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Nov 30, 2010

Proposed Law: Skipping Doctors Appointments Will Cost Money

A new law proposed by MK Yitzchak Cohen (Shas) says anybody who makes an appointment for a doctor at their kupat cholim and skips the appointment, for whatever reason, would have to pay a 10 NIS fine. The law passed it's first reading yesterday.

It seems to me that the doctors running late is a far greater problem than people skipping appointments. I was at the doctors office recently with a child, and while the doctor we were waiting to see was only running about 20 minutes late, the doctor in the office across form us had a long line out his door, as he was running an hour and half behind schedule.

I can see people getting up and deciding not to wait any longer, if it took that long to get in. And then, if the new law passes, they would have to pay a fine for leaving!

If they pass an additional law to go along with it saying that the kupa will be fined, or the doctor will be fined, for running late by more than [insert what is considered a reasonable amount of time here - I'd say 7 minutes], then I think it would be ok.

I don't know how big of a problem it is - perhaps, because it is free, people make multiple appointments and then show up at the most convenient one. The wait for an appointment for a specialist can be very long - you often have to make an appointment for a visit months in advance. So perhaps people are making multiple appointments.

Regardless, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Liztman says he is going to fight against it and get the law rejected. Litzman said it does not make sense the Knesset would pass a law that harms the public, and especially the weaker sectors of society.

Women Smashing Televisions (video)

There is some crazy campaign going on to sell televisions. This one is a bit more aggressive than the one bundling a sheep with a new tv set.

This campaign is getting women to smash their current tv sets, and then the husbands will go out and buy new ones. At least that is how I understand it. It does not really make much sense to me.

They got a bunch of women who are upset that their husbands watch too much sports, and they have these women surprise their husbands by coming out and smashing the television to pieces. The participants in the campaign all get new televisions, but people "at home" who try this are going to have to go out and buy a new one.. The article in Globes about this does not really say what the point of the campaign is, so I am assuming it is to get them to buy new television sets.

During the time they don't have the tv, they benefit from having a relationship again, and "finding" their spouse. And then the new tv comes a few days later, and I assume that at that point things just get back to normal.

Very strange, though the creators of the campaign say this is the most bold advertising campaign ever produced in Israel, and perhaps the most creative. I would say not creative but destructive.

Especially interesting is that he says they researched the best way to smash television sets. They didn't want explosions and injuries, so they had to figure what type of televisions would work the best in such a campaign, along with what type of hammer, and how to hit the television. The research was done by watching Amnon Yitzchak clips of smashing televisions. I wonder what he would think if he knew that his methods were observed for the purpose of buying new televisions.

They planned everything, and kept the husband in the dark about it so he would be surprised and shocked. And the rest is about to be history, as the campaign is about to air.

Chanukah Lighting Statistics And Thoughts

According to a new study just published, 93% of Israelis light a Chanukah menora during the holiday. 86% of them light it every day of the holiday, while some light it on the first night only, and others light it any night they have family getting together.

Of those who do not light a menora, 85% say the reason is because of their poor financial situation, as they cannot afford the menora, the candles and the need for hosting guests with refreshments.

I see it as very positive that such a high percentage of Jews in Israel are lighting menora. I wonder if a law was established making menora lighting mandatory, if the percentage of lighters would drop.

Another point, I find it interesting that those who don't light say that cannot afford to light because of the costs involved, including the cost of refreshments for guests. They don't seem to even consider the option of spending about 40 NIS on a cheap menora with candles and simply not have over guests they would have to feed. The pirsumei nissa aspect is so ingrained in the mitzva that these people would prefer to not light at all rather than lighting with no guests.

If You Prefer English You Will Pay More

The city department of developing cultural events for the haredi public, called Agaf Che"n Charedi, has put out a booklet of events sponsored and subsidized by the city that will be taking place during Chanukah.

The booklet contains all the events with all the relevant information: location, price, date, etc. Some of the events have both a showing in Hebrew and a showing in English.

Interestingly, there are two films for women that are going to be showing, each with a time in Hebrew and a time for an English showing.

If you pay attention, for both of those shows, the Hebrew show has tickets selling at 30 NIS per ticket, with the option of buying 4 tickets for 100 NIS, yet the English show has only one option of tickets selling for 40 NIS each, and no discount for multiple tickets.

I wonder why they are charging more for the English than the Hebrew event. Especially if the event is subsidized by the city - why should there be a difference of price? Are they assuming the English speaking crowd is wealthy and therefore they can get away with charging them more?

It seems discriminatory to me.

Or maybe it is just standard fare - I have this theory that if you call any service provider that specializes in the anglo community you will probably be paying more for the service call than if you called an Israeli service provider who does not focus on the Anglo community. Perhaps, if my theory is correct, this is another manifestation of the same issue.

Haredi Fashion

There is an interesting lifestyle piece in Ynet about how the haredi community has progressed in the world of fashion, and now has its own models and female fashion photographer photographing models.

A few interesting points:
1. The name of the photographer that the article focuses on is Shprintzi (no big deal, but I would have expected something a bit more modern for someone going out on the edge).
2. The article compares the haredi advancement in the world of fashion to the Greek influence of 2000 years ago.
3. If you watch the video in the article, you will notice the photographers assistant - a young hassidic man. Perhaps he is her brother, or son or some other relative, but I think it is interesting that he is working in a job looking at fashion models.
4. The haredi fashion industry has been growing. I remember when religious papers and magazines would just take regular ad images and stick a crudely added kipa on the top of the models head. Now, every religious magazine and newspaper has original ads designed for the religious public with religious and haredi models. In the haredi papers they are all male, as haredi papers generally do not print pictures with women, but in the general religious press, or in the DL press, there are religious women as well. This is a different market, one I was not aware of, based not for advertising in the press, where the haredim would object to such images being placed, but for catalogues selling the clothes, in stores and the like.

Can I Interest You In Chanukah? (video)

Shwekey's New Song, Kol Mevasser (video)

Nov 29, 2010


In light of these discoveries, Israel should contact the American government and formally demand the release of Jonathan Pollard. Those who spy on others have no right to keep Pollard over 25 years in American prison

-- MK Danny Danon (Likud), responding to new WikiLeak revelations Sunday that American diplomats were instructed to collect classified information in various countries as well as revelations as to the existence of an American spy in the German government

Interesting Thoughts From The News

1. I find it interesting that a result of the ongoing war Shas and Rav Ovadia are waging against Rav Haim Amsalem is the support Rav Amsalem is seeing form the general public. I don't mean it is interesting they they are supporting Rav Amsalem over Rav Ovadia. I mean, suddenly everybody in the country (well, probably not everybody) is talking about which rabbi is right, and saying how this rabbi  needs to be more prominent, everybody is becoming an expert in the RAMBAM that is being quoted regularly regarding working and learning, and the like.
People who would normally just say - eh, a bunch of rabbis, go get a room and argue it out there and leave us alone - it has nothing to do with us. This time, all these people are writing articles, taking sides, showing support for one rabbinic position or the other.
I find that interesting.

