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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The dilemma of the Haredi parties with the Draft Law


There is an interesting development happening with the draft law.

The Haredi parties need the law to pass. If it doesn't, the time granted by the Supreme Court will soon expire and without a new law in place, as of September all yeshiva students over 18 would be considered illegal and could be arrested as being AWOL.

However, they dont particularly like the current proposal, as it includes financial sanctions and increased quotas, but it is the best proposal to date so they could live with it. However, they also don't want to be seen as voting in favor fo a law that would require a certain number of boys to go to the army, nor for a law that would put financial sanctions on yeshivas for not meeting the quotas.

The Haredi MKs came up with a brilliant solution. They figured they can abstain from voting on the law. Just disappear. This way they will not be seen as supporting it. They know the law will pass anyway, because the coalition will support it, and even without having enough votes due to the Haredi parties not voting, they know many in the opposition will also jump at the opportunity to vote for the draft law, specifically Yesh Atid and Meretz. They have done this before, when supporting a law but not wanting to give the appearance of supporting it. It is a creative solution.

The opposition parties are wising up. They want to bring the government down. Leaders of some of the Opposition parties are speaking up saying that they will not play along. They are talking about voting against the law, even if they might be ok with it, just to stick it to the coalition. If the Opposition stays strong, as it should take the opportunity to be effective, and votes against, they will put the Coalition in a very precarious place. On the one hand, they might actually cause the government to lose the vote, and that could lead to elections. On the other hand, the Haredim can't really let that happen and might decide to vote for it, and that would change their image forever.

Next week's vote on this draft law will be interesting.




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Proposed Law: Service Providers Terms of Service for changing seats

MK Meirav Michaeli (Hamachane Hatzioni) has proposed a law that would prohibit a company that is a service provider from requesting to make a change to the terms of the service. This would prohibit the airlines from asking a person seated on the plane to change places to another seat, even if the reason for the request is for religious reasons. Such a request would be considered discrimination.
source: Kol Hai News

I am not sure what this law would accomplish more than the law that is already on the books that asking a passenger to switch seats based on gender is considered discrimination of services and is illegal. Michaeli says that considering the repeated instances of this happening, we need to drill down and make an even clearer and more explicit law about this.

This seems to me to be a bit over-reaching just to accomplish one point, saying a service provider cannot change the terms of service. I think that is too much government intervention and might unintentionally harm many businesses. If a company wants to raise its prices or change its offer, why can't it do so in communication with the client?





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Five Fun Facts With Orthodox Jewish Former NBA Player (video)







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MK Eichler denies any hadarat nashim on El Al flights (video)

MK Eichler claims it has never ever happened that someone was asked or demanded to change seats against their will...





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The Torah I will take with me (video)


if you dont get the yiddish, as I didnt, the story here is the rebbe is singing with the boys. another rebbe comes in and offers a boy $100 for the reward for just a word of his torah learning. The boys says no and the rebbe continues to increase the offer. The boy continues to refuse, aand at one point it looks to be difficult for him but he continues to refuse. The rebbe asks why and he answers that when he dies he cant take the money with him, but the torah he learns he will take with him..


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Japanese tourists enter store to sing (video)

surprising and impressive!




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Ariel Shapiro - Eshet Chayil (Music Video)







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Jun 27, 2018

Tweet of the Day








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Rabbanut gets a dose of its own medicine

As a follow-up to yesterday's brouhaha with the Barkan Winery transferring three Jewish religious employees of Ethiopian origin after the Eida hechsher demanded they do so, Tempo - the parent company of Barkan Winery - has announced last night that it will not accept any form of discrimination and the  transferred Ethiopian employees will be put back, on Wednesday, on the line in their original positions.

Tempo qualified the statement by adding a note that if any employee would be moved from his position, his livelihood would not be harmed.
source: Ynet, Kikar

So, does the qualification means that they wont transfer anybody, but if they do it wont affect the salary - meaning, the transfer may very well stay in effect?

Also, as of this morning, the news reported that the affected employees had not been put back in their previous positions. I have not heard or seen any update since, so I do not know if they were returned to their original positions later in the day, or not.

My biggest question is how Tempo can make such a statement. The transfer happened because of a demand made by the Eida, their newly taken on hechsher organization. Does this mean they have persuaded Eida to accept the Ethiopians in these positions and the Eida agreed? Does it mean they are dropping the Eida as their certifying agency? If the statement made by Tempo is truthful, it has major ramifications, and I would be curious to know how this is working.

On another aspect of this, the Eida, with this demand, is really just doing to the Rabbanut almost exactly what the Rabbanut does to so many other Jews and Jewish converts. The Eida is calling into question the status of converts of the Rabbanut, and the Jewish status of people declared Jewish by the Rabbanut. How many times have we seen the Rabbanut call into question the status of converts who converted by orthodox batei din around the world? They don't seem to like it now.

I argue the same point now, even though it now defends the Rabbanut - as soon as an Orthodox beis din converts someone, that person is Jewish. That is the halacha, in Shulchan Aruch. Even if the beis din did it with ulterior motives, and even if the beis din did it despite the convert converting for marriage or money or other ulterior motives that would have invalidated them - once it is done, the convert is fully Jewish. Whatever the Eida might say, these people are Jewish. If there is a specific problem with a specific person whose background is questionable and did not undergo the conversion lchumra, that might be another story, but in general they are Jewish. When the Rabbanut rejects a convert from an orthodox beis din somewhere in the Diaspora, that convert is still Jewish, even if unrecognized by the Rabbanut. Perhaps the Rabbanut might be spurred to work on formulating a new policy on this issue, now that it sees how its own converts can be treated by such a policy.



