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Aug 31, 2011

Interesting Posts #296

Interesting Posts #296

1. God Made x Happen Because y

2. Rav Zilbershtein Says Only Rabbis Can Decide About Child Abuse (interestingly, the author, Rav Eidensohn, gives background into Rav Zilbershtein after the post. His wife, the daughter of Rav Elyashiv, is named Aliza Shoshanna. I found that to be an interesting name for someone like Rav Elyashiv and his wife to have chosen for their daughter. Especially in light of a psak given by Rav Chaim Kanievsky, her brother in a law, that people should only use names from Tanakh.)

3. Something To Think About

4. Libyan Commander Says 50,000 Killed

5. A Torah Under The Sea

6. A Sure Formula For Failure

7. Rebbe Restores Rustic Relic

8. The Out-Of-Town Rabbi

9. Joseph's Tomb 110 Years Ago

10. Herzl's Address

11. Jon Scheyer Makes Aliya

12. From the Bahrain news Agency: Palestinians Fire Rockets At Palestine

13. Some Pictures That Recently Surfaced Of Rav Kook on his visit to the US in 1924

The Greatest Danger The World Faces Is From Extremism - A Look At The OROT Conflict

A Guest Post by Menachem Lipkin about OROT

Several people have written to me because they’ve seen articles online about some recent turbulence here in Beit Shemesh.
In a nutshell, a new Dati Leumi girls’ elementary school is scheduled to open nearby on Thursday and some extremists are threatening violence to prevent it from opening.  (Actually, they’ve already broken some windows and slashed tires.) Let this alone digest for a moment; people who claim to be very religious are threatening/using violence to prevent children from learning Torah. Even though the school had been approved by the city and state years ago, the mayor “holds the keys”, so to speak.  He said, earlier this week, that he would not let the school open on time for fear of these extremists. The parent body of the school and the larger community got involved.  A large rally was held at the school on Monday and yesterday there was a carnival for the community.  Last night shiurim were held there.  All this, to establish “facts on the ground”.  As of now, the Ministry of Education has overridden the mayor and ordered the school be open on Thursday as scheduled.  The extremists, in a Pashkeville, are threatening “war”.

The article that comes closest to capturing the situation appeared here in Haaretz.  There was also an article in the Jerusalem post, but it repeated a lot of false information that was being disseminated by the Mayor’s office. (Today there was another article where the author attempted to correct some of the misinformation.  He also caught the Mayor in an outright lie.)

Here are a few bullet points that I threw together, mostly dispelling some misinformation that’s making it to the media:
the designer of this map, Mike, clearly put
more time into it than I put into my map the other day
- The school is NOT in the heart of a “Chareidi neighborhood”.  This is the main claim of the extremists and it’s simply false.  It’s actually at crossroads of a few neighborhoods, mostly Dati Leumi.  You can see the layout from the attached satellite photo.  The area in blue is mixed neighborhoods of Dati Leumi and non-religious. The red area is mainly Chareidi. The star is where both the Orot Boys and Girls schools are. Also, keep in mind that when the Orot schools were initially planned, there were no “red” buildings nearby. 

- Though the extremists claim that the issue is about having a girls’ school in “their” neighborhood.  This is quite disingenuous, as 4 years ago when the boys’ school opened they behaved exactly the same way; with vandalism, graffiti, threats of violence... they even put dead fish in the school over Chol Hamoed Succot.

- There was never an agreement that the Orot school would be relocated. 

- Here are a few more that were posted on the Facebook group, “We are all Orot Banot”:
  • Contrary to statements made by Beit Semesh Mayor Abutbul, the Beit Shemesh police, according to the Beit Shemesh Head of Police Kobi Cohen, has  never received any indication from the Mayor that specific threats had been made against the school.  The determination of a credible safety risk to the school was made exclusively by the Mayor without any intelligence from or coordination with the Israel Police.
  • The presence of the school in the building can by no means be described as squatting.  Administrators and teachers have been preparing for the new school year uninterrupted for close to a month.  Only several days ago following a letter from the Mayor was it decided that the school should no longer be allowed to be used by the Orot Girls School.  Since that time, the Parents Council has been operating around the clock to try and peacefully mediate the issue with all the relevant parties.
  • The Mayor had on several instances over the past year publically issued his position that the school building would be occupied by the girls school.  The change in policy has only occurred over the last several days.
  • The school building’s construction was funded by the Ministry of Education after an extensive review for an appropriate site to serve the needs of the residents of Beit Shemesh.
  • The Parents Council takes the safety and security of the student body with the utmost seriousness and is prepared to partner with all relevant agencies to ensure that no student’s wellbeing is ever compromised.  The school is working directly with the Israel Police to ensure that every aspect of student safety is assured before the school year begins.
  • The Parents Council has called upon Mayor Abutbul and the Beit Shemesh City Council to fulfill their responsibilities as officials elected for the welfare of all the residents of Beit Shemesh and to ensure that the Orot Bnot Girls School will open as dictated by law on Thursday, September 1 in the building which was allotted for that purpose by the Ministry of Education.

As I’m sure you can imagine, these incidents have been very difficult for us and our community.  Meira (my 10 yr old daughter) wanted to know what’s going.  She doesn’t attend this school, but her school is similar and she’s heard us talking about the issues.  I told her that the people causing these problems are “kitzonim”, extremists, who are a minority of the people living in the Chareidi community.  I also pointed that many groups have their own Kitzonim, including ours and other religions.  I explained to her the Kitzonim think that they know the “truth” and that their truth is the only truth and that they feel compelled to make sure that others behave according to their truth.  I further explained that, even though these people look like “Chareidim” and may even call themselves Chareidim, they are not real Chareidim as real Charedim strive to be very pious and come closer to Hashem.  These people do the opposite. 

It’s lead to some terrific discussions about the importance of mitzvot between man and man vs. those between man and God. We’ve also discussed the idea of Chumrot and how they should be personal, not public.  I wish these Kitzonim had half Meira’s wisdom and intelligence.
The bottom line, and this has been my mantra for some time, is that the greatest danger the world faces today is from extremism.  You have extremism among leftists, rightists, environmentalists, etc. But I think the most dangerous is that of religious extremism.  When someone thinks they have God on their side, well just stand back, as there’s nothing and no one of this world that can get in their way.  I see no difference between Jewish, Moslem, or Christian extremism.  Though, lately, the Moslems have excelled in the use of deadly terror to advance their religious megalomania, terror does not have to be about killing the most people.  Terror is about the use of violence or the threat of violence against civilians to intimidate and coerce.  To that end our local terrorists are even more effective, as they’ve achieved their goals, so far, without killing anyone.  But it IS terror, make no mistake. 

You may ask; why don’t the police just arrest these people?  Well, just as in London, Paris and Detroit the police have “no go” zones where they’re afraid to confront the extremists, so too here in Beit Shemesh we have similar “no go” zones.  If the police do have to arrest one of these people it takes nearly the entire force to come out and protect each other from the masses of extremists who swarm out.  This is an unfortunate and dangerous precedent being set in free societies everywhere.