2. I saw a news item in the newspaper that the government passed the new law of funding for avreichim that will allow the current funding to continue but in a different format, with slight alterations. Along side the article discussing the law that was passed was an item that the government will now begin funding all Torah study equally.
The government will provide the same funding for a number of "secular yeshivas" that have sprouted up in the past few years, in which Torah is studied, but without the religious or orthodox influence - all from a secular standpoint.
This had been discussed once before as a possibility, and the haredi MKs opposed it at the time saying Torah study can only be done properly based on rabbinic teachings and through the traditions of Judaism, and a secular yeshiva would not be studying Torah properly, but would be bastardizing the interpretations.

It seems that despite the haredi objections, a number of such institutions have been established - the paper said there are 22 such batei medrash under the auspices of I think 4 different organizations. And now, the government will be providing them with some funding.

Interestingly, the statement made from a government official was that the State regards Torah study in all its forms by all the people as being of the greatest importance, and will therefore provide funding for these institutions as well.

I did not see any response from the religious or haredi MKs or spokespeople.

Interesting Psak: Medical Marijuana

The rav of Mazkeret Batya, Rav Ephraim Zalmanovitz, has issued a psak halacha that doctors have a mitzva to authorize the use of medical marijuana for sick patients who are in pain.

Rav Zalmanovitz said that he was first exposed to the great need when his mother was sick with serious pains. After that he became aware of the great suffering being endured by many sick people.

Where does one sign up?

The Yosef Rabbis Lash Out

There is just so much in this article about what Rav Avraham Yosef said yesterday in an interview on the radio, I am going to translate the different quotes:

The drought has been caused by someone who expresses invalid ideas about religious issues, such as his opinion regarding the importance of those who learn Torah.

After stressing again that the RAMBAM said that to stop a drought we must do teshuva, but not just of our actions, but of our hashkafa as well. When asked why he doesn't name Rav Amsalem by name, Rav Yosef responded that he does not want to deal with politics.

Whoever says that learning Torah is just to produce gedolei torah and poskim is an apikores. The learners of Torah are the soldiers on the front lines.. without them we have no basis for our sustenance.

Regarding the former Chief Rabbi of the Army, Rabbi Weiss, and that which he wrote in his book that Rav Ovadiah wanted him to appoint certain rabbonim (i.e. relatives of his) to positions in the rabbinate to advance them but he refused to give preference to them, Rav Yosef said "this person - I don't know what happened to him.He was a ben-bayit in my father's house, and [my father] gave him all his attention... because he was not such a talmid chacham, [Rav Yosef] asked to appoint one of the best of the rabbonim of the army. Is there anything wrong with that?"

The Chief Rabbi of the Army is an appointment by the Defense Minister, but frequently the appointment is made without consulting with talmidei chachomim. Unfortunately, the results we see now...

I don't know right or wrong in these fights, and am not commenting on whether the Yosef family is right in their fighting against Ravs Amsalem and Weiss, or if Ravs Amsalem and Weiss are right despite the Ravs Yosef opinions. I will comment on the style of the fight - the Yosef family is coming off in this fight looking like the mafia - they attack everyone who does not follow the line set by them.

Yes, Rav Ovadia is one of the gedolei ha'dor, and Rav Avraham Yosef is a very well respected rav and talmid chacham (whom I like as well) by his own virtue. The way they, and other, have recently been relentlessly attacking all those who don't follow instructions, rubs many the wrong way. They really seem to come off like a gang of mafia pulling their weight.

The Amish At The Kotel. A Tzenter?

This is interesting. The Amish, who generally eschew modern technology, have come to Israel, by airplane, to apologize to the Jews for not standing up and defending them during the Holocaust.

The Amish community also used the opportunity to express its commitment to standing up and defending Israel in the future.

From the JPost:
Representatives of the Amish community from the United States and Switzerland paid a visit to the Western Wall on Saturday night, during which they asked the forgiveness of the Jewish people over their group's silence during the Nazi's extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.

Part of what made the visit so special is the fact that Amish, a split-off from the Mennonite Church who largely reject modern technology, do not normally use contemporary transportation forms such as the aircraft on which they made the journey to the Holy Land.

According to an announcement issued by the office of Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites Shmuel Rabinovitch, with whom the group met, the Amish delegates saw a great importance in coming to Israel and expressing their contrition, as well as declaring their unreserved support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

The delegation members stressed that they are neither seeking any kind of gesture from the Jewish people nor to proselytize, only to support Israel for the simple reason that they haven't in the past.

Rabinovitz was presented various tokens at a ceremony in the Hassmonean chamber, including a parchment with the request of forgiveness in the name of the entire Amish community. The Amish representatives also gave a commitment that from this time on, they will loudly voice their support of the Jewish people, especially in the wake of the expressions of hatred by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad and his extensions.

The delegation left Israel on Sunday.
Two points:
1. They blend right in at the Kotel. Most people probably did not even realize that an unusual group was there...

2. It takes some serious conviction to break a life rule because you think you need to somehow correct something that you did wrong a long time ago.

Shwekey With Shira Chadasha Choir In Paris (video)

I Can't Believe It's Chanukah (video)

Nov 28, 2010

Those not fasting tomorrow

A Guest Post By Yehoshua Shapiro

I was wondering if Rav Yona Metzger was Rav YS Eliashiv choice to be the Chief Rabbi of Israel then why is it when the Rabbanut declares a fast most Charedim do not pay heed to it.

We are in a dire situatation that there is no rain and obviously we all most repent. Part of repentence is not eating and that allows you to think of what one can do to be better.

Let all the Bnai torah of all camps together and daven that Hashem should bring us rain.


That was the guest post. I ask Yehoshua, how do you know most haredim are not going to be fasting, and that anybody who will not be fasting is not doing so for halachically justifiable reasons?

Interesting Posts #226

1. Choir of Khal Adath Jeshurun Sings At Senior Center. This post is a series of video clips. Here is one for your previewing pleasure, head over to the original post for more clips:

2. JFK Assassination: Security Detail Speaks Out

3. A Victim of Abuse Writes In

4. J-Music And Angst

5. You Cant Even Buy A Shteller

6. Anim Zemiros

7. Seforim Selling

8. Jeter Negotiations: Paying For Past Performance

9. Ami And Olameinu

A Mistaken Investment Hits The Jackpot For An Avreich

How come these types of mistakes never happen to me?

