Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

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

May 31, 2020

price of gas

During the corona lockdown the government lowered the price of gas significantly. At the time I suggested, on Facebook, that they were only lowering the price to get some goodwill knowing that nobody was using gas anyway so they were currying favor without giving anything up.

I guessed that as soon as the restrictions ease up and people have where to go again and places to drive to the prices would be brought back up.

People laughed and scoffed.

Looks like I wasnt so off.

The government announced today a sharp increase in price taking effect at midnight tonight. The increase is going to be by 0.42ag per liter, back up to the price of 5.21nis per liter of gasoline.

I am sure the financials of it are actually intricate and complicated, but yes, when nobody could go anywhere they excited us by lowering the price significantly and now that we can get in our cars again and go places they brought it right back up.




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the teacher should be fired

There has been a slight surge in the numbers of new cases. All last week we saw daily minor increases in the numbers of new infected, but suddenly it surged with a nice jump. A large percentage of that surge, but not all of it, was from one school in Jerusalem, the Gymnasia Rehavia, that had a mass infection with tens of students, teachers and parents catching the virus.

It turns out that one of the teachers went to work with the virus and infected others who infected others.

The worst part of it - the teacher knew that he had the infection but went to teach anyway.

The teacher should minimally be fired, if not arrested. Knowingly putting his students in harms way? Unforgivable.






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Ask The Rabbi Panel with Rabbis Orlofsky, Gav and Feldheim (video)









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Israelis: What song best represents Israel? (video)







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City of David: Bringing the Bible to Life – Episode 2: Bethlehem Seal (video)







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Sruli & Netanel \\ Ya Salam (Official Music Video)







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May 28, 2020

KipaLive: Saleinu al Ketafeinu (video)







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May 27, 2020

2 day yomtov? Katan Aleinu!

People are excited, for good or for bad, about the rare-ish "2 day yomtov" here in Israel starting tomorrow night with Shvuos and ending Saturday night at the conclusion of Shabbos.

The truth is, a 2 day yomtov seems like no big deal right now, as since Corona began it has been something practically like a 75 day yomtov

2 day yomtov? Katan Aleinu!

Chag Sameach!




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Headlines Podcast: 5/30/20 - Show 274 - What should a person focus on in his learning, Shavous Torah from Reb Dovid Lichtenstein (audio)







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Interesting Psak: Do not buy imported cheeses, no matter the hechsher

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu was asked a question about buying imported cheeses that bear a hechsher and also says "mehadrin" along with the stamp of approval from the Chief Rabbinate.

The specific product is not mentioned, nor is the specific hechsher on the product mentioned, so presumably it makes no difference and the question asked is regarding all foreign hechshers, not the specific hechsher on the specific cheese this fellow saw in the store.

I do not know why such a general question was asked. If the hechsher is one the buyer normally relies on, why would he ask now? And if the buyer was unfamiliar with this hechsher, why did he not just ask about the specific hechsher? I suspect that either the question is fabricated to get to the point in the answer, which is fine and not uncommon.

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat and member of the kashrut committee for imports,  responded with a psak that one should not purchase imported cheeses. Rav Eliyahu stressed that it does not matter which hechsher is on the cheese nor if it claims to be mehadrin and cholov yisrael, and even if it bears the logo of multiple hechsher companies, and even with the approval of the Chief Rabbinate, or whatever else it might be - do NOT buy imported cheeses.

Rav Eliyahu quotes his father, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l, to explain that the level of kashrut in Israel is far superior to the kashrut levels abroad. he says the best hechshers in chutz laaretz don't come to 1000th of the level of the basic hechsher level in Israel.
source: Kipa

Presumably cheese is only mentioned because of Shvuos right around the corner, but his approach is surely on all imported goods - the quote from his father makes no mention of cheese, just the levels of kashrut in Israel and abroad.

There are kashrut awareness organizations in Israel that believe the same and promote the same approach. A particular organization I am familiar with rejects the kashrut of imported products, no matter the hechsher on them with the same explanation of the best of kashrut abroad using too many kulas, leniencies, and being a far lower level than kashrut here. I myself have tested this by asking about products bearing the most widely acceptable of hechsherim and have been told not to rely on them.


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The Rift Between American Jews and Israel

A Guest Post by Dr Harold Goldmeier


The Rift Between American Jews and Israel

Dr. Harold Goldmeier is the manager of an investment fund, university teacher, business consultant, speaker and writer who can be reached at Harold.goldmeier@gmail.com


Countless articles and books address the vexing rift between American Jews and Israel. They are short on solutions and long on confirmation bias. Daniel Gordis adds another tome to the pile with We Stand Divided, The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, HarperCollins Publishers, 2019. He, too, is short on solutions.