I leave you with the following from Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s wonderful book “The Dignity of Difference” which I feel really gets to the heart of the issue:
Rabbi Shimon said: When God was about to create Adam, the ministering angels split into contending groups.  Some said, ‘Let him be created.’ Others said, ‘Let him not be created.’ That is why it is written: ‘Mercy and truth collided, righteousness and peace clashed’ (Psalm 85:11).
Mercy said, "’Let him be created, because he will do merciful deeds.’
Truth said, ‘Let him not be created, for he will be full of falsehood.’
Righteousness said, ‘Let him be created, for he will do righteous deeds.’
Peace said, ‘Let him not be created, for he will never cease quarrelling.’
What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do?  He took truth and threw it to the ground.
The angels said, ‘Sovereign of the universe, why do You do thus to Your own seal, truth?  Let truth arise from the ground.’
Thus it is written, ‘Let truth spring up from the earth’ (Psalm 85:12)
This is an audacious theological interpretation.  God, it suggests, was in two minds before creating mankind. Yes, humanity is capable of great acts of altruism and self-sacrifice, but it is also constantly at war.  Human beings tell lies and are full of strife. God takes truth and throws it to the ground, meaning: for life to be livable, truth on earth cannot be what it is in heaven.  Truth in heaven may be platonic – eternal, harmonious, radiant. But man cannot aspire to such truth, and if he does, he will create conflict not peace. Men kill because they believe they posses the truth while their opponents are in error. In that case, says God, throwing truth to the ground, let human beings live by a different standard of truth, one this is human and thus conscious of its limitations. Truth on the ground is multiple, partial. Fragments of it lie everywhere.  Each person, culture and language has part of it; none has it all.

Will The Mayor Of Bet Shemesh Lose The Power of Building Allocation

It seems that the mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol has been given the ladder he has needed to climb down on from his lofty position. He has been exposed by the police as a liar. Not a single government office has supported his position. And now they are considering taking away his legal right to allocate school buildings.

This can only be perceived as a ladder for him if you look at it as though he can now go to his friends the thugs with whom he started this fight and he can tell them that he can no longer continue this battle. He can tell them he has done what he could but his hands are tied.

The Abutbol family, no relation that I know of to Moshe Abutbol the mayor, is one of the major mafia and crime families in Israel. It seems Moshe Abutbol has learned from them and applied it to the way he runs the city. he makes up a threat and then causes a fight, and then he tries to step in as the righteous middle-man looking for a peaceful situation in which the only winner is his team.

According to Ynet, the mayor has had a meeting with the parents committee of OROT Girls. They told him they asked for the meeting as a way to strengthen him against the thugs, offering him the ability to reject their claims. They also told him that they have received instructions from the Prime Minister's office, from  the Ministry of Education and from the Ministry of Internal Security that they should continue their preparations for the start of the school year in this building.

He is really stuck now, with all this heavy support being given to the school. He only has one card left to play, and that is that he holds the legal power for giving the final ishur to use the building. the actual permission to go into the building goes through the mayor.

With all those cannons lined up against him, he is going to have to toe the line in this case and admit defeat. The director of the Ministry of Education is looking into legal ways to take that authority out of the mayor's hands and the Ministry would be responsible for it.

The only question I have is if they would do so to punish him or just to circumvent him in this situation. Meaning, is it a one-time thing that they are taking away his authority regarding this building alone, or will they punish him and take him out of the game completely because of his actions? We wait and see.

I think it is time someone opened an investigation against the mayor for the way he handled this. That someone would need to be either the police or the ministry of Education. With all the information coming out now about how he lied to get his way and cause tremendous dissension among the residents, causing hatred and fighting, the whole chain of events needs to be investigated.

Fighting In Civil Court Instead Of Beis Din

Last week the residents of RBS were happy to hear that the Bostoner Rebbe of New York was coming back to RBS. He had not been here in a number of years, due to health issues and other personal issues, and was sorely missed by many. When he used to live here many years ago, I had some personal contact with the Rebbe and found him to be a warm and compassionate, and honorable, man.

After the Bostoner Rebbe arrived, many were surprised to find out that shortly after that the police were called in to arrest him.

It turns out that the dispute that has been running the past few years over the shul and social hall was more than just unclarity due to the rebbe's absence. It is part of a major argument in the family over who owns the property. The fight is between the son-in-law and the rebbe. The rebbe, and his other kids, claim it is his and was built with his money, while the son-in-law claims that it is his, he lent the rebbe the money, and the rebbe owes him a lot of money. They have been to court, which is why the rebbe was not able to come back for so long. Bechadrei has some of that information.

I don't want to get involved in their personal financials and arguments, and it is not for me to offer a half-baked opinion of who is right.

The only thing I would comment on is that they should be going to beis din to solve this dispute. The son-in-law is calling the police on his father in law, a respectable rebbe? They are fighting this out in civil court?

Thi sis another example of many that we have seen where the "big boys" go to court to solve their disputes rather than to beis din. Ponevezshe yeshiva, Satmar, Chabad and Gur and many others. Yet when a little guy, some anonymous person, wants justice and goes to the police or to court (even sometimes with permission form a rav) rather than to beis din they get slandered by the community for not going to beis din which is what frum people do.

A couple of cases that comes to mind are:

  1. a few years ago a bais yaakov rejected a sefardi girl. After much pleading, her parents went to the Ministry of Education and filed a complaint. After that the school and parents slandered her for that, calling them a moser, sayign they are clearly not appropriate for the school if they would go to the civil authorities.
  2. In Emannuel, Yoav Lalum brought a discrimination fight caused by the school separating the sefardi and ashkenazi kids with a physical barrier. he took it to court, resulting in the arrest of a group of parents. he has been slandered throughout the haredi press as a moser.
When the leaders of the nation go to civil court to settle their disputes, they should not complain then about the lack of respect shown to the batei din. They try to fight the government to give the batei din more authority, but then they themselves don't put their trust in the batei din. When the leaders of the nation go to civil court to settle their disputes, they should not complain when the regular people do as well.

Police Out Mayor Abutbol As A Liar

The other day, Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol released a statement to the press and to the public stating his position regarding the conflict surrounding the OROT girls school building. In it he discussed compromise, and safety. He claimed that the whole problem is predicated on the fact that the police had passed along information saying there had been threats against the girls, and he therefore is concerned for their safety. out of such deep concern he just cannot give them the final permit to move into the building.

I translated the mayor's statement about OROT the other day.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the police are denying they ever gave any such information to the mayor.
Beit Shemesh police never warned the city’s mayor, Moshe Abutbul, about potential violence if a local national religious girls school opens in the city this Thursday nor did it pass on any intelligence about such alleged threats, a Jerusalem District Police spokesman said Tuesday.

In a statement sent to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the Beit Shemesh municipality said ‘the police have passed on intelligence saying that there are threats to the safety and security of the girls who will study in the building, due to the expected violent actions of extremists.”

The Jerusalem District Police told the Post on Tuesday “under no circumstances do we share any intelligence with any bodies outside of law enforcement.”

The spokesman said police held a meeting with members of the Beit Shemesh parents committee on Tuesday regarding their desire to gain a permit for a protest on Wednesday evening, during which he said he stressed the necessity for keeping the peace.

He said regardless of what the mayor or anyone else has said, the decision about opening the school is to be made solely by the Education Ministry, and whatever decision is made police will be there to keep the peace.
So, besides for all the other inaccuracies in his statement, which could perhaps be chalked up as an argument such as "he said, she said", "my word against your word" or "three sides to every story", this is clearly a lie. Unless it is the police telling the lie.