An avreich in Bnei Braq wanted to move. he sold his house and decided to invest the money, 1.5 million shekels, in a safe stock while he looked for a new place to buy. According to Kikar, he told the bank clerk to invest the money in stock of Sony. The bank teller made a mistake and heard Coney, some sort of high risk investment in a company dealing with race horses.

The avreich comes forward "a few years later" to get his money (I guess to to buy his new house), he was shocked to discover that he had 7 million shekels in his account. He spoke to the bank and figured out what happened, that the clerk had mistakenly invested his money in this high risk, high return investment.

He then asked hsi rav if he needs to split the earnings with the clerk. The rav's answer was that he does not. I don't even know what the basis for the question is.

Again, how come these types of mistakes never happen to me...


A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

Treating celebrities as if they do not deserve the same punishment for drug crimes committed by poor blacks and other regular Joes, the justice system and the media create a special class that justifies if not contributes to the murder and mayhem south of our border.

Some human beings crave illegal drugs as much as others want food and water. Heroin from Afghanistan, cocaine from Columbia, marijuana from Mexico, meth from small town labs scattered across the United States, all find their markets in every country around the world. In Mexico, the transfer point for all types of drugs into the United States, drug wars are fought for control of this multi-billion dollar industry. Illegal drug use tears the social fabric of society asunder. No one is really taking this matter seriously, and the media treat the subject and its cast of characters like celebrities.

American news is filled with stories about another celebrity who had a wild, allegedly drug-fueled assignation in a fancy New York hotel, and supposedly violently attacked a woman escort. Drugs, prostitution, and violence seem to go hand-in-hand. The media, and even the courts, treat these celebrities like appealing and attractive “bad boys” and “bad girls.” The hotel has said it will not prosecute the celebrity for the major damage to his room, and the District Attorney seems to have told the t.v. star to get out of town fast. He went right back to filming his series at two million dollars per episode. But in Mexico, a young reporter was shot to death for reporting how the drugs gets from crop to nose, and the police, his family, and bosses are cower in the wake of his murder afraid for their own lives.

The insatiable thirst for illegal drugs may not have caused the murders of Luis Carlos Santiago and the other innocents of Mexico, but we are no less responsible than is second hand smoke for cancer. Letting celebrities walk into rehab instead of jail after repeated arrests for drug possession and their associated criminal acts, contributes to a rage among poor people and people of color that celebrities are treated different by the law and the media. The gentlemanly, compassionate treatment of celebrities and the children of the rich caught possessing and using illegal drugs tell the rest of us it is an ok behavior. We all have a hand in the murders and violence south of the border.
I have hardly heard a news commentator call for the arrest of one major celebrity for his cocaine and alcohol induced rant, even though he allegedly was high on cocaine and alcohol, smashed hotel furniture, and threatened his female companion who feared for her safety and called security. This news-making instigator was allowed to leave the hotel, board a plane, and fly home without ever being charged with any crime let alone drug possession. What if he was a black man from Harlem? Do you think he would be treated the same?

The judges adjudicating their cases, the prosecutors cutting deals with their defense lawyers, and the celebrity swooning media, are guilty by collaboration in the failed war on drugs if not first hand association with the cartels. They all are answerable if not accountable in the murder last September of Santiago, a 21 years old photojournalist who worked for

El Diario newspaper. His newspaper and others in Mexico merely report the drug trade and cartel murders, but now they have become the object of murderous dealers who do not want the publicity. Not only is reporting being stymied, but democracy is being killed by the violence in the drug trade. It is already spilling over the border into the U.S. How long before our democracy is threatened by this violence? The U.S. Federal government seems, at best, inept, and at worst complicit, in this war.

Bring it down to scale; the cartels are at war over who is going to supply Hollywood celebrities and twenty million other drug using Americans with a hot, in demand product, just like Target and Wal-Mart do without the shootings. Only this costs America $200 billion a year and people die. The celebrities seem to get special treatment bouncing in and out of rehab, while poor folks go to jail. The mean Federal sentence for drug felonies is more than six years. When was the last time we can remember anyone with celebrity status receiving anywhere near this kind of sentence? Instead, they offer to go to rehabilitation treatment centers for their addiction, while people without the financial resources go to jail.

I have heard many people describe the shooters in Mexico as “animals,” “locos,” and worse. American police, politicians, and residents along the borders with Mexico blame the illegals for smuggling drugs, bringing crime, fear, and death to their once peaceful communities. No one blames the Americans for our hunger for cocaine, heroin, meth, and marijuana. Our government looks the other way at Wachovia, American Express International, Bank of America, their officers and staffs accused of financing the cartels and their activities. Instead of slapping their wrists, government could make a large statement by confiscating their corporate and personal assets like they take possession of homes and cars of small fry caught with drugs.
Government could show it is serious about wiping out drug possession and use by expanding treatment programs, but at the same time by seriously punishing our icons and trend-setters, fashion arbiters, and stars; i.e., punish the glamorous for their drug buys, distribution, and personal use. These people are not cute. Advertising agencies hire them as spokespeople to sell products, because they can get Americans to buy the products. Show them being punished instead of glorified for drug use, and may be it will have a deterrent effect on some young person.

The media report the arrests of celebrities for drugs like it was a red carpet night opening of a new movie. More attention is paid to their drug activities by the entertainment media than the news reporting media. It warms my heart to hear the compassion for these stars by mental health experts and analysts on t.v. talk shows who worry more about the careers of personages like Lindsay and Paris than the impact of their drug buys, possession and use on society here and in Mexico. Who cares about the careers of Black men and women who do not get to cut deals with judges and prosecutors, but fill our jails for the very crimes over and over again for which celebrities are sent to rehab, given parole, or just go free?

Sure there is a double standard. We all know that’s they way the system works. But if you think watching these rich, white, celebrities walk away again and again from serious criminal prosecution and punishment endured by the poor and minorities isn’t taking its toll on our social fabric, then visit a prison once. Go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, talk to teachers whose students come to school high, and then you will understand why they are killing each other in Mexico to sell drugs in Hollywood and New York where their use is glorified and seems socially acceptable. Oh yea, read a major bank’s cash flow statement. Then tell Luis’ mother how sorry we are he got shot to death by a bunch of animals.

Dr. Harold Goldmeier Chicago, Ill. 773-764-4357 hgoldmeier@aol.com Dr. Goldmeier was a Chicago Public School teacher, a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University earning a Doctorate in Education, and taught as an Assistant Professor at Tufts Medical School. He worked in government for three Governors, the U. S. Surgeon General, and in children and youth advocacy for nearly two decades. He recently sold his business after nearly three decades. He has been married more than forty years with children living in America and Israel, and a son who recently 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 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 and he writes a guest post for LifeinIsrael.blogspot.com., Open.Salon.com., and more.


