sephardi boys and girls are not allowed in schools run by Ashkenazim.  It’s the words that deracinate, promote hate and bigotry, that justify and enshrine institutional racism.
Bad stuff happens when the “others” are belittled. Segregation. Separate but equal becomes the meme but the “others” never get their fair share or parity. When women not living Judaism like “our” women are denigrated and called “animals,” what’s the next step? Slaughtering them like animals when they walk through the community? When rabbinic leaders paid by the State of Israel consider women not fit for public service or careers, as Rabbi Eli Sadan and Israel’s various Chief Rabbis are alleged to have said, words turn into actions. One rabbi claims that educated and financially successful women feel so independent they do not want marriage and husbands. They forsake their role in family life where they belong. Another Chief Rabbi attributes a lion’s share of damage to the country “due to loss of morality,” because of women in combat units of the IDF.
Moreover, hate speech is the tool of useful idiots believing their words make them stronger and more popular. They care little if their mean-spiritedness undercuts the legitimacy of a society striving for stability, equality and fraternity already a nation among nations that delegitimize Israel.
The ebb and flow of battles following official reports to uproot institutional racism in Israel leave hatemongers free to raise their voices unhampered. Dealing with institutional racism is the easy part. Taking down those who espouse bigotry and lust after the recognition racist speech brings is the hard part.
So it will be interesting to learn if the findings in the new report from the Israel Government Unit for Coordinating the Struggle Against Racism spur any more reaction than previous reports? We know recommendations from the reports largely languish and fade away, but will the findings and comments finally beget action? Will Israel's Ethiopian Chief Rabbi Yosef Hadane ever be included in photo ops with the other Chief Rabbis of Israel or will Rabbi Hadane continue being treated with benign neglect?
Dr. Seuss said it, “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” It’s time the government establishes an independent Ministry to Combat Hate and Racism with the power and free-hand to indict haters and racists with jail time and fines.


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we will not stand (video)

my comments after the video



good for him, speaking unabashedly about his beliefs.

I agree with him, sort of. I disagree with the reasons he gives and think his opinions are not historically or socially accurate, but agree that he has the right to not stand if he does not want to or think it is the right thing to do. Just like many Jews and Israelis do not keep Shabbos and do not, for example, fast on Tisha b'Av despite the importance these days are held by the many religious Israelis, the Haredi comunity, or parts of it, do not need to commemorate Yom HaShoah the way other Israelis prefer to, if, or because, it goes against their beliefs. I have no problem with that. I think flaunting it in public, not standing when outside, is wrong and insensitive, but if what you are doing is not hurtful and is done in private, I have no problem with it.

That being said, he says they commemorate the day in their own way - by saying chapters of tehillim and learning mishnayos in the yeshivas. This is a shame, as it is not true. Instead of just saying something like we don't commemorate the day because we don't agree with the chosen date or the method of commemoration, he decided to pander a bit saying we do it just differently. But that is not true. The yeshivas are not even in session on Yom Hashoah and there are no organized prayer sessions in memory of the victims and no organized mishnayos learning. Perhaps some individuals do, but as a community there is no such commemoration.





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Palestinians: Is it your right to throw stones? (video)







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Hasidic yeshiva in Israel with general studies (video)








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Koolulam for Holocaust Day: "Chai" with 600 Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (video)







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Apr 9, 2018

throwing the baby out with the bathwater

This issue has been on my mind, and since it was published in the news yesterday I waited to write anything as I thought about the issue. I am just going to write my thoughts, somewhat conflicting thoughts, but I have no conclusion and I am not sure what the right approach is.

A course had been developed to train members of the Haredi community in public service. When the course was originally designed, it was designed for men only. Efforts were put forth and they added a separate track for women and while initially they wanted the course to have 20% women (again, actual course work would be gender separate, but the overall course had to be 80% men and 20% women), and then the final agreement was on 50-50 - equal tracks for men and for women.

A women's lobby went to court against this program because of the gender segregation. Yesterday morning the courts accepted the argument of the lobby and decided that the course is damaging to women and the ideal of equality in society. The court said that when weighing the damage caused by canceling or freezing such a training program against the constitutional right of equality, the right of equality is more important. The court has given the State 30 days to add at least 10 women to the men's course to allow it to continue, or it would be canceled indefinitely.
source: Kikar

On the one hand, if the State wants to bring Haredi society out of the shtetl and into society, at least a certain amount of it has to be on Haredi terms. Even if just for practical reasons, as if certain red lines are crossed, in the name of equality or any other ideal, that goes against Haredi ideology, the Haredi community simply won't participate. If the State wants Haredim in the workforce, if the State wants to train Haredim, one of the Haredi red lines is no co-ed schooling. Forcing co-ed education at the expense of training Haredim is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

On the other hand, the Haredim want opportunities as well. The Haredi community is largely less educated and trained for the workforce, and programs like this are a big boon to the community as it gives them opportunity for many jobs that are so valuable to them. The Haredi community cannot just expect everyone else to always compromise in favor of the Haredi community and they sometimes must make concessions as well.

Is co-ed education a concession? To whom would they be conceding on this? This would be a concession in the face of an ideal held by the larger society of providing equal opportunities to people of both genders.

Should the Haredi community concede on this? I do not know, but this is not the basic ideal of not having any co-ed education. Keeping that red line makes sense for children in school, but for adults who will soon anyway be working in mixed-gender environments? Is it really such a strong ideal to keep them separate in the classroom when in just a few months they will be working together, shoulder to shoulder (but not touching) in some government office, providing services to both men and women?

I don't know what is right and what is wrong. I do not know which is more important. The Haredi community desperately needs, and seems to want, the State to pull it out of the shtetl, because they won't do it themselves - at least not on a communal level. The State desperately wants to promote increased Haredi involvement in society, and especially in the workforce. The State wants to uphold the ideal of gender equality. Which is more important? I don't know. The court says gender equality and equal opportunity is more important, but it bothers me that such an important opportunity will be lost because of it.










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Quote of the Day

If we would implement Torah law into the criminal justice system in Israel - we may turn Israel into a Garden of Eden for murderers and criminals.

  -- Rav Dovid Stav, head of Tzohar




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