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Proposed Law: considering Ethiopian Jews as not Jewish

According to INN, MK Shuli Muallem Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) is proposing a law, in light of yesterday's incident with the Barkan Winery transferring some religious Jewish employees of Ethiopian descent off the wine line as per the requirements of their new kashrut organization, the Badatz Eida Hachareidis. The Eida questions the Jewishness of Ethiopian immigrants, even though the State recognizes them as Jewish as per the decision of Rav Ovadya Yosef, some with conversions lchumra and some without. Being that the Eida questions their Jewish status, the Euida says they cannot work on the wine line, as they would turn the wine into yayin nesech in the case that they might not be Jewish.

So MK Refaeli is proposing a new law. Her proposal would make it illegal for a private kashrus organization to demand the removal of workers from the production of food and wine simply for being of Ethiopian origin and descent.

According to Refaeli, "Edah Haharedit kashrut cannot boast that food under its supervision meets the Jewish standards of kashrut, if it tramples the rulings of the great rabbis of Israel, headed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who determined that Ethiopian immigrants are Jews".

I like what she is trying to do, but I think the proposal as a law is stupid. Make a law that they cannot remove Ethiopians from the line? Very nice, but what happens next week when someone does it to Russian Jews - make another law? And then when they do it to Bnei Menashe immigrants from India - make another law? and on and on. Make a general law that people accepted by the State as Jewish cannot be discriminated against by treating them as non-Jews, or questionable Jews. Then the Eida gets out of the wine business, or changes their policies on this matter.





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The Shvantzonus - the Tail Doctrine

One of the new Vizshnitzer Rebbes has been running a campaign to teach his hassidim about some new approach to life that he calls "Shvantzonus" - the tail doctrine.

It has been in the Haredi news a lot recently, though I haven't really understood what this was about, and assumed it was just another chassidishe thing that I didn't get. The website "Hasidic News" has now written about this and explains it to us non-hassidim, though I am not really sure it makes all that much more sense now.

Basically, the Tail Doctrine is teaching the chassidim to view themselves as tails with him, the rebbe, as the head. They are to follow like tails that don't understand what the head is doing or why and they just follow along, accepting whatever the head does without asking questions or complaining.

An excerpt, with the main points:
The haredi sector is astir over the recent revelation that R. Mendel (“Mendelle”) Hager is promulgating a new and bizarre precept that he has named “the tail doctrine”. The doctrine urges his followers to think of themselves as tails with respect to their rebbe: just as the tail follows the body and cannot sever itself from it, nor control it –so ought a hosid follow his rebbe without any digressions, vacillation, or doubt.
News of the new doctrine began spreading around two weeks ago when a discourse of the Rebbe to his followers was recorded and leaked into the Hasidic WhatsApp sphere. In his speeches R. Mendelle preaches unprecedentedly radical and bizarre ideas of unflinching loyalty, faith in him even if he’s seen doing something that seems to transgress halokhoh, and complete subordination of all hasidim to him in their entire bodies at all times. Such ideas may have been commonplace in the Hasidism of hundreds of years ago, but they seem anachronistic and outright loony in modern times.
In the recent Tail Doctrine campaign R. Mendelle teaches his hasidim a new song to be sung before reciting the Psalms and after evening toroh lessons: “we believe in the holy opinion of the holy Yeshuos Moshe (viz. his father, so named after a book that he composed), namely shvantzonus (the practice of being a tail; tail-ism)”. If anyone leaves the study hall in the middle of the song, decrees R. Mendelle, “tell him that he no longer has anything to seek among us”.
I love how he is preparing his chassidim for the day he goes and does a bunch of things against halacha, but they are already ingrained with the training that they are just tails and  dont understand the head and have to just accept it without understanding, but not complain...he's very smart to get ahead of this..



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Belgian model poses nude by the Kotel


Marisa Papen is a provocative Belgian model. She travels the world taking photographs of herself posing nude in front of landmarks and famous places. She has been arrested before for her behavior, such as in Egypt when she posed nude in front of the pyramids. Papen has come to Israel and posed nude on a rooftop in the Old City overlooking the Kotel and part of Temple Mount and posted the picture online.

No, I am not going to post it here, though here is a blurred copy of the photograph, from a news media FB page:


Interestingly, along with the picture they posted that they made sure not to include any mosques or the Dome of the Rock in the background of the picture, so as not to upset the Muslims and hurt their feelings.

She clearly was not so concerned about hurting the feelings of Jews, as many are calling for her to be arrested for this act of public indecency.

I would add that the fact that she didnt include the Dome of the Rock in her picture so as not to harm the sensibilities of the Muslims but she did show the Kotel shows that she thinks Muslims are animals who cannot control themselves and go wild when they get upset about something, whereas Jews dont get violent when they get upset. This picture is really a compliment to the Jews! If I were a Muslim I might be even more insulted now!



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Aliza Bloch interview on the Kalman-Lieberman show (video)

interesting, but I'd be curious to hear how she thinks she has a realistic chance...





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Rabbi Dov Lipman: "Children must learn how incredible it is that we have Israel (video)






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Welcome to the United Hatzalah warehouse and logistical center! (video)







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Could you stop Ronaldo from scoring a goal?! (video)








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Michoel Schnitzler - Es Hakol - (Official Music Video)







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Jun 26, 2018

Shabbos loudspeakers bad, Muslims prayer loudspeakers good

Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv Meital Lehavi, from Meretz, is now targeting the shabbos sirens around the city. According to Lehavi, many new sirens have been installed on the shuls around the city and blare at the incoming of the Shabbos, disturbing the residents and violating the noise laws. Lehavi has reported this to the police.
source: Haredim10

This issue has been raised before and is not new, but it looks like it is soon going to come to a head.

I think there can be what to discuss. There is no obligation to have such sirens, and while  a religious area might want them, a largely non-religious area might consider such sirens to be disturbing or upsetting. There is no reason to cause fights, and the sirens don't really help anybody or cause any person to keep Shabbos. At most they create an atmosphere, and in a place that does not want that atmosphere, perhaps it should not be done.

