Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

(this is a featured post and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.. scroll down for new posts) -------------------------------...

Oct 31, 2010

Pamela Anderson to meet with the Haredi MKs

With all the celebrities and performers who boycott Israel, any time a celeb comes and ignores the calls for the boycott, it is a measure of support to the Israeli public. Even when the celeb is one that goes by the name of Pamela Anderson, and she has her own agenda of trying to help push through the ban against importing animal furs.

The irony is that because the main opponents to the proposed ban on fur are the Haredi MKs, as such a ban would cause a problem for the shtreimel industry, Pamela Anderson wants to meet with the MKs from the haredi parties to try to convince them.

MK Ronit Tirosh, upon hearing about the planned meeting, said that while she is not sure that this is the meeting that will convince them to change their opinion, she is happy to receive such support for her proposed bill.

I wonder what persuasive tactics she will be using, and wait to see how persuasive she can be... I do know that if any picture is published from said meeting, that will definitely qualify, automatically, as the "picture of the day"

MBD on the difficulties of the music industry.. (video)

Mordechai Ben David was just here in Israel for a few days, and Bechadrei got an opportunity for a brief interview..

ראיון MBD - HD from bhol on Vimeo.

I get that the industry has become tough over the years and they have not found a solution to the problem of people downloading music rather than paying for it.. MBD, though, has become the biggest crybaby about it. Every time someone sticks a microphone in his face he kvetches about the downloads making it so tough. Now he is saying he doesn't bother working on anything new because it is just not worth it. Every other singer keeps pumping out album after album without bellyaching all the time, but MBD, the "king of Jewish music", just can't get past it..

And just once I would like an interviewer to ask him, when he complains about the downloading, about his past experiences in copying music and how he justifies it while complaining about others.. I'd love to see him answer that question (not that his wrongdoings justify anybody else's, but seeing how much he complains I would just like to see how he fields the question)..

And just for kicks, here is Dschinghis Khan..

Dmitry Salita for the title!

Orthodox Jewish Boxer Dmitry Salita is promoting his next match, which will be a world championship bout, for the International Boxing Association welterweight title.

Salita (31-1-1 16 KOs), will be fighting Mike Anchondo (30-3, 19 KOs) for the title in the Roseland Ballroom on December 16, 2010.

December 16 is a Thursday, so at least he learned his lesson from the title fight in England 10 months ago against Amir Kahn in which he was pounded into his first loss. The lesson being, not to fight an important boxing match after eating too much cholent in shul on shabbos morning at the kiddush.

In addition to the title match, the event will include two more boxing matches, with Jewish boxers - Ilan Kedem and Boyd Melson, along with a performance by Matisyahu.

Oseh Shalom

(Warning: some girls are in the choir, but I couldnt pick any individual voices out)

Oct 28, 2010

PM Netanyahu's Speech at the OECD Privacy Conference 2010 (video)

Breaking the non-kosher cellphone rule

When I first read this story, I had decided not to write about it. I didn't see it as much of a story.

The story is that various news media reported this week that 9 girls from Bais Yaakov Yashan (BJJ as it is known in English, but BJJ is really an American girls program. This incident happened in the Israeli Bais Yaakov Yashan) were caught using non-kosher cellphones. They were expelled form school as a result.

They were caught because one of the girls received an SMS during class that her friend had gotten engaged. She told her other friends, and the teacher figured out that she got the message via a non-kosher cell phone. After her phone was confiscated, the principal figured out, by going through her contact list on her phone, which other girls had non-kosher cell phones. he then threw them all out of school.

So, I wasn't going to write about it, but then Jameel wrote about it (and he's got a cute pashkevil at the end of his post), and his post made me think about it some more and I decided to write something.

I think the rules in the haredi community that are for the purpose of controlling people, be they the kosher cellphone, he forced internet filters or webchaver or no internet, or any of the other ones (read a school takanon to find some more), are all stupid.

I have no problem with an individual doing any of these things, if he chooses to do so - I dislike the community imposing it on the people. People should be treated as adults, and they should be able to choose what to do and what not to do, they should know their own weaknesses and be educated enough to find solutions to protect themselves. Society imposing it on everybody because they trust nobody to think for themselves is stupid and demeaning, in my mind.

That being said, the school has a rule, and the kids studying in that school have to follow it. If the school threw the kids out because they found the parents had non-kosher cellphones, that would be completely wrong. To throw the kids out because they themselves broke the rules is not so bad.

Throwing a kid out for breaking one rule is pretty harsh. Perhaps the phones should have been confiscated, kids suspended for a day, parents spoken to, etc. To throw them out for one infraction seems overly harsh. However, maybe they were kids who regularly break the rules, or have already been warned about this or other things. I do not support throwing them out for this, but perhaps in some universe it was warranted, for reasons we are not aware of. if this was the only infraction, it seems too harsh to me.

Jameel made a point to me, in the comments of his post, that the principal violated their privacy by searching through the contact list. I agree, but principals regularly do that if they suspect violations of rules that they consider bad. It might not be right, but I dont think the violation of their privacy changes the issue.

I tell my kids all the time, even if the issue at hand is a rule I disagree with, that as long as they are in the school they are in they have to follow the rules. While on a societal level I think the non-kosher cellphone ban is stupid, these kids broke a school rule and should be punished in some way, albeit expulsion is probably too harsh.

Rollout of the new Bet Shemesh municipal website (video)

The Mayor of Bet Shemesh, Moshe Abutbol, rolls out the new municipal website..



Instead of [Gidon Saar] investigating where the money for the failing secular educational system is going, that the money is not going to education, and generally to enter the school you have to go through metal detectors, Saar comes along  and tells us how to educate our children? The day that Saar will come and tell us to teach our children Gemara or Tanakh is the day we will consider stopping to learn.

  -- Rabbi Mordechai Noigershall

Rabbi Eichler on the anti-haredi campaign (video)

Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, former MK and current PR guy for the haredi community, has responded to the current wave of anti-haredi campaigns in the media and around Israel. Personally, while he is a good talker, I think the haredi community needs a new pr guy, as Eichler, in his articles, drips with hatred toward anybody not haredi, and that does nothing for improving the haredi PR.

איכלר from bhol on Vimeo.

Kosharot Recommends Fleish Chickens as Mehadrin

Kosharot, an organization dedicated to improving the kashrus industry in Israel and raising awareness of kashrus issues and standards, has investigated the kashrus level of the Fleish chickens that are under the OU (or as my grandmother used to say, the UO, and are declared as mehadrin.

Kosharot, after their investigation as to the standards adhered to in the Fleish slaughterhouse, has decided recently that they recommend Fleish chickens and turkeys as adhering to a high level of kashrus, equivalent to the most stringent levels of kashrus for chickens.

