Jun 20, 2021

Kashrut Alert: Aroma Mamilla loses hechsher

Kikar reporter Ariel Elharar reported on Twitter that workers of the Aroma Cafe in Mamilla Mall (outside of the Old City of Jerusalem) were seen, by Haredim returning form the Kotel, going in to Aroma and beginning to bake. this Aroma is/was under the hechsher of the Rabbanut Mehadrin (of Jerusalem) and the Badatz of Chug Chasam Sofer.



A sort while later Elharar tweeted again that the hechsher of Chug Chasam Sofer has been removed due to the opening of the shop on Shabbos, and they take no responsibility over the kashrut of the place until they clarify what happened.



Interestingly, the first tweet reporting the infraction is accompanied by a picture. So the Haredim returning from the Kotel before Shabbos was over reporting the violation of the Aroma employees took a picture of the incident? they were carrying phones with them? they asked someone else to take a picture and send it to them? I am not quite sure how this picture was obtained, though except for the lights being on I dont really see anything special in it anyway so maybe it is just a poor quality archived picture of Aroma Mamilla? I am a little confused by this.

In general, I have no problem with them losing the hechsher over a serious violation of the rules. The hechshers all have rules, and if you can't keep to the rules, get a different hechsher whose rules you can keep. In this case, what bothers me slightly is that they add "until the matter is clarified". If they have not looked into it yet, why pull the hehchsher? Anybody can call in anything to a hechsher about a restaurant under its supervision and make an unverified claim and get the hechsher pulled until it is clarified? Anybody who does not like a restaurant, or is a competitor, can go file false reports and destroy a business. Restaurants often do not recover form such incidents that hurt their reputation of trustworthiness, even if later it is found to be not accurate. In this instance, maybe Shabbos was really already out according to the earlier time but these passerby thought it was still Shabbos based on their stricter time. Maybe they were not baking but only cleaning up? I don't know what other possibilities could be the truth, but should a hechsher automatically be pulled "until it is clarified"? Maybe clarify first?

Another question I have is that according to the original tweet, the Aroma branch is under the hechshers of the Rabbanut Mehadrin and Chasam Sofer. That is not standard Rabbanut but Mehadrin - if this is really a Shabbos infraction, why did the Rabbanut Mehadrin also not remove its hechsher?

I am not sure we have the full story here.




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Quote of the Day

The government is not interested in what happened in Meron. Their objective is to embarrass the Haredi MKs, the former Prime Minister, and the families, instead of helping them financially. The government just wants blood and for heads to roll. 

  - - MK Keti Shitreet (Likud) 

I'm not sure how creating an investigative committee into Israel's worst civilian tragedy is just revenge and looking for blood, but ok. If their opinion is worth anything, the families have been demanding such an investigation.

 Whether the state should pay the families some sort of financial stipend, I don't know though I'm not opposed to it. I do not know why the two are mutually exclusive - they can set up an investigation and also pass the decision to grant a stipend of some sort. The previous government did neither. 

Setting up an investigative committee is also not looking to embarrass anyone but to get to the bottom of what happened and where the failures were, and yes, who was responsible, if anyone. Should we never investigate anything because it might find someone responsible? Should we not investigate just because someone from the previous government might bear responsibility (maybe, nobody knows if that is the case)? Did only Netanyahu's government have the legitimacy to investigate this? 



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Headlines Podcast: 6/19/21– Show 327 – Female Rabbis - A problem of Halacha, Mesorah or even worse (video)








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Religious Israelis: Why aren't converts to Judaism treated well? (video)







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Kafiyeh in a Haredi yeshiva in Modiin Ilit (video)







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Lenny Solomon Live - Show 118 (video)








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Ko Amar - The Rebirth of Israel - Gavriel Klatzko - Composed by Benzion Klatzko (video)








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Jun 17, 2021

Dayeinu, Netanyahu

Dayeinu to MK Benjamin Netanyahu.

Dayeinu.

Enough is enough.

it is normal, it is obligated, it is expected. When a Prime Minister is replaced by a new Prime Minister, as bitter as the former PM might be for losing his position, he must pass the reigns graciously to the incoming Prime Minister. Personally he might nto want the new PM to succeed, so he can make his way back to the post as soon as possible, but the interests of the State must come before personal interests. The former PM must do the basic acts of passing the reigns and making sure the incoming PM has the necessary information to do the job.

