Sep 19, 2019

Quote of the Day

We should establish a national unity government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu to which everyone who believes in a Jewish and democratic Israel will be invited. Nobody invalidates anybody else. No invalidating the Haredim, not Lapid, and definitely not Netanyahu. The nation has decided unity; the nation wants a government to be established and to run the economy, education and security. Everybody will need to compromise.

  --former (and pending) MK/Minister Naftali Bennett



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blessings to the new MKs, especially from Bet Shemesh

Blessings to all the new MKs to be serving in new term of the Knesset, alongside the veteran MKs. Blessings especially to the MKs from Bet Shemesh - Keti Shitreet in the Likud, Moshe Abutbol in Shas and Omer Yankelovitch in Kachol Lavan.

Jpost has an article in which they interviewed some prominent "Anglo" citizens of Bet Shemesh about Abutbol's entry into the Knesset.

The sentiment transmitted in the interview seems to be that Abutbol was not a particularly good mayor, had problems being connected to extremism, was not helpful to residents across the spectrum, but hopefully as MK he will do better and help everyone and anyone who approaches him for help and hopefully he will help Bet Shemesh whenever a Bet Shemesh related issue might arise in the halls of Knesset.

Way to rally for his support. Dis him completely, talk about how bad he was, and then say you hope he helps. Sure, that's the way to get him to help. Hopefully his lack of English will mean he likely won't see the article, and hopefully nobody else will show it to him.




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Citizen Guetta: Episode 12: who is watching our children? (video)







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Trump: Our relationship is with Israel (video)

OUCH!!

Trump at about the 6 minute mark gets asked about the Israeli elections..





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Two Bubbes Translate Science - Episode 1: Sustainable Agriculture (video)


cute





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Synagogues of Switzerland (video)







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ACHEINU KOL BEIS YISROEL - Cantors Convention 2019 (video)







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Sep 18, 2019

let the infighting begin

While PM Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to find a way to break the "plonter" and form some sort of government, despite how bleak it looks, he held a meeting with the heads of the various right wing parties this evening and proposed they go as a front, with him as their agreed-upon representative, and negotiate as a united bloc of 55 seats.

I am not quite sure what that means - who is he negotiating with as a bloc of 55 seats and what are the ramifications of such a bloc? Could it not be broken if an attractive offer was made to just part of the bloc? Gantz would take them as a bloc off 55 - but some of those 55 insisted they wont sit with Lapid, so how does this bloc work?

Anyways, the infighting is already starting.

Kikar is reporting that Rav Silman, one of the rabbinic leaders of UTJ, recently said that he does not rely on Netanyahu at all. he says he recently sat with Netanyahu to discuss potential coalition issues and Netanyahu is a real nothing who cannot be relied upon.

Add to that the anonymous senior UTJ activist who today said, according to a report by Yanir Couzin, that Netanyahu failed to supply the merchandise. He ran a lousy campaign. We thought, this UTJ activist said, he would pull out a rabbit on election day, but he didn't. We requested that he attack Lieberman for banning us form a government, but he did not do it. He's a Shlemiel.

So, they are learning that each politician is out for himself and for his party at most. Did they really expect Netanyahu to put his neck on the line for a different party?

One more point. the statement reminded me of something else. Recently Eli Yishai was negotiating with moshe Gafni regarding the possibility of Rav Mazuz supporting UTJ. It was reported that Yishai wanted to be appointed to a ministerial position. At the time Gafni said they would be happy for Yishai to be appointed minister, but it would be up to Netanyahu and it would have to come from Netanyahu and not from the UTJ allotment of appointments..

And now they expected Netanyahu to fight their battle against Lieberman. They did not want to attack Lieberman directly, for whatever strategic reason they decided upon (early in the campaign they said they thought a direct attack would just make Lieberman bigger), but they wanted Netanyahu to do their dirty work for them, and because he did not, he is a failure with a lousy campaign.

UTJ seems to think everyone owes them and they do not have to pay up on their. Sure, support us, but someone else should pay for that support. We are fighting with Lieberman, but we want someone else to run the fight on our behalf and take the fall for us. They have learned so much and become really great politicians for their electorate, but they cannot always expect other people to pay their bills. If they want to play on the court, they have to run their team and fight its fights.

And in no way do I think this is limited to UTJ. It just started with them. I imagine other potential partners will be complaining about Netanyahu soon as well. It is only natural, as he was supposed to lead them into the coalition and he failed, or at least made it very difficult. it is natural they are disappointed in him and will be upset at his coming "betrayal".






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Quote of the Day

Who is Lieberman? Is he a minister? I am willing to sit with Lieberman if he will start to keep Shabbos and wear tefillin

 -- Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman

sounds like a practical offer to me...





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thoughts from the elections

You won't find predictions here. I am not a prophet and I am not in the business of making predictions. I will not predict who will win, who the president will task first with the attempt to form a coalition, if the President will pressure the candidates for a unity government, if the Haredim will capitulate and agree to sit with Gantz, if Gantz and Lapid will split up, if Netanyahu will resign or be forced out and replaced by another candidate in the Likud or not, or any other of the many options and issues on the table right now. We'll let it play out and comment on things as they happen.

For the meantime, comments on the election:

1. We are basically in the same place we were before, with slight, mostly insignificant, changes. As Albert Einstein said (or maybe he did not say it), doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Little changed form one election to the next. Expecting different results was silly. Something dramatic and significant would have to change for that to happen.

2. Kudos to the Haredi parties. They both grew. UTJ in number of voters even though it is the same number of seats, and Shas with an additional seat. They do their best when they create a sense that they are under attack, and they did it well.

3. The Dati Leumi parties showed once again how insignificant and weak they are. People have a hard time differentiating between them and the Likud, and the more religious voters in their electorate were not happy with a secular candidate heading their religious party. In the heart of DatiLeumiville they lost significant amounts of votes while UTJ and the Likud grew in leaps and bounds in those areas. Their voters see little reason to vote for them. And it has been like this for a long time, but now it is also on the religious end, not just the nationalistic end.  Add to that all the splits and divisions, thinking every different nuance of a voter needs a different party to vote for ensures that they will always weaken their potential political power even more.