That being said, when the Muezzin Law was proposed, to ban the blasting of the Islamic call to prayer from the muezzin, especially in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning, which disturbs many people in many places around the country, Meretz was one of the loudest and most vociferous opponents. Meretz leaders called it racism and nationalism... so when it is Jewish sirens, calls for the announcement of the incoming of the Jewish holy day, it is disturbing and must be stopped, while the Muslim sirens, with calls for the Muslims to pray, 5 times a day, is perfectly fine. Seems like blatant hypocrisy to me.





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El Al to toss people from airplanes for refusing to sit

There was a recent news report of another incident on an El Al airplane where the flight was delayed for an hour and a quarter while some Haredim refused to take their seats as they were placed next to women. The staff got involved and eventually brought order and found solutions but it took a long time.

That wasn't so interesting. It has happened many times. El Al has proven to be the worst on this issue, because they are so dependent on the business of the Haredi community, which continues to prefer El Al over other airlines. Despite El Al claiming the staff are not allowed to get involved in such issues, they continue to do so, and they continue to upset many others to solve these situations.

What is interesting is the response of the management. After a large technology company, NICE, decided it would no longer send its employees on El Al flights because of this behavior, discriminating against women,  the  CEO of El Al issued a statement saying that the situation was dealt with using the appropriate sensitivity and that El Al is an airline that promotes equality and does not discriminate based on religion, race or sex - however, to remove all doubt, he also instructed staff across the board that from now on any person refusing to take his assigned seat, next to any other passenger, will be removed form the airplane.

If they need some instruction in how to do this, I would point El Al in the direction of United Airlines which has some experience removing passengers from airplanes...


I am just kidding about that, but I wait to see them actually remove a passenger for this rather than try to work it out, and at what point will they do so and stop other efforts of finding alternate seats.

In general, there really should be no reason to get to this point. This issue need not come up repeatedly as it does. The technology in seat reservation and booking should be able to offer, even if at a price, the option for people who dont want to sit next to women. When checking in, Haredi people not wanting to risk being placed next to a woman can reserve can entire row or select to be placed next to a male. Why this isnt in place, I dont know. And once we get that place, we can also then offer the option of not sitting next to a man, an African American person, a child, an Arab, or use any other qualifier you want.

I await the day when we will see someone removed from a flight for this reason. I will see that as an exciting and interesting news item.



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Eida discriminates against Ethiopian Jews in kashrut

the following is a shocking report in the news that was just exposed. Briefly, the Barkan Winery decided to change kashrut supervision organizations and take on the supervision of the Eida Hachareidis. Among the requirements of the Eida to grant the certification was to get the Ethiopian workers off the line producing the wine - they could be moved to other parts of the business. Barkan decided to comply, as business is business and that's what is required - they are desperate to break into the market of people who will only accept Eida hechsher..


People, including politicians, are comparing this to the Nazi selections. I don't like any comparisons to Nazis, unless it includes mass murder and concentration camps it seems uncalled for, as horrible as this behavior might be.

So, who is to blame - the Eida or Barkan management? The Eida demanded it as a requirement, but Barkan went along with it without even putting up a fight and just sacrificed them on the altar of entering a new market.

Most interestingly, Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Yosef criticized the Eida harshly for this and claimed it is pure racism and there is no halachic reason for such a demand. More specifically, Rav Yosef suggested that it could be problematic relying on them for strict kashrut supervision when they are involved in being lenient regarding the character assassination of people who's only fault is the color of their skin. (source: Kikar)

I think a boycott of the Eida hechsher, as many are calling for right now, is nearly impossible. Especially if you live in a largely Haredi area where the Eida has the lions share of the market. However you can give preference to other hechshers that you rely on, when you have the choice. If you see two products one with the Eida and the other with Rubin or Mahfoud or Belz or whatever it might be, if you accept the second hechsher, prefer to take that one instead of the one with the Eida. The individual consumer cannot do much to these giant manufacturers and hechshers, but what little we can do we should. And Barkan as well - buy a different wine, when you can. A Barkan boycott is more feasible, and some are calling for it, though any winery using the Eida hechsher presumably has the same issue - though maybe they aren't employing Ethiopians to start with, so maybe it just never came up.

I feel it is important to include the full statement in response issued by the Eida. There are also a couple of interesting points in it.

讘讚"抓 讛注讚讛 讛讞专讚讬转 诪讻讘讚 讗转 讛拽讛讬诇讛 讛讗转讬讜驻讬转 讘讗专抓 讜讗转 转专讜诪转讛 讛讙讚讜诇讛 诇讞讘专讛 讘讬砖专讗诇.
讬讛讜讚讬诐 专讘讬诐 砖注诇讜 诪讗转讬讜驻讬讛, 诪讜注住拽讬诐 讘诪驻注诇讬诐 讘讛砖讙讞转 讘讚"抓 讛注讚讛 讛讞专讚讬转 讜讬讚讜注讬诐 讘注讘讜讚转诐 讛诪住讜专讛 诪转讜讱 讻讘讜讚 讛讚讚讬 讜讗诪讜谉 诪诇讗.
讘诪讛诇讱 讛注诇讬讜转 讛砖讜谞讜转 诪讗转讬讜驻讬讛 讛讙讬注讜 诇讗专抓 注讜诇讬诐 砖讗讬谞诐 讬讛讜讚讬诐 讜诇讻谉 讛转讘拽砖讜 注诇 讬讚讬 讛专讘谞讜转 讛专讗砖讬转 诇讬砖专讗诇 诇注讘讜专 讙讬讜专 诇讞讜诪专讛
讘砖诇 讛诪讞讜讬讬讘讜转 砖诇 讘讚抓 讛注讚讛 讛讞专讚讬转 诇讗讜讛讘讬 讛讬讬谉 砖讜诪专讬 讛讻砖专讜转 讛诪讛讜讚专转 讘讬讜转专, 谞讝讛专 讛讘讚"爪 砖讘注转讬讬诐 讘转讛诇讬讱 讬讬爪讜专 讛讬讬谉 注诇 讬讚讬 诪讬 砖讬砖 住驻拽 讘讬讛讚讜转讜.
讛讘讚"抓 讛注讚讬祝 讘诪拽专讛 讝讛, 诇注砖讜转 讛讻诇诇讛, 讻讚讬 诇讗 诇驻讙讜注 讘注讜讘讚 讝讛 讗讜 讗讞专 讜诇讻谉 讘讬拽砖 诇讛注讘讬专 砖诇讜砖讛 注讜讘讚讬诐 讬拽专讬诐 诇诪讞诇拽讛 讗讞专转 讘诪驻注诇, 诪讘诇讬 诇驻讙讜注 讘驻专谞住转诐, 讜讘讻讱 诪谞注 驻讙讬注讛 讗讬砖讬转 讘注讜讘讚讬诐.