The Yeshiva Guy Song (video)

This is a crazy song, with a nice beat..

Candlelight by The Maccabeats (video)

(hattip: Old City Jew)

Nov 26, 2010

Lecha Dodi from Cameroon (video)

Lecha Dodi from a shul in Cameroon. I did not even know there were Jews there, let alone a shul...


we Jews have been in America for over 200 years, and we still argue every year about whether or not to celebrate Thanksgiving..

 -- my Dad

Nov 25, 2010

Poland In Israel (video)

I wish I understood more than just by context...

Mesarev Get Trapped In Israel By His Aguna

This is interesting, and news to me - I was not aware such a thing was possible.

A woman who has been estranged from her husband was basically an aguna. They have been  living separately, but he would not give her a get. The beis din in New York paskened she deserves a get, based on the details of the situation, but he continued refusing.

In New York the beis din does not have any special powers of authority. They can try to pressure him to comply, but they don't have any real authority. In Israel, the situation is different. The beis din in Israel has the ability to sanction the offender until he complies.

The wife found out her husband was on a trip to Israel. She filed a grievance with the beis din in Israel, to pay alimony and to not allow him to leave Israel.

The beis din led by Rav Tzuriel Bublil did so, and he processed it through the courts, basically catching this "mesarev get" to either give his wife a get and pay whatever beis din obligated him to pay, or continue hanging out in Israel. The courts followed through and he cannot leave until he gives the get or until they have a session with both sides present, for which she is planning on coming.

I wonder what Nefesh b'Nefesh would say if he applied for that "Express Aliyah" service they offer...

Interestingly, even though neither the woman nor the man is an Israeli citizen or resident, she was able to file her claim in Israel to prevent him from leaving. This organization, The Jewish International Center, led by Rav Bublil, has been instrumental in passing legislation allowing Jewish women abroad to file claims in Israel to catch their husbands who might be hiding out in Israel. The sole purpose is to help these agunot.

Rabbis Pray For Rain, In The Kinneret (video)

a group of Rabbis went out to pray for rain on a boat in the center of the Kinneret

Rabbis Pray for Rain On Kinneret Lake

Protesting Shabbos To Avoid Chelm In Tel Aviv

The City of Tel Aviv has been considering operating a municipal bus line on Friday nights. The goal was to help young adults who spend Friday night at the bars around Tel Aviv, they drink too much and then they drive themselves home in the wee hours of the morning. With the alcohol content in their blood streams way too high to operate heavy machinery in a responsible manner, Friday night is a hot night for accidents resulting in many injuries and even deaths.

City Hall thinks they can help these kids by operating a bus line that will make the rounds in the areas of the bars and pubs, and then take them home. The kids will no longer need to drive, they can go out and have fun, and they and their parents can rest assured that they will eventually get home safe and sound by bus instead of by car.

The ultra-Orthodox factions in the irya were upset that the City would begin operating bus lines on Friday night. Doing so would be a breech in the all holy status quo, and would mean chillul shabbos is being mandated by the city on an official level. Even though it is for the purpose of saving lives.

They already have such bus lines on Thursday nights and Saturday nights, and now want to add Friday night to the schedule as well.

The councilman of the ultra-Orthodox faction who was asked why they protested, when it is really an issue of pikuach nefesh - saving a life, responded making a very good point. Lubert explained that "Pikuach nefesh' (saving of human life) is not on the bus, but on education about the importance of human life. Many hours should be invested in knowing how to drive without drinking, and not in buses… The problem is that young drivers couldn't care less about the law and drink and drive."

It is basically the story of Chelm, where they had many accidents on the bridge, so they built a hospital under the bridge instead of fixing the problem. Lubert is saying that being mechalel shabbos for a bus line for the kids to get home drunk is very nice, but it is like building the hospital under the bridge - the real solution is to enforce the drinking and driving laws, educate the kids to drink responsibly, have a designated driver and the like. 

Creating the bus lines is not justified because that is not the solution to this pikuach nefesh - the solution is dealing with the drinking and driving issue. Heck, they can even take taxis home at their own expense - why does the city need to provide official service..

Indonesia's Jews

When Barak Obama recently went to Indonesia and complimented them on their tolerance, he was scoffed at. He was scoffed at by many people, but he was scoffed at by Jews for the reason that how can he call them tolerant when there are no Jews living there and they are not welcome and cannot build shuls.

The scoffing, it seems, was hasty and unfair.

The New York Times has an article about the Jews of Indonesia, the largest menorah (Chabad obviously) in the world being found in Indonesia, Israeli flags and even a synagogue.
A new, 62-foot-tall menorah, possibly the world’s largest, rises from a mountain overlooking this Indonesian city, courtesy of the local government. Flags of Israel can be spotted on motorcycle taxi stands, one near a six-year-old synagogue that has received a face-lift, including a ceiling with a large Star of David, paid for by local officials.

A 62 foot tall minorah, possibly the largest one in the world and built on a mountain overlooking Manado, was paid for by the local government.
Long known as a Christian stronghold and more recently as home to evangelical and charismatic Christian groups, this area on the fringes of northern Indonesia has become the unlikely setting for increasingly public displays of pro-Jewish sentiments as some people have embraced the faith of their Dutch Jewish ancestors. With the local governments’ blessing, they are carving out a small space for themselves in the sometimes strangely shifting religious landscape of Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The trend comes as extremist Islamic groups have grown bolder in assailing Christian and other religious minorities elsewhere in Indonesia, with the central government, fearful of offending Muslim groups, doing little to prevent the attacks. Last November, extremists protesting the 2008-9 war in Gaza shut down what had been the most prominent remnant of Indonesia’s historic but little-known Jewish community, a century-old synagogue in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city.

That left the synagogue in a town just outside Manado — founded by Indonesians still struggling to learn about Judaism and now attended by about 10 people — as Indonesia’s sole surviving Jewish house of worship. Before reaching out for help to sometimes suspicious Jewish communities outside Indonesia, they researched Judaism at an Internet cafe here. They turned, they said jokingly, to Rabbi Google for answers. They compiled a Torah by printing pages off the Internet. They sought the finer points of davening on YouTube.

“We’re just trying to be good Jews,” said Toar Palilingan, 27, who, wearing a black coat and a broad-brimmed hat in the ultra-Orthodox style, led a Sabbath dinner at his family home recently with two regulars.

“But if you compare us to Jews in Jerusalem or Brooklyn,” added Mr. Palilingan, now also known as Yaakov Baruch, “we’re not there yet.”

Indonesia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations but have discreetly shared military and economic ties over the decades. In recent years, Jewish businessmen from Israel and elsewhere have quietly traveled here seeking business opportunities.