4. Otzma is as Otzma was. They dd not waste any votes - they do not run to help Bibi or anyone else. They run because they want to run. I have nothing against people voting for a party they feel ideologically close to, even if it will not get in. Most of their voters probably would not have voted for Bibi or Yamina anyway, had Otzma not run. And Bibi never would have given them a ministry anyway, so they need not feel any obligation to Bibi or any other party. They feel they have something to offer, they have the right to run. After that the voters choose to vote or not.

5. Gantz ran a lousy campaign. He was boring. He mostly seemed to try to stay out of the limelight. Bibi is a "killer" when it comes to campaigning, but Gantz has none of that in him. The only one in his party who does is maybe Lapid. Despite the boring and lackluster campaign, they still , twice now, campaigned to a tie against a powerful incumbent. I can only imagine had they run a real campaign of any sort they probably could have won in a walk. That being said, if Gantz is eventually tasked to forming a government, I sure hope he runs the government and country better than he ran his campaign.

6. as I said earlier, you cannot run a campaign and attract voters just by going from city to city arguing with a couple dozen bored teenagers. Ron Kubi is an embarrassment. He already had the name recognition, it should have been easy for him to run a real campaign.

7. electoral reform is needed

8. Many were shocked last night, and maybe today, to see the United Arab Party as the 3rd largest in Knesset. If a unity government is formed, it almost definitely means the Arab Party would lead the Opposition, which would give Aymen Odeh the status of a minister and he would receive a security details and would have to be given regular updates about Israel's security situation.
if you support a one-state solution, and are upset that the Arab parties are now the 3rd largest in the Knesset, think about how much bigger they will be if the one-state solution will ever be implemented and another 2 million Palestinians will be given Israeli citizenship.. even if you only support Bennett's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, several hundred thousand Arabs would become citizens and the Arab party would still grow significantly.
I don't know the solution, but proponents of the one-state solution need to say how they would deal with this.




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The Rabbi Orlofsky Show: Episode 54: Simanim Explained (video)







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R' Mordechai Gottlieb - Va'Ani Tefilati (video)







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Sep 17, 2019

Benny Friedman - "Inspiring The World With Music" ( The Great Day Podcast) (video)







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Arab Israelis: Do you have any Jewish friends? (video)







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THE LENNY SOLOMON SHOW WEBISODE 4 - RASHI (video)







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NAFTALI BLUMENTHAL - MAYBE NO ONE TOLD YOU - (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)







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Sep 16, 2019

Kudos to UTJ's campaign

I don't make predictions and I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow with the voting and who will win or which party will get how many seats or which will grow and which will shrink, but I do want to congratulate UTJ on running what I consider to have been the best campaign of all the parties.

UTJ produced great videos that were on point with their strong message, never wavering or unclear. UTJ rallied its people and brought many from outside their natural camp in, and they even starred in videos explaining why they will vote UTJ. They created a sense of urgency and the people seem to have responded. If there is one party that does better than expected, I would not be surprised if it were UTJ. We'll find that out tomorrow night or Wednesday when the results are published, but the campaign itself was well done regardless of that.


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Rally the Voters!

in one of my "haredi breaking news" whatsapp groups, the following blurb was posted:
המוקד: בהוראת גדולי ישראל; ישיבות קטנות וגדולות ואברכי הכולל יוצאים בשעה הקרובה להשתתף בעצרת בבית החיים בבני ברק במעמד גדולי ישראל להצלחת המערכה מחר. 
Translation:
As per the instructions of the gedolei yisrael: students in yeshiva ketanas, yeshiva gedolas and avreichim in kollel should all go within the coming hour to participate in the election rally in the Bnei Braq cemetery along with the gedolim, for the purpose of success tomorrow.


(this is humor, for some who might not catch it)
for some communities an election rally in the cemetery is perfectly appropriate, to rally all the voters and encourage them to go vote, even the dead voters!


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Amazon to use the Post Office

According to Globes, in prep for the launch of amazon Israel, Amazon has signed a deal with the Israel Postal Authority to use Israel Post for delivery of packages in Israel via Amazon Israel.

The deal is expected to boost revenues of Israel Post by tens of millions of shekels annually.

Way to go. This practically ensures customer dissatisfaction, especially when a significant percentage of packages don't get delivered or when it takes weeks or months instead of days for delivery.

The only hope is if Israel Post gives Amazon some sort of priority service, taking extra care to deliver Amazon packages quickly and efficiently. But then every other business in Israel shipping via Israel Post will get upset.


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Gantz giving out Ministries already

Interestingly, Benny Gantz has been giving out jobs in the coming government he plans to form. He has been announcing who will get what task in his coming government. Gabi Ashkenazi, he says, will be appointed Defense Minister. Moshe Boogie Yaalon will be designated as Education Minister. Yair Lapid will be Foreign Minister, prior to the rotation taking place. He did not say anything about Nissenkorn, but previously he had been designated for the role of Finance Minister.

I always believe in the adage of not getting ahead of yourself. First win the election and then give out the positions. But ok, he is not the only talking about what roles they want to be responsible for and so he is not so different.

The thing that makes this different is that even if Gantz does win the election, he will not be pulling in 61 seats all by himself. He is going to need to form a coalition with other political parties. Those other parties who will want to join Gantz's coalition - they are going to want some ministerial positions as well, including some of the more prominent Ministries. Gantz is not going to be able to keep them all for his party members. He might be able to be the Prime Minister and keep Defense Minister for Ashkenazi or Yaalon, but then a different party will want Education portfolio and another party will demand the Finance Ministry. And another will want the Foreign Ministry. Or whatever each party demands and what he insists on keeping - either way, Benny Gantz will not be forming a government if he plans to keep all these major portfolios within Kachol Lavan.

My theory is that he is trying to look like a winner, as if he already has won the election and is thinking about who gets what. Think like a winner to become a winner. Think like a winner and others might think of you as a winner as well.





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Jewish Israelis: What if you had an Arab neighbor? (video)







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On 9/11, Hillel Neuer calls out UN rights chief for coddling terrorists (video)







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Synagogues of Sweden (video)







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Sruli & Netanel -Aneni (Official Music Video)







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Sep 15, 2019

Benny Gantz aint no Moses

Earlier I posted the Quote of the Day with Benny Gantz comparing the fact that he has a stutter or stammer in speech and the ability lead with the fact that Moshe had a stammer as well but was a great leader. I thought it was funny of him, and of course he was not comparing himself to Moshe, the greatest of all time, but was suggesting that a stammer need not be a hindrance to leadership. It was a cute comparison.