So, does that mean that any means used to achieve the end result of snagging an extra building for the haredi community, or maybe for the kannoim/thug community (I don't know who he would have given the plot to if he could choose) is acceptable? he can make up stories and lie blatantly just to achieve his goals and placate the people he is beholden to?Did he start the whole fight with this story he made up about it being dangerous, is he the one who caused the great divide this week?

Despite The Bad Press, R/BS Has Wonderful People

With the bad press Ramat Bet Shemesh has been getting recently, Bet Shemesh really but it is spillover from RBS B, I think it is only fair to post the following email that was sent this morning to the local email list:
Last week I had to get to the train station to catch a train for Tel Aviv before Shabbos to join my family in who came to visit from Chul. 
There were no taxis available for a *long* time prior to departure time and I had not anticipated this difficulty.
Mishamayim, this lady stopped her car on Ayalon & Dolev and *drove* me to the train station herself, despite the shabbos preparations that were awaiting her!
I had no words to describe this chessed. This lady refused payment and only asked for me to give some tzedaka to her favourite organization.
Kol hakavod to her and to the wonderful people living In RBS A.
Especially when there is fighting and conflict, which there has not been for a long time, it is important to point out that RBS and BS is in general a wonderful place with wonderful people. The fights happen, not everybody is great and willing to help others, to let others be, but for the most part acts of chessed like the one described above are normal occurrences and part of daily life with the wonderful people of Bet Shemesh.

Update About OROT Girls School Building

To update you on the OROT school building situation, I took this information off a couple of posts on the Facebook page for the "We Are All OROT Banot" group.
Slightly after midnight, we received the following message from our principal, Pirchiya:
"I received orders from the supervisor (i.e.: the Ministry of Education) to come to school tomorrow morning in order to prepare for the opening of the school year. The police are supposed to open the school building for us. This is pursuant to a decision of Minister Aharonovitch (Minister of Internal Security). He requested that there be no disruptions of order or provocations, nor any students or parents present. On Thursday we will have a regular school day."
This means that on Wednesday morning at 8 AM Pirchiya and her staff will arrive to prepare the building for the opening of the school year, and as of now, we are asking you NOT to come to the school during the day.
Since over the course of the past few days, we have seen that the situation is quite fluid, we ask that you continue to look for our updates.

Furthermore, since the struggle for the school is not over till it is over, and it is important to continue to apply pressure and to demonstrate strength, we plan on holding our march as scheduled.
The march will begin at 17:30 from the Super Hatzlacha parking lot in Scheinfeld, and together we will march to OUR school.
Please do not bring inappropriate signs, meaning anything nasty or provocative. Any signs with negative messages will not be allowed to be used in the march!!!!
And they specifically encourage people to NOT be provocative and reject the use of violence in any way.
The news is certainly encouraging. Thanks you to one and all for your hard work and support. I am proud to be a part of this community.
More about that at another time.
It is IMPERATIVE that we maintain our dignity and NOT allow ANY violence at the march today.
We now have the full support of the police. I will also say that the police have been extremely helpful and supportive through this time.
They are counting on us to march without provocations, name calling, and obviously no violence.
They will deal with any extremists who come and try to disrupt our march.

Rabbi Yehuda Levine Explains Why NY Got off Easy From Hurricane Irene (video)

Rabbi Yehuda Levine Explains Why NY Got off Easy From Hurricane Irene

I am sometimes envious of people who always have all the answers. they understand everything that happens and what is the cause of it. They have no questions. Everything is so clear to them. I am envious. I have more questions than answers.

Though everybody who knows the answers all tend to apply their personal bias in supplying the answer. When Leiby Kletsky was killed it was because of the homosexual marriage law that not enough people protested. Now Irene blows away and it is because he protests the homosexual rights. And had Irene destroyed the city he would have had the same explanation for it - because of the homosexual laws and lack of protest. no matter what happens, the answer is ready at hand.

HonestReporting Looks at the Light Side of Life (video)

HonestReporting Looks at the Light Side of Life

What has Israel ever done for peace?

From The Youtube Description:
The more we follow the news, the more we realize that some things are just too outrageous to be taken seriously.

HonestReporting presents the first in a series of 'Media Circus' titles that might open the eyes of others, through an alternative satirical approach.

Aug 30, 2011

Pashkevil Rallying Troops To War Against OROT

The following pashkevil was posted in RBS B rallying the troops to war...

Interestingly, they don't seem to be coordinating their claims with the mayor.

1. they do not see the school is in the middle of their neighborhood, as the mayor said and as someone said to the media. All they say is "tzamud" - it is adjacent and near.

2. they claim they were told 3 years ago, after protesting, that the dati leumi would not be given the building at all. Nothing about an agreement switching it from a girls school to a boys school. They say the dati leumi were promised a larger building elsewhere in its place, but this one would not be given to them at all.

3. they feel the need to protect their turf, their neighborhood from being destroyed. It seems when they were buying houses they did not have a problem buying them adjacent to dati leumi areas. Whatever the problem is being next door to dati leumi, the problem existed before this school as well, but then they had to ignore it because they wanted to buy houses. Suddenly their neighborhoods are so full of kedusha that the dati leumi are suddenly destroying it.

4. They close with a call for all residents to prepare for a war for our house.

OROT Is Not Inside A Haredi Neighborhood

Another notion that must be dispelled regarding the fight over the OROT building is that it is in haredi neighborhood. Somebody told that to the press, and they have accepted it as fact. It makes it look like the Dati Leumi are trying to take over haredi neighborhoods and are being unreasonable. Even the mayors press release mentioned that it is adjacent to (true) and within (not true) a haredi neighborhood.

To illustrate my point and show you how it is not true, I grabbed an image of the area off of Google maps and marked it up, showing which neighborhoods are Dati Leumi in the area and which are Haredi.

You probably have to click on the map to enlarge it to see.

You will see I circled the location of the OROT school, the building that is the center of the dispute.

Surrounding the school building, on the left side and above it (directly across the street and deeper within) are all Dati Leumi neighborhoods including Ramat Neriya, Nofei Aviv, Sheinfeld and others (Givat Savyon, etc. depending on how far extended we wish to look).

To the right of the school, along Herzog Street, there is one strip of houses leading up to RBS B that are haredi and that leads further down to RBS B, and on the other side of the street further up is the Kirya Haredit of Nahala U'Menucha and Bayis U'Menucha.

The OROT school building is NOT within a haredi neighborhood. It is adjacent to the edge of one, but it is far more surrounded by Dati Leumi neighborhoods than haredi ones. You can see it for yourself.

Girl Schools In Haredi Neighborhoods

The suggestion that the fight over the OROT girls school building could have been simply solved by switching the girls and boys locations, so as to not have a girls school so close to a haredi neighborhood is absolutely ridiculous.

Besides for the fact that there was never such an agreement; the VAAD denies it, the city has not produced any such agreement, the Ministry of Education has said they built it for OROT girls, the mayor has been quoted by someone who spoke to him in May 2010 saying that it will be OROT girls (well after he is now claiming there was an agreement). Besides for all that, the suggestion that such an agreement would solve the problem is a red herring.

Do haredi neighborhoods not have girl schools located within? Do haredi neighborhoods send their girls to learn on the outskirts of the city? in the fields? Do they not have their own bais yaakovs? their own seminaries? their own girl schools under any other name? This applies to the entire spectrum of haredi, from the most chardal to the most extreme kannoish.