As always, any questions whether you can or should rely on this should be directed to your own rabbi. I know some people say the Fleish is not at the same level of other mehadrin hecshers. Another caveat, this recommendation applies only to Fleish chickens and turkey, but not to the level of kashrus of the meat. I checked the Kosharot website and I did not yet find a similar recommendation. I have written to Kosharot to ask what they say about the meat division, but have not yet received an answer.

Myth and Facts: Do Jews Have A Claim to Israel? with Dr. Bard (video)

Lipa, Uncle Moishy and Avraham Fried in a Bank (video)

Oct 27, 2010

Interesting Posts #216

1. Moving Signs Of The Times

2. Mesorah Strikes Back

3. A Rebbe Allows A Photograph, As A Kindness To A Ger

4. Message in a Dream?

5. 10 Things About Food Shopping

6. Blame It On The Bus

7. Country Yossi Rides Again

8. Tariq Aziz And The Vatican

9. Changing Costs of Shidduchim

The price list of a haredi hafgana

A while back there was talk about, and a movement to, boycott the Eidah Haredis hecsher (I have not seen any recent updates about that movement and it's success or failure). In response to the calls, the Eida declared it ridiculous, saying that they do not fund protesters, they do not pay people to go to protests, people go on their own and boycotting the hecsher will not stop the protests because there is no money involved.

It might be true that the Eida doesn't pay people to go protest (or maybe not), but the fact that people do get paid, at least by people affiliated with the Eida, is now proven to be true. Despite the protestations of the Eida.

The WAP internet site of wap.haredim.co.il (can only be accessed by cellular connection) published, last night, a price list of a protest.

Those fundraising on behalf of the protesters have published a price list for their Satmar friends in London, so that they can choose what they would like to sponsor and send the appropriate amount of money.

That also means that in order to continue raising these respectable sums of money, they have to find or create provocations to justify their going out to protest.

They created a "Partnership Contract" in order to sell the merits of the protest. They even compare it to a "Yissachar-Zevulun" partnership..

The contract says: [This contract is] between those who protest and participate in the pain of the shechina that is caused by digging up the dead, and between those who carry the burden of the expenses.. This partnership is like "Yissachar-Zevulun", that each one does not diminish his portion, and each side gets merit from the whole thing, and has full partnership in all the cruel beatings and sitting in jail and other bitter afflictions along with laying in the hospital and the pain of tear gas, etc.

  1. For 720 Sterling Pound you buy full partnership in all the systems from the beginning of the summer of 5770 until the end which is close
  2. For 360 Sterling Pound you buy partnership for one day with the thousands of protesters
  3. For 180 Sterling Pound you buy partnership in a busload of protesters for one day (50 people)
  4. For 72 Sterling Pound you buy partnership of one person for one day, including all the pain and affliction he will undergo.
Hey - everything has a price, and a job is a job. And who said haredim don't work....

Interesting Psak: Mixing Communal Beit Knesset

Rav David Levy, on Kipa, was asked about a small community, a yishuv, where they do not have a shul. The community is mixed, and the different groups, ashkenazim, yemenite, etc. each have their own small minyan. Each of the various groups refuses to capitulate (the sefardim specifically say that they have been capitulating their whole lives throughout schooling and the army on their "nusach" and style).

The question asked is if the various groups should continue to daven separately, each according to its own nusach and style, or if they should build one communal shul and find ways to compromise.

Rav Levy responded by first stating that it is difficult to answer such a question without being familiar with the various residents. If the community has a rav, he should be asked, and if not, he would be available for further discussion.

Rav Levy continues that the best way would be to stay together and find ways to compromise. As long as the yishuv is the size where everyone can daven together, efforts should be made to do so. Rav Levy adds that if we truly wish to see the beis hamikdash be built, we must take into account that the kohein gadol will not be exactly the way each person pictured him. In my opinion, Rav Levy says, one of the causes of the delay of the rebuilding of the beis hamikdash is the lack of ability of many Jews to compromise on what they are used to experiencing in shul from their childhoods.

While the preference, and psak, that the various groups should work towards compromise and find a way to daven together is not really unique or unusual, the way he suggests it, and compares it to the beis hamikdash, kohein gadol, and people's preferences from their youth, is very interesting.

Thomas Friedman on Americans Being Fed Up With Israel (video)

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recently wrote an editorial that has really struck a nerve. he calls on Israel to renew the construction freeze for another two months. he compares Israel to Hezbollah as being a spoiled child. he says Americans are fed up and Israel is losing them.

Friedman gave the following interview to Israel's Channel 2 to discuss his opinion and follow-up thoughts on the editorial.

Friedman makes good points, that none of this is worth not testing a new opportunity for peace.

To comment on what Friedman said and wrote:

Friedman stresses that America is Israel's ONLY friend. That is not true. Perhaps the United States is Israel's most reliable friend. Perhaps Israel's best friend. But the US is not Israel's ONLY friend. And who even knows if "friend" is the right word at all, especially nowadays where the friend is not so friendly.. perhaps a better way to describe it would be that we share common interests..

Also, it is nice to say that 2 months will be a worthwhile test, and Netanyahu, and Israel, should worry less about keeping his word about what would happen at the end of the 10 months freeze, and worry more about not missing such an opportunity for peace, or at least to test the opportunity for peace that would only come at a small price of 2 more frozen months. Very nice, but why should we look at the 2 months any differently than the past 10 months?

Look at those 10 months as the test and say the test failed? The Palestinians ignored the freeze and refused to talk to the Israelis until the beginning of September, right when the freeze was about to finish. Their goal then was, obviously, to lessen the pressure on themselves and show they are willing to talk but Israel is about to start building again. Yet for 10 months Israel did not build and the Palestinians still refused to talk.

Why would 2 months more be any different? And does anyone really believe that the request to continue the freeze is really only for another 2 months? What will happen at the end of the 60 days? the Palestinians will throw another fit about how Israel is destroying the peace process, the Americans will request/demand another extension of the freeze, and everyone will be upset about it again.

And by the end of the additional 60 days, the world will turn to Israel and say you have already frozen the construction for a year, so you must continue it for the sake of the peace process.

It is time to try something new to solve the issue. Netanyahu tried something new with the construction freeze, and it did not work. Why keep trying things that don't work by continuing the freeze? Come up with something new to try.

The Holy Highway Through Judea And Samaria (video)

Ki Hirbaisa - Yisroel and Mendy Werdyger LIVE in Chicago (video)

Eli Yishai Kicks It Up (video)

Oct 26, 2010

Haredim are worse than crime and prostitution

Haredim are less desirable than packs of illegal foreign workers from Sudan. In the eyes of the secular community.