The MKs of UTJ have all expressed their shock and outrage at Gantz's comparison, accusing him of being haughty and comparing himself to Moses..
1. Yaakov Asher said he had tremendous chutzpa comparing himself to Moses but just like Moses never reached the Promised Land Gantz will not achieve his dream and will not become Prime Minister.
2. Yisrael Eichler responded that Moses went with his brother Ahron to bless the Jewish people out of love, while Gantz went with Balaam to curse the jewish people out of anger
3. Yaakov Litzman said he was shocked to hear the insulting and superfluous comparison made by Benny Gantz between himself and Moshe Rabbeinu - Mr Gantz, take your shoes off before speaking about the holy people of our nation

They take everything just a little too seriously and a little too far.. We all know Benny Gantz ain't no Moses, and I don't think he was claiming to be...






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Facebook Status of the Day

sometimes a reminder is helpful




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Quote of the Day

Moshe Rabbeinu had a stutter and he needed Ahron by his side to say his words, but he was still a great leader.

  -- MK Benny Gantz (Kachol Lavan) when asked about his stammering again on camera in an interview and being attacked by the Likud because of it

The Likud is silly attacking him for his occasional stammer in interviews. We all know he isn't Benjamin Netanyahu with a perfect diction and tremendous speaking abilities. Plus, even Netanyahu recently messed up a few times on camera in interviews.






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9/14/19 - Show 237 - Tefillah: Halachah, Machshavah and History (audio)

interesting. first about halacha and hashkafa of tefilla, then about Uman and Rosh Hashana





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The Rabbi Orlofsky Show: Episode 53: The Purpose of Selichos (video)

with selichos and the Yamim Noraim approaching, I thought it would be worth posting this episode...





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Pedut Rotnemer has Dwarf's Syndrome and has become an excellent teacher - in Bet Shemesh! (video)







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?What Happens When a Muslim Women Enters a Jewish Town (video)







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Ashrei, Psalm 145 (Official GoPro Music Video) by Jeremy Gimpel (video)







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Sep 13, 2019

Do not hand over a slave to his master after he has fled to you







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Sep 12, 2019

a halachic state or not

Among us religious people many of us say we want the State of Israel to be a halachic state. Maybe we don't have enough power to do it yet. Maybe there arent enough religiosu people yet for it to happen. The goal though is for Israel to become a religious and halachic state, at some point. Some of us say it, or believe it, or say we believe it, even if deep down we really dont want it (because we like our freedom to choose, or whatever other reason it might be). But we say it. We either really want it or we say it because we think we are supposed to.

Aryeh Deri, Minister of Interior and head of Shas, just said on the radio "enough of all the spin - we do not want a medinat halacha - a halachic state".

There you have it gentlemen. You do not need to feel obligated to want a halachic state or feel obligated to say you want a halachic state. The cat is out of the bag. It is fine to want Israel to be a Jewish state without aspirations of turning it into a halachic state run by rabbis you dont want telling you what to do.





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Quote of the Day

Lieberman will topple me. Whoever does not want me as Prime Minister - should vote for him

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu



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Citizen Guetta: Episode 11: Local Government Corruption (video)







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what would Israel without the Haredim look like? (video)

I have not heard anybody talk about throwing the Haredim out of the country, so I am not sure where this is coming from, but it is a good clip..




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you only know us from the television..Dina wants you to meet the real haredim (video)







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Elisha Birnbaum " LEHITRASEK V'LEHOV" (Cover by Chaya kogan & Chanale)- KOL ISHA (video)







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SHUKY Im Eshkachech with Rikod music (video)







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Sep 11, 2019

Netanyahu blames Lieberman for everything

It seems PM Netanyahu is on a streak of failures. This might be the new Bibi, as he used to be considered the magician who could pull a success out of almost any seemingly bad situation. The latest is the failure to pass the law he tried to ram through the Knesset, against the wishes of the Attorney General, mandating the ability to document polling stations by video.

The thing is, Netanyahu did not work on this law for a reasonable amount of time, trying to obtain support of the various parties, leading a public debate as to the necessity of such a law, and all the normal process of passage of an important law. He just tried to ram it through and calling on, or demanding from, his potential coalition partners to support his position, and even pitting Right against Left on an issue that has no reason to be a right-left issue. As much as the Right has historically, and currently, accused the Left and Arabs of cheating in elections, the Left has accused the Right, the Settlers and the Haredim of cheating in elections. If done properly, such a law could easily be supported by a large majority of parliamentarians.

Netanyahu almost surely knew in advance that the law had little chance of passing. If he had the numbers supporting him, he would have been able to form a coalition. So he knows he does not have the numebrs and would not be able to pass the law. This was really all for show. Netanyahu wanted to show the voters on the Right that he is working for them to try to stop the cheaters on the Left. He wanted to show that the cheaters on the Left have no shame and publicly just want to continue cheating. He wants to show that anything he does, even a good thing, will be blasted by everyone opposed to him, even illogically.

And, Netanyahu wanted to blame Avigdor Leiberman for more problems. Netanyahu blames Lieberman for the elections, despite the fact that it is Bibi who led the initiative to disperse the Knesset and go to elections rather than return his mandate to the President. Lieberman did not join his government because Bibi and his partners would not agree to his demands, but Bibi led the way to elections rather than letting the process continue. And now Bibi is blaming Lieberman for the fall of the camera law, because Lieberman did not support it.

Lieberman owes Bibi nothing. he had no obligation to join his government and he had no obligation to support Bibi's silly law. For 13 years, plus an additional 3 before that, Bibi could have worked on passing such a law when he was leading relatively stable governments. He did not, but only decided to do it now when he has no government and a minority of support. Lieberman is not in his coalition and owes him nothing. Bibi seems to think that blaming Lieberman for his failures will bring him votes. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. That remains to be seen. It does seem, to me, that the people are just no longer buying Bibi's lokshen, as they say in Hebrew.





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The problem with Kachol Lavan and Benny Gantz

I think Benny Gantz is running a lousy campaign.