Moshe Kotel, 47, who was born in El Salvador and has Israeli and American citizenship, has been coming to Manado every year since 2003 and owns a business in organic eggs. Mr. Kotel, whose wife is from the area, said he felt nervous landing at the airport here for the first time.

“It was 11 p.m. already, and I always carry tefillin with me,” Mr. Kotel said, referring to the small leather boxes housing Scriptural passages. “But ever since I saw the Israeli flags on the taxis at the airport, I’ve always felt welcome here.”

The government of North Minahasa, a mostly Christian district here, erected the giant menorah last year at a cost of $150,000, said Margarita Rumokoy, the head of the district’s tourism department.

Denny Wowiling, a local legislator, said he proposed building the menorah after learning about the one in front of Israel’s Knesset. He hoped to attract tourists and businessmen from Europe.

“It is also for the Jewish people to see that there is this sacred symbol, their sacred symbol, outside their country,” he said.
So, Barak Obama was right. Indonesia is turning out to be a tolerant country.

Nov 24, 2010


I am a thief [for not returning my Knesset seat back to Shas for reallocation]? Shas, that gives its 11 mandates over to the Ashkenazim, they are the thieves! It is a busha to the State that Eli Yishai is its Interior Minister.

 --- MK Rav Haim Amsalem (Shas, for now)

The kvetch of the kollel wife

This is just too funny. it made me laugh, so I will share it with you.

This was a letter posted in the Yated's public board page, in yesterday's free edition of the Yated.

My translation:
"Work or Slavery?"
I want to thank you for your amazing newspaper.. yada yada yada..
I wanted to raise an issue regarding one of the things that are the cause, in my opinion, of a change in the style of the haredi community, and in its desires and goals, without anybody paying attention to it and standing strong for the multiplying of Torah and not chas v'shalom the opposite.

What am I talking about?

I see the possibilities and the tests of the wives of avreichim, that from one aspect places of employment have been established with the help of the government, but from the other aspect most, if not all, demand 8 to 9 hours of work each day.

A woman who works like this told me in pain, about her day. "that instead of fulfilling the words of chaza"l about the women waiting for their husbands to return from learning, by me it is the opposite. my husband gets home and has to be the babysitter in the afternoon for the little kids, and because of that he cannot rest and gather his strength for the afternoon learning. And when I do get home, I also cannot rest, but have to gather the remaining reserves of strength to take care of the kids, to feed them, to take care of them with patience and calmness until my husband returns from kollel and helps me put them to bed to sleep. Over the course of the night, if the baby cries, my husband volunteers to get up, otherwise I wont be able to work and produce properly the next day".

This lady asked me if we are working for houses of Torah, or maybe we are in the decree of Pharoah to burden the women with work so they cannot learn Torah?

So I wonder why we agree with the desires of the businessmen to save costs and to employ women and mothers, as if they have no house and family to raise? Why are there only two options: either no parnassa, or work until you are "finished"?

Why dont we demand of the work places that accept government funding and assistance that in addition to their profits from their "chinese" workers, they should provide jobs that are 4 or 5 hours a day and work in two shifts?

The profits will be doubled like this:
1. the number of jobs will be doubled, and more families will have a source of support
2. Every woman will be able to live respectably, and there is no respect besides for Torah., to raise a house of Torah and generations of blessed children...
S.K from Modiin Ilit

I wonder if she realizes that by working less, she will be paid less. They already, rightfully so, claim they are taken advantage of and are paid too little just because they insist on working in a very specific type of environment and are not willing to join the general workforce. That low salary will be halved.

Besides for that, it is true, and I have heard and seen it before - the woman is out to work, so the husband has to take care of the kids and cant rest before afternoon kollel (big deal), but also maybe the babysitter doesnt show up, or comes late, and then he is late for kollel, maybe he is flustered from taking care of a sick kid, or any of a million things that can distract him. Then it turns out she is working hard so that he can NOT learn in kollel.

Is the answer to demand the employers give them more time off? Sure, if the employers are willing and the employees are happy with their pay cut. I dont care. They have to realize though that they are in the real world, and things dont always go your way. Employers want the work done, and are less interested in all the drama added to the picture that she is drawing. Her letter makes it seem that she thinks everybody owes her the chessed, and she does not seem to understand that the workforce does not revolve around her..

I dont have the answer. It is not easy for a "kollel wife" to go get a job when she has little kids at home, if she wants her husband to really learn.

Malky and Fishel in Mea Shearim (video)

Malky was bumped off the show, and Fishel remains behind to compete. They went to Mea Shearim, and plenty of people know what they are up to, and they get a lot of support..


everything seems to bore me today. that happens often when I have completed a long run (38km).

I guess boring days are good. The news is always bad, so when there is nothing exciting in the news, we have what to be thankful for..

Menachem Herman: With A Little Help from Hashem (video)

Jews And Baseball, An American Love Story (video)

Nov 23, 2010

Interesting Posts #225

1. Umbrellas On Shabbat

2. (deleted)

3. Chabad And Mashiach

4. Another Reason For Making Aliya

5. Why Circumcision Is Not Barbaric For Ortho Jews

6. The Large Rabbi

7. The Shul On The Hilltop

8. The Unfolding Kollel Scandal

Winston Churchill Upsets The Haredim

The Jerusalem Municipality wants to erect a bust of Winston Churchill and place it somewhere in the city.

Churchill was a great leader, but I don't know why he deserves a statue in his honor before many other people, including various founders of the State, Roosevelt, the presidents or prime ministers of Madagascar and Micronesia, Alf, Michael Jordan and many others. I am just joking - Churchill is far more deserving of such an honor than Alf and NBA stars. Point is, he didn't found the State, even if he supported it. He led the fight against the Nazis courageously, but I am not so sure that makes him first in line for this type of honor.

Regardless, as if this was not expected, the haredim are upset about such a statue being erected in Jerusalem. City Hall is trying to select a location that will upset them the least, by being as far away from their neighborhoods as possible, so as to avoid any conflict. I would have expected that anyway - I dont think anybody was planning to erect such a statue on Kikar Shabbos - it seems like common sense to me..

A Real Killer Bowl Of Cholent

It is not just yeshiva guys who go to Mea Shearim for some late night cholent. Government officials do as well.

MK Zeev Elkin's Parliamentary Assistant and his friend, a senior office in the Finance Ministry, went into mea Shearim to talk and enjoy a steaming bowl of cholent and a stroll around the neighborhood to enjoy the local entertainment, the pashkevilim pasted on the walls of the neighborhood.

Little did they know, they were about to become part of another aspect of the local entertainment. They found out quickly enough when they were summarily attacked by the locals.