讙诐 讛专讘谞讜转 讛专讗砖讬转 诇讬砖专讗诇 驻讜注诇转 讘讗讜驻谉 讚讜诪讛.

讘讚"爪 讛注讚讛 讛讞专讚讬转 驻谞讛 诇讗讞专讜谞讛 诇讗讞讚 诪专讗砖讬 专讘谞讬 讛注讚讛 讛讗转讬讜驻讬转 讘讗专抓 讜讛讜讗 谞注转专 诇讘拽砖转诐 诇住讬讬注 讘讘讚讬拽转 讬讛讚讜转 讻驻讬 砖讛讜讗 谞讜讛讙 注讘讜专 注讜诇讬诐 诪讗转讬讜驻讬讛 讛诪讘拽砖讬诐 诇讛讬谞砖讗. 讻诇 注讜诇讛 讞讚砖 讗讜 讜转讬拽 讗诐 讬专爪讛 讬讻讜诇 诇拽讘诇 讘拽诇讜转 专讘讛 讘讬专讜专 讬讛讚讜转 讜讗讬砖讜专 讬讛讚讜转.


Translation: 
The Badatz Eida Hachareidis respects the Ethiopian community in Israel and its contribution to Israeli society.
Many Jews who made aliya from Ethiopia are employed in factories under the certification of the Badatz Eida and are known for their dedicated work with mutual respect and full trust.
During the various mass aliya events Ethiopians who are not Jewish also came to Israel, and therefore the Rabbanut of Israel requested they undergo a conversion to Judaism "lchumra" - to be sure. 
Due to the commitment of the Eida to those who love wine and also want the most mehuderet kashrut, the Badatz is especially careful regarding the production of wine by anybody with even the slightest doubt of his Jewish status.
The Badatz prefers in this case to generalize, in order to not hurt any specific employee, and therefore had 3 employees transferred to a different department in the factory, so as to not hurt their livelihood, and thereby avoided any personal insult or harm to the employees.
The Rabbanut also acts similarly
The Badatz Eida recently approached the head of the Ethiopian community in Israel to assist in clarifying the Jewish status, as has been done for Ethiopian immigrants registering to marry. Any immigrant, new or old, can easily get his status clarified and receive a confirmation of Jewish status.

A few interesting points in the response:
1. perhaps most interesting is the claim that the Rabbanut does the same. If they do, why hasnt any report come out about that - especially with the news always looking to criticize the Rabbanut nowadays? And if they do, I find it strange that Rav Yitzchak Yosef would criticize the Eida so harshly if the Rabbanut has the same policy. And if they do not, I await a response from the Rabbanut with a strong denial
2. They generalize so as not to hurt any individual, so instead they just go and hurt everybody.
3. Even with a giyyur lchumra, if it needed to be done and was done, those people are Jewish, so what is the purpose of this?
4. If they can easily check the status of any specific Ethiopian immigrant, why not just check the status of these 3 employees, quietly, and approve them to continue working if their Jewish status is confirmed or move them over if their status as Jews is denied?


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debating gender segregation in the public square (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- June 21, 2018 (video)







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Shloime Gertner Carpool KaraOYke (video)







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Synagogues of The Czech Republic (video)







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Yoni Z - UP! [Official Music Video]







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Jun 25, 2018

Quote of the Day

I tell you what, I get more calls of thank you from evangelicals, and I see it in the audiences and everything else, than I do from Jewish people. And the Jewish people appreciate it but the evangelicals appreciate it more than the Jews.

  -- US President Donald Trump, in an interview with Mike Huckabee

I am ashamed, even if just a bit.



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Interesting Psak: taking pictures of other people

Rav Ratzon Arussi, the rav of Kiryat Ono, paskened that one cannot take the photograph of another person without his knowledge nor without his permission.

There are time, Rav Arussi says, that a person is in some sort of posture or in some sort of position that if caught on camera would not be flattering, or might even be insulting or embarrassing. Immortalizing that moment with a picture is what the Torah calls in Iyov, "do not let unrighteousness dwell in your tents". Showing that picture to other people and sharing it and spreading it around is motzi shem ra and rechilus.

Rav Arussi commented that at a community event there was a meal and some people took out their phones and started taking pictures and videos - while other people are eating and stretching out to get food or drink. Rav Arussi said that he got up and told them that we have to decide if right now we want to eat or to photograph. People dont want to be photographed eating or reaching over, so either we are photographing and people know to sit patiently and not eat or we are eating and no pictures so people can sit comfortably and eat. The pictures at events catch people in very unflattering and compromising positions.

