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Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

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Jul 31, 2011

Interesting Posts #284

1. Was Baba Elazar murdered to bring Mashiach?

2. Quick Fix For The Housing Shortage

3. Beis HaLevi Mesorah and Techeiles

4. The Government MUST Lower the Temperature!

5. Napolean and Jewish Polygamists

6. Should Your Rabbi Be On Facebook? Rabbi Spolter himself weighs in..

7. Plagiarism in the Frum press

Interesting Psak: Seudat Gezel

I actually cannot believe the chutzpa somebody had to ask this question publicly.

to translate, the questioner asked if it is ok to go to a seudat mitzva someone in his family is making (probably he himself) to celebrate having successfully cheated the government out of millions in taxes.

Rav Aviner responded saying that God forbid to participate in such a celebration. It is not a seudat mitzva, rather it is a seudat aveira, a seudat chillul Hashem - a party celebrating sin and desecration of God's name..

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat just rejected my offer of a public debate over the facts I presented in our recent YouTube video. Erekat who has never been shy to speak his mind about everything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems reluctant to debate on the truths that I presented in the video. The question that remains is why?

  -- Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon

Picture Of The Day

Picture of the Day

from the main tent protest in Tel Aviv (Rothschild Street)

The Haredi Tent Protest Loses Steam

Remember that guy I wrote about last week who was setting up a Haredi tent protest but charging 150NIS for people to join?

Turns out he does not have the [silent] rabbinic support he thought he had...

Kikar is reporting that a list of rabbonim, including the rav of the Shmuel HaNavi neighborhood, which is where the Haredi tent protest was going to be located, has come out strongly against the idea, saying that the tent protest can lead to chinuch problems. The rabbonim told him that if he proceeds with the tent protest they will sue him in beis din.

The article does not say what the din torah would be about. To force him to stop? to pay for some sort of damages, such as to the childrens' chinuch, or maybe to the neighborhood reputation? I am not sure, but probably to force him to stop.

Yishai Ohana, the entrepreneur behind the idea of the Haredi tent protest, isn't going to let a little bit of rabbinic opposition stop him. He has responded saying that he is in negotiations with the rabbonim to try to work it out in a way that they will support him, but if they will not allow it, he will simply move it to a different location in Ramat Eshkol instead of Shmuel HaNavi.

So, if he ignores the rabbonim who tell him to stop, can it still be considered a Haredi tent protest or will it have become just a general tent protest?

Intel to receive cash grant (video)

Intel to receive cash grant

My Israel - The Kotel (video)

My Israel - The Kotel

From the Youtube description:
The Entire footage of this clip was taken from one day in the Kotel (The Wailing Wall) during the " Bar Mizva" days (Monday or Thursday) afterwards i created the music and edited it using After Effects.

The idea was that every bit in the music has its corresponding video square.

(3 weeks warning: there are musical instruments, but it is nothing i consider "music")

Stranger Danger (video)

Stranger Danger

Jul 29, 2011

Rav Amar On The Murder Of Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira

This morning I woke up, as we all did, to the shocking news of someone having murdered Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira, the Baba Elazar, of Beer Sheva. Baba Elazar was the 70 year old grandson of the Baba Sali.

I don't know profess to know why suddenly we have cold-blooded murders in the frum community, two in such close proximity, but it seems to me something is all fouled up.

Chief Rabbi of Israel Rav Shlomo Amar said at the funeral, "the murder should arouse the people to think about their relations with God and fellow human beings, noting the rise in violence among Jews... the nation's children should be taught manners, good character traits, to reduce hate and rage, to eliminate anger and strictness and to increase love and friendship and be easy-going, forgiving and good."

If anybody can exhort the people in such a manner, to improve their relations with fellow human beings, to be easy going, to be taught manners, etc. it is Rav Amar. Just last night I saw a report on Kikar about a bris ceremony in which Rav Amar was honored with being the sandak. The father of the baby was performing the circumcision, and Rav Amar realized that he was preparing to use a method (called "The Saloniki method". I never heard of it, but that is what the report says.) that is designed to minimize the amount of blood the baby would lose.

Rav Amar, himself an experienced mohel as well, considers this method to be more dangerous. Rav Amar calmly suggested that perhaps this method is too dangerous, and explained the problems with it. The father, the mohel, responded that this is the method he prefers to use. Rav Amar asked why, as it puts the baby into more danger.

The father screamed at him saying he knows what he is doing, and who are you to tell me how to circumcise..

Rav Amar is the paradigm of a person who stays calm, speaks to people pleasantly, does not respond to insult, and is well-mannered and forgiving. If anyone can say that what we need nowadays is to be taught manners, good character traits, to reduce hate and rage, to eliminate anger and strictness and to increase love and friendship and be easy-going, forgiving and good, it is Rav Amar.

Nationalist MK Hotovely VS. Arab MK Zuabi (video)

Nationalist MK Hotovely VS. Arab MK Zuabi

the news anchor practically does not let Hotovely talk, constantly interrupting her when she tries to make a point. And Zoabi talks about other issues when confronted with participating in terror groups and attacks on Israel..

Where's the Salt? Don't Blame, Don't Complain (video)

Where's the Salt? Don't Blame, Don't Complain

Jul 28, 2011

Never A Better Time To Invest In Israeli Real Estate

While Israel's housing prices are relatively high, and seemingly tend to continue rising, the situation with the housing crisis and the tent protests increasing in intensity appear to be pressuring the government to actually implement a real solution that will add tens of thousands of apartments to the map around Israel and bring down the prices.

One would say that it is almost definitely peaking out right now, and we can probably expect prices to soon begin dropping, as massive construction will soon begin. In other words, now is not the time to begin investing in real estate.

That would be what most people would say. But Rav Chaim Kanievsky is not "most people".

The haredi magazine "B'Shaa Tova" is reporting that an avreich who has been looking to buy a home but has been stymied by the high prices went to rav Chaim Kanievsky for advice. he asked if he should continue looking or if he should wait as perhaps the protests will soon bring down prices?

Rav Kanievsky responded that he should not wait but should continue looking and buy the apartment when he finds it. Rav Kanievsky said, reportedly, that the protests will not help, in Eretz Yisrael the prices will not go down.

Rav Kanievsky believes in the Israeli real estate industry! Buy now, as prices will continue to rise!

Interesting Posts #283

1. Curses, Seforim and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, a.k.a. The Jabbar Curse

2. Is texting on shabbos connected to the tuition crisis? seems like a stretch to me...

3. Israeli and Palestinian Women Go To The Beach Together

4. Was Leiby A Gilgul of Rav Shach? - while interesting to posit, I always find such suggestions amusing. I mean, how can anyone ever know? And, what's the point - will it increase someone's emuna?

Jellyfish File Complaint At UN Against Israel

The Israeli Institute For Sea Research (המכון לחקר ימים ואגמים) has announced today in its weekly report that  the beaches are now fine for swimming as the beaches are free of jellyfish.. the large jellyfish population has left the shores of Israel, and the Mediterranean beaches are now free of jellyfish.

When I first read that in Ynet, my initial thought was that the jellyfish have filed a complaint with the UN, and the council will be passing a resolution against Israel occupying the shores and displacing the jellyfish creating a terrible refugee situation. The jellyfish want a state of their own and are threatening to take the demand to the UN for a vote, unless Israel gives them all the land prior to said vote.

The True Entrepreneur Can Find Ideas Anywhere

While more and more people are joining the tent protests around the country, one person realized he can use this not just as a political tool but as an entrepreneurial tool, and make some money off it.