It was nasty, but it was one thing when Netanyahu only allocated 20 minutes to meet with PM Naftali Bennett to do the "chafifa", the transition and pass over necessary information. There is no way 20 minutes is enough to get a Prime Minister up to speed. Previous Prime Ministers always made themselves fully available to pass along all the info to new Prime Ministers, until Netanyahu did this to Bennett.

Ok, dayeinu.

It was one thing when Netanyahu still has not packed up his clothes and moved out of the Prime Ministers residence in Jerusalem. The State should forcibly remove him, but if he needs a little more time, he should say he needs another week and get out. And he is holding meetings with officials and dignitaries in the house, as if he is still PM. 

Ok, dayeinu.

Now Haaretz is reporting (behind paywall so see Hamechadesh) that Netanyahu and his people have been shredding documents from the Prime Ministers office, illegally, rather than leaving them for official collation and for Bennett's team to use and review.

I do not know if this is true or not, but it needs to be looked into. As bad as Netanyahu's bitter behavior has been, this is beyond the pale.

Netanyahu is not interested in the success of the State at all. He has put his own interests above the interests of the State, and a Prime Minister cannot do that. He might put enough obstacles in Bennett's way to make an already shaky position and coalition that much more unstable, but I hope he won't be rewarded for it. he deserves to be condemned for the way he is handling this transition.




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President to be sworn in early

We never did anything major during the "Nine Days", and generally not even during the "Three Weeks". Not major purchases, not trips or major events. It was always considered something that would bring "bad luck" of sorts. I remember when someone close to the family bought a car during the Three Weeks - family members pleaded with her to wait, but she bought the car. That car was in a number of accidents, besides for often breaking down. While it might have just been a lousy car and she a lousy driver, family members always blamed it her having bought it during the Three Weeks.

President-elect Yitzchak Herzog was set to be sworn into office on July 7, 2021, and while that is deep into the Three Weeks, it was actually scheduled for the following Wednesday, but that is during the Nine Days. Both President Rivlin and President-elect Herzog agreed and requested that the date be pushed up to avoid such a major move during the Nine Days.
source: Behadrei

While it is still during the Three Weeks, here in Israel, perhaps because of the dominant Sefardic influence, the Nine Days is considered much more significant and the Three Weeks is more "regular".

Both Rivlin and Herzog are traditional Jews, sensitive and connected to their Judaism. It is refreshing that this request came from them, and it was [seemingly] easily worked out, rather than something that had to be fought over or not even done or noticed and then snickered about.




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I am a jew! A former chief editor in the New york times, quit after the the paper became antisemitic (video)







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street survey with Oded Menashe: what grade does Binyamin Netanyahu get for his service (video)







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Lenny Solomon Live - Show 117 (video)







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Chayot Hanohamot - Shlomo Katz feat. Nissim Black (video)







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Jun 16, 2021

Quote of the Day

The Photoshop person at Behadrei Haredim should get a raise. Thank God he will have a lot of faces to blur in the new government.

  -- Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli, after Behadrei posted the official government ministerial photograph with the women's faces blurred




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Jun 15, 2021

Facebook Status of the Day




Full text of Post:
There's something I need to get off my chest.

I'm an Ultra-Orthodox, Chassidic, Hareidi Jew. I live in Jerusalem, in an area that is exclusively Ultra-Orthodox Hareidi for street after street, suburb after suburb, for miles and miles. In all of these neighborhoods where the roads are blocked off and no cars drive on Shabbos, each black-hat-wearing family has many many children and literally no TV’s. I personally only ever wear black and white clothes, my wife only dresses in Chassidic levels of tznius (modesty), and my boys and girls all attend mainstream Hareidi Chassidic schools where the main language is Yiddish. My kids don’t and never will have smartphones, nor have they ever been on the internet at all. Period. They don’t know what social media is and they’ve never seen a movie — not even Disney animation.