Walking through South Tel Aviv can be a harrowing experience. The neighborhood is seedy and falling apart. The neighborhood attracts all the lower elements of society - the illegal foreign workers who pile into apartments, some sleep in the street (the weather is warm so why not?), prostitutes wandering around, and every other category in the lower end of the societal chain.

Personally, I have walked through the South Tel Aviv neighborhoods. I have seen Sudanese (they looked it at least - maybe they were also from other parts of Africa) refugees standing around in their underwear, hanging laundry right on the side of the street. The neighborhood is plagued by high levels of crime and drugs. It is dirty and unkempt. If you read articles in the paper about the lifestyle of these foreign workers, you will know that they live in very poor conditions - old apartments, crowding of too many of them together into small apartments, to save money, etc.

Yet despite the reality of a South Tel Aviv that is falling apart and people are afraid to walk there, the secular leaders still prefer that over having haredim live there.

Yesterday at the Tel Aviv municipal council meeting, Shas representative Benjamin Babayof recommended a plan that the city of Tel Aviv would support and promote rehabilitating the neighborhood and encourage young haredi families to move there. The housing would initially be cheaper (until real estate prices start to increase as the neighborhood gets better), and it could be a solution for Tel Aviv's problem with the neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, along with the haredi housing problem.

Other representatives on the city council absolutely rejected the proposed plan. They said there is no chance that they will allow the haredization of the neighborhood, and would not fund it in any way. "It makes no sense to allow the criminals of Shas getting out of jail and filling up our neighborhoods".

Not all haredim are the "criminals of Shas", and lumping them together in such a category is despicable. It also shows that in their minds, haredim are the worst and lowest elements of society. They prefer criminals, prostitution, drugs and seedy foreign workers over haredim,

How can the problems ever be solved when the divide is so great? If you think the hatred and division comes only from the haredi side of the coin, it is obvious that it comes just as equally from the secular side.

The Avreich Who Doesn't Learn Is Also An Idiot

To be fair, I must post the follow-up to yesterday's "We Yeshiva Students Barely Study" post.

The anonymous avreich called Bechadrei to get things off his chest. Unless they are making up a follow-up anonymous story.

Anyway so the guy calls up Bechadrei and expresses his remorse over what he had done. He says he hadn't realized at the time how much of an effect it would have had. He goes on to explain how he went out to meet the reporter and just started talking. He said all sorts of things, some in jest, and it is obvious much of it is not true. He says he just kept on talking. He says he didn't realize how big a story it would become and how it would create so much hatred against haredim. He thought it would be a small item in the paper, and not be made into such a central piece.

B'kitzur, the guy is a fraud. Either he was lying the first time, or the second time, or both (or not at all, if the whole thing is made up). If anything, he should have had Yediot run a second piece with his clarification. Regardless, he has become one of these crying panderers who say whatever they think the crowd in front of them wants to hear.

It is like the army people who talk about the need to draft haredim - social equality, social responsibility, shared responsibility to defend the country. Then when they talk to a haredi audience they say if we would suddenly have 2000 haredim come down to be drafted our systems would crash We dont need them, we dont want them, blah blah blah. As if the army could deal with drafting tens of thousands of young men and women every year, but couldnt handle another couple thousand.

This guy is the same. To the secular press he says he has an agenda and the haredim need ot be saved, and they won't, or can't, do it themselves. Then to the haredi press he cries he had no idea what he was talking about, it was all a mistake, he didnt mean it, its obviously not true. This guy, if he exists, is not a courageous man (if anonymously blaming society can be called courageous at all). He is just an idiot.

Ezekial's Tomb in Iraq (video)

Oct 25, 2010

Interesting Posts #215

1. Planes and Trains

2. In Favor Of The Murex

3. Davening With The Yekkes

4. Facing Down A Big Guy

5. Jews Are Not Chosen And Have No Promised Land

6. Economic Slowdown = Shidduchim Slowdown

"We Yeshiva Students Barely Study"

Ynetnews received a call from an anonymous haredi man. This fellow has been calling and sending letters to the media and to politicians and other people of influence, to try to get his agenda in motion.

Ynetnews interviewed him. Well worth a read. The basic idea, in brief, of what he has to say is that most yeshiva students barely study. There are some who do, but most do not. Most simply do not have the ability to sit and study gemara so much.

The anonymous fellow is trying to get support for his agenda that the haredi politicians should be rejected, and their requests and political deals should be rejected. He says it is their fault that the yeshiva students are stuck in yeshiva even though most of them should not be there. He goes on to call the secular people suckers and friars for supporting the kollel life, along with fighting in the army and putting their lives on the line, while giving the haredim the ability to avoid the army.

He goes on and points to some of the sham arguments made by the haredi politicians. One of those is the argument that yeshiva study should be considered equal to university study and get credits for it. He says it is a ridiculous argument because there is no supervision over yeshiva study - no tests, no oversight, no classroom hours, etc. You just register in yeshiva and the rest is up to you how diligent you would be or not. Another sham he points to is how many haredim are using the Internet. He uses that to show how the haredim are not really studying when they should be.

Is it true? Who knows. No studies have been conducted, there is no real oversight, as he says, so nobody really knows what is going on. In small yeshivas they have better control and you usually have to perform better, study, participate in shiurim, etc. more so than in the big yeshivas where it is easier for a poor student to hide out and get by without anyone noticing his absence or lack of participation.

However, this is article/interview is based on an anonymous report. Who is to say this guy knows anything more than what occurs in his immediate circle. Maybe he is in a lousy low-end yeshiva. Who says this guy is even real and not the figment of some journalists imagination who concocted a whole story, and throws in a  number of offensive quotes to provoke some more people.

Sure there are people who use the yeshiva as a haven and don't study much of the time. Is it a majority? Not in my experience.

Does the haredi yeshiva system need to be changed - in my opinion yes. People are locked in for too long, and when they finally have the courage to break out, they are unskilled and untrained and at a point in their lives where it is difficult to get the necessary training and skills to make a respectable living.

Are people staying in yeshiva not studying rather than going to the army? yes. Anybody who was ever in yeshiva knows that there are guys that should really be in the army because they barely study and use the yeshiva as a haven. But to say that most yeshiva students don't study is untrue and a fabrication.

Unless this fellow took a tour and studied what happens in each of a majority of the yeshivas in the main haredi yeshiva, there is no way he can extrapolate from his personal experience, if such an experience even exists, to society as a whole.


The picture of the day is the bottom picture, in the cropped front page of today's Haaretz. I left the top half in just so you could be sure it was from haaretz. In the picture, Tzippi Livni looks mighty pregnant...

Ministry of Transportation Supports Mehadrin Bus Lines

According to Bechadrei News, the Ministry of Transportation has finally finished its study and has come to conclusions. The ministry has decided to support mehadrin bus lines being legalized and available to haredi communities that request it. As long as there is no coercion, there is no reason to not allow it legally.