Kikar is reporting that someone decided to set up in Jerusalem a tent city for the haredim to join the protest. he brought a bunch of tents for people to use, and he is charging people 150 NIS each to join the protest. He says the charge is to "cover expenses"...

Obviously the only people who can be at these protests around the clock are students who are on vacation along with unemployed (though unemployment is very low), so he tells people who join his group that they should come when he alerts them that the press will be there, so that the protest will have an effect.

The entrepreneur claims to have rabbinic support, though does not supply any names. he says the rabbis support him quietly but wont come out and say so.

I am curious if people will pay him to join his tent city of if they will just go to an open tent city elsewhere, or even just plop their own tents down for no cost.

The true entrepreneur can find opportunities anywhere.

Kosher Pork

Here is a really great example of how careful you have to be when you read labels. A supermarket in new York had stocked their shelves of the meat department with pork that was labeled as having been shechted according to the Beit Yosef.

If you look at the label carefully, there is obviously no actual hechsher, just the wording of the shechita style. Furthermore, the "Beit Yosef" is spelled wrong, with two apostrophes made to look like two "yuds", giving it the appearance, to someone only glancing briefly, of saying Beit Yosef, but not actually saying that.

From the New Yorker:
Rabbis saw to it long ago that it’s against the law to have a pig farm on Jewish-owned land in Israel, so Jewish pig-farmers there (perhaps after consulting a legal-loophole-minded rabbi of their own) built their sties on platforms above the land—taking the practice of raising pigs to a whole new level.
But if you want actual Kosher pork—pork spare ribs, pork cutlets, center-cut pork chops, all labeled in Hebrew “Sh’Chita Beit Yosef” (i.e., kosher slaughtered)—you get that only in New York, only at the Associated Supermarket at 4407 Greenpoint Avenue, in Sunnyside, Queens, and only for a few hours today, between the time the Israeli artist Oded Hirsch snapped the above photo on his cell phone and it got forwarded to me, and the time I phoned Aris Duran, the supermarket manager, for an explanation.
“What are you saying?” Duran asked. “Pork cannot be kosher.” So I e-mailed him the photo. He called me right back, and said he was going to pull all the meat off the shelves. “It was a mistake,” he said, and a few seconds later he called back and left a message to say, “Thanks for alerting me.”
Duran had to leave a message because I was on the other line to the Orthodox Union, whose voice-mail recording describes it as “the global leader in Kosher supervision and the world’s largest Jewish resource.” (So much for the Torah and the Talmud.) I pressed two for matters Kosher, and listened to another menu until I heard: “To report a product that may be mistakenly labelled, press four.” I did, and was invited to leave a message for Howard Katzenstein, who called me right back. “I have to tell you,” he told me, “my father-in-law read your magazine religiously—or some would say irreligiously. How can I help you?” I told him about the kosher pork for sale in Sunnyside. “If the price is right, I say go with it, right?” Katzenstein said, and giggled.
But seriously, Katzenstein told me, he hears of such outrages only “rarely.” “Computer-generated labels,” he said, “they’re a nightmare waiting to happen.” The last two words of the stamp on the pork in Queens, “Beit Yusef,” mean “according to Sephardic custom,” said Katzenstein, an Ashkenazi Jew. “But I don’t think even the Sephardim would accept that.” For further information he referred me to the head of Kosher-law enforcement for New York State, Rabbi Luzer Weiss (“but he’s a winner in my book,” Katzenstein said). In this era of budget cuts, the state has laid off all eight of its Kosher-enforcement inspectors, leaving Rabbi Weiss as a one-man department, and apparently he was on other cases, because I haven’t heard back from him.
Oded Hirsch, meanwhile, went back to the supermarket with a proper camera. He’s an artist, after all, and thought he could come up with a better image than his initial cell-phone snapshot. By the time he got there, just a few minutes after I had e-mailed that picture to Aris Duran, he found the meat department almost entirely purged of pork. “A pack of six workers were scanning the fridge frantically,” Hirsch reported. “Anyway, I did manage to sneak a few more shots.” He attached the clandestine images (see below) and signed off: “Ha ha.”
A label means nothing more than what the guy printing the label wanted it to mean. With no hechsher, just because it has a few Hebrew words on it does not mean it is kosher.

Always check your kashrus labels (and health labels, ingredients, descriptions, etc.) carefully. There are people trying to trick you into buying their product.

Leiby's Murder Continues To Change the Frum Community

Somehow, somewhy, despite not having revealed any similar situation with Levi Aron before he murdered Leiby Kletsky, the murder of Leiby has created serious waves in the frum world, specifically in how it deals with accusations of child abuse and molestation.

In the wake, many rabbonim have spoken out reiterating their positions on the issue, the Agudah has re-released and reclarified it's official position on reporting abuse, the RCA has reaffirmed it's position on reporting abuse (below), and more.

The RCA official position on reporting abuse is:
The Rabbinical Council of America has today reaffirmed its position that those with reasonable suspicion or first hand knowledge of abuse or endangerment have a religious obligation to report that abuse to the secular legal authorities without delay. One of the unique features of Jewish law is that it imposes upon every member of the community an obligation to help others avoid danger. The biblical verse “do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed" is understood by Jewish Law to mandate that one must do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others - even if monetary harm, but certainly physical harm.

Consistent with that Torah obligation, if one becomes aware of an instance of child abuse or endangerment, one is obligated to refer the matter to the secular authorities immediately, as the prohibition of mesirah (i.e., referring an allegation against a fellow Jew to government authority) does not apply in such a case.

As always where the facts are uncertain one should use common sense and consultations with experts, both lay and rabbinic, to determine how and when to report such matters to the authorities. False accusations are harmful to those falsely accused – but unreported abuse or endangerment can be life-threatening, as we have recently been tragically reminded.

In addition and as a separate matter, those within the Jewish community whom secular law deem to be “mandated reporters,” must certainly obey the particular reporting requirements, which vary from state to state in the US. A person covered by mandatory reporter laws must comply with those laws, even in a case in which Jewish law might otherwise not require a person to report such child abuse or endangerment.
This position of the RCA is different than that of Agudas Yisrael, differentiating between "mandated reporters" (not an issue in Israel, as in Israel everyone is a mandated reporter), and that if abuse is certain one must report immediately. only when uncertain should one consult with experts, be it a rav or a lay person (they say "and" but I understand the "and" as simply an explanation of who would be considered an expert - that can be an expert who is a rav and it could be an expert who is a lay person), along with using your common sense.

Since then, Kikar is reporting, the beis din in Montreal has come out with a call that people should stop hiding and covering up accusations of abuse. While not going as far as saying that accusations should be reported to the police, they did say parents, and others, should stop sweeping these issues under the carpet, but should make the children aware, instruct them how to be as safe as possible, and if they are attacked or know of someone who has been attacked they should tell someone, their parents or a rav, immediately.

Change is slow, but it is happening.

Leiby Kletzky: Yosef Hatzadik in Our Times (A Capella video)

Leiby Kletzky: Yosef Hatzadik in Our Times

Singer: Yisroel Amar
Video: CJ Studios 718.781.6405
Lyrics Esty Shemtov, Dina Amar
Concept & Ideas Rabbi Chay Amar
Studio engineering Ron BenHaim
Consultant Mendel Amar
Original melody of Vehoo Keili "Rabbi Baruch Levine"

Glowing with pride
Learning side by side
Torah's flame burning inside
Together as one
In an eternal bond
Yaakov and yosef his son

My son you must leave
You brothers you will see
And beshalom come back to me
His first journey alone
Away from his home
Leaving, his future is unknown

As the day passes on, he awaits his return
For my son oh my son I cannot mourn
Feeling a loss so strong
He desperately does long
For an answer, for a reason
Oh Father I seem far, my journey just began
To help my brothers from where I am
Hashem's plan you can't see
But for you I will be
In a foreign land, awaiting...

