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Aug 31, 2010

Some Juicy Quotes from Shimon Peres's Speech a the WJC today

[Regarding Direct Talks rather than Proximity Talks] it is like the story of the boy who mailed many love letters to his girlfriend. His girlfriend ended up falling in love and marrying the mailman.

No PM was able to do the things he wanted to do, and no PM was able to avoid doing things he didn't want to do

In the last thousand years here in the Middle East, 900 years, Arabs were under the occupation of empires. They regained their nationality in the 1st World War when the French and the British left the Middle East and they enabled to create 23 States. By the way, without the Palestinian State...they decided who would be who, what would be what..

Science doesn't respect borders. Armies can't conquer wisdom.

President Bush tried to introduce here democracy. It wasn't a great success... you go to a king and you tell him today you are a king, why don't you run for elections. It's like coming to a turkey and telling him to participate in a Thanksgiving party. Who would go?

Iran thinks it can run the world. It can't run the world.

For the first time, in history, the Palestinians are building a city. A very modern city.

..We have 7 and a half million people. Maybe 1% of them are senile, about 75,000. 99% of the news is about them...99% are devoted, fair, involved... Occasionally I think it is more of a drama than a country.

When i go to other countries I am bored.

I am not talking about our capacity to debate. That is not new in our history.

We have the best agriculture in the world without land and water.

We are Jewish, and the greatest contribution of Jews to the world is dissatisfaction. A good Jew cannot be satisfied.

But we composed one document, rather short, the Ten Commandments, which is probably the most brilliant document in human annals, 162 words, that nobody has had to change it.. became the basis of the Western civilization.

I don't know if we can achieve it, but I know we cannot stop trying to..

--- President Shimon Peres at World Jewish Congress (you can watch the speech here)

Interesting Posts #198

1. A Higher Dose of Torah

2. Mazel Tov To Daniel Pereg on Making Aliyah (according to this article, Pereg was only here during his vacation)

A 5 AM rally in Bet Shemesh

Residents of Bet Shemesh were complaining this morning that someone was making a lot of noise at 5 in the morning waking everyone calling them to come say selichos.

It is not typical for this to happen, and it was not happening in the older sections of Bet Shemesh that are largely a sefardic population that says selichos now, rather it was in the areas near the newer haredi areas that are largely ashkenazic that do not yet say selichos. It was therefore difficult to understand what was going on.

I received now from the Neturei Karta email list the following statement and pictures, explaining what it was all about.

Here is the statement (my translation):

The sister city of Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, has also given her voice in an early morning rally, as thousands of the Haredi community of Bet Shemesh, led by the Rav shlit"a, woke up early for a large hafgana to arouse the mercy of Heaven and to analyze our actions, why and for what have the troubles of disturbing the dead come upon us recently. Also, in this rally, the seder of tehillim was said, all went in accordance with the rally in Jerusalem..

Aren't you happy that this worthwhile 5AM rally is what you were woken for?

Thank You Crooks

I have to say thank you to the latest criminals.

The newest scandal of crooks in the frum community is two brothers in Jerusalem who ran a foundation collecting money for the purpose of chessed, specifically for people with serious medical conditions and expenses. They were just arrested as it was discovered that they have been pocketing, in their own pockets, most of the money collected.

So, I have to say thank you to them. As the gemara says, it is people like this who get us off the hook for not giving enough tzedaka.

Marla Turk can make the Lechem HaPanim

This is a beautiful story, and perhaps her skill in keeping challah fresh for up to 10 days can be used in the upcoming Beis Hamikdash.

This woman, Marla Turk from Woodmere, sends challah twice a month to Jewish soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the Jewish soldiers stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the challah that Woodmere resident Marla Turk sends to them twice a month isn't just a loaf of bread – it's a welcome reminder of home.
Monday Turk wrapped up the last of the nearly 50 boxes destined for Jewish chaplains and lay leaders in the Middle East theater she's sending in time for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which begins at sundown on Sept. 8.
"I have it down to a science," Turk said as she displayed the neatly packaged boxes in which she fit 30 challah rolls and bags of candy and dried fruits and nuts on her sunroom floor.
Each package takes between 5 and 10 days to arrive, but, Turk said, the challah is still fresh and ready for Friday night Shabbat or holiday meals.
"I say God is watching over the challahs so Jewish soldiers can get it," she said.
Rabbi Henry Soussan, an instructor at the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., spent a year stationed in Kuwait. He said it would have been impossible to get kosher bread if not form Turk's efforts.
"It was great – we could really re-create an atmosphere of Friday evening," said Soussan, who also traveled to bases in Afghanistan and Iraq to serve troops there. "It was amazing. Everyone was surprised how fresh the challah still tasted and smelled after it shipped over there."
Jewish groups place the number of Jewish troops in the Middle East theater at anywhere from 700 to 17,000 – the Department of Defense said it does not keep official statistics.
Turk has been sending the challah to the troops for two years, having taken over the volunteer project that was started by a woman in South Carolina. [...]

Shas on the building freeze

There are conflicting reports as to what Shas is going to do regarding the continuation, or cancellation, of the building freeze.

One report came out this morning, quoting senior Shas people, that Shas is planning on supporting Netanyahu (begrudgingly I guess) in continuing the building freeze, but only outside of Jerusalem. They would insist that the State of Israel be allowed to build in Jerusalem.

Now Shas is denying that report. Rav Ovadia spoke out against it in talks with Eli Yishai and said we must build in all of Judea and Samaria. Eli Yishai added to that that Netanyahu stopped construction in a way that no prime minister before ever has, and yet we have received nothing in exchange for that. Therefore it is time to stop the freeze and build all over the country.

When it comes time to implement policy and vote, which Shas will stand up?

Rami Levy to enter the cellular market

Rami Levy, the supermarket mogul who has been daring in the types of discounts he has offered on goods and has led the way in causing other supermarkets to follow suit and lower prices and offer discounts, has now applied for a license to join the cellular phone industry.

Levy said that the expense of communications is the second largest household expense in Israel. He said, "When I lowered priced of "the shopping cart", I caused the whole industry to lower prices... the same will happen now with the cellular phone industry - I will lower prices and that will cause a chain reaction among the competitors. The consumer will benefit from this."