Nevertheless, his 14th book is receiving plaudits and endorsements from big-name pundits and politicians. Yet, I find little in the book that adds to my general knowledge of the subject or a solution to his desperate plea opening the Introduction, “WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”

He ought to know the answer by now after years officiating at the Shalem College in Jerusalem, speaking on the college-synagogue-Jewish lobby circuit crisscrossing Israel and America, making a mint, debating doubters like Peter Beinart and fellow-travelers of J Street. Yet, Gordis doesn’t off the reader outstanding, why didn’t I think of that, answers to heal the rift.  There is nothing explosive if that’s what a book buyer is expecting.

“My goal is to put the big ideas about the relationship into the public sphere, so that we can all engage in a rethinking of why the relationship between the two communities is fraught, deepen the conversation that many in the Jewish world are having about the rift, and even begin to muse on some possible directions for healing the break.” We are way past musing. Just ask my foreign students and my children living overseas.  



Moreover, the new government of Israel has multiple ministries addressing the rift spending billions of shekels. There are thousands of overpaid NGO officials with inflated memberships soliciting tons of money and little to show but glittering generalities claiming at lavish fundraising dinners to have the answers.


I’m not going to list the religious, political, and nationalist causes Gordis identifies for the rift. They are commonly known to people familiar with the subject. The book is interesting because Gordis provides a great deal of novel history and recordations of lesser-known interactions between Israel/Diaspora advocates and contrarians.

Suffice to say he spends more than 200 pages and nearly 250 footnotes on the history of the Jewish people and the rift. This is an excellent primer for students new to the subject of Israel and aliyah. But you cannot fix the rift with intellectual “truths” about history, or detailing the threats to Jewish survival in Diaspora. Gordis is more  truthful and a realist than many observers when he offers readers this ominous portent: “If anything, what is surprising is not that the relationship is wounded, but that it has survived intact for as long as it has.” Furthermore, unless we find the right answers, darkness may descend on the two Jewish nations of Israel and Diaspora.


So, Gordis takes a stab at answering the ultimate question, “What anyone should actually do?” He offers six points for healing the rift but I cannot imagine how they will save the Jewish people.

There is a bit of sunshine on the horizon. Diaspora support for Israel is regularly reported on tenterhooks in poll after poll of young Jews. A new poll suggests there is a sea change in their views about Israel for the positive, as Diaspora Jews age into their late 30s and 40s. This is when Americans trend away from youthful progressive ideas and hook onto more conservative ones. Having been a teacher of international gap year students in Israel, I list as the number one-rift healer bringing Diaspora Jewish youth and young people of other backgrounds to Israel to see for themselves. COVID-19 hit these programs hard. Masa high school and college study abroad, yeshiva and seminary programs,  Birthright, student exchange programs, are critical in healing the rift.  Spend money bringing them two and three times to get to know life in Israel.

Gordis writes a four-page advocacy statement in the book for these programs. In my experiences, these programs are the most educational and lasting means of building a positive image and attachment to Israel. They are the means to realize the dream of Gordis, i.e., “The light simply must be ushered in.” The young people bring the light in their eyes home with them whether they make Aliyah or live overseas. Bring them to Israel and make her a light unto the Jews of their nations.









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Paying Twice For Your Chicken

Honestly, this is not anything new, and similar is done in many countries around the world - the government pays farmers to burn crops or to destroy eggs or chicks or to leave the land fallow (why not do this for shmitta?)... but it is still upsetting when you see it in action, when you see the government approval rather than just "knowing" subconsciously that it is happening.

The Chicken Coop Council, based on approval from the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Economics with subsidies, is paying its member farmers to not raise additional chickens, in order to prevent the price of chickens from dropping for the consumer.



Additionally, the Minister of Agriculture has decided, at least for now, to keep the egg quotas exactly the same as last year - no additional eggs allowed. Remember the egg shortage around Pesach time this past year? Despite the growing population, the local egg growers are only allowed to grow the same amount as last year, ensuring that at some point we will suffer another shortage - unless other ministers open up the market for imports. That is besides for keeping the price of eggs from dropping, and probably actually causing them to increase.

So, at least with the chickens (I dont think the egg people are getting paid extra for not growing more eggs), we get to pay twice. First we are paying taxes that are being given to the chicken farmers to not raise chickens, and then we are paying artificially high prices for chicken in the supermarket and at the butcher because of all the chickens that are not being sold.


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Thanks Mr President

I just received a letter from President of the United States of America Donald Trump.

I would say it is almost as valuable to me as the letters I received from Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, but this one from Trump is actually more valuable to me because with it he gave me money. Reagan and Clinton just sent good wishes, but no money. Money talks.

Plus President Trump sent it in Spanish as well.

Thanks Mr President. You can send me money anytime.