Tragically, in our times,
A sweet boy of nine,
Decides to leave his mother's side.
His first journey alone
Away from his home
Leaving, his future is unknown

As the day passes on, they await his return
For leiby, oh my son I cannot mourn!
Feeling a loss so strong
Desperately we long
For an answer, for a reason
Yidden I may be far, my soul up on high
To beseech our father in heaven
Hashem's plan you can't see,
But with you I will be,
The geula, demanding!

Jul 27, 2011

Should Rabbonim Be On Facebook

Srugim reports on an international rabbinic conference on various issues community rabbis have to deal with  in the modern world.

One of the interesting discussions and debates at the conference was whether or not community rabbis should be on Facebook.

This is not just a debate about community rabbis. Teachers have the same debates, and very similar concerns, as do parents and most authority figures. The question is whether it is more important to be using Facebook/twitter/G+ or any other social media network as a tool, a way to reach out to people, or if it is inappropriate in the sense of being "friends" with students or community members at that level, or even just sharing such personal information between the rabbi and others.

Most rabbis from chutz laaretz were of the opinion that Facebook is a reality, and therefore rabbonim should get on it and figure out how to make the most of it.

One rav from Manchester said that he is on Facebook but he is careful how he uses it, not putting up everything he would like, but he uses it to connect to people, including many he has not seen in many decades. The chief rabbi of England, Rabbi Yonatan Sacks, is on Facebook and uploads a weekly video on the parsha.

Another rabbi said that it can be used as a community tool, explaining that in his community one of the women had to go to the hospital. She wrote about what she was undergoing on facebook, and if the rav is not on Facebook, everybody but the rav knows what is happening with the member of the community.

A rav from Israel was more cautious, and skeptical, about the need for rabbonim to be on Facebook. Rav Reuven Spolter said that if you are following people on Facebook, you get every update they send, much of which is not appropriate or necessary for the rav, and it becomes a tremendous waste of time. The community rav does not need to know every stupid thing everyone is doing.

Interestingly, one rav said that he finds it interesting that in Israel using Facebook is such a big issue, while everywhere else it is completely accepted. It is used to stay up to date with the community, and to stay in touch with former students.

Angry Birds Championship Of Israel

Who would have thought that Angry Birds would become more than a video game on a cell phone and turn into a world-wide movement with it's own tournament competition and championships, leading to prizes of some serious money?

Well, yesterday in a mall in Kfar Saba there was an Angry Birds Championship competition.

From Haaretz:
Children, teens and entire families stopped their strolls in the mall to enroll in the Angry Birds Championship. After all, it isn’t every day you get to win a flight to Barcelona.

Angry Birds is the PacMan or Tetris of our day − a good, simple game with simple rules that managed to conquer the hearts of hundreds of millions around the world. There is virtually no one who owns a smartphone who hasn’t spent hours with the birds exacting vengeance on the thieving pigs.
According to Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer at Rovio, which makes Angry Birds, there have so far been 300 million downloads of various version of the game. Nevertheless, he is not yet satisfied.

“This is a good number,” he said, “but our goal is to become the first brand with one billion fans.”

Currently, the game offers 120 levels. Originally available only on the iPhone, it is now available through a variety of platforms, including the iPad, the Sony Playstation 3, Androids, Nokia and Google’s Chrome.

Rovio is not stopping at games: Its next project is a cookbook in the spirit of Angry Birds. But meanwhile, the game has become a cultural phenomenon. It also exposed the world to Israel’s satirical television show “Eretz Nehederet” ‏(“A Wonderful Country”‏), thanks to an English edition of its skit about a peace summit at Camp David between the birds and the pigs.

The purpose of the competition that commenced yesterday is, of course, to find out who the champion killers of pigs are in each country, and then match their skills against each other to crown the champion of champions. The first rounds were held at the Kfar Sava, Haifa and Rishon Letzion malls, while the final will take place at Cinema City in Rishon Letzion. Banners for Nokia and Eurocom were readily visible in the background.

Professional competitions with stars earning tens of thousands of dollars or more are not unknown in the world of gaming. But anyone who was at the Kfar Sava mall last night could comprehend that championship is a relative thing.

The Nokia banners kept the possibility of becoming the Angry Birds champion constantly in the air, as did the enormous bird that circulated among visitors to the mall and invited them try their luck. According to Nokia representatives, some 600 people at the Kfar Sava mall accepted the challenge.

But while the promise of a game of Angry Birds, combined with the possibility of winning a trip to Barcelona, drew a crowd, in light of all the media hype about the game, it is hard to say there was mass hysteria. Compared to all the blue shirts of the Nokia staff, there were only a few contestants − some adults, some kids and some teens. And all were just passing through the mall.

The only man who really sounded ambitious to reach the top tried to register a girl who was too young: The competition’s minimum age is 13. “What’s the problem? I’ll sign up and she will be my agent,” he said.

When Rotem, a teenager, was asked what brought her to the competition, she laughed and said, “I love the game.” That is what everyone said.

Lior, another teenager there with her mother and brother, said the time limit had ruined her score. On her iPhone, she said, she has top scores, and she does not play much anymore because it is boring. But for a trip to Barcelona, why not?

Who would have thought???

Turning a Non-Kosher Phone Kosher With the Milk or Meat App

To me this does not seem like such a necessary phone app, but maybe that is because I only wait 3 hours between eating meat and milk. Maybe 3 hours is just very easy to calculate and remember, whereas people who wait 6 hours after meat before eating dairy have a more difficult time.

A new app app was released this week, so far only for Android phones, called Milk or Meat. You put into the program what time you ate meat, and it calculates when you will be able to eat dairy. it counts down the time and when 6 hours have passed it pops up a notification to let you know you can have your coffee with milk, or your double scoop of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream. 

The Milk or Meat app is available for download for free.

Again, I am not so sure why this is so necessary, but the Jewish mind continues to find solutions for all sorts of problems... A serious deficiency in the app is that it seems, from the description, to count 6 hours, and does not seem to offer the ability for those who wait only 3 hours, 1 hour, 5 and a bit, 5 and a half or whatever else other people wait. As mentioned above, maybe it is only "6 hour people" who have the problem counting..

One more thought, it seems inappropriate that this app is designed for a non-kosher phone...

A Simple Clerk Should not Be Deciding Who Is A jew

A prisoner, Thomas Feldheim, in a New Jersey prison, biding his time until he would be extradited to North Carolina on charges of raping a 13 year old girl made a request of the prison services for kosher food.

Corrections Authorities asked for confirmation of his need for kosher food from a local Chabad rabbi. Rabbi Carlebach asked Feldheim if his mother was Jewish, and Feldheim told him his mother is not, but his father is.

Rabbi Carlebach told the correction center that Feldheim is not Jewish, and they denied his request for kosher food.

A big deal is being made of this, as if the county is making a decision as to who is a Jew, reviving the old debate.

The ACLU drafted a complaint and sent it to the corrections center, saying the state should have no say if an inmate is sufficiently religious or not, and his religious affiliation is a personal belief.

The state complied and gave him back his kosher meals, until he was transferred in June to North Carolina.

Who Is A Jew?
Is Feldheim a Jew? Obviously not, by our standards as Orthodox Jews, as we reject patrilineal descent. However, I don't see how a state, a non-jewish state that believes in, or allows for, multiple streams of religion, can possibly make such a decision. It was probably just some hasty official not realizing he was getting involved in a major civil liberties decision, and just figured he wanted to do the right thing. As soon as they filed a complaint, he immediately backtracked. There must be some way where these sorts of situations must be processed through official channels following certain methods of policy making.