To suggest that it is a problem to have a girls school so close to a haredi neighborhood is so stupid it is almost insulting.

The issue is control. They want the building for themselves, but even more so they want to exert their control. And if the mayor thinks that such a silly agreement will solve the problem, he is giving them the control they are looking for.

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

to translate for those of you who are "Hebrew-challenged", the sign says "There is a name for the male adult that gets excited seeing girls between the ages of 6 and 12".

This sign was spotted at the protest regarding the OROT girls school building.

Gilad Shalit's Father Pleads for Gilad's Release (video)

Gilad Shalit's Father Pleads for Gilad's Release

Lipa Schmeltzer Rocks Up The Zone (video)

Lipa Schmeltzer Rocks Up The Zone

He looks pretty drunk to me.. and that crowd surfing...

Aug 29, 2011

Ministry of Education Supports OROT Vaad Version In Conflict

A representative from the Ministry of Education has gone on record, in public, on the 6 PM national news, supporting the version of the OROT girls vaad. The building was promised to them, the building was given to them, they spent a lot of money building it. It is theirs and the Iryah has no rights to take it away. The Minsitry of Education has warned the Iryah of Bet Shemesh that if th school is not opened properly, steps will be taken against the Iryah.

Let's see how this develops.

Guest Posts Welcome

The offer for guest posting stands until the issue is resolved - anybody who has somethign thoughtful and unique to say about the OROT school building fight is welcome to email me at israeli.jew @ gmail dot com...

After that, guest posts are always welcome as well, on any topic, but more leeway is being given right now for the OROT situation.

The Use Of Violence To Achieve One's Ends

A Guest Post On OROT by Baruch Gitlin

First, I think you deserve a lot of credit for using your blog to inform readers of local developments and to open it up for community discussion.

Regarding the Nofei Aviv/Gan Sulam issue, whatever the motovations were for opposing the school, it seems that the residents went through the legal process, and I have heard no suggestion that any threats or intimidation have been used now that the mayor has ruled against them.

I have read articles in the past by Jonathan Rosenblum and others that complain bitterly when communities such as Rechovot and Petach Tikvah have tried to prevent haredi institutions from opening. It would be nice to see condemnations in this instance as well.

The point here goes beyond who's right and wrong on the facts, or who promised what to whom. The point is the use of violence and intimidation to achieve one's ends. What's happening here has parallels in many haredi communities, and provides a strong justification for the reluctance of many non-haredi communities to see haredi communities grow up in their neighborhoods. Even if 90% of most haredi communities us made up of decent and law abiding individuals (which I believe to be the case), there often seems to be a minority of thugs that wish to keep non-haredi, or even haredi elements that do not conform to their idea of frumkeit out of their neighborhood. As a former, long-time (9 years) resident of Beitar Ilit, I can report that this was and possibly still is done with semi-official sanction through the so-called Vaad HaIchlus, which took it upon itself to determine who could or could not move into the city. I am also aware of cases in which vandalism was used against people who were deemed by some to be unsuitable as residents - and I'm talking about good, decent people, people who most people reading this would probably consider excellent neighbors. I am also aware of, and occasionally witnessed, intimidation used in the contact of elections, and a petition to require segregation of the buses in Beitar - not the topic here, but indicative of a willingness to use violence in support of alleged frumkeit. One thing I never saw or heard of, with one significant but limited exception, was rabbaim speaking out against this phenomenon.

That is why it is important to oppose such violence here in Beit Shemesh. If OROT loses because of legal considerations, that is one thing, but to lose the school because of the threat of violence should be intolerable to all of us. I think that haredi journalists and rabbis can play an important role here by standing up and speaking, firmly, against intimidation. Surely the haredi establishment knows how to do this - leading rabbis have proven that with their strong condemnations of books that do not accord with their hashcafas. One would hope that violence and the threat of violence could elicit at least as strong a condemnation as science and history are sometimes able to do.

If they do not do so, I think they forfeit any standing to complain when the shoe is on the other foot - and incidently, I have never heard of any dati leumi community, or its members, threatening or trying to intimdate haredim into leaving a neighborhood, so I do not mean to imply that there is a parallel between this situation and the situation, for example, that Jonathan Rosenblum described a few years ago in Rechovot.

Jerusalem Post Fires Larry Derfner For His Support Of Murdering Israelis

After a brief but intense campaign, Larry Derfner was fired from the Jerusalem Post for his post about supporting the right of Palestinians to murder Israelis.

Many blogs posted about the Larry Derfner statement, and a few newspaper columnists wrote about it as well. Many people responded and wrote in to the Jerusalem Post, and Derfner got the ax. His joining the unemployment line is not nearly as bad as the people he supported being killed for living in Israel. Despite his apology.

Derfner comments on what bothers him most about the firing, and that is that he was not given an opportunity to explain, to clarify. I might add that nothing he has said so far, nothing he could ever say, could explain his support for the right of the Palestinians to kill Israelis in a good light.

Extremism Is Taking Over In Bet Shemesh

I am inviting readers and others who are familiar with this issue, from either perspective, to write in to me at israeli.jew at gmail dot com and submit a guest post on the OROT school building fight issue. I do not promise every submission will be posted, nor that posts will not be edited. Thoughtful posts, especially with unique perspectives, will be most highly considered.

A Guest Post by Shoshanna Jaskoll

For anyone who knows me, they will know that this is incredibly painful for me to write. As most of us, we moved to Eretz Yisroel to be together with other Jews in our land. By far, the hardest thing for us to deal with has been the awful conflict between groups of Jews. Thats why living in Bet Shemesh has been so difficult. The fights are endless and nauseating. Fights about Tzedakah organizations with severe Lashon Hara being thrown around. Fights about Mikvaot. Fights about schools, land, housing. Ridiculous 20ft signs proclaiming TZNIUS. Its just out of control.

We were in the US these past few weeks and many things were lovely. But, one of the nicest was that people said Good Shabbas to me. men, women- everyone. and you know whats sad? I was shocked. So long have I lived in a place where my neighbors don't even acknowledge me at the entrance that a good shabbas from a man (gasp!) shocked me.

All of these things are related. All of them are happening here. Extremism is taking over. I am against no one except those who are against those not like themselves and who persecute them through intimidation, violence and bullying . If we do not oppose this, if we do not wake up and say NO loudly and clearly, we will either end up being run out or being an incredibly persecuted minority. and there will be no one to blame but ourselves.

Please join us at 6:30 to say no to extremist takeover of our values, city and lives and yes to living together in tolerance.

City Of Bet Shemesh Releases Statement About OROT School Building Fight

The City of Bet Shemesh has just published on its Facebook page a response to the Shaalei Torah - OROT school building issue.