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Book Review: #IsraeliJudaism: Portrait of a Cultural Revolution

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: #IsraeliJudaism: Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, by Shmuel Rosner and Camil Fuchs


I myself have noticed and written about a phenomenon I have called the Israelification of the Haredi community, as more and more Haredim of the younger generation see themselves as Israelis, are patriotic in some sense, speak overwhelmingly Hebrew nowadays instead of Yiddish (even among the Hassidic communities), travel the country, watch Israeli soccer (aka football) tournaments, root for Israelis in international competitions in sports, sciences and whatnot, get upset about BDS, and more.

There are aspects about this that I have never understood, as some things are almost self-contradictory. For example, on the one hand the country seems to be getting more religious, on the other hand there is more public chilul shabbos than ever before. I just watched it as the phenomenon of a young country growing and developing and the various sectors and sub-communities within are adjusting as the years and generations go by.

#IsraeliJudaism: Portrait of a Cultural Revolution deals with a lot of what I threw into the description above without thinking too much about it and without analyzing it too deeply. Reading #IsraeliJudaism I felt this book was practically written for me. #IsraeliJudaism looks at and identifies changes in Israeli society and explores a new culture being formed in Israel that combines Judaism and Israelism.

Camil Fuchs is one of Israel's top statisticians. Combine the statistics of Fuchs with the thinking and analysis of Shmuel Rosner, a fellow at The Jewish people Policy Institute, and you are going to pick up and identify new trends and directions in whatever the topic might be.

The premise of #IsraeliJudaism seems to be that life in Israel over the past several decades has developed a new culture that combines aspects of being Israeli and aspects of being Jewish and has forged a new culture out of that combination. The statistics are vast, but they don't overwhelm the reader with their presentation. The most thorough statistical study of Israeli and Jewish culture ever compiled is used to analyze the trends of society and to point to a different culture among the Jews in Israel in Israel than among the Jews of the Diaspora. They call this new Israeli culture IsraeliJudaism. it is sort of the Venn Diagram of where the majority of Israelis feel both Israeli and Jewish. These trends are pointed out and analyzed over several chapters with topics such as Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Hazikaron broached, along with Shabbos observance, Lag B'Omer, fasting on Yom Kippur, riding bikes on Yom Kippur, hosting or participating in a Pesach Seder, and looking at differing trends of importance among different sectors of society, and how they overlap.

The book, #IsraeliJudaism, is far from a book of statistics. As I mentioned, the authors do not overwhelm the reader with numbers and percentages, but they are peppered throughout the book, mostly at the end of chapters, but also interspersed through the text when relevant. More than the statistics is the analysis, as I described above. Along the way though there is a lot of history, Israeli history, presented.  Customs of Israeli behavior are not just mentioned and looked at to see how common they are, but the history of how they began and spread is discussed as well. I learned a lot about some of the things we just do in Israel and never before knew why. Just like I like to know and discover how different customs in Judaism began and spread, I enjoyed learning how some Israeli customs began and spread, and was even surprised with some of the discoveries.

A reader interested in the history of Israel, the future of Israel and the Jewish People, and in the cultures of Israel will find the analysis in #IsraeliJudaism compelling and even fascinating.


You can buy #IsraeliJudaism: Portrait of a Cultural Revolution on Amazon

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.


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Quote of the Day

There is clear discrimination against the Haredi sector. For example, they today approved the reopening of restaurants, but if you would try to make a wedding with 50 people you would get fined. Why? What is different about that from restaurants?

  -- MK Yisrael Eichler

sure, because every time I go to dinner in a restaurant we suddenly break out in 45 minutes of dancing. And people pick each other up on their shoulders for more excitement. And at weddings people sit shoulder to shoulder with people from other families rather than with their own spouse.

But besides for that, even if there were no differences, why is continuing to ban weddings discriminatory against haredim? Do non-Haredim not get married? Are only Haredim banned form holding weddings of 50 people, while non-Haredim could have large weddings? Are only non-Haredi restaurants allowed to open while Haredi restaurants are not allowed to? I need more clarity on how Haredim are being discriminated against.

I am not saying that wedding halls should not be opened. I just don't think there is any discrimination involved in the decision making on this issue.




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The 1,088 Passenger Busiest Flight Ever (video)







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Ashley Blaker on Keeping The Sabbath (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 28 Nahariya (video)








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Gad Elbaz - OH JERUSALEM (video)







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May 26, 2020

finders keepers, finders weepers

the other day I told over the story that had been reported of someone who found a bag of 40,000nis in cash (plus some checks). the fellow seeked out the owner, discovered him as an Arab and returned the money to make a kiddush hashem by acting beyond the letter of the law.

Here is a story that is exactly the opposite.