According to the article, a woman behind them called some people and who brought out a crowd that kept growing. The crowd followed them, calling them names, suspecting them of being undercover policemen. The crowd grew to 60, with more joining remotely by yelling from the windows, with the rocks starting to fly. They hurried to their car and drove off, with only slight damage to the exterior of the car from thrown rocks, and what is described as a very close call from a rock that nearly hit one of them head on.

A complaint was filed with the police (for insurance claim purposes), and Tzuberi says that it was good he unusually wasn't carrying his gun with him, as if he was the incident might have ended differently..

I hope at least the bowl of cholent was good enough to make the trip down worthwhile..

Get Your Segula Matza In Time For Christmas!

And the latest crazy Jewish item for sale on eBay is a box of leftover matza, from Pesach, from the Skverer Rebbe.

I guess someone was cleaning the house and found a remaining box on top of some cabinet. As they were about to throw it out, some gabbai, or maybe a kid in the house, thought "hey, lets try selling it on eBay as a segula!"

The price, as of this writing, is sitting at $2.25, and shipping is free.

Not only that, but they say that if you order it now you can still get it in time for the holidays! I am not sure if that means Christmas and New Years or Hannukah.. :-) . And it begs the question why one would be in a rush to get leftover Pesach matza in time for either Christmas or Hannukah...

Place your bid now, before time runs out..Shaindellungar closes the bidding on November 25 at 11:10:32 PST.

And enjoy your matza..

Getting Out Of Army Service

If you wonder why some feel changing the rules for women who declare themselves as religious to get out of army service is needed or if it is just to make it more difficult for the haredi women, this news item might be a good indication of why some feel it is a very necessary change.

The army is spending a lot of resources hiring private investigators to keep an eye on these young women who declare themselves religious. They have 8 PI companies checking people out, following their tracks on Facebook and other sites, to see what kind of pictures they put up, where they hang out - what kind of bars, etc., and have even caught a young woman who declared herself religious for the exemption in a picture of her in a restaurant holding a menu that said on it "Not Kosher".

Is it really so bad that women who want the exemption have to get some extra paperwork taken care of, rather than have the army carry out these investigations? Anyway, do people really prefer that the army hire private investigators to investigate them? Do they care less about their privacy, or do they just think the army isnt going to bother and is just going to take them at their word?

What Is Bibi's Word Worth? (video)

The following is the newest anti-Bibi, anti-freeze, campaign..

Nov 22, 2010

SNL: TSA security (video)

This SNL clip poking fun at TSA is just too funny to not post.. enjoy

Interesting Psak: Listening to Female Singers

Rav Avraham Yosef has paskened, on his radio show discussing halacha on Radio Kol Chai, that one is allowed to listen to female singers, and non-Jewish music.

The caveat is that you can only listen to such music when it is a recording and not being performed live. Going to a concert would be assur. He bases his psak on his father's (Rav Ovadia Yosef) rulings and said that going to a mixed concert, even one where they sing shirei kodesh is assur, but listening to their recorded music is fine.

Not only that, but he added that when his father wrote his teshuva on the matter allowing listening to such recorded music he was writing it for frum people and not for secular people.

In America such a psak is common and many people do listen to non-Jewish music, and female singers, with many variosu hetterim - either the fact that the singing is recorded and only live is a problem, or multiple voices singing at the same time, or other hetterim. In Israel, this psak is basically radical as the community in Israel is much mroe extreme.

I see a whole new market opening up - Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Beyonce - no concerts, but they can all start selling their music now in Gal Paz!!!

The Kotel Renovations Preventing Peace Negotiations

And now we don't even have the right to clean up and fix up the area of the Kotel.

Forget the building freeze issues, but if even the Kotel is going to be a fight, there can't be anything to really talk about. If  "this move is preventing an agreement", as a PA official said, what more can we give them?
The Palestinian Authority slammed a Sunday cabinet decision to allot NIS 85 million to a development project for the Western Wall over the next five years, AFP reported.

Ghassan Hatib, a PA spokesperson reportedly said: "Israel does not have permission to make changes in the occupied territories, especially in Jerusalem."

"This move is preventing us from reaching an agreement, because any solution must include Jerusalem," Hatib added.

The project will upgrade physical and transportation infrastructure at the site, provide access to new archeological findings, and run educational programs for soldiers and students.

The approved plan is a continuation of another five-year project that began at the site in 2004 and, according to a statement put out after Sunday’s cabinet meeting, led to a phenomenal growth in the number of visitors to the Wall, from 2 million annually before the project began to 8 million visitors in 2009. The Wall is the most visited site in the country.

The continuation of the development project will be managed by the Prime Minister’s Office and carried out by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, with the funds coming from the Interior, Transportation, Tourism, Public Security, Defense and Education ministries, as well as from the Israel Lands Authority.

“The Western Wall is the Jewish people’s most important heritage site,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during the cabinet discussion. “We are obligated to develop and preserve it so it can continue to be a focus for visitors and a source of inspiration for millions of visitors, tourists and children and adults from Israel and around the world.”

More Details Of The Kollel Fraud

It turns out that the issue behind the shutting down of a number of kollels, and arrests of a few people, for kollel fraud yesterday was more than just having people registered who were no longer learning in the kollel.

There are many young men, mostly among the hard-core Mea Shearim crowd, that refuse to take money from the State. Therefore, when they learn in kollel, they do not register for State funding - no stipends, no havtachat hachnasa.

Somebody realized this and say a gold mine in the making. They took that information, they got lists of names of all these "sikrikim" and other people who don't take money, they printed fake identity cards under all those names, and submitted all those names into the roster for receiving government funding.

They figured they would never get caught, because these people anyway had the right to take this money, and since they don't nobody would ever find out that someone took it under their names. The money was just sitting there anyway.

Lo and behold, someone found out. They almost always do.

Two interesting points that have developed:

1. the leaders of one of the communities involved in the scam, the kehillas HaMasmidim, has come out against the "sikrikim" in this affair, saying that the sikrikim are the ones who caused the chillul hashem by snitching to the authorities.

It seems the sikrikim found out what was happening and that their names were being used to defraud the State. They are always happy and willing to fight against those who oppose them (see how they have been destroying houses in Batei Varsha and Kollel Polin in the heart of Mea Shearim) and therefore took their information to the authorities.

I like how instead of being apologetic, instead of blaming themselves for doing something wrong and being seduced by money, they choose to not be apologetic and instead blame the whole thing on the sikrikim. They are basically sorry they were caught. Deflecting blame. Not only deflecting blame, but by not taking the blame and saying we made a mistake and should not have done it, they are saying there might be others doing the same thing, because there really is nothing wrong with it. the only problem with it is getting caught, and that was not our fault.