Here is my translation:
The school building under discussion is located adjacent to and within a haredi neighborhood. The residents of the neighborhood claim the building should be allotted to them, the residents of the neighborhood, since it was built on public property designated for the neighborhood. Despite that, the mayor is interested in designating the building for the dati leumi school Shaalei Torah boys. However, unfortunately, Shaalei Torah is not showing the flexibility necessary and are stubbornly insisting on putting the girls school there.
It should be noted that with the begiinning of construction of the building 2 years ago, there were stormy protests by the neighbors that blocked the tractors with their bodies and physically stopped work on the site. The mayor got involved in the details and worked hard between both sides to come to a compromise agreement that the building would be used by the Dati Leumi boys school. The mayor even suggested to Shaalei torah a number of far-reaching benefits in exchange for their agreement, but now Shaalei torah are breaking the agreement and causing unnecessary fights between the residents.
As of right now, the city has not designated the building for any institution. Shaalei Torah invaded the building illegally, and in their footsteps the haredi neighbors did as well.
It should be noted further that the police have passed along information and warnings concerned for the safety of the girls if they would use the building, due to violent actions that would be taken by extreme elements. The mayor even complained to the police and requested its help in keeping the order and security of the people. Therefore the City of bet Shemesh want to quiet the area and get the building inhabited in coordination and with the agreement of all sides and in an appropriate fashion for the neighborhood, thereby bringing a compromise and calm between the sides.
The mayor is working tirelessly to bring both sides to the negotiating table and to find a reasonable solution.

Orot Banot With no place to learn?

Guest Post by a parent of an OROT student

With less than a week before the start of the school year, the Orot Banot school that was geared to its move to its new premises in Ramat Neriya, next to Orot Banim,  was informed by the mayor that he is not letting them move in. This is more complicated than it sounds since the old building in old Bet Shemesh on Rechov Herzl has already been handed over to the Bronco Weiss school.

According to a representative of Misrad Hachinuch that visited yesterday in the new campus, this area was zoned for the school Orot Banot by misrad Hachinuch. However, it still hinges on the city giving a “tofes ichlus” which is what the mayor has said he will not give. The reason provided by the mayor for this last minute decision is for the protection of the girls since the extremists who live nearby have threatened violence as they do not want girls (who are up to grade 6 – 11 years old!) to be so close to their homes.

Last night, the confrontations began when on the Orot banot side a small group of men/teens stayed the night, but the opposition group found a way into the campus as well. Today both sides are in the building facing off against each other.

The head of all of Shaalei Torah yesterday, Rav Rachamim Nisimi, said that they actually, informally, have polled the residents of the adjacent buildings and most of them have no problem with the school. Shaalei Torah has also already clarified that there are charedi teachers who work in the school and do not see this as a charedi – DL issue, but just with the extremists. It is said (will it happen?) that Charedim will be joining a protest tonight starting at 6:30 to keep orot in its slated building.

The nearby neighborhood of Nofei Aviv had opposite news foisted upon them simultaneously. After having thought that they won the battle to prove the illegality of placing the Sulam (charedi school for autistic boys) in a house on their street, the mayor personally overturned the official decision on Friday, claiming they have no other place for the school to be. I guess he is not worried about the extremists in the DL neighborhood making it dangerous for the boys to be there. I wonder if the mayor tried to find another place since the decision or did he plan this all along?

Mayor Abutbol Lets Thugs Rule the City With Threats

A fuller post on the issue of the OROT girls' school is going to be coming shortly by someone who knows the details and facts better than I do. For now, this post will be brief and the purpose is to make a m'cha'a, protest, and hope that it can somehow facilitate my city leadership not making a big mistake.

The OROT girls school has been given evacuation orders by the mayor. The reason he wants to evacuate the school is because it is on a plot of land in Givat Sharett, but it is at the edge of RBS B as well and in close proximity to a strip of houses on the edge that are inhabited by RBS B residents, of the kannoim variety. These thugs have threatened the school that if the school dares to move in as scheduled, they will vandalize the building and cause harm the girls.

The mayor, instead of standing up to the threats, warning them, involving the police, instead is giving them free reign. he is telling the girls that he worries for their safety and therefore cannot allow them to use the building.

I have not yet heard that he has offered a different school building instead. He is throwing them out of the building they are meant to be in, with school starting later this week, and it seems that he is not even finding them an alternate location. That is really an aside though. This is an issue I am sure can be worked out if it comes to that. It just seems strange to me that he is evicting them so close to the start of the school year without having an alternative already in place.

Another point I would make is that the mayor has said many times the city is open to all types of people. he even claims that he goes to housing fairs around the world and pitches the city to people of all types, to communities of all types. He says if people don't buy here, it is not his fault, as he is not chasing anyone away but opens his arms to all. To that I would say that when he does things like this, it does not matter how wide he opens his arms at housing fairs. People remember these stories, these incidents. If he is not willing to actively facilitate people of all stripes to live here, but gives dominance to the most unaccepting group, those people visiting all the housing fairs around the world will scoff at his open arms gesture as they know what happens and where they will be in the food chain of the city.

It is reprehensible that the mayor give in to these threats. Instead of worrying about their safety and evacuating them, he should be worrying about their safety and dealing with the source of the threats.

There is going to be a general protest against this decision at 6:30 pm today (there will be a tefillas mincha before the protest at 6 pm) at the OROT plot on Ramat Neria along Rehov Herzog.

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

This hassid walking through the pre-Hurricane Irene rain in New York made it to the front page of cnn.com

Finding Our Voices (video)

Finding Our Voices

"Finding Our Voices: Standing Up For Israel in Western Massachusetts" is the story of students at Smith College and Hampshire College standing up for what they believe in. It represents both the challenges and opportunities the pro-Israel community faces on campus, as well as the power students hold to make a difference.

Shtar: Restoring My Soul on Kol Hacampus 106fm (video)

Shtar: Restoring My Soul on Kol Hacampus 106fm

Aug 28, 2011

Interesting Posts #295

Interesting Posts #295

1. Why Golda Meir was right

2. A Second Look At The IDF

3. Debunking A Hannuka Myth

4. The Psychic Benefit Of Owning An NBA Team or a Yeshiva

5. The Hurricane of Peace

6. How To Lower Housing Prices

Sports and Haredim

Shvoong is one of the largest Israeli portals for fitness, running, cycling, triathlons and swimming. In addition, they promote many sporting events, such as marathons, triathlons, swimming and cycling races, and other events.

Shvoong has an article called, "Haredim L'Sport" in which the author writes about how haredim do not generally participate in sports in Isael.

As an aside, to go along with the article, they are using the following picture that has become famous around Israel. I posted it as a picture of the day over 2 years ago:

Back to the point, the article talks about how on an individual basis people participate in sport, the "kosher gyms" are becoming pretty popular. People can participate in sport for the purposes of a job, parnassa, or for personal health. But to participate in sports for no particular purpose, just for the idea of sport itself is not acceptable in the haredi community, it is considered a waste of time.

He writes more, but that is the gist of it.

I would already say that the participation is greater than he surmises. Plenty of haredim run and go bike riding, and participate in races. When wearing a tshirt and shorts or biking gear, it might not be as easily identifiable that they are haredi. Also, when I register for the marathon, it doesnt ask me if I am haredi, secular or other. So they dont know how many marathon runners are haredi or not. Of course the numbers are small relative to the general public, but they probably are not as small as the author assumes.

Also, with professional sports in Israel being almost exclusively limited to shabbos, it is no wonder few haredim participate. Even many of the running and biking races are scheduled for Shabbos. There are a few that are not, but most are. The haredi community won't participate in sporting events on Shabbos. I would say this is another reason to support the "long weekend" in Israel which would likely cause most sports events to move to Sunday. Israel sports would then be more inclusive.

harish: Demanding But Refusing Housing

While the haredi community should perhaps be doing a cheshbon hanefesh as to why nobody wants them living nearby them, it is horrible that wherever they have a chance to move to the local people protest against the haredim and chase them away.

the Israeli public praises itself on it's being a liberal community, and often it really is. The Israeli public is far more accepting of differences than many other places, offering rights and equality to groups that in many places are way behind, such as rights to certain minorities, rights to homosexuals and the like. Yet when it comes to the haredim, the most enlightened and liberal Israelis go into a black hole of discrimination and lack of acceptance.