Gantz should be harping on Bibi's power struggle, his recent string of failures (including today's camera law) and how he went with no precedent and did not return the mandate to the president, essentially wasting hundreds of millions of shekels. He should be harping on Netanyahu paying off Hamas regularly. He should be harping on Netanyahu running the country while under indictment and distracted by his personal legal issues. He should be harping on all sorts of issues one can legitimately be upset about regarding Netanyahu as Prime Minister, but you hardly hear him talk, let alone about anything that would help him and maybe turn people away from Netanyahu.

People claim Gantz is unqualified for the position of Prime Minister, and that his party is full of unqualified people. I would just say that Bibi was unqualified for the job as well, until he won and became prime minister. He became qualified on the job, and that included making mistakes along the way. I am not sure anyone running for such a position is qualified, until he/she actually gets the job and figures it out. His being unqualified does not bother me. Also, for many people, as far as I can tell, the real reason to vote for Gantz is just to get rid of Bibi, assuming that if Gantz wins Bibi wont continue to run the Likud for long and will retire from politics. These people largely accept that Gantz being unqualified and his government likely to fold relatively quickly is just the price to pay for getting Bibi out.

Another big issue with Blue and White is that I see no path to government for them. Even if they trounce Bibi/Likud and win more seats, they have no way to form a government. They arent truly left and wont sit with the Arabs and likely not with Meretz/Barak . Likud would be silly to jump in and say we'll join a Gantz-led coalition when they know they can stonewall and prevent Gantz from forming a government. The Haredim wont join because of Lapid (and maybe also because of Lieberman). Yamina, or parts of it, could join but they would likely do like the Likud and stonewall. I dont see how Gantz even gets close to forming a government, even if they win more seats.



(I might make this a series of the problems I have with each party. Or I might not.)






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Kubi has gotten boring

I don't get Ron Kubi and his campaign for the Knesset. He hardly has much of a campaign going, at least that i can see. All the parties are putting out slogans and campaign videos and responding to events and situations with statements.

I don't see any of that from Kubi. The only videos I see him put out are his selfie videos that pretty much all look the same. His entire campaign seems to be going from city to city and getting into pathetic arguments with a handful of bored Haredi teenagers and documenting it to his Facebook page. I am not sure why he thinks that is either mature or will be enough to propel him into national office.

For a guy who ran a successful campaign as an underdog to become mayor of Tiberias, one might think he would have a decent campaign going. For a guy who talks so much, one might think he has something to say that voters might be interested in hearing. Kubi has been boring me lately, and I was so looking forward to an exciting campaign from him. I dare say, Kubi has gotten boring, and even pathetic.




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Special statement by PM Netanyahu (video)








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Synagogues of Spain (video)







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Yonatan Razel - Painter (video)







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Sep 10, 2019

Donations for prayers rather than for good work

An organization called up looking for a donation. A good organization. An organization I have donated to in the past and would donate to again. I think most people consider this organization a worthy organization.

She went on her spiel about a new program they are raising money for, and in her spiel she mentioned about donors to this program receiving a special bracha from Rav Kanievsky for protection in judgement for the coming year.

At the end of her spiel I said I would donate, but I offered a donation far smaller than what she was asking for.

After thanking me, she tried to persuade me once more to increase the donation, and offered me another set of benefits including being prayed for (didnt catch who would be doing the praying) at the Kotel in exchange for the increased donation.

I stuck to my smaller donation and told her that the truth is I almost decided to give no donation at all once she started with the shtick of brachas and Rav Kanievsky and now the Kotel. The organization is worthy of donations without all that shtick and it is just a turn-off, but I wont cancel the donation and will only give the amount I initially offered. I donate to them because of the good work they do, not because of someone going to the Kotel for me.

Anyways I would not have donated as much as she wanted me to, but I might have donated a slightly larger donation.

Did I do right or wrong?



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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran's Nuclear Program (video)







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Baruch & Chesky Leibowitz - Elokai [Official] (video)







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Sep 9, 2019

Gerrer Rebbe has large screen tv installed in Beis Medrash

The Gerrer Rebbe had, for the first time ever, a large screen installed in the beis medrash of Gur.

source: Behadrei

The screen was installed as part of the preparations for the big Gur wedding tomorrow night of the Gerrer Rebbe's grandson. The screen is so the hassidim can watch the proceedings and see the rebbe do what he does, after experiencing a problem that last Shabbos when the rebbe got an aliya to the torah many could not see him.

The timing seems a bit suspicious to me. We all know the baseball season is winding down with playoffs starting in just a few weeks, and football season is just starting as the NFL is  underway with the first week of the new football season this week. I am not suggesting Gur fealty to the Chicago Bears or New England Patriots, or even the New York Yankees, but the timing does seem a bit suspicious..




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Eida tells Rav Kopshitz it is time to pick a side

I always wondered about Rav Nosson Kopshitz in bet Shemesh. He is rav of the Kiryah Hacharedis and is officially associated with the Eida Hachareidis. Yet, despite his association with the Eida and their position of not getting involved in politics and governance in Israel as they reject the State of Israel and all its trappings, Rav Kopshitz is also the leading rav among the rabbinic leadership for the local faction of UTJ. His name is on their signs and proclamations, and if you read the local press you'll see him directing UTj in how to act visa vis local government issues. This was always a conundrum to me, and I simply assumed I did not understand the nuance of his position within the Eida or within UTJ.

Kikar is reporting that the Eida has had enough of Rav Kopshitz's shenanigans, as he recently participated in a local UTJ prayer service regarding the "Bar Ilan" situation, and wants him to finally pick a side. If he is part of the Eida, he cant lead UTJ. If he is going to continue being involved with UTJ, he wont be able to continue representing the Eida.

That kind of clears it up. There is no nuance other than Rav Kopshitz trying to play both ends of the court. He probably is really Eida (his whole family is, so that's is really where he comes from), but he is also somewhat practical and pragmatic, and a bit of a "strange bird" who does things his own way, so he tries to improve the local haredi community with his leadership and direction.

If the Eida is serious Rav Kopshitz will have to finally pick a side. They are warnign him that he has to decide which side he is on and this cannot continue.




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treating people like zoo animals

According to an article in the NY Post, Orthodox Jews in New York are sick of being photographed like zoo animals.