Everybody nowadays is holding cameras in their phones. It is nice that we wont to immortalize moments with pictures and videos, but people must ask the person in charge of the event or the baal simcha if it ok to do so. Many sins come from this.
source: Kol Hai News

In general I agree with the concept (Rav Arussi does not need my agreement), though the reality is so much more complicated. Today's culture has many of us recording, whether with video or with still images, nearly everything that happens to us or nearly every event we go to.....


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underage marriage banned in New Jersey

A little while back the State of New Jersey was considering a law that would ban all marriages under the age of 18. This is a trend in the USA, meant to protect underage women from being taken advantage of. Last year the governor decided to not sign the new law because it did not include an exception for religious reasons, or with parental consent. The governor of New Jersey has now decided to sign on the law, with no exceptions. It is now illegal in new Jersey to get married under the age of 18. Full Stop. No exceptions.
sources: Hamodia, Behadrei, Washington Post

Considering that so far only two states have adopted this law with no exceptions, the solution it seems, for people wanting to marry under 18, will be to go to a nearby state, such as New York or Pennsylvania... though they are the closest states to NJ - I do not include Delaware as that is the other state banning such marriages with no exceptions - it is still a far drive and would be difficult for many to make weddings so far away and to expect guests to participate.. 

I expect the local and national Orthodox Jewish, and probably some Christian and Muslim, organizations to lobby hard to get some religious exception added to the law.




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6/23/18 Geirim - Should we accept them or is the Syrian edict the correct model? (audio)







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Israelis: How common are drugs and alcohol in Israel? (video)






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Shidduch Video: But He's Only 21...... (video)

cute





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Asking people on the st. “What is tzitzit?” (video)







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yonina: khi lach (video)








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Jun 24, 2018

Interesting Psak: Eilat is Chutz Laaretz

The psak of Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef is really nothing now, as from a halachic perspective everybody knows Eilat has the status of Chutz Laaretz, even though for many things it is considered similar to Eretz Yisrael (such as shmitta, such as truma mand maaser).

So what did Rav Yosef say?

According to Kikar, Rav Yitzchak Yosef criticized the rabbinic organizations that commonly make their conferences in Eilat. He said that because it is chutz laaretz, the only allowance for traveling to Eilat would be some direct benefit of "zikui harabim" in Eilat that requires one to be in Eilat. For example, Rav Yosef said, he himself went to Eilat, but that was to give a shiur on kashrut, as part of a kashrut conference that took place there. When there are local rabbinic conferences, nothing to do with Eilat, they shouldn't go to Eilat for the conference.

My question is, he justifies his trip saying he gave a shiur there. But why did his shiur have to be in Eilat? What did it have to do with Eilat? It was part of a rabbinic conference that could have been held anywhere else in the country. And if it was ok simply because he gave a shiur, at these other rabbinic conferences that he is referring to that he is saying are not justified in going to Eilat, do they not have any shiurim? And if they don't, why say it is assur to go to Eilat - why not say to make sure to give a shiur at the conference while in Eilat? How does this work exactly?






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Quote of the Day

Korach was a Reform Jew. He was associated with the Women of the Wall. Really, he would have joined them. He is appropriate for the Women of the Wall, Korach is Women of the Wall.

  -- Rav Dovid Yosef, in his weekly shiur



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Facebook Status of the Day




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Women For Mayor Day


Today is a big day for women in politics.

For the first time (I think), a woman has declared her candidacy for the position of Mayor of Jerusalem, in the upcoming elections. Tat would be MK Rachel Azaria of the Kulanu party.

Does she have a chance? There are still a lot of candidates already running, and presumably more will still declare their intentions to run. As it gets closer to elections some of those candidates will drop out of the race when they see they do not have a realistic shot, and others will drop out after making deals with other candidates. It is way too early to know if she has a chance or not, but she definitely has name recognition (as do some of the other candidates) and most Jerusalemites will have a strong opinion about her, one way or the other.

In Bet Shemesh Aliza Bloch has announced her candidacy for Mayor of Bet Shemesh in the upcoming elections. She actually said that she is so far the only person to declare herself as a candidate, as even Moshe Abutbol has not formally done so. Does she have a chance? I have no idea. On the face of it, it seems very unrealistic, considering the numbers. It might depend on the negotiations between Degel and Abutbol and if Degel decides to run their own candidate or not. I think this might spur both of those sides to come to a more reasonable agreement and to stop fighting so as to avoid splitting the vote. Also, it might depend on how many Haredim in the city, especially in RBS C (Gimmel) are really upset at Abutbol to the point of being willing to not vote for him when the rabbonim will inevitably call on them to - talk is cheap and it remains to be seen if their complaining about Abutbol is just talk or is serious.

Some people are saying that she is an Abutbol plant, meant to put pressure on Degel to lower their demands. This was a theory last time as well when she split the vote last time - not in the ballot but in the city, as she caused, perhaps indirectly, many people to not support the other candidate after she dropped out.

Whether they win or not, whether they come close or not, this is still a big day for female politicians.



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Palestinians: Do Christians and Jews have to pay Jizya? (video)








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How Israelis Live Near Gaza ‼️ (video)







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Synagogues of Europe Czech Republic Part 1 (video)






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Hakol Haba From Jerusalem - S2E15 I (video)







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Israeli Frenemies- June 22, 2018 (video)







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Jun 21, 2018

shaming individuals for nothing

I am a little upset right now about the Herzl lady.

If you haven't noticed, a woman, seemingly from the weaker society of Israel, got herself caught on camera in the middle of a video documentary or news report being recorded at the Kotel. As she steps in front of the camera she turns and calls out looking for Herzl and calls out for Herzl a few times until she notices she is on camera and rushes out of the frame. The reporter and camerman then start laughing about what just happened.

The video has gone viral, and, the internet being the internet, has also spawned parodies sticking "Herzl lady" in the most bizarre scenes around the world, while the entire country laughs at her.