Keep going Rami Levy. And we are still waiting for you to open a supermarket in Bet Shemesh!

Zoabi wants everyone on trial

MK Hanan Zoabi just keeps on ticking.

Zoabi has announced that when she testifies later today before the commission investigating the flotilla incident, she is going to demand that the investigate PM Netanyahu, DM Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and put them on trial in front of the World International Court in The Hague for war crimes.

And she wants the sodliers who raided the flotilla to be investigated and put on trial, and she wants imprisoned Palestinian head of The Islamic Movement Sheikh Raad Salach to be allowed to testify, and that they should also investigate Israel for the siege on Gaza.

Remind me, please, why a person like this is allowed to be a Member of Knesset...

Adi Ran: V'Ata Kadosh (video)

Aug 30, 2010

A Miracle, I guess...

I guess it is a miracle, but...

Last night I saw reported on the Haredim WAP site that a miracle happened as someone drove up to the shtieblech to daven. he parked his car on the side and ran out to go to the shtiebele. As he was davening, a cement block fell on his car from a wall above.

It was declared a miracle, as it could have killed him, sort of I guess, had he been there and not inside davening.

But, while it damaged the top of the car (I saw the picture), it didnt go through, so it would not have hit him in the head and killed him, even had he still been in the car. And second, had he not gone to daven there he would not have been placed under the falling rock, so just like it fell while he wasnt there because he was inside davening, it would have fallen while he wasnt there but was two blocks away learning in his kollel in the Mir Yeshiva. But I guess it is close to home, as it hit his car, so it is his miracle..

Hodu LaHashem Ki Tov!


The extreme radical left, the Neturei Karta of the Left, who radiate a sense of hatred to the State and to the soldiers of the IDF, should be real men like their counterparts the "Neturei Karta" in Jerusalem and stop taking money from the State. The vast majority of the taxpayers love the State, the IDF and Ariel and these artists should not benefit from their money.

--- MK Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz

Jerk curses out old Holocaust survivor (video)

I get that the "Ground Zero Mosque" debate stirs up emotions on both sides of the debate.. but this is a bit over the top..
I dont know why it matters that he is a Holocaust survivor (the title of the video uses the term) - are you allowed to curse anyone you want except for Holocaust survivors? Just because you are a Holocaust survivor does that make your opinion automatically right and nobody can argue with you? The guy spoke harshly no matter who was the person debating him.

Foul Language Alert!

Ahmadinejad's, and his guests, Message to the World.. (video)

Kol Achai Naomi Shemer tribute (video)

Aug 29, 2010

Mazel tov to Shwekey!

Yaakov Shwekey's wife gave birth to a baby boy while he was in flight to Eretz Yisrael. He found out as soon as he landed.

Suggest names and kibbudim for the bris in the comments.

Obviously Rav Amnon Yitzchak will be offered sandakaus. Perhaps he will even name the baby after him (sefardim name for the living)...

Mazel tov!

Interesting Posts #197

1. My Wife Knows Everything.. this can't be real. It just can't.

1. DoubleTapper upgraded his M4. I want him on my side.

Rare Hachnassat Orchim (video)

A beautiful "Only in Israel" story happened on Friday.

A huge traffic jam caused by an accident caused drivers on their way to Jerusalem before Shabbos to be stuck in traffic to the point that they knew they could no longer make it in time before the the beginning of Shabbos.

Motorists, realizing the time, pulled over to the side of the highway and parked their cars and started walking. They walked into the nearby town of Adam.

When the locals realized what was going on, and that Shabbos was just minutes away, they sent people down to help the stranded come up with their bags.

Everybody who wanted was given accommodations - places to sleep and eat. Nobody was left unattended.

It is a beautiful case of spontaneous hospitality. It seems that nowadays it is very difficult to really fulfill the chessed of hachnassat orchim - the way we live is no longer with the lone traveler who needs a place to sleep or eat for a bit. It happens, but is fairly rare. This is a situation that happens once in a while on the highway outside of Jerusalem (I have heard of it happening once in a while also near the town of Telshe Stone) and seems to be a rare situation of pure hachnassat orchim.

It is wonderful that the people can get together and gather their resources to help out in this way. As well, as the writers says in the article, it is also beautiful that people realize the sanctity of the Shabbos and are willing to take such risks to preserve it - leave their cars on the side of the road, walk along the highway not knowing if they would have a place to go, etc.

And once on the topic, this is a good opportunity to remind people when travelling before Shabbos, always leave with a lot of extra time - don't leave your drive, no matter how short it might be, for the last minute.

Lease new or buy second-hand sheitel

Israel Channel 2 and Yisrael Hayom had articles today about a unique twist to the wig business in the frum world.

If you wear your hair out, you can go get your hair styled and cut, as often as you want, with a new style. If you wear tichels, hats and snoods, you can also change the colors, the designs and the styles as often as you like.

When you wear wigs, changing style costs a lot of money. You would have to buy a whole new wig which can cost thousands of shekels. If you want a short style, the hair isn't going to then grow long for when you want the long style. (god forbid you buy a few cheap wigs and style them accordingly).

So a innovative chain of wig stores has come up with a new business model for the wig market - you lease the wig for the year instead of buying it. Just like leasing a car. The cost of the leasing includes a monthly washing and setting, and at the end of the year you can either renew the lease or take out a lease on a different wig with a different style. You can now change your wig styles without breaking the bank!

Interestingly, the person quoted in the article said, "The trend was to have a short hairstyle like [British singer Victoria Beckham], but when you want to lengthen it, it is a problem. Especially with the price of the quality wigs costing today between 5000 and 10000 shekels. Now the women can get new styles regularly and not be stuck with the same old styles for up to 5 years."

It should also improve the business. With the economy today I am sure fewer and fewer people are ready to easily lay out such large amounts of money for wigs as often as they used to. This might make it easier for people to still get new styles without breaking the bank. It is an interesting way for them to come out and give a boost to their industry.

I wonder though what they will do with the wigs at the end of the year. It says the lessee will have the ability to buy it for a "symbolic" price. Will women buy the wigs or will they just lease a new one? Will the wig store then develop a market for second hand wigs? Will women even buy second hand wigs? Or will the wigs be tossed in the garbage after one year of use?