A fellow from Kiryat Gat found a satchel of money. The bag contained 240,000nis in cash.

the finder decided to do a good deed with some of the money in order to celebrate his miracle, so he went out and ordered crates of food - sandwiches, pastries and drinks - and served it all up to a unit of Golani soldiers serving in the area. He also gave out some cash to the soldiers. After his little celebration he went back to his area and gave out some more money to needy people in the area.

Now that he had done his good deed to clear his conscience, he went out to buy stuff he and his family needed.


After all was said and done, he put away 132,000nis cash in his kids diaper bag for safekeeping.

Little did he know that the satchel of money had fallen off of a transport by armored vehicle (eg Brinks, etc). They were not too happy about the lost bag of money and used surveillance cameras to track it down. They got the police involved and Mr Finder was discovered relatively quickly and brought down to the station for questioning. In the meantime, officers found the rest of the money in his hiding place.

Poor shnook has 10 kids and was going to tell his wife and kids that he won some winnings in the lottery.
source: Actualic

Way to go. I wonder had he just kept it quiet and not gone out and spent so much if he would have gone undiscovered. I also wonder how he did not realize it would be looked for - don't these armored vehicles that transport money put the sacks of money into labeled bags, so he would have seen the name Brinks or the name of whatever company was being used? Regarding the halacha, as far as I know, loose cash is hefker when found, but if the cash is in a special bag or piled or packed in a  unique way, that is considered a siman of ownership and must be returned. So while the first guy had the halachic right to keep the money, he returned it, the second probably had a halachic oblogation to return it but kept it.




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in Bahush, if you snitched on the minyan, you are now banned from it

The Bahush beis medrash in Bnei Braq suffered during Corona from people, neighbors, reporting them to the police for holding illegal minyanim and for continuing to operate the mikva.

While I am sure nobody had it out for Bahush and simply reported them out of concern regarding the CoronaVirus, Bahush feels it is now time for payback, rather than a time for the mending of fences.

The Bahush administration put up a sign in their shul announcing that anyone who had a hand in the reporting of their minyanim and open mikva to the police, even if they did so based on some hetter, are now banned, with all the force of a full din torah, from benefiting in any way from any of the Bahush institutions. This includes using the beis medrash, the mikva, the coffee room, the social hall for events, the free loan gemach and from receiving kimcha dpischa funds.
source: Kikar

I guess it is their right to do so, but personally I would want nothing to do with them anyway. Besides for their flaunting of the rules in such an open and negligent way, they were willing to play with people's lives and put everyone around their shul at risk. I expect they won't ask for donations from those people either.





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Bet Shemesh excitement

A couple of crazy Bet Shemesh stories happened over the past couple of days.

Some excitement happened in Bet Shemesh itself, as a professional hit was averted. Undercover detectives put a stop to a hit after 4 young men in their 20s attached an explosive device to someone's car. Kikar does not say it, but other news sources mentioned that he was a former "well known" football player (ie soccer).

I guess they really hold a grudge for that time he missed the goal...

In other news, that happened outside the city but with a resident of Bet Shemesh, an extremist from RBS B who had been arrested during the violent protests against the closure placed on RBS B a few weeks back because of the CoronaVirus spreading freely, had to be chained to his bed in jail.

Binyamin Friedman has been in jail since the protest on Pesach. During the protest he allegedly attacked a female police officer and spit at her. Friedman denies the allegations.

This past week Friedman was transferred to the Maasiyahu prison and it seems he did not want to go into his new cell because there was a television in it. The police refused to remove the television (saying they cannot do that, there is no such thing) and they also denied his request to be incarcerated in the "torani" wing of the prison.

Friedman threatened to commit suicide if they would lock him up wit the television. As soon as he threatened suicide they chained him down to his bed as a precaution. He says they didn't even let him bring a siddur in, and it is a miracle he had already davened mincha. Big miracle. Then he says his kipa fell off and he couldnt even pick it up because he was chained down. He eventually managed to figure out a way, somehow using his teeth. He says it took him four hours. I don't know how he picked it up, put it back on his head, and tied it to his head using the strap of a corona mask, all with just his teeth, as he says, but I guess when there's a will there's a way.

The Prison Services response is that he threatened suicide and self-harm and did so time and again even after protective measures were taken. Such threats are taken very seriously.

It seems much easier to solve the problem by removing the television form the cell, but maybe making him watch Yuval Hamevulbal and general Israeli tv shows (besides for the good ones) is a much harsher punishment!

Bet Shemesh hasn't been so exciting in a long time!



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Proposed Law: City Council Meetings by ZOOM

Yesterday the Knesset passed the first reading of a law proposed by Minister Aryeh Deri that would allow City Council meetings to be held via video conferencing platforms such as ZOOM.

the proposed law is really a temporary amendment to the current law about city council meetings, and is being proposed to be in place until September, though that will likely be extended until December so as to be ready in the event of the feared "second wave" of Corona that might hit with the advent of the winter season.