I think I have a pretty good sense of humor. I can joke about almost anything and can laugh at jokes about almost anything. But I don't like this culture of shaming of individuals who did no wrong, this picking an individual and laughing at them, for nothing. Herzl lady did nothing wrong besides for stepping in front of a camera at the Kotel that she didn't notice, and now she seems to have to lock herself in her apartment because she can't go outside as everyone is laughing at her and approaching her and bothering her.

There, I have said my piece and now I am a spoilsport.




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Aliza Bloch set to announce candidacy in mayoral race of Bet Shemesh

Aliza Bloch is set to announce her candidacy in the race for the position of Mayor of Bet Shemesh in the upcoming elections in October. Campaign signs, without her name, are going up around town, and the news sites (kikar, behadrei), and people in the know, are saying that this is the opening shot of Bloch's campaign.

So, if you thought this was going to be a one-horse race with Abutbol not having to campaign against anybody, things look like they are turning out differently than expected.

It should be noted that Bloch's chances of winning are very slim, if almost non-existent. Her best chance is in a scenario in which Degel does not come to an agreement to support Abutbol and fields their own candidate, thus splitting the Haredi vote.

That possible scenario will, it seems to me, push Degel to come to an agreement, maybe lowering their demands a bit, and will also put some pressure on Abutbol to come to terms with Degel. They all know splitting the Haredi vote will be a problem for them so they will work hard, even harder, now to run together.

The occupancy of RBS C over the past few years, which was really expected to help Abutbol, or any Haredi candidate, due to its being a Haredi neighborhood, might be a thorn in Abutbol's side. The residents of RBS C (aka Gimmel) have been outspokenly upset at the city administration, considering the lack of city services and poor infrastructure in their new neighborhood. It remains to be seen whether they will be willing to vote independently of rabbinic instruction or if they will at the last moment circle the wagons, but it could be a major factor in the upcoming campaign.

It looks like the upcoming election will be more interesting than previously expected...






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intolerance in Tel Aviv

By now you must have surely heard the news about the Chabad event scheduled for Tel Aviv's Rabin Square that was blocked by Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai..



in case you haven't heard, briefly, Chabad was putting on this event called "Mashiach BaKikar" - an event celebrating what Chabad calls "Chag HaGeulah" the holiday of redemption, as the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson had been released from Russian prison. At the holiday event in Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv, as you can see from the sign, in addition to musical perfromances by Meilech Kahn, Mendy jarufe, Ariel Zilber and Avi Ben Yisrael, they were going to greet the Messiah, praise God, talk about the wholeness of the Land of Israel and its security and get blessings from the King Messiah.

Being that the event was planned to be gender-separate, the mayor, Ron Huldai, went and got legal opinion stating that because it is gender-separate and is taking place on public property he can/should legally cancel the event as being discriminatory against women. So he did.

Since Huldai declared the event canceled and off-limits, there has been a wave of anger against him and claims of being anti-religious. The obvious comparisons were brought up, such as to a women-only race that took place not long ago on the streets of Tel Aviv, along with other events that are female-only that seem to be allowed.

I dont think I have anything unique to say on this. Nobody is saying they cannot rent a hall and have their event there. Just that legally they cannot have such an event in the public area. Besides for that, they complain about the intolerance the secular have of the religious community, and that is a problem. However that problem is equalized by the intolerance the religious have for the secular community.

In general, the live and let live approach needs to spread more around all the different communities. We needn't feel so threatened by every event or statement made by other people in a different style than what we would prefer. Tel Aviv won't lose its character by a Chabad event taking places within the borders of the city, nor will Jerusalem or other cities lose its character by secular events taking place in them.


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Tefillin Wrapp — Let's Get Am Yisrael Wrapping (video)


what a brilliant, and unexpected, idea for an app! Chabad is shaking things up, taking their activities to new frontiers.





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Shocking Nikki Haley announces the U.S. withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council (video)







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Liz Wheeler and Mordechai Kedar on OANN 19 April 2018 (video)







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Visit Korazim National Park! (video)







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Synagogues of Europe- Bosnia Bulgaria Croatia and Channel Island, Cyprus Estonia Finland (video)








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Eli Levin ft. Pumpidisa - Halelu (Music Video)







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Jun 20, 2018

Interesting Psak: Rav Chaim Kanievsky on sheitels

The debate over what is considered a more halachically acceptable, or even just permitted, hair covering for women has been raging for decades. It is sharply debated especially in Israel where the culture is less formal and it is far more acceptable for women to wear tichels outside, even at work, than it is in countries like the USA and Europe, whereas in many places in the Diaspora women feel they have more of a need for the sheitel and the appearance of hair that it provides, so the issue is less at the forefront.

According to an "alon" (ie a parsha paper, of sorts), quoting from a new sefer being printed, Rav Chaim Kanievsky has paskened that a sheitel is [sometimes] better (ie more appropriate according to halacha) than a mitpachat, or tichel, for a woman to wear as a hair covering. Rav Kanievsky says it is better, or can be better, because the sheitel generally covers all the hair, whereas a tichel often does not. Rav Kanievsky qualifies that by saying that the sheitel must be obviously a wig in appearance, but if one looking at it cannot tell that it is a wig than it is prohibited. Rav Kanievsky adds that all the gedolei Lita followed this opinion and their wives wore sheitels.

 (so you have a blog quoting a website quoting an alon quoting a sefer quoting Rav Chaim Kanievsky. so, as always, don't base your actions and halachic decisions on a fifth hand quote on the Internet. If you have any halachic questions, speak to your rabbi rather than basing on anything quoted on the Internet)

I would only point out that it is well known that many of the gedolei Lita had wives who did not cover their hair at all. As well, maybe they felt they had to being in Chutz Laaretz and needing to look like hair, while had they lived in Eretz Yisrael at the time perhaps they would have worn other hair coverings.