The following was an email sent to one of the local email lists...

Anyone want pun delivered to The Ohel of Lubavitch Rebbe before Tishrei...

We are travelling to The Ohel [leaving this Thursday night] and are happy to take with your puns

I didn't know it was a custom to send puns to the Rebbe zt"l..

it was probably a typo, but I could not think of what the real message would have been. So in the spirit, leave your best puns for the Rebbe in the comments..

Rav Ovadiah's relations with Arab leaders

Rav Ovadiah Yosef is a bit of a mystery.

On the one hand he personally has pretty decent relations with most Arab leaders. He is considered a spiritual leader and has made sure to have good relations with Arab leaders. His connections and good relations have been used a number of times, by him and his people, and by Israel in general to contact and get messages to leaders of countries we dont have formal relations with. I remember when Rav Ovadiah's car was stolen, shortly after Oslo, his people called up Arafat directly and with an hour he got his car back. Rav Ovadiah also recently sent goodwill messages to Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt, wishing him a quick recovery from his illness.

And on the other hand, last night Rav Ovadiah said during his shiur that Abu Mazel and all the wicked people around him should be destroyed from the world, and Hashem should strike them all down - them and the Palestinians.

Are his good personal relations just tactical? Is Abu Mazen worse than Arafat was?

Rav Amnon Yitzchak administers malkos (video)

while there is a custom to submit oneself to a symbolic form of "malkos" before Yom Kippur as a sign of repenting, that is between man and God. The lashes might show a person's sincerity in repentance and get him off of God's blacklist.

Rav Amnon Yitzchak is now administering lashes to singers who wish to repent and get off his own blacklist to allow him to be hired as a singer at events.

Also, one's lashes before Yom Kippur is generally a private event. I remember once walking into a ceremonial lashing on Erev Yom Kippur by a chassidishe fellow in quiet side staircase. I dont remember ever seeing it done publicly.

In the video you see the beis din preparing to administer the lashes, but the lashes are taken off-camera. At about 5:24 you can see the lashes being administered in the reflection of the china cabinet glass - it does not look like he is being struck harshly.


should [the Lebanese] army initiate additional fire exchanges with Israel, the IDF would annihilate his military within four hours

--- US Special Envoy to The Middle East George Mitchell

Achat Sha'alti (video)

Aug 26, 2010

Rapping Rav Amnon (video)

And this must be why Rav Amnon Yitzchak is so against the performers and singers... he is looking to start his own rapping career!

Interesting Posts #196

1. Molestation in Lakewood

3rd-gen Holocaust Survivors

Being a third generation Holocaust survivor is now getting its own sign of importance.

I always thought we ascribed importance to the survivors, and to their kids. After that the effects kind of wore off, the next generation was already very "American" (or Israeli or British, or whatever country they were in), and not really so linked to the grandparents survival.

Jennifer Seidner's hero is her grandmother.

"She's 90 years old and she still works at home as a seamstress," Seidner said about Lonia Mosak.

In 1941, Mosak and her family were taken from their homes outside Warsaw, Poland, and relocated to a Jewish ghetto. Two years later, the family was transferred to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland. Young Lonia was the family's only survivor.

Seidner learned her grandmother's story from her parents, who taught her about the Holocaust when she was a child. She and her husband, Matthew, also a grandchild of survivors, will do the same with their two children, who are 6 months and 2 years old.

"I feel bad that that my children won't have the same connection with my grandmother as they grow up," said Seidner.

As the number of Holocaust survivors -- and their memories -- dwindles, some fear that outrage over such an atrocity could also lessen. By turning a camera on survivors' younger relatives, makers of a coming documentary film hope to avoid just that.

Earlier this month, local families hosted filmmaker Joshua Greene and executive producer Henri Lustiger Thaler, who were here laying the groundwork for "Memory After Belsen." The name refers to the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in Germany.
He believes younger people, used to sharing thoughts and feelings on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, will have a lot to say for the 90-minute documentary. He also says "grandparents have a more relaxed relationship with their grandchildren than with children," making it easier for them to talk.

"This third generation of Holocaust survivors has a unique experience,'' adds Richard Hirschaut, executive director of the 2-year-old Skokie-based Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.

"For the survivors, and even for their children, the experience was still raw. They focus on reflections, on their past. As the grandchildren come of age, they are removed from history and are more likely to engage in dialogue on how to transfer that legacy into the world today.''

As teenagers, twins Dena and Jared Rubenstein were moved to action by the life story of their grandmother, Lola Nortman, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. Along with other local teens, they formed a group that raised about $50,000 for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

"My grandma helped form my cultural and my personal values," said Jared Rubenstein, who is now his 20s and feels a sense of responsibility to ensure that the history does not get lost. "My generation is the last one that will have direct contact with survivors.''

At the same time, "the Holocaust is relevant to all people, when we look at places like Darfur," said Rubenstein, whose parents, Lee and Marlene, hosted an event to garner support for the project.

Rav Amnon Yitzchak sits with Rav Shteinman (video)

Remember a short while back there was a video released of an askan who went to discuss tzniyus issues, specifically sheitel styles, with Rav ELyashiv. The video showed how the askan pestered Rav Elyashiv for a long time until he got the answer he was looking for, and he refused to accept anything else Rav Elyashiv had said, until he successfully directed Rav Elyashiv's response the way he wanted...

It was a watershed video, and it went viral in the frum community on the internet. It showed how the askanim manipulate the rabbonim, and what really happens behind closed doors when the askanim are then quoted with the latest chumra in the name of rav this or rav that.

After that, another video was released in which a very well-known and powerful askan was sitting by Rav Shteinman and asking about a child the school did not want to accept, because the child was not appropriate for the school. Rav Shteinman said the school must accept the kid and if they don't it is simply gaivah. He repeated it a number of times, yet the askan still sat there rewording his question a few different times in attempts to get Rav Shteinman to say what he wanted him to say.