Even in a place like Harish, a city that is being planned to be built specifically for the haredi community in the Menashe Region near Wadi Ara, the leftists and Arabs are joining hands to protest and say the haredim should not be brought to their area.

So, in a city that is populated by a general public populace, one might say that bringing hundreds or thousands of haredim will upset the balance of the city, will change the dynamics, will disturb the status quo, will cause friction in raising religious fights, they wont be paying arnona, they'll demand the roads being closed on Shabbos, etc. One can debate whether those are worthy arguments or not, but the concerns can be legitimate.

Yet in a place where the city is a new city designed specifically for haredim, there is no justifiable reason to protest against it. Last night up north, there was such a large protest against the plans to build the area of Harish for the haredi community.

Why are the liberal Israelis who defend the rights of Arabs not defending the rights of the haredim? Why are they protesting against? They need places to live.

Adderaba, just the opposite, if we don't allow the construction of areas for the haredi public, they will continue taking over neighborhoods and cities where they are currently in smaller numbers. That will chase out the general public, both to take advantage of rising prices as demand grows by the haredi "invaders", and because they don't want to live near the new haredi neighbors. And we will be witness to more of the horrible fighting that happens when these situations occur, such as in Bet Shemesh, in Kiryat HaYovel of Jerusalem and other similar areas. They should be supporitng the constructing of Harish and other such cities.

I would even add that it is hypocritical to be out demanding soutions to the housing crisis, with the protest already running about 5 or 6 weeks, while then refusing to allow housing to be built for people seriously suffering from lack of housing. Building such cities and neighborhoods, and they are going to have to be built both for haredim and for general public in order to solve the housing crisis, is absolutely necessary. You cannot demand increased construction and cheaper housing and then protest the plans that provide it.

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

The protest is the personification of hypocrisy, discrimination and ugliness. If in the place of the worh "haredim" they would switch it with the word "Arabs" on the signs, those same enlightened leftists would demand the organizers of the protest be arrested for racism.
Their true faces have been exposed: The leftists are not really liberal or enlightened, rather they are dark people who attempt to tear apart the Israeli society and divide the nation, while on the othe rhand cooperating with the enemies of Israel.
It is impossible to understand why they oppose a haredi person who volunteers in organizations like ZAKA, while they are prepared to accept neighbors form the Islamic Movement who wish to destroy Israel. This is the personification of hypocrisy.

  -- MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union)

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Shomron Rabbi and Nigerian Pastor Meet (video)

Shomron Rabbi and Nigerian Pastor Meet

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, rav of yishuv Har Bracha in the Shomron, met with a Nigerian Pastor, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, as part of a Nigerian delegation to Israel...

Dudu Fisher Sings HaTikvah At Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage Rally (video)

Dudu Fisher Sings HaTikvah At Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage Rally

Participants Impressed by Gleck's Courage Rally (video)

Participants Impressed by Gleck's Courage Rally

Aug 26, 2011

Beni Elbaz and Gad Elbaz Singing Im Eshkochaych Yerushalayim (video)

Beni Elbaz and Gad Elbaz Singing Im Eshkochaych Yerushalayim

No More War Armored Vehicle Concerto (video)

No More War Armored Vehicle Concerto

Safed Annual Klezmer Festival (video)

Safed Annual Klezmer Festival

Music, culture and lots of spirit were to be found in Safed, where the Annual Kayzmer festival took place

Aug 25, 2011

HaBitchonistim (video)


From the Youtube description:

גימלאי מערכת הבטחון:
כרמי גילון, אמנון ליפקין שחק, דני יתום, יעקב פרי, עמי איילון
תמיד נרתמים לכל קמפיין..

The pensioners of the security system: Carmi Gilon, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Danny Yatom, Yaakov Peri and Ami Ayalon always join every campaign... leave us alone.

Hetter Mechira In Bnei Braq

Someone paying attention to advertisements on Israeli websites might notice that Optica Halperin is running advertisements for a huge end of the summer sale. For one week only glasses are something like 50% off.

It looks like it is a shiva sale. The owner of the chain of Optica Halperin, Rav Raphael Halperin, just died and his family is sitting shiva. According to the halacha they should be shutting the business for the week, especially because the identity of the business is so closely identified with him. It is not really a shiva sale, but an end of the summer sale. The point of the sale does not make a difference, but the chain should really be closed for the week of shiva.

The problem with closing Optica Halperin for the week is that it would incur a tremendous loss by doing so.

The solution, to allow Optica Halperin to stay open, is to allow a form of "hetter mechira". The business cannot be open as long as it is owned by the Halperin family. They asked Rav Wosner what they could do,as it would be a tremendous loss.

According to Bechadrei, the psak Rav Wosner gave them was that they could open the stores and operate as normal if they would, for one week and one day, legally change the ownership of the business to the family lawyer, someone they would trust to transfer it back at the end of the period.

So they did, and so the chain continues to operate.

So, at times, the hetter mechira is even used in Bnei Braq.

Larry Derfner Defends Palestinians Right To Kill Israelis

JPost columnist Larry Derfner, in a personal blog post, has called for Israelis to recognize the right of Palestinians to kill Israelis and defended the Eilat terror attack as justified.

Derfner writes:
I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over (among other times in the past).
But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t. And that’s not easy for a nation that sanctifies the right to self-defense; a nation that elected Irgun leader Menachem Begin and Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir as prime minister.
I would recommend that, if this disturbs you, you email Derfner (lderfner@gmail.com) to complain about his vile support for Palestinians killing Israelis. As well, you should also email the JPost (letters@jpost.com) to complain, requesting that he be fired immediately.

This week's edition of AMI Magazine has a piece by journalist Samuel Sokol on the topic. Sokol writes:
Calling his comments "an attempt at patriotism," Jerusalem Post columnist and well known political commentator Larry Derfner endorsed the use of violence against Israeli citizens this week in an article posted on the self-described left-wing Zionist blog "Israel Reconsidered."

Derfner, well known as a staunch advocate for a two-state solution, posted a link to his article on Facebook on Monday, drawing praise from friends for his contention that "Palestinians have the right to resist [the occupation] – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis." This is especially the case, Derfner wrote, since "Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over."

According to Derfner, Israelis, many of whom he regards as secretly agreeing with him, do not want to come out and say this, however, for "fear of being called a traitor." However, he asserted, "it’s time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going."

Continuing to explain his thesis, Derfner argued that since the continuing Israeli presence in the territories validates Palestinian terrorism, "the Left’s ritual condemnations of terror are translated in the Israeli public’s mind – as justification for the occupation and an iron-fist military policy."

"But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have?" he asked. "A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful."

Stopping short of actively calling for terrorism, however, the columnist -a Los Angeles native who immigrated to Israel in 1985- asserted that while he "think[s] the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed."

"As an Israeli," he explained, "I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen."

"Still, I don’t think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle," Derfner quipped.