Having lived exclusively immersed in this culture for the last 21 years, I think I'm sufficiently qualified and well-researched enough to state that the consistent depiction of Hareidim and Torah Judaism by mainstream media, from Netflix to the daily news, is somewhere between delusion, slander and the literal equivalent of racism. If you consider yourself less closed-minded than how you imagine we Hareidim to be, then permit me to share a few personal details about my family, and other families in our neighborhood, to see how well your mental narrative matches up to reality:

- Besides learning Torah each day, most of the men in our neighborhood work full or part-time.
- Many women in our area work. Some even manage their own business or company. These are not special or “liberated” women — it’s so normal here it’s not even a discussion point.
- My wife is a full-time mother by choice, who despite attending an Ivy League College, finds it a profound and meaningful thing to dedicate her life to. If she didn’t, she’d go get a job. Mind you, she also attends Torah classes each week, works out with both a female fitness coach (who’s gay) and a frum Pilates instructor, writes and edits articles for a couple global websites and magazines, and personally mentors a number of women. None of this is seen as unusual.
- Kids in our community go to Torah schools where they learn (surprise!) Torah. They are fluent in three languages from a young age and the boys even read and understand a fourth (Aramaic). All the kids learn grammar, math and science. Weekly after-school activities have included music (violin, drums, piano), Tae Kwon Do, swimming, art, woodworking and robotics. The girls' school teaches tools of emotional intelligence. The principal of the boys' school doesn't hesitate to refer to kids to OT if needed. I practice meditation with my children multiple times each week. None of our kids think the world is literally 6,000 years old. They devour books about science and think it’s cool. They know dinosaurs existed and don’t find that existentially threatening. They have a telescope with which they love to watch the stars.
- The women in my family (like the men) only dress modestly according to Hareidi standards. The girls don't find this burdensome or oppressive. Period. They aren't taught that beauty is bad. They're certainly not taught to hate their bodies, God forbid. Each morning when they get dressed, they are as happily into their own fashion and looking pretty as any secular girl is. They just have a different sense of fashion than secular culture dictates. (Unfortunately for me, it's no cheaper.)
- The local Hareidi rabbis we receive guidance from are deep, warm, sensitive, supportive and emotionally intelligent. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t go to them.
- My boys assume they will grow up to learn Torah, as much as they want to, and then when they’re ready, get a good job or learn a profession to support whatever lifestyle they choose. My girls assume they’ll be wives and mothers (which they can’t wait for) but they're also warmly encouraged to train in whatever other profession they desire. (My 9-year-old daughter, chatting with her friend in the living room, just commented, "I want to be a mother and a teacher and an artist." Her friend replied, "I'm going to be a ballet teacher.") All options are on the table, and their future seems bright.
- We love living in modern Israel, feel proud and blessed to be here, and frequently count and celebrate its blessings. Everyone in my area votes. Sometimes not even for Hareidi parties. I pay taxes. (And they’re expensive!)
- As a Hareidi person, I’m glad we have Hareidi representation in the government — though I don’t always love or approve of how the Hareidi politicians act, or what they choose to represent. For the record, I'm equally dubious about secular politicians, as well. 🙂
- While I don't spend much time in Tel Aviv, I do have a few close Hareidi entrepreneur friends who have founded high-tech start-ups there, and are — Boruch Hashem! — doing very well.
- We don’t hate all non-religious people. Our kids don’t throw stones at passing cars on Shabbos. I doubt they even know anyone who would do that or think that it’s ok. We frequently talk about the Torah value of caring for and being compassionate towards everyone. As a family, we proactively try to find ways to judge others favorably (even those people who throw stones at passing cars on Shabbos.)
- We invite all manner of religious and secular Jews to join our Shabbos meals each week and the kids are open, happy, and confident to welcome everyone. (No, we're not Chabad.) One of the many reasons for having such guests at our table is to teach the kids this lesson.
- While we would technically be classified as right-wing and we don’t at all buy the modern “Palestinian” narrative, we certainly don’t hate all Arabs, nor do we have any desire to expel them all from the land. We warmly welcome anyone seeking to dwell here with us in peace and we are pained and saddened to see the suffering and loss of lives of all innocent Arab families and children — as would any decent human being.
- Of the few local families I know whose kids no longer identify as religious, none at all chose to disown their kids. The very thought, in such lovingly family-dedicated communities, is hard to imagine. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm just saying it's not as common as it's made out. Rather, these families have tirelessly, profoundly, compassionately committed to maintaining any connection with their children, and to emphasize that, no matter what, family is the most important thing. Because it is.
- We aren't just living our life blindly, dogmatically following empty religious rules; rather, we are frequently engaged with, exploring and discussing Torah's richness, depth and meaning. Our kids honestly love learning Torah, praying and doing mitzvos. They’re visibly excited about Shabbos and festivals. This lifestyle is in no way oppressive or burdensome for them. If you suggested to them it was, they’d laugh and think you were crazy.
- We Hareidim are normal people: we laugh, we cry, we buy too much Ikea furniture, and we struggle with all of life's daily ups and downs, just like the rest of you. Some of our communities are more healthy and balanced, some are less so; some of our people are warmer, nicer and more open, some are more closed, dogmatic and judgmental; some of our leaders are noble and upstanding, and some are quite frankly idiots…JUST LIKE ANY SECULAR NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE WORLD TOO. But having grown up living a secular lifestyle myself, and today being Hareidi-by-choice, I can testify that in these communities there is generally a greater and more tangible sense of well-being, warmth, tranquility, connection and meaning. We love and feel blessed to be living this life and wouldn’t want any other.