I don't know that he deserved the kosher food, and I find it difficult to support his request considering he is  not a Jew in my opinion, but in the USA it seems you don't need to be a Jew to request kosher food at the taxpayers dime. Even a non-Jew who just wants to identify with Judaism or kosher food, or somebody who considers himself Jewish as per Reform standards, can request it.

Ancient Bell, Coffin and Altar Revealed This Week

This past week has been a major week for Israeli archaeology.

1. A 3000 year old altar was discovered in the digs of Tel Tzafit, near the biblical city of Gat. Gat was a Philistine city, and the archaeologists see the altar as being indicative of how close the culture of the local Jews was to the culture of the Philistines, as the Philistines clearly designed their altar similar to the way Jewish altars were designed.

From Haaretz:
3,000-year-old altar uncovered at Philistine site suggests cultural links to Jews
Head of the archeological dig on Tel Tzafit Prof. Aren Maeir says the find indicates that the two peoples thought of as bitter enemies may have been closer than we think.

A stone altar from the 9th century BCE was found in an archeological dig on Tel Tzafit, a site identified with the biblical Philistine city of Gat. The altar is reminiscent of Jewish altars from the same period and sheds light on the cultural links between the two peoples, who fought each other for centuries.

The altar is approximately one meter tall, half a meter wide and half a meter long. It was found by a team of diggers led by Prof. Aren Maeir of the Land of Israel and Archaeology studies at Bar-Ilan University. The most outstanding features of the altar are a pair of horns on its front and a cornice in the middle. Its form is reminiscent of the descriptions of the Jewish altars in the scriptures, with the most noticeable difference being that the altar in the Temple was described as having four horns, while the Gat altar has only two.
Maeir said Monday the altar demonstrates the cultural proximity between the two nations, traditionally cast as the most bitter of enemies in the scriptures. “Every group continues defining itself distinctly, but there’s intensive interaction. Think about Samson for a second,”

he said. “It doesn’t matter if the story is real or not. It’s true he kills them and they kill him, but on the other hand, he does marry a Philistine woman and take part in their weddings.”

“The altar a small, but an impressive and special window into the Philistine and Israelite cultures of the time in general, and their rituals in particular. It’s not every day we find items from the biblical times so closely related to items described in the biblical text.”

2. A nearly 2000 year old Second Temple ossuary that was being held in private hands was returned to antiquities authorities. He claimed to have bought the ossuary from a dealer a number of years ago, and he says he kept the box in his bedroom until a friend told him that it is an ancient coffin that was used to hold bones a year after burial. At that point he decided he didn't want a coffin in his bedroom.

From Haaretz:
A Tel Aviv resident returned a Second Temple period artifact to the Antiquities Authority after realizing the item was an ossuary.

The man, who works in the field of art and design, contacted the authority inspectors at his own initiative, saying he purchased the ossuary from an antiquities dealer some time ago. He told them he kept the ancient artifact in his bedroom, until one of his friends told him this was a small coffin used to store bones a year after the burial. He said he was repelled by the thought that he slept with a coffin in his room.

The authority's experts determined that the ossuary was fashioned by Jerusalem stonemasons in the years before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE. It has two carved rosettes and its original color was yellow. The experts believe it was stolen from a burial cave in or near Jerusalem, and sold to antiquities dealers.
3. A 2000 year old golden bell was discovered in Jerusalem under Robinson's Arch. It was found on what was the central path in the Second Temple leading from the Shiloah Pools in Ir David to the Temple Mount. While not having any definitive proof, the experts believe it is likely this bell had fallen off the robes of the Kohen Gadol.

From JPost:
A golden bell ornament that archeologists believed belonged to a priest or important leader from the Second Temple period, was found in an ancient drainage channel in ruins next to the Western Wall on Thursday, the Antiquities Authority announced.

The small bell, which has a loop for attaching to clothing or jewelry, was found underneath Robinson’s Arch. The area underneath the arch was formerly the central road of Jerusalem, which led from the Shiloah Pools in the City of David to the Old City and the Temple Mount.

The excavations were led by the Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and financed by the City of David Foundation, which runs the archeological park across the street.

“It seems the bell was sewn on the garment worn by a high official in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period (first century CE),” the excavation’s lead archeologists, the Antiquities Authority’s Eli Shukron and Prof.

Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, said in a statement. “The bell was exposed inside Jerusalem’s main drainage channel at that time, among the layers of earth that had accumulated along the bottom of it.”

They believed that the bell fell off the official’s clothing while he was walking along the road and rolled into the drainage channel, where it has sat for nearly 2,000 years.

The archeologists based their findings on the biblical verse: “And upon the skirts of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the skirts thereof; and bells of gold between them round about.” (Exodus 28:34,36)

The Ir David people recorded the bell:

Amazing, listening to the chiming of a 2000 year old bell, that was probably hanging from the robe of a kohen gadol.

Bibi Impersonator Speaks At Tent Protest (video)

A Bibi impersonator, who is an Israeli comedian, showed up to the main "tent city" on Rothschild street in Tel Aviv, and spoke about his "solutions" to the housing crisis. It is pretty funny.

The Making of the cRc Mesorah Dinner (video)

The Making of the cRc Mesorah Dinner

The cRc just held it's first "Mesorah dinner", serving foods prepared from animals, or parts of animals, that are generally no longer eaten (as part of the kosher menu).

They just released this interesting video of how they prepared for it...

Jul 26, 2011

Avigdor Lieberman Puts The Housing Protests Into Perspective

How bad is the "tent protests" against the housing crisis?

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described it thusly:

Housing protests? In Europe they are saying that we have the problems of rich people. Look at the crises in Europe, look at the economic difficulties being experienced in the United States.

By us, baruch Hashem, we have economic growth. In all the parameters we are among the best in the world. Let us keep things in proportions.

That is keeping things in perspective, but the housing crisis should also not be "pooh pooh'ed" and ignored as if it is not serious

Dead Sea Shows Life As It Advances In Contest

The Dead Sea has advanced and reached the final stage in the voting for the New 7 Wonders of Nature Contest. It is one of 14 contestants to make it into the final rounds.

If the Dead Sea should win and make it into the final list, it is expected to be a big boost to tourism, it would create an expected 12,000 jobs, and would add 300 million NIS to the government annual budget.

You can support the Dead Sea and Israel now, by going to votedeadsea.com and voting for 7 contestants including the Dead Sea.

The only thing I found funny is that the voting site (not the Dead Sea site) has not yet been updated with the next stage of the contest, as it still shows the previous 28 candidates rather than the current 14. You'd think the person in charge of this would be on top of such a significant initiative

How Jewish People LOVE Their Homeland! Young Old, All Together! What A Great Nation! (video)

I don't know why this video was only released now, but it is images from a rally in New York that took place last year.

Some of the people are a bit extreme, to say the least, but overall it is an enjoyable video.

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day
Amy Winehouse is now one of a number of famous musicians and singers worldwide who have passed away at 27 years old.
Lehavdil - known as the 27 club, including:

  • Janis Joplin
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Jim Morrison
  • Brian Jones
  • Kurt Cobain
  • (among others)

"Oh what a band they must have in heaven"

  --- Rabbi Doug Zelden (I don't know if he heard it from someone else or if he said it himself)

Bet Shemesh Joins Tent Protest

Bet Shemesh is going to be joining the "tent protest" regarding the lack of housing, and the high cost of housing.