And now here is the latest video - Rav Amnon Yitzchak sitting by Rav Shteinman and looks for support for his attack on Shwekey and other performers. Watch the video and you will see that Rav Shteinman hardly says what Rav Yitzchak is trying to get him to say. Most of the time he says nothing in response. Rav Amnon Yitzchak says he has people destroying disks by the thousands in Florida, and Rav Shteinman simply asks if that is really true. At the end he asks for a bracha and if he is doing the righ tthing. Rav Shteinman doesn't respond. He asks a few times, repeating his question. he pesters Rav Shteinman until he says something good enough for Rav Yitzchak - he basically says the same bracha he gives to every Tom Dick and Harry who walks in for a bracha, but now Rav Amnon Yitzchak can take that and tell people that Rav Shteinman supports him.

The best, I think, is when Rav Amnon Yitzchak uses another argument. Rav Shteinman is not responding the way expected, so Rav Yitzchak says that Rav Shteinman supported banning the Internet, yet Shwekey makes a lot of money form the Internet - people can watch all of his music on the internet. So Rav Shteinman should join him against Shwekey because he uses the internet regularly to promote himself. I think this is the best part of the video because Rav Amnon Yitzchak himself has a website in which he promotes himself and his hashkafa, and makes video clips from his various sessions and drashos widely available. Yet he tries to get Shwekey banned for doing the same thing.

Rav Shteinman doesn't seem to understand a lot of what Rav Amnon Yitzchak is saying. He doesnt seem to understand who Shwekey is and what he does. He doesnt understand what music albums are and what disks are. He doesnt understand what the internet is and how Shwekey uses it. Yet Rav Amnon Yitzchak persists until he can get Rav Shteinman to approve.

Here is the video. Watch it and let me know what you think of it..

IKEA Gedolah (video)

Stephen Colbert: Israel, Iran and Jeffrey Goldberg (video)

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Yonatan Razel: Ani L'Dodi (video)

Aug 25, 2010

Interesting Posts #195

1. Miracles by Choice

Rapaport responds to attacks

A Follow-Up Guest Post by Yehoshua Shapiro, a Parent of a child in Rapaport

Thank you to Rafi for allowing me to Post here.

Yesterday we received in the mail 2 letters from the school - one written by the founder of the school and other by the menehal (see letters below). I think they are a must read to get a complete understanding what is going on here.

Here at work today I bumped into someone who works here as well, but on another floor, who happens to live in Ramot alef. She said that she was not aware of people being upset at Rapaport but the people were upset with the Irya. Someone read what I had written earlier and said I did not write strong enough. I think after reading these 2 letters people will have a better understanding of what is going on.

If these people who are demonstrating would feel strong in their education system they would not feel threaten when a school moves in that is not a mirror image of itself. I live in Har Nof and there a fine talmid chacham who gives shiur every shabbos which is well attended by all streams of bnai torah and he is a very fine person, and he himself studied at Yishuv and from there went on to learn in Itri where he is a ram today.

What I am trying to say is I don’t think that any one system is putting out the finest bnai torah. You find bnai torah from all yeshivot and what occurred and what written about in the Yated has no positive effect, and as my grandmother use to say if you have nothing good to say don’t say anything.

Just say Shwekey is like Arik Einstein

I am not sure what the Haredi leadership has against Yaakov Shwekey, but they seem to be gunning for him with no let up.

The only thing I can think of is that he has refused to follow their rules, so they feel they have to assert their authority over him, by hook or by crook. Besides that I cannot think of another reason why they seem to be infatuated by him and continue fighting with him.

What they should be doing is making a statement saying We do not care what Yaakov Shwekey does. he is not one of us. He is not part of the Haredi community, and for sure not the Israeli Haredi community, he is not giving concerts for the Haredi community, and we therefore do not care what he does, just like we don't protest every time Arik Einstein or Teapaks hold a concert. In light of that, they would, or should, say, we are telling our community to not be swayed by his entertaining performances or his advertisements, and our people, members of the Haredi community, should not attend his concerts, and should not buy his disks. We will not support a non-haredi singer, and going to his concerts is inappropriate for our community.

Then they should drop it, and treat him like anyone else.

He doesnt advertise his concerts in the haredi media, and he does not target the haredi community when publicizing his concerts. So why they are hounding him every time he makes a concert is illogical.

The most recent is a concert that is scheduled for Rehovot. Rehovot is a very diverse city, and while some haredim live there, it is not a haredi city - not even close. It is mostly secular and traditional, with a strong dati community and a fair share of a haredi community.

First, Meier Porush, the MK, decided to get involved to try to get the concert canceled. Porush called the haredi mayor of Rehovot (he is mayor despite being haredi, not because he is haredi) and tried to pressure him to cancel the show. he said if a haredi mayor in Rehovot will allow it to continue, how will we stop it in Jerusalem... Malul the mayor refused to intervene.

Then the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Rabbi Simcha Kook, a very respected rav, decided, or was implored, to intervene. He called up Shwekey and supposedly demanded that Shwekey cancel the concert. Shwekey refused saying his rabbonim in America allow him to hold concerts, even with mixed seating, as long as there is no mixed dancing, as per the psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l. The concert will even have a separate seating section for those who prefer it, so nobody should be upset.

Rav Kook is now saying that not only did Shwekey refuse to back down, but he even lied to him. He says Shwekey claimed that Rav Reuven Feinstein allows him to perform. Rav Kook says as soon as Shwekey told him that on the phone, he called Rav Reuven Feinstein who responded that he has heard of Shwekey but is not his rav, they have never met, and he never gave him such a hetter.

Rav Kook tried to confront Shwekey again with proof of his lie, but couldn't get hold of him.

Rav Kook also said it is not just the concert, but the concept of holding a concert in advance of releasing a disk for the main purpose of promoting the disk is passul. He will sing the songs in the concert and that will cause people to buy his disk. I am not sure why there is something wrong with this, but that is what he said.

Stop attacking Shwekey. It looks so bad and leaves such a bad taste in the mouths of many - they take away all options of entertainment, while at the same time seemingly just trying to control everybody (whether that is a true assessment or not, that is what it seems to be to many and many are upset), and there is so many other issues that need attention... Let him be. Solve the problem by saying he is not haredi, and just like we don't go to Arik Einstein concerts we also don't go to Shwekey concerts. And then ignore him. Let him give his concerts for the non-haredi public and life goes on.