The study was conducted by taking 3000 rides, using all buses that are deemed to be mehadrin lines. During these 3000 bus rides, not a single incident occurred indicating coercion or any other problem.

The Supreme Court will, supposedly, be deciding at the end of next month how to rule on the legality of the mehadrin lines. I say "supposedly" because they were supposed to come to a ruling a number of times already but it was delayed each time for further study.

Which cities do Israelis prefer?

According to a study conducted by Machon Roten TRI, 64% of Israelis prefer to live in the main large cities - Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. 33.3% want to live in Tel Aviv, 20.1% in Jerusalem, and 10.7% in Haifa.

The other end of the report has Petach Tikva coming in at 14th place with 3% of Israelis wanting to live there. Ranaana is desired by 8%, and Herzliya by 7.5%.

Bet Shemesh, Tiberias and Kiryat Motzkin close off the bottom end of the report as the least desirable cities in Israel, with less than 2% of Israelis wanting to live in these 3 cities.

As Rotem and Globes say, where someone wants to live does not necessarily mean much, as the desire to live in a secific place does not mean that person will live there. there are price considerations, along with other issues, that might push a person to buy and live in a city he didnt necessarily prefer, or preferred less.

The question is, what does a city do to move up on the list? How do cities like Bet Shemesh or Petach Tikva or Tiberias increase their level of desirability?

Israeli Pawn Star.. Guinness Record: 523 Simultaneous Chess Games (video)

Israeli chess grandmaster Alik Gershon has taken the Guinness World Record for simultaneous games after playing 523 opponents in Tel Aviv..

Jonathan Pollard - 25 years (video)

Return To The Altalena (video)

Oct 24, 2010


Isn't it amazing how the haredi news sites are all over the debate regarding Rav Motti Elon and the issues with the Takana Forum, yet they ignore the issue completely when the issue involves a haredi person...


David Ben-Gurion, the Racist

The use of irony takes a special talent. Rav David Meier Druckman, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin, seems to have mastered that talent in a recent article.

Rav Druckman suggests that the country change the name of "Ben-Gurion Airport" due to David Ben-Gurion having been a racist.

How was Ben-Gurion, one of the founders of the State, perhaps the most revered prime minister in Israel's history, a statesman and patriot, and founder of what would become the Labor party, a racist?

Druckman points to the history books that describe how Ben-Gurion fought, for tens of years in the area of Pades Chana, against farmers and orchard owners who would hire Arab labor to work the fields. Ben-Gurion insisted on farmers using only Jewish labor.

In addition, he points to Ben-Gurion's testimony to the Peel Commission. The Peel Commission, headed by Earl Peel, was appointed in 1936 to investigate the Arab uprising. The Peel Commission's report eventually led to the Partition Plan, which the Arabs rejected.

Ben-Gurion, in his testimony to the Peel Commission, tesified that The Tanakh is our mandate to Eretz Yisrael.

Druckman continues that it is obvious that according to today's standards of our society and government, David Ben-Gurion would be considered a racist and a dangerous extreme right-winger.

Rav Druckman says, invoking the trade of irony, how the "gates of the country" is named "Ben-Gurion" after such a dangerous racist can only be considered to be inciting to racism and extremism. As well, oru Ministry of Education and the government should stop educating us that Israel is a Jewish state, but it should be called a state of all its citizens.

While Rav Druckman uses the irony well to make his point, he is really not saying anything new. He is saying the exact same thing that the Palestinians say every time they get criticized for naming a traffic circle after a terrorist, a terrorist who they choose to call a founding father, a freedom fighter, and the like. They always respond that said terrorist is really to them just like Ben-Gurion is to the Israelis.

God Only Knows (What I'd Be Without Jews) (video)

Heat caused shortage

The unusual stretch of hot weather we have experienced through this past summer has wreaked havoc on the waters of Israel.

However, if you think the worst hit of the victims of the heat was the Kinneret, you've got another think coming. We might not have enough water to drink, do laundry and bathe in, but the drought causing a hummus shortage is the real disaster right now.

As always, a shortage in supply means a price hike. Will this crisis change eating habits in the Middle East?

The Dictator Family song (video)

Oct 22, 2010

Oct 21, 2010

Interesting Posts #214

1. RivkA needs your prayers.. Tehillim sign up on her behalf is here..

2. Churches vs Synagogues

3. Rabinfest

4. Coming To America

5. Marathon Man

6. Throwing Roses

7. Rabbis Friending Kids On Facebook

8. Happy Birthday

9. Cookbook Giveaway contest

10. Meeting The Starving Mother

Charity, Beautifully Disguised

The Wall Street Journal has a nice piece called "Charity, Beautifully Disguised".

Here in Israel this is fairly common in most religious neighborhoods, and is known as the clothing gemach. Some charge a token fee, 2 or 3 NIS per clothing item, while others are free.