This afternoon at 5:00 PM a "tent city" will be established at the promenade near the memorial to the soldiers on the left side on the way up towards Old Bet Shemesh.

The goal of this protest is not to topple the government or just create noise. The goal is to bring to attention of the national media and population that, as opposed to most other places in the country, there is actually massive construction planned for the hills of Bet Shemesh and this is an opportunity to provide inexpensive housing for young couples, especially for the children of Old Bet Shemesh. However, as of now, all of the construction is planned for one specific population and not the general population.

the Bet Shemesh tent protest is being organized by Moti Cohen, a city councilman who has changed direction 180 degrees and completely opposes Mayor Moshe Abutbol in every possible way, after originally being one of his strongest supporters in the elections 2.5 years ago. Along with Cohen, Shalom Lerner is also one of the organizers of the tent protest.

I spoke with Shalom Lerner and asked what it is about. Lerner told me, as it says above in text I paraphrased from their email distribution, that Bet Shemesh is lookign at massive amounts of construction, but it is being designated for only one sector. The residents of "Old Bet Shemesh" are suffering with the rest of the country with a lack of housing, affordable or not, for their children. Bet Shemesh should be building for everyone. there is so much land here, so much construction going on, that Bet Shemesh can be a [partial] solution to the crisis for everyone, and not just using it to narrowly help a single group. (these are my words explaining his position. any errors or inaccuracies in transmission are mine, though this is what I understood from him).

I asked about the fact that he is joining what has turned out to be a left-wing protest, and helping strengthen it might boomerang. Lerner's response was that he is making it clear what our intentions are for protesting, and they are different than the intentions of the general protest. Along with that, it is not our problem if t causes Netanyahu to fall - Netanyahu's seat is not our concern - affordable housing is. We have our work to do, and Netanyahu has his.

I only realized later, after I spoke with him (and did not feel like bothering him any more), that i should have asked that technically he is a member of the Likud (due to various parties merging prior to the last elections, I don't remember all the details offhand), and Lerner even ran on the Likud national list.

So, theoretically, he should probably be coordinating such moves with the Likud, and he probably should be concerned with Netanyahu, or Likud leadership, wishes and dictates. I don't know if this will boomerang against him or not. Maybe the Likud gives free reign, but I cannot imagine it will endear him on anyone in the Likud if he helps make trouble for them. Just because he intends it to be different than the general protest does not mean the media will portray it the way he intends it.

I do not support the tent protest. I don't like the general tent protest, and I think the local bet Shemesh version is going to be a bad idea. It is also too hot, especially in bet Shemesh. I dont see how people are going to sit in a tent for the next few days or weeks in temperatures that are peaking in the range of 37-38 degrees centigrade (98-100 Farenheit), but that is besides the point. i think it is politically a bad idea to support this protest.

There is absolutely nothing limiting the purchases of homes in the new construction in the hills of Bet Shemesh to haredim alone. If Old Bet Shemesh people want housing for their kids in this area, they are more than welcome to put together groups of buyers (so that it is not individuals settling in the middle of what will end up being hostile neighbors) and buy up projects that are being built. nothing is stopping them except "fear of the haredim". Get over it and buy your apartments.

Jul 25, 2011

Interesting Posts #282

1. Conversations You Hear In Miluim

2. the Consequences Of Imprudence, a great article by Rabbi Eli Mansour for the Three Weeks

3. DoubleSpeak on Child Abuse

4. Solving The Housing Crisis

5. Israel Industrial Parks

6. Mea Shearim

7. Who had the most impact on Orthodox Judaism in last 100 years?

8. "See me, feel me, touch me, heal me!"

9.  Aliyah and a Free Jewish Education

Shabbos In The Entertainment Industry

Shabbos is in the news again, this time from an entertainment perspective.

The Big Brother (Israeli version) tv show has been trying for a few years already to land a religious or even a haredi personality a spot on the show. It has not worked out until now, but this year they seem to be as close as ever to succeeding. they have contacted two very high profile personalities, one of whom might actually say yes.

1. Big Brother contacted Itamar Ben-Gvir to join the show. Ben-Gvir refused, citing Shabbos as the main problem, saying he would not sacrifice his ideals, especially keeping Shabbos, just for same tv ratings, and even for keeruv rechokim. (source: Kikar)

2. Big Brother also contacted Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of ZAKA and a well-known haredi askan, about joining the show. Meshi-Zahav seems to be interested in saying yes. He said that if he can see it as an opportunity for keeruv rechokim, bringing together different parts of the nation, and making a kiddush Hashem, then he would accept the offer. The station would have to work with him and figure out a way to enable his participation while ensuring no breach of tzniyus and his ability to keep Shabbos remains intact. (source: Kikar)

I would be curious to see how this works out. I wait for word on whether or not these issues are somehow worked out.

3. An Israeli football/soccer player has been in the process of coming closer to Judaism and has recently been keeping Shabbos. As a result, he turned down offers from teams in the higher level leagues because they play their games on Shabbos. he accepted an offer with a team in the lower league because they play on Friday.

Snir Goata has said that even if he would receive an offer from a European team such as Real Madrid he would reject it because of Shabbos. Goata claims that there are many very talented athletes who don't reveal their true abilities because of chillul shabbos. Many players, Goata says, have to leave the sport or only play in the lower leagues because of Shabbos. (source: Srugim)

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

There is no need to be frummer than Bais Yaakov.

  --- Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman

Rav Shteinman said this, reportedly, in response to a group of parents in Jerusalem who decided that the Bais Yaakov school was spiritually not good enough for their daughters. they worked to establish a private school that would be even more exclusive with the teachers and students hand-selected. They then went to Rav Shteinman to receive his approval and bracha. To their surprise, after initially showing interest and then hearing the details, Rav Shteinman told them to scrap the idea.

Rav Shteinman said "there is no need to be more frum than Bais Yaakov. The Bais Yaakov schools are excellent, and there are a number of reasons why setting up this new school is a bad idea. Parents have to realize that when children grow up disconnected from their friends, it can be destructive for the rest of the child's life." (source: Kikar)

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

FaceGlat: the Glat Kosher Version Of Facebook. Sort Of.


A new social media site named FaceGlat was just launched yesterday. The unique idea behind FaceGlat is that it separates men and women. If you are a male you log in to one page, men to the right, and a female logs in to their own page, women to the left.

I went to it out of curiosity. These are my first impressions:
  1. just another social media network to manage..
  2. I clicked on the link. they let you log in with your facebook account. if you have a Facebook account, whats the point of this new one? It sounds like it is for people avoiding facebook.. unless maybe someone is on Facebook and wants to get off, but this is an easier way than building an account from scratch.
  3. I started to create an account, and I see further in that they let you import details from all the main social networks, not just Facebook. Again, for someone active on the various social networks, this does not seem to be adding anything.
  4. what's stopping me, a male, from going into the womens section? Just the honor system? Using the honor system I could just use Facebook and not do anything inappropriate. I thought these types of systems are so people don't have to test themselves with the honor system...
If this is what does it for these people, I have no problem with that. Enjoy!

Mike Huckabee Interviews PM Benjamin Netanyahu (video)

Mike Huckabee Interviews PM Benjamin Netanyahu

In our Fathers Footsteps - The History & Rebirth of Jewish Life in Hebron (video)

In our Fathers Footsteps - The History & Rebirth of Jewish Life in Hebron

"In our Fathers Footsteps - The History & Rebirth of Jewish Life in Hebron", is a full length documentary film currently in production by Mordechai Weisman.

This is a short trailer created from some of the first interviews we filmed.