The proposal passed unanimously and will be prepared for further readings and passage.

the necessity of this is clear. With the requirement for city councils to hold regular sessions to be able to function and provide services efficiently to residents, Corona regulations might prohibit physical meetings.

MK Moshe Abutbol (Shas) requested that the law being adopted include the ability not just to hold meetings but also to hold votes via video conferencing. Seems reasonable to me, especially because we are dealing with a scenario of an emergency situation.

sources: Behadrei, JDN



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Malka Leifer declared fit for extradition!

As they say, it ain't over till it's over. Or until the fat lady sings. Whichever comes first.

The District Court just ruled the Malka Leifer has been faking her mental illness and is fit to stand trial. The court will now push forward the extradition process so that Leifer can stand trial in Australia for the heinous crimes she is accused of against minors who were her students..

as mentioned above though, it ain't over till it's over. the expectation is that her defense lawyers will now appeal to the Supreme Court and any extradition process in place will be halted until the Supreme Court decides the matter.

In the meantime, if Litzman had to leave the Health Ministry just for this to happen - dayeinu!




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Quote of the Day

We Iranian Jews want to sent this message to the Zionists, and first and foremost to Netanyahu. Know that you Zionists do not represent Judaism and do not represent the Jewish people. You only represent the idea of a political movement whose ideas and values oppose the ideas and values of our holy Torah and the Jewish religion. We strongly condemn your aggressive actions and emphasize to the whole world: There is a big difference between Judaism and Zionism

  -- Chief Rabbi of Tehran Rabbi Yehuda Gerami

come on, tell us how you really feel...






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Meir Kay Podcast: Shulem Lemmer - Facing The Unknown - (Ep. 22) (video)

Shulem Lemmer is the most recent rising star of the Jewish musical tradition that has been intertwined in the life, faith, and culture of the Jewish people throughout their history. Whether it's prayers, psalms, or contemporary classics, Shulem's music touches people of diverse faiths and backgrounds. Marking the first time that a singer from the orthodox Hasidic community has been signed to major label, Shulem’s debut album, The Perfect Dream, was released on Decca Gold, an imprint of Universal Music Group’s. The messages within that album; unity, love, connection, respect are traits that Shulem embodies and holds close. Today we dive into his life, his career and to his journey into the music world. As well as where he finds inspiration and some exciting new projects to come!





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We Will Yet meet Up: Episode 2 (video)







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Britain's Got Talent 2020 The Mysterious Lioz Shem Tov Full Audition S14E07 (video)







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Yom Yerushalaim 5780 with Meir Eisenman (video)

Join Meir as we celebrate together the liberation of Yerushalaim






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JVocals, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (video)

Female Cantors from around the world united In song & prayer Yerushalayim Shel Zahav .In honor of Jerusalem’s 53rd reunification anniversary





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May 25, 2020

40000nis is nice, but the Kiddush Hashem is priceless

Yosef Chaim Machlouf, a Haredi resident of Givat Zeev, found a bag of money on the road in his neighborhood. In addition to some checks, it contained 40,000nis in cash.

I don't know how but Machlouf figured out that it belonged to an Arab from Gilo and returned it to him.

While one is not obligated, according to halacha, to return a lost item to a non-Jew, if one can make a kiddush hashem by doing so, he should, or at least should be encouraged to do so.

Machlouf decided to make a kiddush hashem and return the money to its owner. I am posting here to help publicize the kiddush hashem he chose to make.

When asked about it on the radio, Machlouf explained that he knew he was not obligated to return it, and it might even be not allowed, but to make a kiddush hashem it is allowed, and that is why he decided to return it. Machlouf added that because of Corona he decided to go the extra mile and beyond the letter of the law, and requested of Hashem that He do so as well, with us.

Needless to say, the owner of the money was very grateful that it was returned to him and called Machlouf a holy person. Machlouf definitely made his kiddush hashem.

sources: Haredim10 and Kol Hai News



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We will yet meet up: season premiere (video)

the premise is taking 5 secular people, each having a close relative (eg son, brother, father, etc) who became religious and cut off ties, connecting each to someone in the Haredi community to observe for a period of time with the goal being to bring the relatives together.




I find this search fascinating, but at the same time troubling. It always bothers me when religion comes between people, especially close relatives. People can be friends and people can have close relationships without trying to impose their lifestyle on each other...



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Israelis: Are Arabs primitive? (video)







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Season 3 Episode 5 | GoSimcha the Podcast: Behind The Scenes With Dovid Lowy (video)







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U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman put out a special message in honor of Jerusalem day (video)







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Nissim Black - Win (Official Video)







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May 24, 2020

Quote of the Day

I have full trust in the judicial system - just in my case they were mistaken.