2. Rav Elyashiv has voiced his opinion on the matter, supposedly saying that if the story and details are correct, the avreichim who stole the money have a din of a rodef. He says this will cause a backlash against haredim in Israel and around the world, and nobody had a right to do such an act.

3. While many justify it, this specific act or in general the concept of stealing from the State, by saying that they take taxes they dont deserve so stealing from the State is just taking your own money back, Chief Rabbi Amar has come out strongly saying it is completely assur to steal from the State and there is absolutely no hetter.

Nov 21, 2010

The busha going on in Shas

Shas is an interesting phenomenon. Shas is an entity that you gain nothing from fighting with. Their representatives are solid in following the one person who decides what should be done, there is generally no rebellion from within the ranks, the supporters and voters are dedicated completely to Shas and will not be pulled away by other parties or other parties that are formed, no matter how charming and charismatic the leader is - they follow "Maran" and that is the way it is. They can talk about this or that being wrong or not the way it should be, but when it comes down to it, the supporters of Shas will not leave on another agenda - they will stick with Maran, Harv Ovadia Yosef.

What is going on now in Shas, with the fighting between Shas leadership and Rav Amsalem, is basically a busha and a waste of time.

It is a waste of time because nothing is going to come of it. At the end of the day, no matter who is right and who is wrong, Rav Amsalem will eventually be pushed out of the ranks of Shas, as he should be. Shas is a party that follows the decisions of one person - Rav Ovadia. If you are not willing to follow him and stay silent when you have a different opinion, Shas is not your place. Fighting the way it works is akin to hitting your head against a brick wall. Shas is Shas and no specific MK or personality is going to change that. Perhaps sometime in the future, when Rav Ovadia is no longer the leader (he should live and be strong until 120), perhaps Shas will change, perhaps not. For now, nobody, not Rav Amsalem or anyone else, is going to change Shas.

Therefore, the best thing to do now would be to avoid the busha that has been going on for the past week or two. This fighting between El Yishai and Rav Amsalem, between Rav Ovadia and Rav Amsalem, about who is right and who is wrong, along with over who has the support of Rav Mazuz, along with all the other bickering, should just stop. Nothing is going to come of it, and it just looks bad for everybody.

Anyway, this fight that started because of Rav Amsalem is not really a fight Shas should be involved in. They were dragged into the debate over the stipends for kollel men because they are a haredi party. However, most Shas supporters are people who have gone to the army, work and support themselves and have nothign to do with this issue. Sure, there are a lot of young men in kollel, but they are small numbers relative to Shas overall, and even they generally dont stay in kollel long term the way the ashkenazim do.

Basically, they have been dragged into this fight by UTJ, and it is not even really their fight. They would be better off by just talking about the importance of Torah learning and leaving it at that.

Stop the busha.

Kollels Shut Down, Accused Of Fraud

The police have moved in and locked up a number of kollels in Jerusale, Beitar and Modiin Ilit on the susp-icion of serious levels of "kollel fraud".

While details are not yet clear, it seems the main issue is the number of kollel students registered in the various kollels not matching the actual number. Over-registration  is a common issue in kollels and yeshivas, and was generally ignored, with the occassional spot-check, that was not such a spot check. I remember when I was in yeshiva every once in a blue moon word would spread that the rosh yeshiva requests everybody present on a specific day because someone from the misrad hadatot, or misrad haotzar would possibly be coming to check the lists.

It was not such a big deal if you were in yeshiva - just you had to make sure you were in the beis medrash even if you were sick, and you better not have any external conflicts that day. The issue was more with the guys they had to notify who were registered in the yeshiva but had not been there in many months. In my yeshiva the number was small. There were some older guys who were probably working "black" who were no longer in yeshiva but never unregistered, but it was not such an Israeli yeshiva, nor such a large one, that we would have had large numbers of discrepancies.

The reports have it that these kollels, and more to possibly be shut down as well, have very large numbers of over-registrations, and many knew about it for a long time and allowed it to be covered up.

What will come of it? We wait and see. Maybe the kollels will produce the books and show that they are operating properly and not committing the fraud they are suspected of.

Either way, the damage is already done. People will now remember, even if the kollels, or some of them, clear their names, that the kollels were shut down for fraud. At a time when hatred is at a high, and the fights over the stipends and welfare payments to kollel men is under serious dispute, this could not have happened at a worse time for creating a chillul hashem.

(sources: all the news media, including haredi websites)

The Hummus Wars Hit America

The hummus wars have hit the shores of America, and are no longer confined to disputes between Israel and Lebanon, or elsewhere in the Middle East.

The stores on the Princeton Campus, Dining Services, carries the Sabra brand of hummus. The Princeton Committee on Palestine is fighting to have an alternative line of hummus carried in the retail stores.
The Princeton Committee on Palestine has sponsored a referendum in next week’s USG elections that asks Dining Services to sell an alternative to Sabra hummus in all its retail locations on campus.
The Strauss Group and PepsiCo each own 50 percent of Sabra Dipping Company.

In August, Philly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a Philadelphia group that encourages activism against Israel, released an open letter calling for a boycott of Sabra for the same reason.

Both PCP and Philly BDS take issue with The Strauss Group’s support of the Israeli Golani Brigade. Members of the Brigade have been reprimanded by the Israeli military for inappropriate behavior.

The brigade has “a culture of aggression,” Yoel Bitran ’11, president of PCP, adding in an e-mail.

Strauss is Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company. It provides care packages and sports equipment to Israeli soldiers as part of its corporate social responsibility program, Sabra representative Ilya Welfeld said in an e-mail.

PCP started a petition in support of the referendum last Thursday. More than 200 students have signed it, the threshold for getting a referendum on the ballot.

“The Princeton Committee on Palestine objects to the fact that Sabra is the only hummus brand that is offered in most University stores and that students who wish to eat this traditional Arab food are forced to buy a product that is connected to human rights abuses against Arab civilians,” Bitran wrote in a statement concerning the issue.

“This lack of choice is particularly egregious and violent for Princetonians of Arab descent, who cannot eat the food that is quintessential to their culture unless they are willing to support crimes against their own people,” the statement continued.

Bitran also created a “Boycott Sabra Hummus” event that had 129 people listed as attending as of Thursday evening.

In response, officers of Tigers for Israel created their own event on Facebook, titled “Save the Hummus!--Vote Against the Sabra Hummus Boycott.” It had 1,878 people listed as attending as of Thursday evening.

If a majority of students vote in favor of the referendum, the USG will inform Dining Services, USG president Michael Yaroshefsky ’12 said in an e-mail.

Many students said that they were confused about the referendum’s implications because of its ambiguous language.

“Does ‘offer an alternative to’ mean an ‘alternative in addition to’ or ‘instead of’ Sabra?” asked Addie Lerner ’11, a vice president of Tigers For Israel.