The first speaker is Sarah Nachshon, who along with here husband Baruch, and (then) 4 children were one of the first families to move into Hebron after it was liberated in 1967. Today she lives just outside of the old city of Hebron in a community called Kiryat Arba. She is an amazing lady, with an incredible love for Israel and the Jewish people, and in my opinion an incredible role model for type of people we need to realize our true potential.

The second speaker is Ezra Yakhin, who lives in Jerusaelem, and was one of original members of the Lekhi, also know as "The Stern Gang", who fought against the Arabs and the British in the years leading up to the establishment the State of Israel in 1948. Ezra and his family nearly fell victims to the Pogroms of 1929 in which 133 Jews were killed in cities throughout Israel, including Hebron, Jafa, Tzfat, and Jerusalem.

In our Fathers Footsteps - The History & Rebirth of Jewish Life in Hebron from Giving Films on Vimeo.

Jul 24, 2011

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Photo of one of the arrested last night in Tel Aviv by the gr... on Twitpic

this picture is of an arrest last night at the large protest regarding housing prices

The Agudah's Disconnect With Rabbonim On Reporting Child Abuse

In the ongoing debate of whether a possible molester should be reported to authorities [i.e. the police and/or social welfare and/or child protection services] or only to rabbonim, I think it is worthwhile pointing out the post released by Avi Shafran in which he states the policy of Agudath Yisrael of America on reporting suspicions of child abuse.

Shafran writes on Cross-Currents:
Agudath Israel of America has received several inquiries in the wake of misleading claims that have recently been made about our stance on reporting suspected child abusers to law enforcement authorities. We take the opportunity to clarify our position.

As Torah Jews we live our lives in accordance with halacha. The question of whether and under what circumstances one is halachically permitted or required to report to the authorities suspicions of child abuse (including sexual molestation) has attracted the attention of a number of our generation’s most prominent rabbinic authorities. Many of their responsa have been collected in the respected Torah journal Yeshurun, Volumes 15 and 22. As elaborated at a recent Halacha Conference sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, these responsa make clear that when certain standards have been met it is not only permitted but in fact obligatory to report suspicions of abuse or molestation. The general principles that emerge from these responsa are as follows:

1. Where there is “raglayim la’davar” (roughly, reason to believe) that a child has been abused or molested, the matter should be reported to the authorities. In such situations, considerations of “tikun ha’olam” (the halachic authority to take steps necessary to “repair the world”), as well as other halachic concepts, override all other considerations.

2. This halachic obligation to report where there is raglayim la’davar is not dependent upon any secular legal mandate to report. Thus, it is not limited to a designated class of “mandated reporters,” as is the law in many states (including New York); it is binding upon anyone and everyone. In this respect, the halachic mandate to report is more stringent than secular law.

3. However, where the circumstances of the case do not rise to the threshold level of raglayim la’davar, the matter should not be reported to the authorities. In the words of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, perhaps the most widely respected senior halachic authority in the world today, “I see no basis to permit” reporting “where there is no raglayim la’davar, but rather only ‘eizeh dimyon’ (roughly, some mere conjecture); if we were to permit it, not only would that not result in ‘tikun ha’olam’, it could lead to ‘heres haolam’ (destruction of the world).” [Yeshurun, Volume 7, page 641.]

4. Thus, the question of whether the threshold standard of raglayim la’davar has been met so as to justify (indeed, to require) reporting is critical for halachic purposes. (The secular law also typically establishes a threshold for mandated reporters; in New York, it is “reasonable cause to suspect.”) The issue is obviously fact sensitive and must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

5. There may be times when an individual may feel that a report or evidence he has seen rises to the level of raglayim la’davar; and times when he may feel otherwise. Because the question of reporting has serious implications for all parties, and raises sensitive halachic issues, the individual should not rely exclusively on his own judgment to determine the presence or absence of raglayim la’davar. Rather, he should present the facts of the case to a rabbi who is expert in halacha and who also has experience in the area of abuse and molestation – someone who is fully sensitive both to the gravity of the halachic considerations and the urgent need to protect children. (In addition, as Rabbi Yehuda Silman states in one of his responsa [Yeshurun, Volume 15, page 589], “of course it is assumed that the rabbi will seek the advice of professionals in the field as may be necessary.”) It is not necessary to convene a formal bais din (rabbinic tribunal) for this purpose, and the matter should be resolved as expeditiously as possible to minimize any chance of the suspect continuing his abusive conduct while the matter is being considered.
It seems the main issue is the need to determine if raglayim l'davar is present in any given situation. If there is any question, Agudath Yisrael says you must first check with your rav to determine if there is or is not. If there is no question of raglayim l'davar, one must go straight to the authorities, secular or otherwise.

Nowhere in the Agudath Yisrael guidelines is there a set of guidelines laid out by which the rav is going to conduct an investigation and act as an alternative to the police/welfar services. At most he is going to speak to professionals in the field about the details to determine if there is raglayim l'davar, and if he finds that there is he will tell you to go to the police.

This is very different than what we hear from many rabbonim. For example, a local RBS rav, a neighborhood where this has been a serious ongoing issue in the past 7 or so years, recently gave a shiur to his constituents, and has made the shiur available for download to the general public. It seems an ambiguous "sod Hashem L'Yerai'av" is more of a determining factor than determining raglayim l'davar.

Ignoring the accuracy of the details of what he says regarding this or that organization, his policy is nothing like what Agudath Yisrael of America dictates. Is he obligated to follow the policy of the Agudah? I guess not, but then what is he talking about when he describes "community", the need to work with the community, the style of the community, etc? Talking to an anglo community, one would think that the Agudah would be the main source of direction in most issues. So, either he is making up his own rules (not just this specific rav, but rabbonim in general who advocate their controlling the investigation) or else the Agudah is all talk but the rabbonim don't actually follow the policy.

I don't mean to pinpoint any one specific rav. I have heard the same regarding rabbonim all over, in the haredi community, both in chutz la'aretz and in Israel. They might say that ultimately one should go to the police, once it has been determined that there is definitely enough suspicion, but they will almost never follow that in practice. Instead of just seeking advice to determine raglayim l'davar, they will try to conduct full-scale investigations.

Does the Agudah not have any sway over rabbonim in the anglo-haredi community? Are the statements put out by the Agudah simply for public consumption but not actually meant to be followed? What is the point of the Agudah at all, if their own rabbonim don't follow their guidelines?

The Real Goal Of The Tent Protests

With the tent protests against the high housing prices, and lack of affordable housing, increasing in intensity, it makes me wonder about their motivation.

The protests have turned to not just demanding a solution, which is something that is necessary, to calling for the resignation of the prime minister and his government.

I don't understand how that is a solution, or even a reasonable request. Do they think Netanyahu is at fault? Did the housing crisis appear suddenly, in the past 2.5 years since Netanyahu became prime minister?

A housing crisis, the likes of which under Israel suffers, is the result of many years of government policy. It does not happen suddenly, and no one prime minister or housing minister is at fault for the current situation..

So, if Netanyahu would resign today, would tens of thousands of new apartments suddenly appear throughout the country? The crisis is a result of problems that have crossed through multiple prime ministers and governments - work with the current prime minister, and the next, and the one after that, to solve it, to increase new housing starts, to release more land for construction, to improve mortgage qualifications for young couples, and other possible solutions.

I just don't see what calling for any specific person's resignation has to do with solving this crisis. And that makes me question the real motivation behind the protests.

Going Legal In Mea Shearim

Sometimes people realize that no matter how much you knock your head against the wall, all you are going to succeed in getting from it is a headache. Sometimes you can get further by following the rules, even if it goes against your grain.