  --- Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

HAHA!
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The Shavuot Lottery

I am not sure what is different about the Kotel on Shavuot than Meron on Lag B'Omer, but while permits were given for people to go to Meron based on unknown criteria, and probably based on who knows who, the Kotel administration is doing things differently.

1200 people will be approved for davening at the Kotel at sunrise on Shavuot morning. A lottery was set up and supplicants were told to submit a request to participate in the lottery. 7000 people applied, and tonight the drawing will take place and 1200 of them chosen. I do not know if there will be additional people chosen to be able to daven later in the morning after sunrise, or if at a certain point they will just open it up in a similar way to the way it has been open until now.

The percentage does not seem bad. 1200 out of 7000. Each applicant has a reasonable chance of winning a slot. Considering the tens of thousands that stream to the Kotel every year on Shavuot morning to daven at sunrise, these 1200 will need to represent the people well.


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bring the talmidim back!

Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri today approved, in coordination with the Health Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, the return of all foreign yeshiva students and avreichim back to Israel to learn in the yeshivos and kollels.

Deri sent a letter to the various Rosh Yeshivas explaining the process and the requirements for this to happen.

the yeshiva will have to make specific requests for approval of each student, though they will be given a dedicated email address for these requests rather than having to go through the general process and department.
The yeshiva will have to declare that they know the returning avreich and family has a place for quarantine.
For yeshiva bochurim, the yeshiva will set aside a dormitory area for the students to quarantine in.
The yeshiva will have to provide all the necessary food for the students during the duration of their quarantine.
Each student will need his own bedroom, bathroom and shower in quarantine, not to be shared with other students.

Haredim10 quotes an anonymous person in the yeshiva system who asks why Deri isnt requiring Corona tests for students to return, and he also does not specify what the punishment will be if a yeshiva is not careful about following these guidelines.

The most difficult part of this, to me, would seem to be the requirement of one room/shower/toilet per quarantined student. Most yeshivas, I would imagine, do not have facilities that can meet such a requirement.





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there are two types of people in Israel..

It seems there are two types of people in Israel.

there are those who think the court case beginning now against PM Benjamin Netanyahu is all one big conspiracy to bring him down, since the Left has failed to do so in elections.

There are those who think PM Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty.

There don't seem to be any people who believe that the accusations against PM Netanyahu were reasonable enough to demand a conviction and the trial will actually be as fair as possible and will reasonably determine guilt or innocence.

It is a sad day for the judicial system in Israel - not because they are trying a sitting Prime Minister, but because 99% of the country seems to have little or no faith in the judicial system.

It is a sad day for the executive and political system in Israel - not because a sitting Prime Minister is being tried for crimes he allegedly committed, but because they did their part in undermining the faith of the people in the judicial system.

Let us not forget that a fair judicial system is important for every society. Even Pirkei Avot says that without proper government  we would have chaos as each person would swallow up the other. Government includes the judicial system, because without it the laws passed by the government are worthless.






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Philippine Convert to be evicted from country

A woman and her son are going through a living hell.

The woman came to Israel from the Philippines and was working in the home of a religious family. She came 24 years ago and over time she came close to the Jewish religion via the families she worked for She learned all the halachos and about Judaism and after her son was born 10 years ago they converted to Judaism through the beis din of Rav Nissim Karelitz.

the problem began when Mom overstayed her visa, and then discovered that the beis din of Rav Nissim Karelitz was not officially recognized for conversions.. Israel wanted to ship her out and somehow she appealed and even though it was rejected, she and her son have stayed in Israel. Since then the beis din of Rav Karelitz was granted official recognition, and when she tried to appeal again, she met with other technicalities in her way.
source: Behadrei and others

I trust that in the end a way will be found. If necessary the Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri will step in at the last minute and resolve the issue.

While technicalities are in the way, this entire process is a violation of the prohibition of not afflicting the convert. With Aryeh Deri as Minister of the Interior for the past 4 years or so, it is unconscionable that this has not already been resolved, especially considering the fact that Rav Karelitz's beis din has since been granted official recognition.

Besides for that, even without the Jewish aspect, the child born and growing up here should be enough for serious consideration. He knows no other home besides Israel. I don't know if that alone is enough, but it should be at least deserving of more consideration than just tossing them out of the country without listening to them and seriously looking into the matter.



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Headlines Podcast: 5/23/20 - Show 273 - Shidduchim & Dating during Corona – should they be put on hold? What changes are we seeing? (audio)







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Omri Casspi Podcast Episode #3 - Sivan Rahav Meir (video)







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Aviv Gefen interview with Dana Weiss (video)

near the end he talks about his change of perspective regarding the Haredim..