If this description of Hareidi life is hard to swallow, be careful not to push back with the often-used defenses like: "Well, you're just an exception to the rule...", "You're just American Hareidim", "You're baalei teshuvah", "Well, I know a bunch of Haredim that aren't like that at all"....because the truth is, while there might be many Hareidim who aren't like what I described above, it's still an accurate description of literally hundreds of thousands of Hareidim in Israel and the US — a decent portion of all Hareidim in the world. Which is my very point — how come you never see this significant Hareidi demographic represented in the media, television series, or the news? How come we mostly see the darkest and most problematic cliches instead?

And finally, if all the facts I've listed above about our communities are hard for you to accept as true, then perhaps the image you have in your head about Hareidim is less based on facts and reality and more based on stereotypes, fear, hate, and discrimination — like any other form of prejudice in the world.

Care to prove me wrong? Well, you're welcome to come argue it out with me and my family at our Shabbos table on Friday night. It would be a joy and honor to have you. 🙏🏼 





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Proposed Law: Benefitd Packages for chozrim btshuva and bsheila

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) recently submitted a law proposal that would grant a financial package of assistance to people who leave the religious community. The package of benefits, what is given to new immigrants to help them acclimate to a new country, would now also be given, should the proposal pass, to people who were educated in haredi schools but then leave religion. 

Some set of criteria would be established for qualification - otherwise people will say they are no longer Haredi, or no longer religious, just to get the benefits, while they really are still Haredi or religious. 

And how many times can you get it? Let's say Reuven grew up Haredi and at 20 left religion and gets the benefits package. At 22 he becomes religious again, and at 24 he becomes not religious, etc. can Reuven keep getting the benefits repeatedly?

Regardless, the reasons for the proposal are fairly obvious. People who grew up in the Haredi community and leave it, are basically on their own with no tools to succeed in general society. They usually have had no secular education and often their families break off connections with them. The benefits package is to help them get a stable life with a chance for a future..

Interestingly, Zandberg in her explanation of the proposal noted that the State of Israel gives financial benefits to haredim who grew up in the Haredi educational system and stayed Haredi but need to overcome the differentials created by the lack of general education. But the people who grew up int he same system but left the community get no assistance. 

In opposition to Zandberg's proposal, MK Uriel Buso (Shas) has now proposed a similar but opposite law.

Buso is proposing that the same benefits package should be given to people who become religious, chozrim btshuva. Buso says that in the Jewish State in which learning Torah is a supreme value, if benefits are to be given to those who leave religion, it should also be given to those who come to religion - and they should be given double.

Buso explains that "chozrim btshuva" refers to people who left the secular community and joined the religious or Haredi community. The range of people returning is great, from young to old, singles to married and families, men and women... There is no formal assistance given to chozrim btshuva, and it is only on an individual basis, meaning kiruv organizations help people going through their organizations, but nothing from the State. Besides for them, many people return on their own, not through any organization and without any assistance. 
sources: INN, Israel Hayom



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