The alon also quotes the sefer in the name of the Chazon Ish saying that a wig/sheitel is better than a tichel even if it is not so clearly obvious that it is a sheitel and it looks like real hair.
source: Kikar

Being that there is no big chiddush stated here, I am a bit surprised that this is newsworthy. While I personally did not know Rav Chaim Kanievsky's opinion, though his wife wore a sheitel, as does his daughter -so perhaps I assumed it - it seems like nobody knew his opinion on this matter until the sefer came out and revealed it. Has nobody ever asked him before?





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Quote of the Day

We have a serious problem with the draft of yeshiva boys. They are threatening us that they wont give us budget monies. What - do we live for the monies from these goyim? We won't send a single one to the the army - not a single one. We are the army of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, that's why we are called [in the Torah] "Yotzei Tzava".

  -- Rav Shalom Cohen, spiritual leader of Shas, while paying a shiva call to Rav Gershon Edelstein and talking about the ramifications of the draft law

there are some groups of people that could maybe be thought of as honestly saying what they mean, saying something like this. Shas, living and surviving by all that government funding, and regularly fighting for it and for it to be increased, and its school system only surviving because of it, is not one of those groups. Funny how dismissive the Shas leader is of all that money that he so dearly needs for his organizations..let's see him put his money where his mouth is and give it all up.

I am a bit surprised he calls the Israeli secular government "goyim". That too is not really the way of Shas. Rav Ovadya said some harsh things about various groups, but Shas is very close, or at least tries to be, with the secular community in Israel and with the secular government. It is strange to see them become so extreme. It is more appropriate for the Eida types, though they dont really call them goyim either, or the Peleg people who do actually call them goyim. Just the other day Rav Tzvi Friedman of the Peleg, one of its leaders since the death of Rav Auerbach, called them goyim




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Book Review: My Country, My Life


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

Book Review: My Country, My Life, by Ehud Barak

Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak has written his memoirs in the newly published book, by St. Martin's Press, My Country, My Life. The memoirs are not from one period in his life, or in his involvement in government or his time in the army, or the like. 


These are Barak's memoirs spanning his entire life - growing up on a kibbutz, serving in Sayeret Matkal, private life, army life , government life, and back to private life. Anybody growing up along with the foundation of the State surely has what to write about, memories worth sharing. A person who grew up with the state and was so involved in every aspect of the growth of the state throughout the years surely has memories worth sharing and worth being read, whether you agreed with his politics or not.

My Country, My Life is such a fascinating, intriguing, and captivating story that i am not even sure which part of it I felt more connected to, which captivated me the most. Very possibly it was Barak's memories of growing up on a left wing kibbutz, with no religion, just Zionism and a drive to build the State, describing what life was like back then. I have read a lot about the early days of the State of Israel, but his descriptions as a kibbutz child in those days are unique.

Another strong contender is Barak's days in Sayeret Matkal - the premier special forces unit of which he was one of the founding members. Barak describes, in great detail, some of the missions they were sent on, such as the infamous Sabena hijacking, the operation in Entebbe and other less famous and less widely known operations that were crucial for the security of the State of Israel.

The time as Prime Minister, and even Defense Minister, in the governments of Israel, seem more frustrating than brilliant. Barak took his strengths in planning and his detail oriented approach into government, but it did not help him with his efforts in making peace, which he describes as his prime focus when he went into government. 

It is interesting to see how he developed strong relationships over the years with figures like Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres, and how that advanced him and helped him succeed at various stages of his life - entering government, in the army, etc. but also how he tried to advance Rabin's legacy and how he was still able to worth with right wing governments when that was necessary.

Barak's relationship with Yasser Arafat took a tremendous change from when he was an army officer, looking to possibly killing Arafat and at least doing a lot of damage to his organization, to when Barak entered government and suddenly had to look at Arafat as a partner for peace, and how that frustrated him when he was willing to go to almost no ends to make peace offers that Arafat never seemed to reciprocate.

One of the most intriguing aspects of My Country, My Life is Barak's connection to a young Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi, and how that developed over the years. This connection is well known, as Barak was Netanyahu's commander in the Sayeret Matkal, but one can trace throughout the book the connections that keep coming up over the years and how their fates and careers were intertwined with each other. So much so that early on it had been predicted, over a decade earlier, that the two young up and coming stars would face off against each other in the 1996 elections -a prediction that would come true albeit off by just a few years. One can see how Barak did not like Netanyahu, from the beginning, and can get a feel his attitude abotu Netanyahu from the early days, though he continued to work with him for decades in a professional manner.

Barak describes Jerusalem, and other parts of the land recaptured in the 1967 Six Day War, and the feelings of being able to see and experience these parts of the country in words and descriptions that are just beautiful and emotive, and particularly interesting is his feelings about these despite growing up with practically no religious upbringing - it was just part of the early days of Zionism and the State of Israel.

The conclusion of the book, when Barak describes the bar mitzva ceremony of his class, on the secular kibbutz that was anti-religious, is poignant and touching, and even a bit surprising.

Anybody interested in the history of modern Israel should read My Country, My Life by Ehud Barak. It is that good.


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


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Tweet of the Day






translation:
I request of the media and journalists to stop with the generalizations. The fact that Segev spied for the Iranians does not turn all the Jewish ministers and Members of Knesset into suspects. Stop with the incitement. Please.

Ahmed Tibi is genuinely a funny guy.



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Nir Barkat supports Zeev Elkin for mayor of Jerusalem (video)

cute





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MK Eichler on the arrest of Ronen Segev (video)

interesting connection, interesting law proposal..





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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- June 14, 2018 (video)







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Yeshiva Of Philadelphia Singing National Anthem At Graduation (video)







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Yonatan Razel & Mzansi Youth Choir - For my Brothers (video)







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Jun 19, 2018

Quote of the Day

In order to continue evading the army draft the Haredim would sell the Land of Israel..