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Jerusalem Day Special: The City of David From Above, 1967-2020 (video)






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Hallel Choir with Merav Brenner: Sfatai Tiftach (video)







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May 22, 2020

The Moscow Male Jewish Cappella - 30 YEARS: Adon Olam (video)







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Aviv Gefen praises the Haredim

In an interview with Dana Weiss today, Israeli iconic performer Aviv Gefen related an incident that happened recently.

At a recent concert he announced to the crowd that they should all stop giving Bnei Braq a hard time about the Corona issue-  it is not their fault.

Gefen relates that when he got off the stage at the end of his performance, he turned on his phone and foudn ti flooded with 420 messages from Haredim in Bnei Braq thanking him and expressing gratitude for his words and for supporting them. Gefen said that when reading the messages he sat down and cried.

When relating the incident Gefen also broke down in tears. Gefen said he was brought up like everyone else, to hate the Haredim, along with anyone else different. Gefen says that he has gone through a change and now he sees them and is out of that game.

That's a wonderful story.

The only two questions I have are:
1. how did they all find out about what he said in a concert? I don't think too many Bnei Braq residents go to Aviv Gefen concerts.
2. How did they all get his personal number to send him messages? This has happened before, with others, and I always wonder how people get the numbers for these celebrities and Members of Knesset and whoever else.



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May 21, 2020

the Haredi IKEA

So it looks like the new IKEA Eshtaol (just outside of Bet Shemesh) will be opening this coming Sunday.

In the article announcing the opening on a local Haredi news website, the branch is described as "the haredi branch" of IKEA.

So, I would like to know, is this IKEA branch really a "haredi branch", and considered such by IKEA, whatever that means, or is it just the Haredi news site playing to its readers?

What does "Haredi branch" even mean? Other branches have a mehadrin hechsher in their cafeterias, so I don't think a mehadrin hechsher would be enough to dub it the haredi branch. Perhaps separate hours for men and women - doesn't seem likely? No pictures of women in the store signage and whatnot? What else might make this a Haredi branch? perhaps it is just the proximity to Bet Shemesh that qualifies it as being called Haredi?

Basically, is this description of the branch one used by IKEA or is it a creation of the Haredi website playing to its readership?




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the healthy person hospital

I had to be in the hospital today for a short visit. When walking in, as is done everywhere, the guard scanned my forehead with a thermometer gun to see if I had a temperature.

Thank God I did not have a temperature, and I am healthy.

But I was wondering - if I had a temperature, chas vshalom, would they not let me in? Is a hospital not for sick people? Where would the hospital send me if I had had a temperature? Are only healthy people allowed into hospitals nowadays?

Just wondering.


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it is a two-way street

Yamina sent/went into the Opposition has brought about something interesting very quickly.

The job of parties in the Opposition is, on the one hand to protect its constituents interests from the government that might trample on the rights of others, and on the other hand to work to bring down the coalition.

Yamina complained that the Haredi parties did not fight for Yamina to be int he coalition and only made some statements as lip service. Bennett felt, or at least said, that the Haredi parties should have refused to enter the coalition without Yamina.

Today it is being reported that Yamina shockingly now has an agreement and working arrangement with Yisrael Beyteynu in the Opposition. Yamina is, for now, denying it saying Yisrael Beyteynu has become an anti-Jewish party that sent Israel to 3 rounds of elections and Yamina isnt working with them. Some might, or do, say that Bennett is somewhat at fault for the election rounds because of his original split and not passing the minimum threshold - so his accusation on YB rings hollow, and his response rings hollow.

MK Moshe Gafni spoke up today, in response to the initial accusation by Bennett that the Haredi parties did nothing to ensure Yamina's place in the coalition. Gafni said, "Yamina cannot come to us with complaints - what did they expect, that we will negotiate for them so they can get jobs, some of them being ones we wanted for us? Such a thing does not exist even between Shas and UTJ!"

Gafni is right. I said that myself (link above). That is not how it works. UTJ does not need to fight for Yamina, and without a formal agreement to stick together, each party only looks out for its own narrow interests. UTj doesnt need Yamina, when it can get whatever it wants from Netanyahu, so it has no need to fight for Yamina - definitely not without an actual agreement to do so.

But it works both ways. It is a two-way street.

Now that Yamina is in the Opposition, UTJ, Gafni, Netanyahu, Shas and all the other coalition members should not get upset when Yamina works against their interests. What does UTJ expect - that Yamina should not work together with Yisrael Beyteynu and Yesh Atid to bring down the government and to make trouble for the coalition? UTJ thinks Bennett should do things in the most inefficient way, fighting alone, so that UTJ's interests will be protected from Lieberman? UTJ let Yamina be pushed out but doesnt want Yamina to do anything effective against them? That is also not how it works. If they do not make a working arrangement with Lieberman to work to bring down the government I would be even more disappointed in Yamina. That is what their job calls for right now. They are not there to protect UTJ or Shas or Kachol Lavan or Likud or anyone in particular. They need to protect the interests of the Dati Leumi community, work to bring down the Coalition or to change it and to get themselves in to the government where they can have influence.Every party in the Opposition has that role.