He also stated that he is opposed to "encouraging Israelis in their blindness" that prevents them from seeing that they are "compelling [the Palestinians] to engage in terrorism." Such encouragement, he explained, "endanger[s] their lives and ours, their country and ours, much more than if we told the truth and got quoted on Hamas websites."

Concluding with a brief discussion of last week's triple-terror attack in Eilat, Derfner said that "Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack."

The government of Israel, which he termed "harsh" and "unjust," is "to blame for those eight Israeli deaths."

"Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism," Derfner explained.

Responding to comments on Facebook, Derfner summed up his thesis by saying that "the occupation makes Palestinian terror justified and inevitable." After all, he asked, "if non-violence doesn't convince Israel to end the occupation, what are [the Palestinians] supposed to do?"

These shocking comments, coming as they do on the heels of a national tragedy that almost led Israel to war, will certainly create a stir.

They are certainly a far cry from his comments in March, following the murder of the Fogel Family in the West Bank town of Itamar.

At the time, Derfner wrote that "Until Palestinians acknowledge the savage streak in their society – even if only to themselves – and resolve to root it out, then, if history is a guide, there will be more abominations done in their name. And it’s completely legitimate to expect Palestinians to understand this – even before they have their own state."

As of press time, Ami has received no reply to requests for comment from the Israeli Ministry of Justice regarding the possibility of Derfner's statements constituting incitement to violence, a criminal offense under Israeli law.
It is reprehensible that he should defend the right of Palestinians to kill Israelis. The Jerusalem Post should be ashamed to have someone like him on their payroll. I am all for free speech, and I am all for presenting varying viewpoints in a newspaper (though, again, this was not written in the JPost newspaper but on his own personal website), but Derfner has crossed a line.

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

I am not sure why the Israeli flag was being flown on the NYSE building the other day, but it might be because the representatives of DELEK US Holdings, an Israeli company, were at the NYSE to ring the opening bell..

Your Favorite Kosher Food? (video)

Your Favorite Kosher Food?

Don't be A Monkey, Be A NaNach (video)

Don't be A Monkey, Be A NaNach

This is a very strange video..

Aug 24, 2011

Interesting Posts #294

Interesting Posts #294

1. An 1839 critique of the ability of yeshivas to train and produce rabbis.

2. Going To Masada - 110 Years Ago

3. Things To Do: National Parks: Ein Afek

4. When Is It Better For A Rabbi To Hold His Tonngue

5. Israelis may Be Rude, But Americans Are Dumb

6. Gwyneth Paltrow Raising Her Kids Jewish

Protection Racket In Geula

"Protection" rackets happen all over the place. The person or group, often mafia of some sort, extorts his victim, the local business owners, to pay him for protection services. He offers, in exchange for a fee, to protect them from damage to their property and business, from theft, and the like. Often they pressure the resisting business-owner by showing what things they need protection from by wreaking havoc on the business, causing damage until they acquiesce.

In the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem, the thugs, the ones who call themselves the sikrikim, wreak havoc on the local businesses. In the name of God they break windows, damage property, cause injury to people when they feel something is detrimental to their neighborhood, to their lifestyle.

Or, maybe they do so for other reasons. Maybe all that fighting, all that rioting, all that damage caused to shops in the name of tzniyus and whatever other excuses they used to justify their behavior, was all just the beginning of the extortion of a protection racket. Maybe they were just showing the local shops what will happen if they do not have the protection.

Bechadrei is reporting that yesterday they smashed the windows of a local ice cream shop and also left in the shop rotten fish and soiled diapers. In addition, they continued their fight against the Ohr HaChaim bookstore by gluing shut the locks on the store overnight.

That is nothing new, except perhaps the intensity. They have been doing this for a while. But now, according to the Bechadrei report, some young guys from the neighborhood have approached the storeowners who have suffered the damage and they offered protection services for a significant fee, promising that if they pay for the protection, their stores will no longer be attacked by the sikrikim thugs.

So, was it really all done in the name of God, in the name of keeping their lifestyle pure as they see it, or was it just a lead-up to a protection racket?

Or maybe they were really doing it to keep the neighborhood, and the protection is being offered by other people, enterprising young men. I'd like to see, if they are not in coordination with the thugs, how they plan to fend off the thugs next time they come to protest a shop.

The Latest Segula, Sponsored By A Mattress Company

Segulas come from everywhere and anywhere. Anything people think might be able to be used as a good luck charm, anything that makes them feel good and positive, is rebranded and called a segula. It, the creation of fly-by-night segulas, is so prevalent that even companies are now creating segulas and associating them with their products to get an edge on their competition.

The King David mattress company has created a new line of mattresses. They have called the line "Avnei Choshen", and they are marketign these mattresses as being good for the body and soul. There are 5 different mattresses in the line, each with different qualities and features in the way it is designed.

In the marketing of the mattress they write that in these mattresses is a special segula of King David (the king, not the mattress company) from the book of Tehillim, as sections were written on parchment by a sofer stam on mehudar parchment. The segula is customized for whatever issue it is you, the buyer, wish to improve, be it clam sleep, fear, marriage, fertility, shalom bayit, health or any of the salvations..

Walla News reports further on this new product, having spoken to the owner of King David Mattresses. The parchment with the piece from tehillim written on it is placed inside the mattress on the side of the head. They say they will be coming out soon with a sixth mattress in the line that will be a segula for helping the owner be able to buy an affordable apartment.

I wonder if the guy puts the mattress in the wrong way, or if he sleeps the wrong way, if the segula somehow backfires...

By the way, when you buy one of these mattresses, along with the mattress you will receive a photocopy of the parchment and the section that is written on it, along with a special daily prayer for you to say before sleeping on the mattress, so you will get maximum effect out of the segula.

I don't know if they are trying to compete with the other mattress companies or with the various Babas...

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

they are fulfilling the mitzva of stamping out the rememberance of Amalek

Chassidim Protest Against Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman (video)

Chassidim Protest Against Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman

This is so sick, and sad, it should have made me cry but instead it made me laugh. It is just unbelievable. Saying "yemach sh'mo" about one of the gedolim? There is not anythign wrong with disagreeing, but "yemach sh'mo"?

From the Youtube description:
Radical Extremist Chassidim from the Neturei Karta groop Protest and Shout Yemach Shmo Against Hagaon Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman in Williamsburg on Tisha B'av Tuesday, August 9 2011 at Walabout St. coner Badford Ave. Where Rav Shteinman Shiur was Broadcast live from Israel a yearly event Coordinated by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

Why? Because Rabbi Shteinman supported the Tal law and the formation of a haredi IDF unit.

From Egypt to Jerusalem in 1930 by train. Holy sites. (video)

From Egypt to Jerusalem in 1930 by train. Holy sites

From the description on Youtube:
A train trip by an American couple from Assyut in Egypt to Jerusalem - unthinkable nowadays. Visit to the holy places. Mark the lack of tourists then. Even the wailing wall was hardly visited apparently.

Mordechai Ben David Kumzitz Concert at Evergreen Estates (video)

Mordechai Ben David Kumzitz Concert at Evergreen Estates

Aug 23, 2011

Palestinian In London Defends His Right To Sell Israeli Dates (video)

I wish we had an image of the woman filming and antagonizing the storekeeper in order to see who she is, if she dresses Muslim or is just a British supporter of palestine.