It seems there are tours now that specialize in taking groups into hassidic and ultra-orthodox neighborhoods of New York and showing the tourists the hassidim and talking a bit about their lifestyle (whether accurate or not). The tourists, understandably, snap lots of pictures of the people dressed in garb that looks a couple hundred years old, as if in a ghetto or shtetl, making the residents feel like they are a tourist attraction, which they basically have become, or like animals in a zoo.

Shtisel hitting screens worldwide on Netflix is likely one of the causes of the interest in Hassidim.

Seeing their response, that they feel like zoo animals, makes me wonder how bothersome it is when people go anywhere and snap pictures of the locals. The Old City of Jerusalem is a tourist hot zone, though not necessarily for the photographing of local residents, but people travel the world and take pictures of the locals wherever they go in places that people dress and look differently. I am thinking of people traveling to India, to places in Africa such as Ethiopia and other countries, Japan, China, and many other places. Even religious Jews do it in other Jewish neighborhoods when we see interesting looking people, such as in Mea Shearim or Bnei Braq.

Is it invasive and treating them like "zoo animals"? Are we being bothersome and annoying?



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Quote of the Day


I have no intention of voting Likud in the coming elections. Inr ecent years it seems the Likud leadership is investing tremendous efforts to make it difficult and prevent me from voting for it. There is a price to pay for acting in a haughty and arrogant manner..

  -- former Minister Benny Begin

I would be curious to know what party he does intend to vote for and support. It is a shame he did not say. Begin is a reasonable, measured, decent, and thoughtful person and I, and probably many others, would like to know which party he considers a party worthy of the leadership. The state of the Likud today is really not his style.



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Palestinians: Do you want Sharia law in Palestine? (video)







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Model from a Haredi House





interesting. lovely that her family accepts her and she accepts them

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Zusha - Ad Shetehe (Official Music Video)







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Sep 8, 2019

Aliza Bloch is schooling Bet Shemesh

Kikar is reporting that Aliza Bloch, Mayor of Bet Shemesh, is responding publicly, for the first time, to the issue of "Bar Ilan" - the neighborhood that was secular and is now mixed with Haredi families (also called a "mitchared" neighborhood - a neighborhood in the process of becoming Haredi) but seemingly suffering from a lack of proper buildings and locations for their schools and shuls. In recent weeks the Haredi residents of the Bar Ilan neighborhood have gotten very vocal and loud, pasting signs and holding protests in various forms all around the city, even disrupting, violently, an event at which the mayor was present and participating in.

Until now Bloch has not commented publicly about this issue, leaving everyone to wonder where she stands on it, what the City opposition, or lack of assistance, is based on, and how this will get resolved. Now Bloch was asked and has responded.

The author starts by pointing out that Bloch's policy has been to work on improving the existing Haredi neighborhoods but not to meddle in the old neighborhoods and change status quo.

So, Bloch explains that the city, as it came into her hands, was short 1000 classrooms. Many Haredi students were in schools in caravans and rented apartments or other inappropriate structures. Bloch says she set a goal to get as many kids as possible into proper buildings, but all kids are equal and just because one group of people starts screaming and making trouble does not turn their demands into legitimate or higher priority than others - those who scream and speak not nicely, will not get serviced.

Bloch adds they even tried to turn the issue into a secular-haredi fight, thinking they would benefit form hafganot. There are some activists who think that terror and noise will get them results. Most of the Haredi community, she says, did not join their loud fight but rejected it.

Nobody wants, Bloch says, a mayor who makes decisions just because someone screamed. When they realized that screaming will get them nowhere, we are all ready to help and find and implement available solutions. When you scream it is as if you do not exist.

Bloch then went on to relate specifically to the mixed neighborhood - she said there are many Haredi neighborhoods and she is taking care to make sure they are given excellent care. She is busy telling the secular people that there is place for them in bet Shemesh as well and trying to help them keep their neighborhood character so they'll stay. Bet Shemesh can have mixed dancing, a cultural center and the beis medrash. Bet Shemesh can have mixed-gender events and separate-gender events. This is a model necessary for Israel and there is no need to use hate to get elected..

Aliza Bloch learned lessons from the school systems she taught in and administered for many years, and she is bringing that to city leadership. Terror does not pay. Screaming is not what gets results. Some in national government should pay attention.




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Trump's new envoy to the Middle East and the challenges he'll face

So, Jason Greenblatt is stepping down as Trump's special peace envoy to the Middle East. Greenblatt is being replaced by a guy named Avi Berkowitz. Berkowitz has served as a an assistant to Jared Kushner. Berkowitz is 30 years old and learned in yeshiva in Kol Torah, before moving on to University, including Harvard Law School, and his career.



Besides for being young, Berkowitz looks extremely young. He must be very talented to achieve so much at such a young age. I hope he is brilliant and truly talented. He will face a lot of challenges - the Palestinians will accept him and anything he offers as little as they accepted anything else from anyone Trump set, adding that to his youth and being another devout Orthodox Jew, even more than the previous envoy, and it seems unlikely the Palestinians will give him the time of day. Everyone else might have a hard time taking him seriously considering his lack of experience and his apparent youth, but that is probably easier to overcome than the Palestinian bias against him as an orthodox Jewish representative of Donald Trump..

Best of luck to Avi Berkowitz, the United States, and to the Middle East.


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who is really cheating in the elections?

When there is something to gain, there will always be somebody trying to gain by cheating a little.

The Likud is pushing very hard for the passage of a law about videoing the ballot boxes and polling stations.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with it, as long as no one specific sector is being targeted, but every polling station will  have the same status of being videoed at the same time, whether it be the placement of the ballots in the box or whether it be the tallying of the votes.

In the past there probably is no sector that has not been steretyped as being the classic cheaters during elections voting. the Haredim bring out the dead and vote with 120% turnout. The kibbutzim, when they ran the country, brought out the dead to vote and had 120% voter turnout. The Arabs (currently). The Settlers. etc etc

So right now the Likud is claiming the Arabs cheat in the ballot boxes and it needs to be recorded to prevent cheating and for the purpose of compiling evidence. Whether they do or do not I don't know. if the Likud thinks they have a valid claim and have some sort of evidence of cheating, it should have been submitted to the police, the electoral board and the courts and it should be investigated.