A few weeks ago the authorities shut down the Mea Shearim Slaughterhouse. This is a small slaughterhouse that was shut down many years ago, but has been operating "unofficially" ever since. During the closure, Yoelish Krausz, the main operator of the slaughterhouse, was arrested and eventually exiled from Jerusalem.

This slaughterhouse mostly has served mostly the local Mea Shearim population, as many of them prefer to have their chickens slaughtered with that "personal" touch rather than the mass marketed chickens. The closure led to a series of protests, and seemingly had at least a partial affect on the level of other protests being ramped up recently.

Ever since the closure of the slaughterhouse, many local Mea Shearim residents have refused to eat chicken. The one supplier of their chicken has been shut down, and these people won't just go to the supermarket and buy other brands, no matter what the hechsher might be.

As a result, the Eida HaChareidis has instructed Krausz, who is in exile in Bnei Braq, to get the slaughterhouse opened and operating legally. An unnamed source said "As we have been shechting in the Mea Shearim Slaughterhouse for more than 100 years, we will continue to shecht there for another 100 years, and nothign will be able to stop us. From now it will all be legal." (source: Kikar)

Next thing you know they will be taking money from the Zionists for their schools, encouraging the opening of movie theaters on Shabbos, and eating Rabbanut shechita.

Interesting Psak: No Generator, No Aliyah

Shabbos Generators

The generator has become popular in haredi neighborhoods and cities as an alternative to the electric company as a source for electricity on Shabbos. Some people are against using electricity supplied by the electric company because of chillul shabbos involved in the supply chain (repairs, etc.). Some people treat the need for a generator as a hiddur for Shabbos, others treat it as a chumra, and others treat is a basic necessity required by halacha.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky is known to be a very strong supporter of the requirement to use only electricity supplied by a generator on Shabbos. It has been suggested previously that he says so specifically in Bnei Braq, where the hanhaga based on the Chazon Ish has been accepted. While he  is also in favor of generators elsewhere, it has been suggested that it is not at the same level of a requirement outside of Bnei Braq. I think the following incident indicates otherwise.

An askan in the city of Elad went to discuss his attempts to install a generator in the city with Rav Chaim Kanievsky. During the halachic discussion, the askan, a fellow by the name of Rav Binyomin Adler, mentioned the halacha brought in Shulchan Aruch that says that one should not call up for the aliya in which the Ten Commandments are read anybody who transgresses any one of the Ten Commandments, even if he transgresses it only b'shogeg, accidentally.

R' Adler asked, based on that halacha, if someone does not use the generator alternative for Shabbos, but uses regular electricity, if he could get this aliya or is he considered a mechalel shabbos to the point that he could not even get this aliya?

Interesting Psak

Rav Chaim Kanievsky responded that of course he could not be called up for this aliya. Someone who is called up for the aliya on shabbos, you must be certain in advance that he only uses the generator for Shabbos. (source: Bechadrei)

CNN: Holocaust Torah Restored to Life (video)

CNN: Holocaust Torah Restored to Life

Jul 22, 2011

Ohad and The Maccabeats acapella (video)

Ohad and The Maccabeats acapella

Williamsburg Jewish community boycott Israeli "Osem" food products (video)

Williamsburg Jewish community boycott Israeli "Osem" food products

A demonstration took place on Wednesday afternoon, July 20, 2011, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn New York, an anti Zionist neighborhood with a population of over 35,000 ultra Orthodox Jews, a neighborhood where not one Israeli flag flies. The theme of the demonstration was to boycott the Israeli food company Osem, which is known for its ongoing partnership with the Israeli "Jewish National Fund [JNF]".

Jul 21, 2011

Avreichim Tracking Immodesty With Immodest Behavior

The Modiin Newspaper, M News, is reporting about a new trend happening in the haredi city of Modiin Ilit.

Signs have gone up around town saying that the rav has established the "mishmeres kodesh" to deal with tzniyus issues in the holy town and they have already done great things, and they need the public to cooperate and help out and pay attention to everything and to report by telephone to the mishmeres any issues so they can strengthen and be strengthened and do what will bring nachas to Hashem.

To go along with that, magnets were put on doors around the area with a phone number to call for the mishmeres tzniyus, in order to report any immodest behavior and dress of the local women.

This comes after a number of incidents in which people were threatened, and even attacked and property was destroyed, because some people thought their wives were dressing immodestly.

Residents who have participated in the program have been asked to keep an eye out and any woman who is seen dressed inappropriately (I am not sure according to whose rules). The deputies then continue keeping track of these women to see if after having been warned (via their husbands) if they changed their style and are now dressing appropriately, and then they will be sent a letter of thanks from the committee. If the women do not change, the pressure is increased.

I find it amazing that they are so concerned about tzniyus, to an extreme level, yet they want avreichim to follow women around, to look at them and to evaluate them to see whether they are dressed appropriately or not. that is not even just a quick glance at a woman. That is having avreichim stare and focus on women, and concentrate on what they are wearing, how they are behaving. The whole thing seems extremely immodest to me!

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

There is indeed a problem with some people who don't realize they have joined the army and not a yeshiva..

--- Brigadier-General (Res) Elazar Stern, regarding a recent event in which religious soldiers (officers, if I remember correctly) were forced to stay at an event in which female soldiers were singing


Rabbi Yakov Horowitz has another crucial piece regarding learning from the Leiby Kletsky murder. His latest is a piece in the Jewish Press:
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?"

Baby Boomers would ask, "When President Kennedy was shot?" Thirtysomethings would respond, "When the space shuttle exploded?" Today's teenagers would reply, "On 9/11?"

These were shocking, transformational moments that are etched in our mind's eye forever. We remember where we were standing when we heard the news and recall the sinking feeling in the pits of our stomachs as we thought this just can't be happening.

Members of our community had our 9/11 moment last week when we heard that Leiby Kletzky, a"h, was allegedly murdered by one of our own. As was the case on 9/11, people of all stripes banded together to search and later to mourn for that precious neshamah.

In the aftermath of 9/11, a paradigm shift occurred in our thinking about security. No longer would people saunter onto an airplane or enter a New York City tunnel without passing through the watchful eye of law enforcement personnel and fellow citizens alike. The ubiquitous "If you see something, say something," ads have been extraordinarily effective in training people to be more vigilant and to report suspicious activity to the authorities.

It is of utmost importance that members of our community engage in a similar shift in thinking - and acting - in the aftermath of our 9/11, in the arena of the safety and security of our children.

The two areas that demand our urgent attention are (1) the education of our children regarding their personal space and safety and (2) the critical need to immediately report all predators to the authorities.

Education is extraordinarily effective in training children and preventing abuse. Research shows conclusively that children who are spoken to about their personal space are more than six times as likely to take defensive action when approached by a predator. And all of these messages can be delivered in a perfectly modest manner appropriate for haredi homes.

As of this moment, Leiby's abduction seems to have been random in nature, and many parents in our community are limiting their discussions with their children to not taking rides from strangers. This is a grave and dangerous error. We ought to use this opportunity to provide each of our children, from the youngest ages on up, with a comprehensive, research-based model of child safety training.

Why? Because even if Leiby's case was indeed random, it would be an exception to the rule. The vast majority of predators are well known to the victims and are often relatives or friends of the family.

Comprehensive child safety education includes the following components:

● The notion of private space. Your body belongs to you. Worded differently, get children to think of their own bodies like they would a favorite snack - something that is exclusively theirs.
● Good touching/bad touching. One way of expressing this is to tell children that no one is allowed to touch them in a spot covered by a bathing suit.
● No one may tell children keep secrets from their parents; predators naturally want to drive a wedge between the child and his/her parents.
● If someone is making a child uncomfortable, the child has the right to say no. Many victims of abuse felt they had no choice but to listen to the adult or older predator.