From the WSJ:
From that modest start grew Bobbie's Place, a Brooklyn children's clothing store that is conventional in every way but one—all the merchandise is free. Bobbie's Place serves about 8,500 poor children, many of whose parents are recent émigrés from the former Soviet Union, as well as from Israel, Egypt, Syria and Iran. Ms. Schick said her customers that evening included a teacher who was bringing in a child whose father had committed suicide. Another family had suffered a fire the previous week. "And there are a lot of single moms," she said.
"It looks and operates like a really nice store," said Mr. Schick, an attorney with the law firm of SNR Denton and chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. "The goal is that it never screams or even whispers charity."
It's almost a stage set: A sign on the frosted-glass front door says, "Welcome to Bobbie's Place." The shelves and racks are well stocked with brand-new merchandise. There are signs addressed to "Bobbie's Place shoppers," and changing rooms where one is given a number tag, like at the Gap, to keep track of the garments they're taking to try on. There's also a computerized checkout system that tallies children's purchases, and a telephone-answering system that greets callers in Persian, Russian, Hebrew and English.
"Whenever I'm shopping," said Ms. Schick of places such as DSW—Designer Shoe Warehouse—and who happily admits the store has overtaken her life, "I'm looking for what makes the experience easier.
"I have a master's in library science I'll use someday," she went on, only slightly wistfully. "And I'm raising five beautiful kids. Sometimes the laundry doesn't get done…but this gets done."
The Schicks' children also work at the store. On a recent evening Estie, 17, was studying for an upcoming Spanish exam while manning the changing rooms. She said the experience has changed her attitude about how much stuff one person needs.
"It's very important to have something to make you feel good about yourself," she said. "But it doesn't have to be a new wardrobe every season."
Bobbie is Yiddish for grandmother, and the store was inspired by the memory of Mr. Schick's grandmother, Renee, a Hungarian immigrant who came to the U.S. during the 1920s, faced hard times and started Schick's Bakery, which still exists in Borough Park, Brooklyn, even though it's no longer owned by the family. Renee Schick died in 1998 and the store also serves as a focal point for her 17 grandchildren, most of whom are involved with Bobbie's Place in one way or another, Mr. Schick said.
To qualify to "shop" at Bobbie's, there's a vetting process: Clients are interviewed over the phone, and the interview is followed up with a call to a social worker or clergy member who can vouch for their need. Once accepted, they're allowed to shop for their children four times a year, in each season, the store most crowded around the Jewish holidays, when the desire for a new suit or dress is most pressing.
The delight of the store, from a kid's point of view, it would seem, is that it carries more than just suits and dresses. There are lots of items that are usually the preserve of families with disposable income—Wall-E undies, children's watches. "They're selling toys, too," one child shouted to his mother.
Bobbie's Place is funded by foundations, friends and family, and costs around $650,000 a year to run; fund-raising, Mr. Schick sighed, is "a beast of a job," especially given the economy—with need soaring, and the manufacturers themselves feeling pinched.
None of the merchandise is donated; it's all bought, if only at a fraction of the retail price. "I'm not a shy guy," said Mr. Schick, who served as a deputy New York state attorney general under Eliot Spitzer, and as president of the Empire State Development Corp. "I'd go to manufacturers and make the case, but it's difficult to get them to part with merchandise in the quantity and sizes you need. But if you have a little bit of money and say, 'I can't pay you what you charge; I can't even pay you what it cost you,' you'll do much better.'"
One customer, Bella, who emigrated from Israel 22 years ago and works for an oral surgeon, said Bobbie's Place has been a godsend since the family fell on hard times after her husband's open-heart surgery. "I was desperate for clothes for my kids," she said, referring to Daniella, 14, Schlomo, 7, and Hodaya, 3, who were with her the evening I visited the store. "Without them," she added, "I don't know where I'd go.
"They love it," Bella, who asked that her last name not be used, added. "They ask me, 'When are we coming to Bobbie's Place?'"
The store also offers local teenagers—Bobbies is staffed by 40 volunteers—an opportunity to perform community service. There were perhaps a dozen girls wearing the almost identical long skirts and button-down cotton shirts of their religious schools tagging merchandise in the back of the store while singing Beatles tunes.
"You're with everybody and everybody is working together for a good cause," explained Dini Hoffman.
"You have a feeling of accomplishment," added Tzipori Weinberger.
Nonetheless, the teenagers remain unseen by the customers. "They come and go through the back," Ms. Schick explained. "Sometimes their classmates are coming through the front."
It's nice to see such a kindness be recognized.

Interesting News Tidbits

  1. DM Ehud Barak said in a conference yesterday "We are a Jewish and Democratic state, and the US recognizes us as such. The request for recognition [by the PA] is important, but we should not allow it to be the cause of the failure of the things that are really important." - Is Barak setting himself up for a confrontation with Netanyahu who is insisting on such recognition by the PA.
  2. The one and only Haredi military prep school, mechina kdam tzva'i, is under threat of shutting its doors after less than one year of operation. The reason is, as it almost always is, due to financing problems. They don't yet get government financing because of requirements that such institutions operate for 2 years with external financing prior to getting government funding. In the words of the head of the mechina, Rav Moshe Ben-Or, these are kids that without the mechina would not be in any yeshiva but would be wandering the streets of Mea Shearim and burning garbage cans.
  3. The government is trying to pass a law that would allow them to collect the TV tax even from people who do not have television sets. Their logic in promoting this amendment to the law is that nowadays people don't need televisions and can watch all the same shows on the internet on their computers. The law, as explained, is to give the Broadcasting Authority, new sources of funding to continue to survive and to allow it to actualize its objectives.  In my opinion, this is a ridiculous claim. If they cannot survive, and if people are no longer watching their programming, they should shut down the station. Why should they be able to charge for their product from people who do not use that product?
  4. The Minister of Transportation, Yisrael Katz (Likud), has changed his tune regarding the continuance of the mehadrin bus lines. Until now Katz has said a number of times that he can support the continuance of the mehadrin lines. Now he is saying that it has to stop, and the whole thing can only operate as a completely voluntary situation (i.e. people sit where they want, and if women choose to sit in the back of the bus, that is their choice). The lawyer leading the case against the mehadrin bus lines has said in response that after this arrangement has already been forced, you cannot expect that it will suddenly become voluntary. In the Haredi community, where women listen to what the rabbonim tell them to do - as soon as they find out they dont have a choice (ie their rabbi tells them they should sit in the back), that will not become voluntary in one day. The new arrangement, if accepted, would allow anyone to get on or off the bus through whichever door the person prefers, and no information about any rules of seating or dress will be allowed to be publicized.  The response of the haredi reps is that it is really just a matter of convenience and is not an issue of discrimination - women, they say, are more comfortable among other women, especially on long journeys where men tend to fall asleep - it is not pleasant to sit next to a man.


The Email Of The Day goes to an email responding to an email to the local neighborhood email list informing the public of some new graffiti painted on garbage cans in RBS B stating "Zionists Out!".

The email in response, that gets the EOTD award said that [to counter the anti-zionist signs] "people should paint on their own garbage cans "Zionists In!""



If the right-wing Netanyahu praises the way of Rabin, eventually they will say that the murderer (Yigal Amir) came from left-wing circles...

--- MK Chaim (Jomas) Oron (Meretz(

Susan Abulhawa vs Alan Dershowitz, Boston Book Festival (video)

Oct 20, 2010

Magen: Local Man Arrested

Last week I posted a guest post from Magen entitled "Why that man takes a certain interest in my child". The post included, and was mostly based on (I think), the following piece, "There have been several cases in Bet Shemesh/RBS in recent weeks of charismatic men who have a Pied Piper influence over kids, some of whom they allegedly have molested. The kids' parents were aware of the 'specialness' of the relationship, even the peculiarity, but were not aware of the risks."

That piece touched some nerves, and a number of people thought, and suggested, that the article was not based on reality and was just fear-mongering. How do we know there really is such a person lurking around? How do we know this or that? How can you say something like that publicly without giving more details? Etc.

This post, is a follow-up post based on the original. A local man, the person, or one of the people, who was the subject of the previous post, was arrested a few days ago. The post, and any information put out by Magen, is not fear-mongering, but is based on very serious issues and details, and when they make a public statement it is because there is a certain need for the public to be aware of a situation.

From Magen:

A Ramat Bet Shemesh man, approximately 60 years old, has been arrested on Nachal Dolev, relating to recent allegations of inappropriate behavior with children.