Kikar now has a new piece in the puzzle that just adds to the story.

Rav Amnon Yitzchak went to Rav Shteinman and described how these "Hassidic singers" like Shwekey are all horrible people who cause the public to sin. He described how he is leading a fight against them and he has people breaking the disks of these singers, by the thousands.

Rav Shteinman asked "Is he secular?" and Rav Amnon Yitzchak responded that no, he is religious, a religious house, he used to learn in the Lakewood Kollel, and there are a number of such performers that everyone listens to. There is no house in the religious world that doesnt have his disks.

Rav Shteinman smiled and said "I dont have his disks".

Rav Shteinman wished him well and that his fight should help, to which Rav Yitzchak responded that he will succeed because when one fights to the end, it always is successful.

RBS is not a young community

Many people say that RBS is a very young community. So much so that at people of the generation above me are hesitant to move here, thinking they will find themselves very lonely very quickly.

I say they don't know what they are talking about. And I have proof.

Just the other day a 93 year old woman, great grandmother Livia Shachter, just made aliyah from the US to RBS.
Livia Shacter made a lot of people happy just by getting on a plane. Shacter, a 93-year-old great-grandmother of 35, made Aliyah, immigrating from the U.S. to Israel a few days ago. She told Israel National News her story, which goes all the way from Czechoslovakia, to Auschwitz, to L.A., to Baltimore, to Ramat Beit Shemesh:

INN: Why did you come to Israel?

Livia: I came to be with my daughter. I have two daughters, one is in Baltimore, and one is in Israel. Now, my daughter in Israel said I should come... I wanted to come years ago, and it never worked out. But she insisted, and I came. I arrived last Wednesday and already today I have joined a group of older men and women (called Melabev) who get together four days a week. They have so much fun there. Today they were singing and dancing and I joined them. They come from all countries.
INN: Why did you decide to move to Israel?

Livia: Israel is the Jewish country. So that's wonderful. Jews should come to Israel. It's a mitzvah (commandment) to come.
INN: What are you plans now?

Livia: I am 93. I will stay with my daughter, and join groups with older people. I have grandchildren here. My daughter has three married children and I have great-grandchildren.

INN: Was making aliyah at the age of 93 difficult?

Livia: It was not difficult to make Aliyah at my age. In fact I got special treatment. I became a citizen here, and even got financial benefits. I was given a bus to take my luggage from the airport. I was helped by Nefesh b' Nefesh. People made a big deal about my aliyah. I did not come on a Nefesh b'Nefesh flight. I was alone on the flight. Before I came, I was sick and my daugher and her husband came to Baltimore to convince me to come.

INN: What do you think about the state of Israel?

Livia: I thank G-d we have a country and that it should just stay well and out of trouble. I would come no matter what.

Leiba Brown, Livia's daughter told Israel National News that her mother has 11 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. Three of her grandchildren and 11 of her great-grandchildren live in Israel.

INN: When did you find out that your mother wanted to make aliyah?

Leiba: We lived in L.A. close to her for many years. She was very close to me and my kids. But when we made Aliyah she had to choose between Baltimore (where she has another daughter) and Israel. She came at the age of 83, but it was too hard for her, so she moved back to Baltimore. But now that her health changed, she was more open to the idea of moving to Israel. "How can I come all the way when I'm sick?" she used to say. Then, all of a sudden, one day, she told me, "I had a dream that I came to Israel and I want to be in Israel." So I said, okay, lets do it. She had doubts. But she made it and it was very good for her.

She was asked to speak in the synagogue in Ramat Beit Shemesh. She was in the movie The Long Way Home about the Holocaust. The producers of the movie asked her to be in the movie. While you only hear the voice of a lot of the survivors in the movie, you actually see my mother -- she practically opens the movie and then comes on a few more times. The movie shows a picture of her parents who were in Auschwitz. She was a very good story teller.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Grandma! Mazel tov!

Bar Papa's Ani L'Dodi (video)

Aug 24, 2010

Interesting Posts #194

1. More than a Shofar Blower


Israel diplomats' strike threatens PM's Washington trip

--- Haaretz

Amazing. There is finally a breakthrough of sorts, and the first chance for real peace talks, and the foreign ministry workers might sabotage it with a strike... It really shouldn't affect Netanyahu's trip - since when do government employees do anything anyway, even without a strike!!??!!

Jon Stewart on the upcoming renewal of Direct Peace Talks (video)

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Reform cant rent shul. Yes they can.

Many people are frequently trying to find ways to "prove" that Barak Obama is a Muslim. I am not sure what the point is - he already won the election for the presidency, and the revelation that he is a Muslim is no longer relevant. And it is not illegal for a Muslim to be president of the USA.

Yet for some reason people think that just because "I" don't like somebody, for whatever reason - who he is, what or who he represents - he deserves no rights in society.

A Reform Synagogue has rented a community center, a.k.a. Matnas, in Holon for High Holiday Services.

This has upset the local Torani community "garin" who have rented that community center for their services in recent years. Perhaps the amdinistrator of the Center should have told the Torani admin that there are others looking to rent and offered them first priority. But he did not. And now the Torani people are upset that the Reform have rented a place that has been already in use the past few years. Perhaps they did so to trick people who might come for services in the Torani shul, not realizing it is a Reform minyan.

No matter how much we dislike and do not approve of Reform Judaism, they are people and have social rights like anybody else. It is sad that that statement even needs to be said. I would not daven in a Reform shul, but they have the right to run their minyan as they see fit, and to rent suitable premises.

I might not have any particular affinity for mosques and Muslims, but they have a right to rent or buy any private piece of property they want. They can use it as they see fit, within the limitations of the zoning laws.

The country operates on a free market, and the Reform have the right to rent a community center just like anybody else does. Maybe next year the Torani people should wake up a little bit earlier and take care of arranging the rental before others do.

Yasamnikim at the Kotel (video)

As a group of Yasamnikim (riot police) prepare to leave for a mission to Haiti, they arrived at the Kotel to daven before their trip..