  -- MK Motti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), after MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) publicized that he came to an agreement with MK Ahmed Tibi that in exchange for their (UTJ) knocking down the Muezzin Law, UAL will support the UTJ position on the draft law.



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the IDF doesn't really need us anyway

One of the main arguments always used, and being used now during the current debate about the draft law proposal, against drafting Haredim is that the army does not need them anyway. There are too many soldiers as it is, the army has no need for another few thousand soldiers - soldiers who dont want to be there anyway. So, considering that, the only purpose in forcing a draft of Haredim is an attempt to change their lifestyle. The army and the politicians should just release the Haredim from this obligation.

So goes the argument. One of the most frequently used arguments on this issue.

I have a question about this argument, if you accept the premise that the army does not need them, which I do not know if it is really true or not.

If the attempt to draft the Haredim, or some of the Haredim, is based on the idea of "shivyon bnetel", sharing the burden equally, and the army does not need an additional few thousand soldiers each year, why exempt the Haredim from the draft rather than some equal proportion of young men and women from all sectors of society,m, proportionally?

Meaning, let's say the IDF has 20,000 soldiers and does not need any more soldiers this year. The incoming draft will bring in, if you include all potential draftees (including Haredim), let's say 8000 soldiers, with the army needing, say only 5000.

Why exempt 3000 Haredim from the draft, just because the army doesn't need them? If we want shivyon bnetel, the army could exempt 3000 people from serving but why 3000 specific people from one sector of society - spread it out proportionally among all sectors and exempt 3000 people including some haredim, some DL, some secular, some men, some women, some Druze - a little bit of everybody. This way, according to the argument that the army does not need so many soldiers, the excess of soldiers will be relieved but it will be relieved fairly, with not just one sector benefitting from it but all sectors. Are young Haredi men the only people in the country who do not want to spend 2 or 3 years of their lives in the IDF? Surely among the thousands of draftees every draft cycle there are plenty of young men and women who would prefer to be doing other things for the coming three years and the army could release some of them all.

I do not know if the entire premise is true, that the army does not need them. It might just be a convenient argument that nobody has the information handy to prove or disprove so they just accept it. But even if true, why is the argument - therefore the Haredim should just be exempted - just taken at face value? Why does nobody say, you have a point, and we will talk about exempting x number of soldiers every year, due to lack of need, distributed evenly, or by some fair criterion?

It seems to be a much fairer way to oppose the Haredi exemption than just ignoring the idea of not really needing them and saying shivyon bnetel. When they argue that they aren't needed and should be exempted, their opponents on this issue (ie politicians, media, etc) should make a proposal to accept that concept and discuss an even distribution of exemptions. Why should only one sector of society benefit from this?



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Israeli Frenemies- June 15, 2018 (video)







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Palestinians: What do you love about Palestine? (video)







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messages from Ms Israel and Ms Iraq (video)









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Synagogues of Europe- Bosnia Bulgaria Croatia and Channel Island (video)







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Hevenu Shalom Alehem /Jerusalem Academy flashmob for Taglit at Ben Gurion Airport (video)







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Jun 18, 2018

they are tracking you!


I have seen people post online attitudes against using the Rav Kav system on public transportation due to their believing the real purpose of the rav kav is for the government to be able to keep track of our movements, via the rav kav - they will somehow have access to seeing what buses and trains you are taking to go places and will know where you are.

The government must lead pretty boring lives to get excited about tracking my movements.

Those calls are generally on individuals to not use the rav kav, rather to pay with cash or use an anonymous card that is not customized to the rider, even though that means the specific rider will generally pay more.

That conspiracy theory has just escalated.

According to Kol Milchama, some sort of headquarters for distributing information in the fight against the IDF draft, the rav kav information is now available to government offices and the Ministry of Education gets reports in real time of students who should be in school or yeshiva but are in transit to other places. They also add to make sure not to buy things using your credit card, as that is also tracked.

Even more interestingly, they advise people who need to go somewhere by public transportation but not wanting to be noticed by the government - if you must use a rav kav with a deal on it (ie not an anonymous rav kav), you should use someone else's rav kav, like your father's or brother's rav kav.
source: Kol Hazman

Note: they do not say it, but using someone else's rav kav is against the rules. Putting their money where their mouth is they should be honest and say that one can use an anonymous card and pay full price. That is the price you pay for anonymity.







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Annulment of worst aguna case in Israel

You rarely hear about wedding annulments in Judaism. They are very rare and happen only in exceptional cases. Interestingly, there was an annulment just less than two weeks ago, and now the news is now reporting the second wedding annulment this month that was just finalized a short while ago.

The case is of Oded Gez who has left his wife an aguna 5 years ago by refusing to give her a gett. The situation got so bad that the batei din imposed the harshest social sanctions on him that were available in their toolbelt. As a result of those sanctions he was fired form his job as professor at Bar Ilan University, in addition to other sanctions as well. He was also publicly "shamed", though for years it did not help.

At some point Gez escaped from Israel using a forged passport, hiding out in Cyprus, Uman, England and Belgium as he ran away from legal authorities and from the beis din aguna division who stayed no his trail. He was captured in Belgium and is in the process of being extradited to Israel.


In the meantime, the beis din in Haifa revisited his case and has decided, based on reasons they have chosen to keep secret, to annul the marriage. Mrs is no longer married, no longer an aguna and is not a divorcee. She has the status of having never been married.
sources: Behadrei, Kipa, Ynet


I am happy she has received her freedom.

I would like to hear the logic and proofs employed in deciding there was room to annul.

I wonder how an annulment affects Oded Gez's legal status. If they were never married, did he retroactively do nothing wrong?





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