The interesting thing is, Kahn 11 is reporting that an investigation into the election cheating has turned up some basic suspicion of spot cheating throughout the country across every sector, with some specific spots of more serious cheating specifically by the Likud and by Shas representatives.

So, while the Likud is claiming the Left is trying to steal the elections by letting [Arab] cheating go unchecked, it is really the Likud and Shas that seem to cheat the most.


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Quote of the Day

Here is a chain of Gafni and then Lapid's response, as Gafni said something noteworthy in "Meet the Press" and Lapid responded..

I am not under pressure that we might be left out in the Opposition. It would not be a disaster if we sat in the Opposition. I was in the opposition in the previous term. If we would feel under pressure, we would zigzag like everyone else and now would say we support someone else, or now we'd say we might sit with Lapid - but we are not saying that.

  -- MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ)

it might not be a disaster, but Gafni and UTJ have always acted as it is was a disaster, so playing it cool now is just putting on a good face to make a point or else it shows that almost everything they have done since 2013 was just a show. Probably the former is closer to the truth rather than the latter.

Gafni just said to Rina Matzliach that it would not be a disaster if he would have to sit in the Opposition? It is true it would not be a disaster. Who ever said that there isn't anything we can agree on?

  -- MK Yair Lapid (Kachol Lavan)

cute response




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9/7/19 - Show 236 - Understanding the differences in Hashkafah between the Litvish and Lubavitch worlds (audio)

fascinating discussion





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Palestinians: Can an non-Zionist Israeli come live in Palestine? (video)







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interview with extreme Haredi against the elections (video)




interesting





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Al Tira Avdi Yaacov (Jacob, My servant, do not fear) (video)







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Dudi Knopfler - Hashem Rofecha (Official Music Video)







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Sep 6, 2019

Shabbat HaMalka by Martin Widerker Music (video)







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Sep 5, 2019

Interesting Psak: Elections halachos

Kikar is reporting about a series of halachic questions asked of Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding the upcoming elections, with his responses:

Q: Rav Elyashiv said that going to vote is a mitzva from the torah of doing what your rav tells you, טעשית ככל אשר יורוך, so why is there no bracha when goign to vote?
A: we dont make a bracha for bad things

Q: but the mitzva is listenign to the rabbonim, and the bracha should be on that, not specifically the voting...
A: the chachomim never made such a takana of a rbacha

Q: when going to vote and fulfill the mitzva of listening to the rabbonim, should one take his children along for the purpose of chinuch?
A: yes

Q: should one drive to vote or does one get more schar by walking or is it the same thing?
A: If there is no bittul torah

Q: can one eat before going to vote or is it like other mitzvas that one cannot eat before performing the mitzva?
A: No

Q: when going to, or returning from the, vote would one be exempt from performing a different mitzva?
A: yes

Q: if one has a car and volunteered to drive people to vote, elderly people, and realizes he did not daven mincha, and it is almost sunset - should he stop and go daven or is he exempt from mincha because he is performing the mitzva?
A: he should daven mincha while sitting and driving

Q: if one has his voting station close to the house and the shul he davens in is further away, and he wakes up int he morning and goes to shul he would pass the voting station, meaning by going to shul he would pass the mitzva of listening to the rabbonim. What should he do first?
A: vote

Q: if one has to circumcise his son on election day, which mitzva comes first - voting or mila?
A: voting

Q: should one prefer to spend his own money on any expenses to be incurred in going to vote, like other mitzvas?
A: it is a mitzva

Q: when voting should one focus his concentration on fulfilling the mitzva of listening to the rabbonim?
A: yes




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Quote of the Day

today si difficult. we have three statements competing for QotD honors...2 from litzman and 1 from Rivlin. I guess I'll put all 3 here (in no particular order) and let you all decide

1.

Lapid is a contagious disease that infected Gantz and is infected with antisemitism
 
  -- Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman

this has caused a bit of a ruckus today

2.

We did not attack Gantz personally until today despite the fact that we were upset that he connected with Lapid, but suddenly he has changed over and is talking about a government with no Haredim. This is not leadership but is zigzagging, and we were right for only going with Bibi

  -- Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman

this was really a continuation of the first statement above, but I separated them into two items as they are each different issues

So, all along UTJ says they wont sit with Gantz (because of Lapid, but even without Lapid they won't recommend Gantz and will only sit with him in a Netanyahu government). Gantz tries to pander to them and draw them in. It does not work, so eventually Gantz just stops. Litzman seems to think Gantz has to keep saying he wants the Haredim in. It is wrong for Gantz to suddenly say that he will form a government based on the secular majority, despite UTJ saying all along that they wont sit with him...

3.

Was I disappointed [that Netanyahu did not return the mandate]? I was surprised.

  -- President Reuven Rivlin




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MK Yoaz Hendel at ShishiTarbut in bet Shemesh (video)







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Citizen Guetta: Episode 10: where are the health insurance companies when you need them? (video)







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Koolulove | Yesh Bi Ahava - Arkadi Duchin | Latroun Park | Aug. 15th, 2019 (video)

On August 15th, 2019, 8,000 people came together at the Latroun amphitheater to sing about love and how it triumphs everything. This happened thanks to one newlywed couple called Yariv & Elinore, who after participating in Koolulam events that strengthened their love, decided to fund a mass singing event instead of a traditional wedding. This enabled thousands to experience what they had felt while attending a Koolulam event almost two years ago. And this is what it looked like... Koolulam is a social-musical initiative, meant to bring together people from any and all walks of life. Our Idea is to simply stop everything for a few hours and just sing - together.





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Synagogues of Spain (video)







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Kol Haneshama Netanel Hershtik & The Maccabeats (video)







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Sep 4, 2019

Ishay Ribo - Seder Ha'Avoda (video)

With the High Holidays around the corner, this new song from Yishai Ribo is very timely, from the Yom Kippur services..




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going to Germany to see what was

I recently went on a trip to Germany. Something I never thought I would do.

So, how did this happen?

The City of Fulda sponsored a program bringing children of Holocaust survivors and victims from Fulda to Fulda. My grandfather was from Fulda, and while he got out after a stint in Buchenwald,  his parents, my great grandparents, (among other relatives) were deported and murdered in Sobibor. They put together a program tracing roots, memorializing the victims, seeing the current community, seeing what was and what is.