Rav Avraham Yosef upsets the country with his statement against judges

A Jew is not allowed to take a case to secular court. There are situations where it is allowed, but that has to be determined by a beis din who will give you permission if such a situation exists. Beyond those situations, God defined a set of laws about how we have to live our lives, and going to secular court that uses man-made laws as its guide is considered rejecting God's laws and accepting man's law instead. In halacha it is considered raising your hand against the Torah.

In today's day and age there is a problem because beis din has very little actual authority to decide cases, and to enforce the decision they arrive at, along with the fact that people can get much larger settlements in court than in beis din (as beis din would only ever award what is halachically determined to be owed) and this causes people to go to secular court instead when they should really be going to beis din, at least to get permission to go to secular court.

A result of this is that the secular court seems to be growing in attraction as the place for even religious Jews to settle their disputes. Daily one can read about more and more court cases between religious Jews that are being heard in secular court rather than in beis din.

Rav Avraham Yosef seems to have decided to fight this unfortunate phenomenon. In recent shiurim on the radio Rav Avraham Yosef, the son of Rav Ovadia and the Chief Rabbi of Holon, has paskened that one cannot count in a minyan, nor can one allow to daven for the amud as a chazzan, people who work in the Prosecutors office, the police investigative unit, and the secular court system. He also said this applies to anybody who sends his children to non-religious schools, though I dont know why. while it might not be ideal, I don't know why that would passul him from being counted in a minyan.

It is ironic, as we want the secular court to have religious Jews and other minorities represented in the court, because having such representation will cause the court to take into account religious, or other minority, considerations in its court decisions. On the other hand, any person participating in the court, as a judge or in any other position, is, by his mere participation, supporting the secular law in place of God's law and thereby raising his hand against the Torah.

The affect of Rav Yosef's statement is making waves. This affects not just one or two people, but there are many religious people involved in the judicial system in many different aspects of the system, whether it be as Justice Minister (Yaakov Neeman is a religious Jew), the committee for choosing judges has a number of religious Jew son it, and many others in the system.

In response to this psak, some have responded harshly, criticizing Rav Yosef. MK David Rotem responded by saying that the courts of Israel are not considered "courts of the goyim" (typically any court, even one run by Jews, that judges based on secular law is considered "courts of the goyim"), and the system of batei din also frequently does not judge in accordance with Torah law. Rotem then said that Rav Yosef should not publicize his piskei halacha that are not supported by most of the public.

I disagree with that last statement. Most of the public does not keep shabbos, so should rabbonim not publicize that shabbos should be kept? Halacha is halacha, and even if someone chooses to not adhere to it, that should not stop the rabbonim from discussing the halacha.

Others also had criticism, pointing to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who had a number of judges and prosecutors davening in his minyan over the years, and in Ponevezsh yeshiva a Judge Kister received great honor with aliyos every year during the High Holidays. Other criticism mentioned was that rabbonim can frequently be seen davening, or befriending in general, people who donate lots of money to them and their causes, even though they are secular, and then go ahead and reject others who do not donate to them. Others are calling to censure Rav Yosef and force some sort of disciplinary action.

It seems freedom of speech is reserved only for the left and for professors, but not for rabbonim.

Follow-Up on Bet Shemesh DL Plot Crisis

Recently, Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol took away a plot of land that had been designated for a Yeshivat Hesder and a shul for Rabbi Rosner's community. He took it because he said it was not in use and the yeshivat hesder does not need it for the next few years at least, and for sure not until it is awarded its license to operate from the Defense Ministry. Regarding the shul, most residents of the neighborhood have not yet moved in, and for the current small number of residents, they do not need this plot either.

Supposedly the re-appropriation of the plot is only temporary, to be used by schools for the haredi community living adjacent to the plot on the other side, and after a solution is found for the Haredi schools, the plot will, supposedly, be given back to the DL community.

This caused a fight. Unusually, the Misrad Hapnim which is controlled by Shas even supported Shalom Lerner in his appeals about not going through proper channels and buildings being illegal, etc.

Anyway, it is time for some follow up information. The only place I saw this follow-up info was in VIN, and not in any of the Hebrew press to date...