(Please note that these few lines do not do justice to a complex subject. Project YES conducted a series of workshops in the month of June to train parents in speaking to kids about personal space and abuse prevention. You can view the 33-minute video of one such presentation at http://vimeo.com/25322132).

On a communal level, we urgently need to adopt and publicize a firm policy that predators will be reported to the authorities.

Contacting someone like me when your child has been molested is analogous to informing me you saw someone carrying a suicide vest and you suspect an imminent terror attack. I have no training in the counter-terrorism field, zero enforcement capability and a day job that precludes me from devoting the 24/7 level of attention to the case it deserves and needs.

A predator is a rodef and every bit as dangerous as the guy with the suicide vest. Worse, in fact, because he can keep exploding young lives again and again until he is arrested and locked up.

Finally, there is one more similarity between the Kletzky tragedy and that of 9/11 - there had been similar incidents, albeit on a smaller scale, that were not given the attention they deserved.

Many members of our community had been lulled into a false sense of security and were not preparing our children with the kind of safety training that perhaps could have helped Leiby refuse to enter a car with a stranger.

We cannot turn the clock back, and all the justifiable recriminations in the world will not return Leiby to us. However, the many abuse survivors in our community who have been misunderstood and even shunned are watching carefully for signs that this terrible tragedy will provide us with the resolve and steely determination to provide our children with a safe and secure future.

Lma'an Hashem, please let's finally make it happen.

Rabbi Yehuda Levin Knows the Reason For The Tragic Murder of Leiby Keletsky (video)

Rabbi Yehuda Levin Knows the Reason For The Tragic Murder of Leiby Keletsky


  • Borough Park is the kodshei kodshim
  • it is the fault of the homosexuals. now they have wanted marriage and we didnt come out against the marriage.
  • the abortions in New York City, and the lack of protest
  • even without the Torah we would know gay marriage is wrong (RG: I thought all true morality comes from the Torah?)

Leiby's Law and The Indictment Is Coming (video)

Introducing Leiby's Law..

I am not sure what is stopping one of these sick individuals from registering to be a safe haven where they then have easy targets as kids think they are safe. Even
would have passed the background check, as police said he had no previous record.

The indictment against Levi Aron for murdering Leiby Kletsky is coming down...

8 day mourning period called "shiva"? "Shiva" means "seven"

Israeli PM netanyahu Interviews On Al Arabiya About Palestinian State (video)

Israeli PM netanyahu Interviews On Al Arabiya About Palestinian State

In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "everything is on the table" in regards to negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on July 19.

Netanyahu said he is "prepared to negotiate with President Abbas for peace" in his home in Jerusalem or in Ramallah.

Jul 20, 2011

Interesting Posts #281

1. At Leiby's Door - A shiva call

2. The Joy of Paying Fines for Traffic Violations Tickets on the 17th of Tammuz

3. Mehadrin Smurfs: Pop Culture Invades Haredi World

4. Torah ON Har Habayit Arrested

5. Chicago Jewish Population Statistics

6. Many Israeli Children Dont Have BarMitzva Celebration

7. U.S. Women’s Soccer & the Problem of American Exceptionalism - Cub fans defy the initial premise

8. Geulah blog closes. and Do mashiach blogs prevent the geulah?

9. Guide To Online Supermarket Shopping in Israel

10. More On The Techeilet Controversy

11. Bears hats are shaatnez? Can that be why they didnt advance last year to the Superbowl? It is a good thign they caught it now, as a Jew, Gabe Carimi, is about to join the team...

The Jewish Elvis

Really? Lipa Schmeltzer is now being called "The Jewish Elvis", or "The Jewish world's answer to Elvis Presley"?  (source: JC.com)

Besides for the fact that it seems a little distasteful that he has been capitalizing on this tragedy with such major promotion of himself since the day after the murder was discovered, hopefully his intentions were pure and he was really motivated by an outpouring of emotion. Personally, I keep cringing at Lipa's song in memory of Leiby Kletsky every time I see it posted somewhere.

The High Costs Of Kosher Food And The Seudat Halacha

(my comments and thoughts will be presented after the guest post)
A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

There remains a terrible financial burden to those of us who eat kosher meat, yet have less income than in the past or even no income because of the economic depression we're in. 

The question must be asked isn't there anything that can be done to bring down the price so more families could eat meat other than just on Shabbos? 

The price of kosher meat and now skyrocketing prices of kosher cheeses are adding to the sakana poor Jews are in today and nobody cares. 

 The cRc is sponsoring a $250 per plate dinner at Shallots of odd and unusual but kosher meats (elk, etc.) and bugs. Rabbi Schwartz (av beis din of the cRc) would not allow them to serve giraffe because of the bad publicity it might engender. 

With the prices of kosher meat and cheeses rising out of reach of so many poor Jews, I would not be surprised to find some turning to alternatives. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

My thoughts:

There are two separate issues in the post above.

High Costs of Kosher Food

There is the issue of the high cost, and ever increasing cost, of kosher food, especially meat and cheese. Somehow the prices continue to rise, and perhaps the supervising agencies should be requiring less stringencies in production to bring down the costs, to help the Jewish communities whose members are strapped with less income, high tuition and health insurance and many other costs.

The fact that they are not finding ways to decrease the costs, the fact that newer and better chumros keep getting added to our lifestyles while our expenses keep going up, makes one wonder if all the chumros in production are so necessary, even at the expense of people struggling to be able to afford it. Are the higher costs due to increase in prices of raw materials, as oil prices rise and manufacturing costs rise in industries around the world, or is it a more direct result of the ever increasing chumros added to our food industries? Every time more chumros are added, it means paying more mashgichim salaries for supervision, paying supervising agencies more money, perhaps added equipment costs to deal with new issues and concerns.

Seudat Halacha

Another, separate, issue is the $250 per plate dinner sponsored by the cRc. This is a dinner called a "seudat halacha". The founders of the seudat halaha are Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotovsky and Rabbi Dr. Ari Greenspan. They have researched many animals that used to be eaten by Jews and no longer are, thus causing us to lose our traditions about many of these animals. They have researched the animals, and have tried to teach renew our understanding of what these kosher animals are. Their articles on this issue, and many other issues they deal in, are fascinating.

they have created these seudot halacha, where people pay a lot of money to be taught about, and served plates of, animals that we no longer commonly eat, such as elk and giraffe and types of bison, variety of birds (quail, duck, etc), bugs such as grasshoppers, etc.

the fact that the cRc is sponsoring this event in Chicago, at $250 a plate, has nothing really to do with the previous issue. I don't see this as an additional burden on the community. It is not as if the people who can afford to, and do, participate in such an event are going to do this instead of giving tzedaka. This will be coming out of an entertainment, or Jewish learning, budget.

People go to baseball games, spending a couple hundred dollars for the experience. they go to concerts, movies, social dinners and events that all cost a lot of money. They do so because they can afford to, and this is how they have a good time. People who can afford to have a good time, enjoy what is most likely a fascinating learning experience and maybe even a fascinating culinary experience, are going to do that regardless of how much or how little tzedaka they give. People want to have a good time, to have good experiences, and everyone finds such experiences within their budget constraints.

Is it distasteful, that the community organization is holding such an exclusive event while so many Jews are struggling economically? Perhaps. However, why shouldn't the wealthier people be able to enjoy such an experience that is affordable to them just because others cannot? Perhaps the distastefulness can be mitigated by directing part of the proceeds towards a communal fund for kosher food subsidies, or towards studying ways to bring down the costs of kosher food.

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