Fulda is a city about 100km from Frankfurt. Outside of Frankfurt it is the biggest city in its area, and it is located in the state of Hessen.  The current Jewish community is largely made up of Russian Jews who came from the Soviet Union after the Cold War and after the Berlin Wall fell and the fence between East and West Germany came down, though there are still two German Jews in town.

So we get to Germany, and the City sent someone to pick us up from the airport and drive us to Fulda. We checked into Hotel Esperanto and settled in. As I had asked about kosher food and no kosher food being available in Fulda, the city had ordered enough kosher meals for me, my father, and my cousins from the glatt kosher restaurant, Sohar, in Frankfurt. We had dinner with a German beer. Just for a shout out, the food was very good throughout the trip - 3 meals a day from Sohar, though some of the items were difficult to identify (being very European dishes), and all 3 meals each day were meaty. Other people in the group either didn't keep kosher and ate hotel food or made their own arrangements with a combination of bringing food along and eating what was ok from the hotel.

Another point to note is that I wore my yarmulka openly the entire trip. I went in not sure about whether to wear a kipa or hat. I had been told about the danger, but I felt it was likely exaggerated, and I had also heard that while some places in Europe really have problems, Fulda is a friendly and quiet town with no such incidents (and not such a large refugee/migrant population). So, I brought a hat along and was ready to wear it if I should feel uncomfortable or if I should feel in danger. I and my father were the only ones to wear our kipas in public - everyone else who was religious in the group wore hats. And I felt perfectly fine the entire time. We were easily identified as Jews, and received a number of random "shaloms" from people in the streets or present at events we attended. In addition to the random shaloms, we also had people approach us thanking us for coming to Germany and that they travel to Israel regularly for business or vacation. So I think wearing a yarmulka openly was a success. I felt comfortable and I think I showed myself as a proud and unafraid Jew comfortable in my own skin (I am not commenting anything about those who chose not to - everybody made their own decisions for their own reasons each with his own considerations and no one decision is more legitimate than another. I am just saying I am happy I decided to do what I did).

The first day, on Wednesday, after breakfast we got a walking tour of the main area of Fulda. The tour started with a few minutes walk over to the plaza in front of the train station. This plaza is where the Jews of Fulda were marched to, in front of the screaming gentile residents who were also throwing stones at them, by the Nazis for deportation, once in 1941 and again in 1942. We then contineud to walk through town and saw the street named for the Maharam Schiff, who lived there and headed a yeshiva in Fulda a few hundred years ago. From there we went to the street called Jerusalemplatz which is the location of the old Jewish cemetery. This cemetery no longer exists but is a park and a residential building and parking lot.

The cemetery was closed in 1906 as the city expanded and the community stopped using it (actually the last burial was in 1927 of someone who had purchased a plot there before it had been closed in 1906). From 1906 the community began burying its dead in the new Jewish cemetery, which we would see on Friday.

The government basically forced the community to sell the cemetery, that had been completely destroyed in Kristallnacht, to the government who would then convert it to being part of the city and despite agreeing not to build a building on it, they built the park and a building which went up too fast to stop. According to what we were told, when the park and building were being built, bones were frequently seen in the ground and among the construction. Recently the government made a memorial room at the bottom of the building, with no external signs indicating such a memorial, that contains pictures of the old cemetery, some Jewish items and some other memorial stuff. As well, some people made a memorial at the edge of the park with a stone bearing an inscription about the cemetery, along with a number of stone son the ground bearing the names and dates of some of the people buried in the cemetery - there was even a stone with the name of the grandmother of one of the people on the trip. The other end of the plot has a wall plaque honoring, again, the Maharam Schiff. No mention anywhere of a Jewish cemetery that had been there (and still is, underground), though there are people working hard to change that, pressuring the government to make a public memorial sign.

We continued to walk though town, seeing some general historic sights of Fulda. We also saw the bus depot which used to be the cattle market that was largely used by Jewish businessmen. The Jews were not allowed to be members of the variosu guilds, so they could ot be craftsmen and had to turn to other businesses, such as the classic money lending and insurance and whatnot, but also they dominated the cattle market. My great grandfather had been a cattle trader, so he worked in that very market. Someone else in the group had his father who had been a leather worker, and eh too had worked in that market.

Soon after we went for a reception in the castle, in which City Hall is now located, with the Lord Mayor, the Oberburgermeister, Lord Mayor Wingenfeld. We met some people from the current Jewish community at this event, and some other prominent people, and then the lord mayor came. He is a very genial fellow, young and friendly. He pushed hard for this and funded the entire program, seemingly with no political gain to him, so I am not quite sure why, unless it is truly altruistic or if there are reasons I am not aware of. The Lord Mayor greeted people and then spoke to the crowd. He spoke about history and community and the need to be aware of what happened and prevent such things in the future, and more.

That was basically the end of the official day, but we had a little more in store for the Goldmeier group. The driving force behind the trip, and behind a lot of what goes on for the memory fo the Jews of Fulda, is a Christian woman named Anja. She has taken on remembering the victims of oppression and  has done tremendous research into the Jews of Fulda, has pushed to open the city archives, pushes for memorials, and was very involved in this trip. Anja does not work for the government, but does all her work on her own, but she has made strong connections and pushes the government offices to assist and cooperate. I will also add that the Director of Culture for the eCity of Fulda is a man named Dr. Hylan. Dr Hylan opened the archives for us but he has also been instrumental in researching the history of the Jews of Fulda through the archives, and he has ordered the archives be put online and made fully available to the public - and they are.