It seems that Mayor Moshe Abutbol has changed his mind, in part, and has decided that at least the shul deserves a plot of land to build on immediately. Even though the yeshivat hesder still needs to wait, the more immediately pressing need has been for Rabbi Rosner's shul, and on that issue Mayor Abutbol has come to an agreement that they can build and has allocated them a plot to build their shul upon. There are also rumors that he might soon be retracting his decision regarding the yeshivat hesder as well.
“The municipality of Beit Shemesh has come to an agreement with the dozens of residents who have begun to move into apartments in the new neighborhood, about, on the one hand - the need to apportion space for their synagogue, and on the other - setting aside a place for the synagogue for the majority of the neighborhood’s residents, who have not yet begun to live there,” municipality spokesman Mati Rosenzweig told Anglo File this week. The municipality’s policy “remains unchanged,” he added, in that it “views the needs of all residents as equal.”
Congregation Nofei Hashemesh considers the city’s sudden change of heart “a very significant success,” its president, Jason Schwartz, told Anglo File. “The mayor and certain members of the city council have now expressed their support and have given us a location to put up a temporary structure within the Nofei Hashemesh community for a shul,” explained Schwartz, who moved here from New Jersey in 2008. “At the same time, the city is bringing our request for a permanent site back to the municipality land allocation committee, where we believe it will be approved as we had originally anticipated.”
The mayor also recently came under fire for reassigning a plot dedicated to a national-religious hesder yeshiva, which combines religious studies with army service, to Haredi institutions. This week, however, the yeshiva’s director, Chagai Goldschmidt, told Anglo File his institution renewed negotiations with the municipality. While unwilling to confirm rumors the yeshiva and the city had reached an agreement, he said there were “signs” the yeshiva would be able to start erecting a building soon.
The Nofei Hashemesh Congregation, half of whose members are native English speakers, is led by Rabbi Shalom Rosner, a popular Modern Orthodox leader who left his teaching position and pulpit in New York two years ago to head the new community. Some 60 member families gather for services and lectures in a local school and the rabbi’s basement. Building of temporary structure started last week, Schwartz said, adding he hopes to hold High Holy Days there.
“Over the last few weeks we have seen real teamwork,” Rabbi Rosner told Anglo File this week, “with all elements of the city council working to advance our interests.” Schwartz, who was instrumental in organizing the demonstration a few weeks ago against the municipality, also spoke of “a newfound effort to work together toward the positive advancement of Beit Shemesh.”
Schwartz added: “It’s now our responsibility as citizens of Beit Shemesh to allow them to show that they will keep their word and work for the betterment of all demographics.” Rabbi Boaz Mori, the head of a local national-religious yeshiva for English speakers, says the recent developments show Mayor Abutbol is indeed adopting a new policy. If in the beginning of his term, he might have favored Haredi institutions, he is now “trying to be a mayor for all citizens,” Mori told Anglo File.
“I don’t think that he’s anti-national religious,” the New York native, who moved to the city over a decade ago, said. “To a certain extent, the mayor had to please his constituency, the people who voted him into office, and therefore he immediately granted a lot of things to the Haredi community and because of that was ignored by the national-religious community. I think that now he’s balancing things out.”
Jacky Edry - the number-two man in the city council’s largest opposition faction BeYachad - told Anglo File Abutbol has understood “he can’t always fight” and has chosen instead a “path of peace.” But a number of Beit Shemesh residents are skeptical about the municipality’s backtracking. “The tide is definitely not turning,” said Shalom Lerner, who heads the predominantly national-religious BeYachad. “The pressure helps, but it’s still an uphill battle.” The mayor only gave up on his opposition to the Nofei Hashemesh shul because “they had no legal leg to stand on,” said Lerner, who was born in the U.S.
“The mayor is still pushing a Haredi agenda,” he added, citing a letter in which the municipality’s director-general, Matityahu Chutah, wrote that “actually, the population of the city of Beit Shemesh is Haredi in nature.” Rosenzweig, the city’s spokesman, told Anglo File that Chutah was referring to “the city’s new neighborhoods [that] belong to ultra-Orthodox and other observant religious sectors.”
Jonny Klompas, a Johannesburg-born Beit Shemesh resident, is also skeptical. If the national-religious community’s recent successes show anything, it is that “any progress for our community… is unfortunately going to involve a hard and long fight,” he said. “If there’s a little victory here that’s very good, but until I actually see them building the shul I would say, ‘what’s the next step, what’s the next potential place for them to sabotage it?’”

Soul Farm: Ani L'Dodi (video)

Aug 23, 2010

Interesting Posts #193

1. Southern Golan and Jordan Valley

A Rapaport parent speaks up about the school building

A Guest Post by a Parent of Children Studying in Rapaport-Ahavat Yisrael, Yehoshua Shapiro

To All Those involved in the campaign against Rapaport,

I am a parent of a son who is studying at Ahavas Yisroel (Rapaport). We are happy with the school and also are happy with the students who graduate Rapaport and continue from there to various yeshivot High School and then end up learning in what would be considered the top yeshivot in Israel.

On Tuesday the Yated Naman is distributed for free and we receive it in our mail box. Although my kids attend so called non charedi schools, they read the Yated when it comes. My daughter asked me, and I still have not given her an answer, why do they write that if the school moves into the neighborhood it will be spirital danger to the neighborhood. And, why it also does not like the school logo. I myself can't recall seeing it - supposedly they have a one boy in a kippah serugah and another one in a balck kippah shaking hands or talking together. She says this is a nice thing and can't understand why someone would be opposed to this.

Please tell me how do I address these things? Maybe I should tell them that the Yated should no longer be read in our house then they might want to read it more.

Lets say that a number of parents now say that everything being said is right (by the way, despite the yated saying many parents are upset about the building being used like this against the charedi community and are taking their kids out because of it, I am not aware of anyone leaving the school on account of everything except maybe the people that live in Har Homa and the school is quite a distance for them now). Who is going to take students now after the school year has started?

I feel there is no purpose in raging a campaign against Rapaport. In fact, I believe it is only helping the school by giving it exposure and now many people know about it and will be interested in sending their children there to get a good education.

It seems to me the reason for the protests is the people behind the protests feel threaten that they are losing their power and therefore feel they must react this way. This behavior leaves much to be desired. I can write more but I think I have said enough.

Ksiva vchasima tova

DST all year round

Daylight Savings Time in Israel used to be a big fight every year. Twice a year actually.

The politicians would fight about when to implement DST, and when to remove it. There were those whose main consideration was energy efficiency - having maximum waking and active hours during maximum daylight hours. There were those concerned about religious issues - starting the Pesach seder too late, finishing the Yom Kippur fast earlier in the day rather than later.

A few years ago they finally broke out of the routine and set a law that determined a method of determining, once and for all, when to move the clocks back and forth. The law states:
every year, between the last Friday after the 2nd of April, at 2 AM, and between the last Sunday prior to 10 Tishrei, at 2 AM, the time in Israel will be advanced earlier by one hour.

For a number of years, this has worked great. No more fighting all the time. It has been great.

Now, the law is being discussed again. MK Ronit Tirosh has proposed to change the DST law to say that we should have DST in effect all year round, minus 2 weeks for the holidays. From Rosh Hashana through the beginning of Sukkos we would go off of DST, so everyone can enjoy their holiday, but then during Chol Hamoed we would revert back to DST to take advantage of everyone being on vacation and getting more daylight hours for the activities.

She says this would improve road safety, as more driving would be during daylight hours rather than in the dark, along with the general benefits of being active more during daylight hours and less during dark hours.

DST all year round. Good idea? Bad idea? What do you think?

Rabbinic taskforce to fight for school building (video)

As a result of the mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat awarding an available school building in Ramot to the Rappaport - Ahavat Yisrael school, a group of rabbonim and rosh yeshivas, led by Rav Shmuel Auerbach, associated with Degel got together to work on planning a strategy to fight the decision.

They decided to go with a two pronged strategy. One being to fight the school itself, against the way they tamper with the pure educational system of the haredi community and mix it with secular studies like shaatnez and kilayim.

The second prong is to attack the mayor. They made statements that Barkat is worse than previous mayor Teddy Kollek, he is destroying in every possible way the holiness of Jerusalem, etc.