Either way she seems a bit kooky. They put Palestinians on top of trees and leave them up there until the end of the day? Does she mean that she is protesting that Israeli farmers give Palestinians jobs as fruit pickers?

The Palestinian storekeepers willingness to continue selling dates from Israel as long as many customers want it (if nobody wanted them he would not waste shelf space on them) leaves a spark of hope that there could be at least tolerance and mutual understanding in our futures.

And it seems to me to be pretty positive that the rest of the people in the area don't seem to care about it either. She is trying to rile people up and a few give some boring statements, but nobody is with her harassing the storekeeper, and nobody has burned down the store...

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Already for a few days Kadima is pushing the Likud towards war, to topple the Hamas rule in Gaza. I am angry at [Kadima] that at certain times I bless the fact that the Likud is in power and not you. You have already made two wars and if you were in power you would already have gone to a third war.

  -- MK Ahmed Tibi

Amshinover Rebbe Says Kiddush Levana During The Day

You always hear the stories about how the Amshinover Rebbe is not restricted by our normal time frames and does things at different times than most of us. I always thought the stories of the Amshinover Rebbe keeping Shabbos until Tuesday, and similar stories such as davening shacharis in the middle of the night, etc. were exagerrated to make a point. Maybe they were also slightly in jest.

Sure enough, here are pictures of the Amshinover Rebbe saying kiddush levana during the day, instead of at night as it is usually said by most of us. Those stories are clearly true..

More images (though they are all pretty similar, can be seen on Bechadrei...

Rav Zilbershtein Defends His Recent Tzimmer Psak

Last week there was an interesting psak, and a controversial one, by Rav Zilbershtein about a fellow who was part of a family group reserving a set of tzimmers. He had to cancel, and then re-reserved it under questionable circumstances at a significant discount. Rav Zilbershtein paskened that the fellow was fine taking the discount, even if he used some questionable methods to get it, as that was the market value.

The psak created quite a stir, to the point that Rav Zilbershtein felt it important in his next shiur to defend his psak. Rav Zilbershtein says that all the other rabbonim argue with him, but this is how he sees it. he does not even understand the other arguments.

You can listen to Rav Zilbershtein's shiur (thanks to the reader who sent it to me) and hear it for yourself. After the section where he discusses this case, and responds to questions, there are also some other interesting topics he discusses. BTW, if you listen to the shiur, you should continue and listen to the questions and answers. I think he says more in response to the questions than in his initial explanation.

  • Rav Zilbershtein seems to realize that the fellow used semi-deceptive means to get the discount, but despite that it was all based on the truth and was therefore ok
  • the psak is based on what is according to beis din and is not a "dinei shamayim" issue. Perhaps he should have made a kiddush hashem and offered to pay the difference for the loss he caused, but that is not part of the halachic discussion.
  • Rav Zilbershten insists that this was the market value and at the end of the day that is all that matters
  • one point that was initially unclear - the original cancelation. At the time of the original reservation he had said he might need to cancel as he might need to travel abroad. the owner agreed to allow him to cancel with a certain amount of notice. Because he agreed to it, everything is ok. 
  • It is important to point out that this is all true because the original cancelation and the subsequent re-reservation were made in good faith. Had he been planning the whole thing in advance, and canceled just so he could re-reserve at a discounted price, the psak would be different.

Glenn Beck and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Restoring Courage event in Israel (video)

Glenn Beck and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Restoring Courage event in Israel

Palestinian TV program: Arab homes will be built at Western Wall, Jews' praying is "sin and filth" (video)

Palestinian TV program: Arab homes will be built at Western Wall, Jews' praying is "sin and filth"

Suki Jam (video)

Suki Jam

Suki Berry, of Suki and Ding, jams alone on the piano..

Aug 22, 2011

Interesting Posts #293

Interesting Posts #293

1. The Future of The Mamad School System

2. Rabbi Nir Ben-Artzi's Latest message

3. Half-Hearted Israeli Sales Rep - I have written in the past about the supermarket becoming my bank

4. A True Story How Gedolim Dealt Improperly With a Pedophile

5. Trolley Comes To Jerusalem

6. Iron Dome And Protection From Heaven

7. Clasping One's Hands Together

8. How Chulent Will Take Down Qaddafi

9. Driving A Car Without Wheels

Jerusalem Haredi Opening New Gender-Separate Shuk

It is actually amazing that it has taken this long for the haredi community to complain about tzniyus issues in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk, and because of it to break off and open a "competing" shuk with separate hours for men and women.

Mynet is reporting (it was also reported on NRG and later on Bechadrei) that the most recent demands and complaints from the haredi community have fallen on deaf ears and have been ignored. The complaints were about various events and activities around Jerusalem that they consider to be inappropriate, such as street fairs too close to their own neighborhoods, concerts in the shuk and other events and situations.

The straw that broke the camels back is the Mahane Yehuda Shuk. The city has designed an event called "Baale-basta" in which on Monday evenings various performers go to the shuk and perform - singers, musicians, etc. As a result, Monday sales are reportedly up 30% due to the extra crowds that come to enjoy the performances.

The Baalebasta is upsetting the haredi community. They consider these performances consisting of secular music, mixed crowds, people dressed immodestly, to be a problem and it either drives them away from the shuk and it is just a bad thing to have in Jerusalem in an area that affects them.

The mayor has rejected the complaints saying nobody is being harmed, cultural events are happening around the city in various neighborhoods, and he plans to continue encouraging more events. The merchants from the shuk are also quoted as being in favor of the continuation of the events. They say sales are up and the shuk is for everybody. "It is not a shul or a yeshiva or a rally for Shas. There is no sex or stripping. it is simply good music and good food."

In response, the haredi councilmen and askanim have decided to begin preparations to open an alternate shuk. The new shuk will be located somewhere between Ramot and Ramat Shlomo (i.e. near Har Hotzvim) and it will operate in a limited fashion, only a couple days a week, with hours for men in the morning and women in the evening. As well, they will only sell a limited selection of items such as vegetables, baked goods and perishables but no meats, dairy and fish.

In my mind I see no point in shopping there. People go to the shuk and can get everything in one place at great prices. If they cant get everything, they will still need to go to the other shuk (Mahane Yehuda) to get the stuff they couldnt get there, or pay higher prices in the supermarket or local shops, which shuk-goers don't generally want to pay. Regardless, if they open the new shuk, I wish them well.

Another thought - it sounds like this nothing more than the neighborhood sales that have become quite common in haredi areas. In Ramat Bet Shemesh alone there are at least three such weekly sales of vegetables and paper goods, with the list of available items sometimes being expanded. Many other neighborhoods with haredi populations have similar sales. I guess the difference is that with these weekly sales, often run by local tzedaka organizations, one (usually but not always) has to order in advance and with this new shuk it seems that it will be a regular, albeit limited, marketplace.

I will be curious to see if the hechshers will remove, or be pressured to remove, their certification from the stalls in Mahane Yehuda. It might be a powerful "threat" to get the merchants to capitulate. Besides for that, if they consider the whole area to be immodest, would it not be hypocritical for them to make money off it by keeping the hechshers while banning it and setting up alternate markets?

They remove their hechshers from restaurants that have seating after specific hours, that stay open later than specific hours, that don't comply with various other rules. it seems only fitting that if they go ahead with this plan, they should also remove their hechshers from Mahane Yehuda bastas as well.

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