Anyone who may have information which can assist the police in their investigation is requested to call the Bet Shemesh police directly 9902222.

Magen, the Bet Shemesh child protection organization, can be contacted on 02-9997026 or by email magenprotects@gmail.com        .

My addition:
I don't know too many details of the case at hand but I do know some, a few, details. I don't know if he is innocent or guilty, though the accusation is pretty serious. Either way, parents stepped forward and filed a complaint based on what they saw happening to their child/children. It is very important, whether he is innocent or guilty, that other parents, if there are, who suspect their kids might have been targeted and preyed upon should step forward and contact the police directly or via Magen. If you have information proving his innocence that would also be very important to bring to light and tell the authorities.

Yated: unusual solution proposed for the housing crisis

In this week's Yated Neeman free edition there was an interesting "Letter to the Editor" or post to the comment board page (I'm not sure what that page is called, and the letters are not really letters to the editor in the normal sense of what most papers print).

The comment was suggesting a new solution to the housing crisis (specifically in the haredi sector). The solution offered was that the government should be more forthcoming and flexible to homeowners. He wrote that the government should approve and encourage homeowners to "split" their apartments and be able to sell off parts of their homes and retain ownership on part of the house. This would require changing the land registration of homes, and the government is not flexible enough in allowing such changes.

The writer goes on to explain, using his personal situation as an example. He says that he and his wife are a bit older and their children are all married and have moved out of their home. Their 4 room apartment (3 bedrooms) is really too large for their needs, as they only use 1 of the bedrooms.

If, he writes, they could find a way to split their apartment and keep half for themselves and sell off half to a young couple, that would solve the housing crisis, as it would [almost] immediately create thousands of additional small apartments available on the market. Relisting the apartments would be necessary, as would some construction to actually make the physical split, but with the government's cooperation and encouragement it could be done quickly and efficiently - far quicker than building new cities and neighborhoods.

He also writes that some will say if your apartment is too large just sell it and buy something smaller. Why create such an issue? He answers that by saying that they don't want to move. Moving is expensive and difficult. They are older and like their friends and neighbors, while moving would make them have to settle into a new area and make new friends and that is not something older people, themselves for example, are inclined to do.

Interesting idea. Is relisting your apartment, along with weeks and maybe months of construction not too difficult to deal with? Only selling is difficult? Will they not need to hire architects and engineers to design the split of the apartment and redesign the new apartment, to move water, gas and electrical lines? That will not be expensive? Only moving is expensive?

Do they not want to have bedrooms available for when the kids and grandkids come to visit? Obviously this is their choice, and if they don't have the luxury of holding on to the extra bedrooms for that purpose, they would see selling as a solution - but why do they assume their experience and situation is what all other people would choose to do? Maybe other people like to have an extra bedroom to host guests or to have the kids come over?

Why not rent the extra bedrooms to a young couple as borders and they would share the kitchen? I am sure it would not be easy, but plenty of people have borders living over and it works.

The idea of splitting apartments instead of, or maybe in addition to, seems silly to look to as a solution to the housing crisis. Perhaps the government can be more flexible in such things to help people who want or need to split their apartments in order to raise some money or to get rid of the burden of the upkeep of the parts of the house they don't really use, but I don't see it as a large scale solution for the housing crisis.

Reaching Out To Interfaith Couples

A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

Now that the dust has settled on the hyped-up press coverage of the Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky wedding, the religious fathfull need to take a look at alternative efforts besides outright rejection to deal with the catastrophe of interfaith marriages. This was the most public and publicized of all interfaith marriages, since Edwin Schlossberg married Caroline Kennedy in a 1986 Camelot ceremony held inside and outside the Church of Our Lady of Victory as all the world watched on television. Both weddings were no victory for the Jews, but an enormous bite out of the Jewish community’s sense of continuity.

There is a shoah, darkness, spreading across the Jewish communities of America and Europe with ever-faster speed. Jews and Gentiles alike watched the wedding procession whom none other than Jackie Kennedy had planned. Now the bad news is coming not in threes, but in multitudes of intermarriages. Clinton-Mezvinsky, Bar Refaeli and Leonardo DiCaprio, Ari Fleischer and Rebecca Davis (Catholic), Rep. Anthony Weiner married a Muslim, Huma Abedin, are among the more recent high profile couples to date or marry persons of other religions. Most distressing, we learned upon the death of Congressman Tom Lantos, a Hungarian born Jew who championed the causes of Israel and the Jewish people that his wife and daughters are converts to the Mormon faith.

Freedom is a challenge to the religious faithful. Rabbi Ben Zion Kaganoff of Chicago once pondered if Jews need to be bound in a straight jacket of persecution and oppression to survive as a people? Our population numbers are frozen. Fewer Jews each identify themselves as religious and are active members in local Jewish institutions and causes. If celebrity out marriage is not a cause, it certainly gives impetus and legitimacy to Jews who are in the marrying mode. It would be easy and wrong to dismiss the Jew who marries out just like it is for those advocates for love conquers all.

Most Jewish religious leaders reject interfaith couples, while some accept them in their congregations and communities. In The Missing ‘Mazel Tov,’ the Forward Forum, August 20, 2010, Edmund Case believes the answer to Jewish continuity lies with our leaders embracing interfaith families and welcoming them into Jewish life. He decries the lack of outreach to them, and the general feelings of disgust when newlyweds Clinton-Mezvinsky were talked about. Case argues we need to reach out and persuade them to accept Judaism into their lives as the enriching and fulfilling lifestyle.

An earlier published piece in The Huffington Post, July 23, 2010, had Case dreaming about the Jewish and Christian rituals at the Chelsea-Marc wedding. He was near on the mark. His glowing account later in The Forward, his appreciation of their choices like a tallis Marc wore, marrying under a chupa, etc., give hope to Case this couple will make similar lifestyle choices in their new home together—perhaps she will light candles Friday night, invite the mishpacha for dinner and serve gefilte fish and chicken soup, have a bris of their future son, and so on.

Case is not a fool, but perhaps a bit of a dreamer. He is precisely what’s missing in our leaders right now. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a dreamer. So were Rabbis Feinstein and Auerbach who brought Torah law and religious spirit to the people in ways they could understand and accept. We simply have to extend our horizons, ignore our feelings of shame and rejection (when those marry out reject us and our traditions). The vibrant and successful baal tshuva movement is an example of what can be accomplished and those tactics of love and hard work need to be extended to interfaith couples.

Feelings about Chelsea and Marc among my religiously observant friends run the gamut from a sense of loss for another Jewish soul to anger and outrage about the hypocrisy of Marc marrying out. Most were infuriated by their high jacking Jewish traditions to put a seal of approval on the wedding and marriage like the chupa, the breaking of the glass, the tallis, and more. Who cares about them was the best thing some could say. We should all care.