Then there were the calls to send Pindros back to Beitar. This is really surprising, because I thought the representatives of Deel in the various municipalities and Knesset are simply carrying out the insrtructions of the rabbonim and gedolim. if none of the rabbonim gave Pindros the go ahead to support Barkat, how does he get away with doing so? If they told him to oppose smoething on a specific vote, how does he support it instead? And if he is doing what he has been told to do, why are these rabbonim upset at him and not just change their own policies?

Here is a clip from the meeting, though it doesn't really say much. I recognize a couple of the people. One of them is my former rosh yeshiva, and it surprises me tremendously that he participated. Not because he doesn't agree, as he very well might and I guess does, with the fight. The reason I am surprised is because he never used to get involved in the fights and politics and externals. he used to be purely torah and wasnt interested in anything else. When I was leaving yeshiva, he was already being influenced that in order to improve the yeshiva he would have to be concerned with externals such as how people in the yeshiva dress and whatnot. The fact that he is now part of a taskforce to fight in the realm of politics is a surprise to me.

YBC lipsinging spoofs are back (video)

Aug 22, 2010

Galant wins it

Looks like that scandalous strategic plan paper to use a media relations blitz to win the Chief of Staff position for Yoav Galant worked after all...

The memories of clandestine Shofar blowers

Here is a touching story of a reunion.

After the 1929 Hebron Massacre, the British who ruled Palestine set a bunch of rules against the Jewish community, especially in the area of the Kotel. One of the new laws was that the Jews could not blow the shofar, even on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The Jews, famously, refused to listen and would blow the shofar clandestinely and sometimes be caught and arrested for it.

The last 6 "underground" shofar blowers who remain alive today were brought together to the Kotel for a reunion, though they were really meeting for the first time. It had never been a group effort, just individuals taking their own risk and blowing the shofar. They were brought together to re-enact the experience, and to talk about the memories of it and why they were willing to risk arrest and punishment.

Yaakov Sika Aharoni who blew the shofar in 1938 said "we felt the shechina was with us... [I went to prison] with my head held up high. Blowing the shofar was always the sign of freedom, and for that I was willing to go all the way."

Mordechai Shachori said he was the only survivor, in his family, of the Holocaust. The people who organized the shofar blowings wanted him to ask his parents permission, because there was a risk of being arrested. he responded that he has nobody to ask and he is going to blow the shofar.

Avraham Steinberg came with s wife Clara who spoke and said that they didnt know each other at the time, but she was at the kotel and saw him blow the shofar. Since that day they have been together.

Avarahm Elkayim blew the shofar after Yom Kippur of 1947, and was the last of the shofar blowers, as the kotel fell under Jordan control the next year in the War of Independence. Elkayim said he was approached by someone a bit older and was asked what he has to do with blowing the shofar. he said he was the last to blow. The older fellow responded and said I am Moshe Segal, and I was the first to blow.

Avraham Caspi said he was the last to leave the Hurva synagogue before it was destroyed by the Jordanians. He said at the end of Neilah when he was preparing to blow the shofar, he spotted an undercover British policeman in the group. He says he began to sing in the tune of davening saying that their is a spy among them, as a warning to the others who should proceed with caution.

The memories of Jewish heroes.

Some Haredi schools are doing something right..

2 stories in the Haredi news indicate that some schools must be doing something right and perhaps change, albeit slowly, might be on the way for the rest of haredi society in general.

1. 3 Haredi ganim in Herzliya that were under the auspices of Chinuch Atzmai, have joined a pilot program with the Harzliya municipality in which the ganim will be funded by the city, more so than normal haredi ganim are funded so, and in exchange they will fly the flag, celebrate Yom Haatzmaut together with the other city ganim and stand silently for the siren on Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron.

The decision to do this came when parents requested more funding from the city, and the mayor was willing but on condition that they accept the values of the State of Israel.

Surprisingly, the Haredi community said yes. Everywhere else in Israel, this has been fought and refused, but in Herzliya they said yes.

MK Moshe Gafni says that this is just a pilot and will not be expanded so quickly, and any expansion will be evaluated and decided upon by the gedolim.

2. A chain of ganim in Ramle that has been under Haredi auspices but has been directed at teaching a mixed student body of secular, Haredi, and traditional kids all together is losing its sponsor. It has been run until now under the auspices of Maayan Hachinuch HaTorani - the educational system of Shas, and their pulling out would mean the closure of these ganim.

The parents were so happy with the ganim that the parents all went out to protest against them being closed (NOTE: The article never says why they were being closed).

So, Shas is not the same as Degel, and Shas is always more open to the general public than Degel is, but still a mixed school, or gan, like this is still rare. And for the secular parents to go out to protest against the closure means they must be doing something right...

Yoseph Robinson murdered (video)

This poor guy was just murdered in a Brooklyn robbery.. the personal change a person can go through is amazing...

Aug 20, 2010

L'cha Dodi (video)


I feel that Ramadan and Elul have once again met up together this year, to suggest to us, Muslims and Jews alike, to do some soul searching, to correct wrongs, to repent for sins transgressed, and to start a new page of mutual respect, equality, friendship and peace. This is the time to increase the efforts to foment peace through mutual recognition of each person from both nations with his rights to his country, through relations as neighbors, mutual respect and financial and science partnerships...

-- President Shimon Peres

Aug 19, 2010

Itai Shechter dons a kipa after scoring a goal (video)

The sports incident rocking the Israel sports scene is footballer Itai Shechter donning a red kipa, to match the red uniform, after scoring a goal against the Austrian team they were playing in Austria. He donned the kipa, covered his eyes and said the Shema and gave thanks to Hashem for the goal.

He is being criticized for being provocative, as if he was trying to upset the opposing team and their fans. Shechter says it was just simple, and he had no intention to provoke anyone. Just to thank God and he was happy that many Jews back home were watching and would be happy.

He said a tzaddik of a bochur gave him the kipa in the airport and he decided he would take it, put it in his sock and if he wanted to he would put it on at some point.

Yesh Koneh Olamo B'shaah Achat...

Itai Shechter responds to the criticism:

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