So, after the reception with the Lord Mayor, Anja took us to see where the old shul was. The old shul was a beautiful structure on Am Stokhaus St, honorarily named Juden Grasse. The old shul is now a small residential building with a parking lot, and another larger residential building behind it. Next to the shul was a building with a mikva and a smaller beis medrash which they used during the weekdays. The mikva was discovered and still exists fully intact, but we could not see it as it is underground and has been sealed. The city rented the storefront (used to be a car dealership) at the bottom of the building and has put a memorial for the shul in there with images of what it looked like. Outside the parking lot on the wall around the lot is a plaque with the names of the 200+ Jewish residents of Fulda who were deported in the 1942 deportation. My great grandparents names were in this memorial, along with some other relatives.

the stables/garage
The small street in front of the shul going down the hill was known as Judenberg, back in the day. On the other side of that little street, in what is now all residential buildings, was the yeshiva of Fulda, and another smaller shul (for the "eastern Jews"). We then walked a couple more blocks and saw the building where my grandfather and great grandparents lived. We were able to go into the building, but not into the apartment because the guy who lives there now was not home when we were there - he has let other relatives in to see in the past. Interestingly, behind the building is now a parking lot, but it used to be where they kept the cattle, with what are clearly barn doors and windows for lowering hay still all there. Funny story my father told - the Jews had cattle, and the gentile neighbors kept pigs there. So, the Jews had to be careful to take in their buckets and not leave them outside, or else the goyim would use the buckets to milk their pigs and that would be a problem for the Jews to then use the buckets for the cows milk.

Day 2, Thursday, was not specifically Jewish in content. Fulda is very central Germany, and is a popular destination for conferences from around the country because it is on the train line and is about maximum 3 hours travel from every major city in Germany. Fulda is also the closest city to what was the wall and fence between East and West Germany, the US Army had a small base outside of Fulda at one of the main junctions of the fence - this is called Point Alpha. I would note that because of this army base, many Jewish soldiers pent a lot of time as part of the Jewish community in Fulda throughout the years, but that ended when the US Army closed the base and pulled its troops out after the wall came down. Point Alpha is now a museum about the division of Germany, and the people who suffered because of it. And near that is the army base that is now a museum about the US Army activities there. I would note, that when Germany was reunited, Soviet Jews came flooding into West Germany - with Fulda being a nearby town, many went to Fulda, and they largely make up the Jewish community in Fulda now.

Thursday afternoon we had off, while some people got private tours of where their families had lived.

Friday we went back to the old cemetery and heard the story more in full than the brief description we had been given on the first day. This time it was with Dr Hylan as well who also showed us images from the city archives of the city expansion and of the cemetery. We also now got to go into the memorial room and see the pictures and items therein. We (most of us) went as a group to the old shul and heard more about that, again with official pictures from the city archives. We later went to the new cemetery and saw the graves of relatives buried there. They had some interesting graves and memorials - including a memorial plaque of the Jews of Fulda who had died in battle in World War I. We then met with Dr Hylan at the archives and he showed us records of our families. Besides for seeing records of the individuals, we discovered that when the Jews were deported their homes were sealed and eventually sold by the State. When they would seal a home, they would catalog all the items inside and put them up for sale. The archives had recorded lists of items sold from any relevant person - things like curtains 50 Rechsmarks. 2 gold rings, 17 Recihsmarks, 4 knives, 3 Reichsmarks, mirror 2 Reichsmarks, etc. And, the Nazis had altered the records of the Jews, adding the name Israel to the records of Jewish men and the name Sarah to the records of Jewish women.

Shabbos was interesting in that we got to interact with the current Jewish community. We walked about 20 minutes to the new shul. The shul is located inside what sued to be a house - two people on the trip had been born in that house! Their parents went back after the war and left Fulda for greener pastures in 1949. In the meantime, these two brothers had been born there. This building also used to function as the school, so it was where my grandfather, and everyone else, went to school for Jewish studies after general school hours. Now the building functions as the shul and the lower floor bears a museum of sorts with images and memorials of the community and the school.

The shul only has services on Shabbos -Friday night and Shabbos morning, and on Monday morning. After davening the community eats Shabbos dinner and lunch together, though ti is really a light pareve meal - I am told the only time they have meat at the communal meal is Pesach night. The rabbi is a young man born in Moscow, living in Fulda, after having lived in Israel for a number of years. He led the davening, read the torah and spoke at the meals. He spoke in 3 languages - Russian, German and Hebrew. The rabbi also services other, smaller, communities, so he trades off with someone else, Reven Melamed who is one of the directors of the Jewish community of Fulda, and travels to the other communities, being in Fulda about 2 Shabbatot per month and in other communities on other shabbatot. Rabbi Jedwabni seems very dedicated to his work and the community and is doing avodas kodesh, giving these people some Judaism to be connected to. The crowd was just 15-20 people. The davening was nice, the meals were pleasant, we chatted with some of the community members and the rabbi, sang songs and had a nice time. The community is almost entirely old Russian Jews, so unless the course of the world undergoes some seismic change and God sends  more Jews to Fulda, pretty soon (in 30 to 40 years) there won't be a Jewish community left - there are no kids, and the younger people left long ago for other cities in Germany or Europe. I would note, the front gate and entrance is kept locked and they only use the back entrance, and a police car is stationed in the lot near the door during the times of services or other activities takign place in the shul.

Saturday night there was a concert, as the City of Fulda is celebrating a Jubilee year - celebrating its 1275th year. The concert was a special production of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Wednesday through Friday I also went running early in the morning. Fulda is really a beautiful, quiet, city.

Sunday was checkout and flying back to Israel, with a little bit of walking around town in the downtime. Being a very Christian city, all the stores and businesses, not including some restaurants, are closed on Sundays. The main strip was eerily quiet.

My main takeaway, I think, is that we have it so good nowadays, and we, most of the time, don't even realize it. We have freedom. We have so much freedom we love to fight with each other. We have so much freedom we strive to find ways to serve in ways that were unimaginable in previous generations, when they were just happy to be allowed to live their miserable lives and not be killed or deported ( and I am not just talking about the time of the Holocaust) before the end of the day. We have so much freedom we can go where we want, when we want, how we want. We can daven openly, learn torah openly, work in any profession a person might desire to work in, participate in sports or other public activities, easily find readily available kosher food in most places. We have it so good.


some other pictures of interest:


the park that used to be a Jewish cemetery


memorial at the edge of the cemetery/park






memorial plaques of the deported Jews of 1942 outside what used to be the shul

imahes of the old shul







 These are from point Alpha



there was a mine field between the two fences

wandered into the train station and saw the train is exactly like the Israeli trains

Dr Hylan at the cemetery\park




these were displayed in a storefront we passed.. it seems you can just walk in and buy any of these if you are over 18



on display in a show we wandered in to

The new Jewish cemetery





the section for children





a bush grew over the grave. we had to pull back the branches to access the grave

At the archives




group picture at City Hall, in the castle











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