True blue Jews can be mean and say mean things to and about interfaith couples. Yes, we can shun them. We can and should do everything we can to persuade a Jew and a gentile from not marrying, including giving great moral and financial support to outreach programs that fight this kind of thing. But we cannot prevent interfaith marriages without the straight jacket of anti-Semitic racial laws. The devastation of Jewish family life from intermarriage in urban areas is much more devastating in less populated cities and towns. No educated arguments, statistics about the divorce rate, explanations about the impact of mixed marriage on the children, can compete with love and lust.

Jews active in kiruv, outreach, know how hard it is to keep an open mind and an open heart when dealing with people not on the same plane of religious belief. I personally know a family where the wife is Jewish and the husband is not; yet, someone reached out to them over the years, and now the wife is an Orthodox practicing Jew whose husband often brings their son and daughter to shul, and waits patiently and respectfully in the hall for the services to finish. Will the children marry Jewish when their time comes? Who knows, but it is more likely now than anyone would have bet years before the mother became religious. Before we take out our anger on these young people and walk away from them like they had a disease, remember, there is virtually no Jewish family or neighbor in the world without an interfaith marriage. We have to influence them to go in the way of our Jewish people, because our G-d is one G-d. Take a lesson from Abraham who went down to Sodom to reach out and bring his brother before the One G-d.

Dr. Harold Goldmeier, Chicago, Ill. 773-764-4357 hgoldmeier@aol.com Dr. Goldmeier was a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University earning a Doctorate in Education, and taught as an Assistant Professor at Tufts Medical School. He taught public elementary school, worked in government for three Governors, the U. S. Surgeon General, and in education for nearly two decades including many years on the Board of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago. He recently sold his business after nearly three decades. He has been married more than forty years with children living and learning in America and Israel, and a son in college who served with the Israel Defense Forces. He has published more than two-dozen articles in professional journals and popular magazines and newspapers. Dr. Goldmeier currently a public speaker, writer, consultant to government agencies, and to small businesses on economic growth and marketing. His most recent articles appeared in The Jewish Press on terrorism, and in Haaretz of Israel.

Tzippi Hotovely on the Settlement Freeze (video)

Oct 19, 2010

Interesting Posts #213

1. The Jewish State

Green/Jewish Burial

"Green burials" are becoming popular in the US.

The explanation of what a green burial is actually sounds just like Jewish burial.

From Green Chip Stocks:
While there are varying degrees of green burials, the general rule is that there is no use of concrete, metal, or chemicals in the burial process.
This means bodies are not embalmed, and are either wrapped in a linen or cotton shroud, or are laid to rest in a box made of pine, wicker, cardboard, or bamboo.
The GBC requires that, for the container to be considered green, it must be nontoxic and biodegradable — as well as made from materials sourced in a way that does not destroy habitats.
Embalming fluid, made with the chemical formaldehyde, has been proven to pose health risks, particularly among funeral directors.
Many countries throughout the world have banned it, and Jewish law prohibits it.
One thing to consider, though, that is if a body is not embalmed, it must be buried within a short period of time — usually within 48 hours. This can pose problems for loved ones needing to travel in order to attend a funeral.
If this is a concern, there are several formaldehyde-free embalming fluids available now, including one approved by the GBC made entirely of nontoxic and biodegradable essential oils.
Even if you're not an environmentalist or a lover of the outdoors, you might consider cost as a factor.
The average funeral in the United States costs $6,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
The casket alone can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 — and no casket, regardless of its qualities, will preserve a body forever...
While cremation is a less expensive way of interment (usually around $1,500) and is lower impact environmentally, it is not considered green.
Cremation burns a lot of fossil fuels and can pump mercury or other chemicals into the air if a person has dental amalgam fillings or other surgical items inside them.
Rest assured, even if you aren't very green in life, it turns out that in death you are.

(HatTip to Commenter Abbi)

The Biggest Loser's Haredim Integration

I have been thinking about this Israeli reality show, Laredet B'Gadol - The Biggest Loser, with the haredi contestants, Fishel and Malki Berkowitz.

I have taken an interest, and while I have no interest in reality tv shows, I do have an interest in how this unusual dynamic will play out. Throwing some fairly segregated and isolated haredim into a group of regular secular Israelis and seeing how they integrate and relate, and are related to, intrigues me.

I scanned a couple clips from the show, only watching the parts focusing on Malky and Fishel, and I noticed something interesting. It is not really a new concept, but seeing it happen is interesting.

They started out pretty secluded and isolated, only focusing on themselves and their tasks and challenges. The others in the group noticed that they were remaining remote and not "connecting". Slowly but surely, the Berkowitz's have become a part of the group. They are cheering on others, others are cheering them on, Fishel led a group and they worked together to complete tasks, with him being cheered as the leader and receiving tremendous support from others in the group.

There is a lot of "tension" between secular and haredi in Israel. A lot of it has to do with each of those 2 groups not being familiar with the other, not meeting, not talking to each other. The haredi communities and people keep themselves very isolated and try to mix with the general public as little as possible. The secular don't make efforts from their side, as they see themselves as being open and out there, and approachable. And never the twain shall meet.

Or shall they?

The lab experiment of Fishel and Malky is very  interesting, to me, for this very point. You can argue whether they are right or wrong, as religious Jews, to participate in such a show. Is it morally right or wrong to live your life on tv? Are they setting themselves up for tzniyus problems, kashrus problems, shabbos problems, and whatever else might arise?

In my mind, they are already there. Maybe they shouldn't have joined the show, maybe it's ok, but it doesn't matter because they are already there. That was their decision, and now it is interesting to watch to see how they will overcome their own personal challenges with staying true to themselves and what they believe in, and also how their socializing and working with other people affects them and others. And so far the experiment shows that simply talking with other people does wonders. They see the others in a different way, and the others see them differently. They are respecting each other and treating each other like regular people. And this is just by the third episode.

Malky and Fishel could have, if anyone will take example from their situation, solved the secular-religious/haredi divide.

How It All Began.. (humor)

an oldie, but a goodie:

A great Rosh Yeshiva was sitting at a wedding with his wife (yes, with his wife).
When dessert came, his eyes opened wide and he took a huge slice of cake, then another.

His wife said "You shouldn't be having that."

And he said "that's it -- separate seating at simchas".

In Honor of Rachel Imeinu (video)

Oct 18, 2010

breaking into a shul is not as bad as a house

Mishpacha newspaper reported on a guy who had attempted to break into a shul during the night to steal the money from the tzedaka box. He was smashing the lock with a metal bar, when the neighbors heard the ruckus and called the police.