“We’re all for consumer choice and multiple brands sold alongside Sabra, but we’re against a boycott and singling out Sabra for being an Israeli company affiliated with the IDF,” she said.

Lerner and Sammy Schatz ’13, the other vice president of TFI, said that products integral to the lives of students — including Firestone Library’s database technology and Microsoft software — are made by companies with ties to Israel.

Firestone’s library database uses the country’s technology, Schatz said, and Lerner added that Victoria’s Secret cotton is grown in Israel.

“If we want to get into this … situation where we’re talking about all the products that are linked to Israel and how we shouldn’t sell them because by buying them you’re propagating human rights violations — that’s just ridiculous,” Schatz said.

Abby Klionsky ’14 said she found the referendum’s language at odds with PCP’s rhetoric. “The Facebook group, posters and petition clearly state that PCP’s aim is to boycott Sabra hummus,” she said in an e-mail.

“I have a sneaking suspicion that this referendum is not about having multiple options of hummus to buy as a consumer option, but rather make the process of boycotting Sabra hummus easier,” she added.

When asked about confusion over the referendum, Bitran said that it would be up to Dining Services to either replace Sabra or introduce other brands.

The University has been stocking Sabra for the last four or five years based on “customer preferences” and “current industry needs,” Stu Orefice, director of Dining Services, said in an e-mail.

“We have suggested the PCP set up a table at Frist with information and alternative products so that the community can taste different products and understand the cost differences,” Orefice added.

In regard to whether Dining Services would consider boycotting Sabra, Orefice said that it was “premature to speculate at this point.”

The hummus served in the dining halls and the Center for Jewish Life is prepared at the University. Olive’s Restaurant, located on Witherspoon Street, also sells containers of hummus, including at the U-Store.

Bad Boy Rapper (Shyne) Goes Kosher (video)

Shyne has become a big hit in the Jewish world. After the NY Times write up on him recently, and now this CNN report, everyone is looking for "Shyne sightings"..

What I find particularly interesting is that most of the time these guys in jail end becoming Muslim, yet Shyne became Jewish.

enjoy the video. It is interesting.

8 Robots Of Chanukah (video)

Nov 19, 2010

You can now Like the Yated Neeman, even if you hate it!

The leader of the fight against alternate newspapers, even alternate frum newspapers, and especially against the Internet, even haredi internet sites, has been the Yated Neeman.

Lo and Behold, even the Yated has now "gone online". The Yated now has a Facebook page that you can "Like".

While some suspect that this was created by somebody external from the Yated system, looking to create a broch for the Yated, the quality of the daily images of the daily newspapers seem to indicate that this is being managed internally by someone within the Yated system who has access to the high quality images of the paper.

Head on over to the Yated Facebook page and Like it, even if you hate the paper.

Nov 18, 2010

Go away

I am taking the day off of blogging. Unless something crazy happens, don't expect any posts today (after this one).


Nov 17, 2010

Interesting Posts #224

1. One Of The Greatest Inventions

2. Mike Tyson Kosher Restaurant

3. Career Advice From A Mechanic

4. Not So Easy To Contain The Disgust

5. Naming Names

6. The Beginning Of The End

7. To Shake or Not To Shake

8. Mistaking A Religion For A Hat

9. A Wedding On Har Habayit

10. Reform Jews And Kashrus

Another plane vs tefillin incident causes scare

Way back when, in the olden days of January 2010, there was an incident on an airplane in which a young man lay tefillin while inflight and began davening. He did not respond to questions, because he was in the middl eof services, and ended up being arrested for questioning, as he was suspected of being involved in some sort of terror plot. Neither the passengers nor the flight attendants were familiar with what tefillin are, and they suspected he was wrapping himself in explosive wiring.

Even though the story was strange, it involved a flight to a small city, and perhaps they don't have many Orthodox Jews on such flights, so it can be understood a bit that nobody would recognize the tefillin for a non-terrorist, religious paraphernalia that they are.

According to Bechadrei, an Orthodox Jew flying from New York to Boston this past Monday had a similar experience. he stood up to say the shmoneh esrei, while wearing his tefillin, and other passengers saw what they deemed to be suspicious activity. They alerted the flight attendant, but the fellow ignored questions directed at him from the FA, as he was in the middle of his silent service.

When the plane landed he was immediately escorted off the plane by the police and taken for questioning.

I did a basic search on google and could not find any more information about this incident from other sources. They all point to the January incident, and not knowing any more details makes filtering the info difficult.

Another stupid incident. The Jewish guy acted stupidly. in today's day and age where the airlines in America are scared of terror and are very sensitive (think of the "If you touch my junk I am going to call the police" incident that happened the other day while going through airport security), he should have known better than to draw attention to himself like that.

As well, the flight attendants seem to be pretty stupid. A major flight route from NY to Boston is very likely to regularly have orthodox jewish passengers, and I am sure this was not the first time anybody will have seen tfillin on such a route.

Brains, people. Brains.

Sufganiyah Eating Contest

This year, this Chanukah season, is the second annual sufganiyah eating contest being run on twitter.

Last year there were a bunch of people who tried for a while, but in the end it came down to only two contestants, @noahroth and @TzionE. 

This year, the contest is running again, but only two contestants have joined for a rematch - the same @noahroth and @TzionE. The other contestants did not join this year, preferring to only watch from the sidelines, comment and cheer them on in their potentially heart-attack inducing endeavor. And there are those who have become judges and members of the appeals committee.

The reason I point this out is because this year the stakes have suddenly been raised. In a brilliant move @TionE has drawn many people to root for him. At the end of the day he will have to eat more to win, but with all the moral support being thrown his way, he should be highly motivated. 

@TzionE has decided to eat gluttonously for charity. Eli Klein went out and found sponsors to donate money per sufganiyah to various charities. As of this writing, he is raising for charity 195 NIS per sufganiyah, with a current total of 15 sponsors!

195 shekel per sufganiyah!

People are donating for local charities such as Lemaan Achai and local synagogues, to national charities such as MDA (hopefully he will not need MDA after overdosing on sufganiyot!), Od Yosef Chai, Mt. Sinai, and others.

If you want to join the fray, follow @TzionE and @noahroth on twitter, and if you want to follow the sponsorships and perhaps become a sponsor as well, so their sufganiyot eating will be, at least in part, for a good cause, check out the Elie Klein sufganiyah eating sponsorship Facebook page and leave your note with what you will donate.

Now we have to wait and see what @noahroth will do to get some of the fans back cheering for him.. if he does nothing but eat he will be at a serious disadvantage..

AMBDR. Michael Oren Explains Why Israel Will Not Freeze Construction in Jerusalem (video)

Mobile iPhone Menorah (video)

cute ad

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