The burglar was caught. When his case came to trial, he was sentenced to one year in prison, not for the attempted robbery, but for attempting to break into a place of worship, for having utensil for breaking and entry in his possession and for damage he intentionally caused to property..

In the judge's decision, she compared the breaking into a shul to an attempt to break into a private house. She said that breaking into a shul is not as serious a crime, as a shul is considered a public building. And, the judge decided, because his attempt to break in was during the night, when nobody would be in the shul, is also in his favor, along with the fact that he was only planning to steal money from the tzedaka box and not actual shul property.

What do you think - is breaking into a shul worse or better than breaking into a private house? I can justify both sides of the argument...

8.53 carat diamond has natural Star of David inside

I am not sure what the significance of this is. This guy has this diamond that has a cloud inside that displays the Star of David because of it's shape.

Arutz 7 has the background on the 8.53 carat diamond:
The owner of the diamond wants his name kept away from the public eye, a relative told Israel National News. He said that experts told the owner, "If this is natural, go buy a Mercedes.”
However, realizing the significance of the discovery, the owner wanted it used for Jewish purposes and gave Rabbi Cohen, founder of Hidabroot, exclusive use for revealing it, hoping it will help promote his book “HaTzofen” – the secrets behind the Hebrew language. The diamond "is not for sale" and will remain in a safe.
Rabbi Cohen's book includes a chapter on the Star of David and its significance in Judaism, noting that the six-pointed star represents the six days of Creation before the Sabbath.
The relative of the owner, who moved to Israel in 1948, explained that diamond experts initially insisted that the jewel had to be man-made and that it was virtually impossible that it was a natural creation. However, the relative of the diamond’s owner said that leading gemological groups, including those in Zurich and the United States, verified its authenticity.
He told Israel National News that the story behind the discovery began during the financial crisis two years ago, when the diamond business was faltering. The raw material had been bought from a merchant in a country in South America approximately 10 years ago. During the crisis, when there was little work, the relative found work at a firm and was told to make diamonds from the bag of raw material that had been untouched.
The finished products brought in little money, but there were two stones still unpolished. Rejecting advice to simply sell the remaining raw material, the employer of the polisher was told to work on the last two diamonds.
“I did it carefully, and I saw that in one of them there was a design of the Star of David,” the relative said. “It was not clear in the beginning, but after polishing it again and again, it was clearer than ever."

Again, I have no idea what the significance of finding a diamond with a Star of David inside is...To me this seems like the famous Grilled Jesus Sandwich and the Virgin Mary Oil Spill... Any suggestions?

60 Minutes on Jerusalem (video)

Rav Elyashiv and Shaquille O'Neal

I went into Bank Leumi today to talk about the possibility of opening an account there.

The one thing you notice right when you walk in, you can't miss it, is the four large LCD screens displaying images of the directors of Bank Leumi receiving a bracha from Rav Elyashiv. Everywhere you look in this little branch of Bank Leumi there is a screen facing you with the images displaying.

I was almost embarrassed with the commercial way they are using Rav Elyashiv's images. Just like Shaquille O'Neal making a commercial for vitamin water, Rav Elyashiv is now making commercials for Bank Leumi. Except Shaq is getting paid millions of dollars for use of his image, and Rav Elyashiv isn't even being paid anything at all, but Bank Leumi is probably raking it in because of the use of his image..

Rav Elyashiv and Shaquille O'Neal are both making commercials, but at least Shaq is getting paid. How embarrassing to use a gadol like that.

Day of Judgement by Gan Eden (video)

This isn't very seasonal, but it just went up on Youtube, by the band called "Gan Eden", and I like the music:

Oct 17, 2010


It is boring here. There is nothing to do. Everything is calm - we aren't even fighting [with each other]. It is boring in the Opposition..

--- MK Avi Dichter (Kadima)

Expect more garbage around RBS

All the local Bet Shemesh newspapers (the ones I read at least) reported on the latest attempts of the Irya to save money on the backs of the residents.

The city is trying to save money on garbage pickup. They decided to cut the pickup in RBS from 4 times a week to 3 times a week. As well, other neighborhoods will be cut as well, some from 4 to 3 and some from 3 times weekly to 2 times weekly.

These cuts will bring big savings to city pockets. Especially because in some neighborhoods, like RBS, garbage removal is contracted out to an external company that is paid per pickup. Cutting the frequency of their pickup will directly affect the cost of garbage removal in the city.

Reuven Cohen, the councilman in charge of health services, is trying to fight it. Obviously having less frequent garbage removal will have an effect on health in the city. More garbage sitting around raises the potential for health problems. Cohen says that when the city held the meeting debating whether they should make these cuts, not a single representative of RBS, including any of the councilmen who live in RBS, was invited to participate in the meeting and share his opinion as a resident of the affected neighborhood.

It is not like the city is perfectly clean and city services are working so efficiently, that this is a necessary cut that can be handled because of the great efficiency in all other areas. the city streets are already fairly dirty. Walk through the parks and you will see garbage strewn and blowing around. There are not enough street cleaners or park cleaners, let alone all the other issues the city has to deal with. Cutting garbage pickup will be a disaster.

In addition, RBS and other newer neighborhoods already pay higher arnona rates than old Bet Shemesh. It is debatable whether we are getting our money's worth, as city services are not being provided to the same level as in other neighborhoods. Now to cut garbage removal is taking away the one city service that works right in RBS.

Because of Cohen, the city has agreed to delay implementation and instead will be conducting a 30 day test period to see how such a cut will affect the service provided and the effect on the neighborhood's cleanliness.

I don't know what can be done, but if you can contact a city councilman or the mayor and express your dissatisfaction, that might be helpful.

New bus routes from Bet Shemesh

Kol HaKavod to Shmuel Greenberg and the Bet Shemesh Transportation Committee. Under Greenberg's leadership, they have finally arranged some new bus routes for the city that have been long overdue.

In a press release on Friday, Greenberg announced that final details and approvals have been worked out and very shortly the following new bus routes will begin operation:

  • The 419 bus from RBS A to Jerusalem. This bus will go through RBS A and then down through Ein gedi area and out to the 38 and Highway 1 to Jerusalem (no information about the route inside Jerusalem, so I don't know if it will go to the Central Bus Station or to the Har Hotzvim area - I think ot Har Hotzvim as it is being described as similar to the 417 route, though the comparison was about RBS)
  • The 412 bus rote from Bet Shemesh to Tel Aviv. The route will begin in RBS A, go through RBS B and parts of Bet Shemesh (like the route of the 416) and head out to Tel Aviv via Highway 1. This will give residents another option for travel to Tel Aviv and not be solely reliant on the train.
  • Some route changes to the 497 and 454.
Kol HaKavod to Greenberg and to his team. Anything to improve the public transportation situation is welcome and blessed.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...