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German city of Fulda purchases old shul buildings

This post was very difficult to write. I never thought I would be interested in, or care about, actions by Germans meant to "do right" by the Jews, or to somehow make up for what was done during the Holocaust.

This past year I had an opportunity to go to Fulda, the city in Germany where my grandfather grew up. The City of Fulda, led by Oberburgermeister, the Lord Mayor, Dr Heiko Wigenfeld, sponsored a trip to Fulda for many descendants of Holocaust victims from Fulda. While I do not quite know who exactly is responsible for what, I must mention my friend Anja Listman who is a driving force behind much of what happens in Fulda to memorialize the local Jewish community from the Holocaust period. Anja is neither Jewish nor does she hold any formal position in the local government of Fulda, yet she works non-stop on behalf of the Jewish community, current but mostly former. Anja does it all (in addition to her regular work as a teacher and her other projects she is involved in) just because she feels it is right and necessary, and is behind many of the initiatives that take place.

The local government brought a group of us in to Fulda from around the world, put us up and took us around Fulda and the environs, showed us and explained all the Jewish historical places, opened up the archives to us, showed us our ancestors homes, when possible, and were, in general very hospitable.

I must add that one thing that made an impression on me was that Dr Wigenfeld, Anja, and a number of others are not Jewish, do not have a sizable Jewish community they are trying to placate (the Jewish community in Fulda today is tiny and politically insignificant), and seemingly have no outside pressure to be doing anything so proactively favorable to the memory of the Jews of Fulda and are doing it simply because they feel it is the right thing to do and they believe there is a need for the city to come to terms with what it did and what happened to its people and memorialize it so nothing like it will happen again.

Back to today.

When we were in Fulda 8 or 9 months ago, they showed us the site of the old shul (there is a memorial along the edge with names of local Holocaust victims, includes my great grandparents). Across the street from it was the school and yeshiva. Next door to the shul is a building that was also once the weekday shul and the Jewish community center. Below the weekday shul, in the basement, was the mikva. They told us that they discovered that the mikva had been sealed off by the Jewish community back then in the 1940s and was now rediscovered to be fully intact. It is beneath a building that houses residential apartments and a lower level of stores. The mikva remains beneath all that, intact.

They told us then that they were trying to find ways to open it up again.

They just sent a message letting us know that the city, led by Lord Mayor Dr Wigenfeld, has successfully purchased the entire complex - the building with the weekday shul and community center, the parking lot where the old shul used to stand (part of where the shul was is homes now and part is a parking lot). With the mikva intact, they expect to be able to open it - though I do not know if that means just for viewing or if also for use. I also do not know if it is kosher in its current state or would need renovations and if necessary would they be done. Also, there really aren't too many people there who would use it, if any. But that's not the point. They bought the property of the shuls and community center and mikva and are preserving it to memorialize the Jewish sites.


the building and parking lot right in front, and extending down out of view, is the site of the old shul. The building at the right edge of the picture is the former community center and weekday shul with the mikva beneath. That black wall is a memorial for the local Holocaust victims - in that gray strip near the top of it is engraved all the names of local victims.


Dr. Wingenfeld spoke at the announcement of this purchase and spoke about the importance of dignified memory. He said: "Our goal should now be, together with the Jewish community, to preserve the dignity of this memorial." Dr. Wingenfeld announced that city building councilor Daniel Schreiner will work out some suggestions in the coming months in close coordination with the Jewish community on what a design could look like. Silvia BrĂ¼nnel from the Green Party proposed an architecture competition and Jonathan Wulff from the SPD suggested that the descendants of the Jewish families should also be spoken to. ALL parties in the Fulda parliament, from left to right, support this purchase with very great approval!!!!

Besides for the above article in the image, The Osthessen news site wrote about it, and you can use Google Translate to get it in English.

Nothing can make up for what was done to the Jews of Europe, not my grandparents, nor your grandparents nor anybody else's. I was once in touch with a person who was a descendant of a German soldier (she claimed he was not a Nazi and due to some illness I do not recall he was released from the German army early in World War II) who helped me gratis with some genealogy research because she "wanted to make up" for what her people had done.

The people today in Fulda, Dr Wigenfeld, Anja and the others, are not doing this to make up for anything, nor due to political or social pressures. They are doing it because they feel it is important that the residents of Fulda today know what once was and what happened there and to prevent, through knowledge, anything similar from possibly happening again.

I think I was always ambivalent about the need for memorials, especially in Germany. Maybe for them, so they can learn from it, but I always thought I don't need it. And I don't. If nothing would have ever happened, I would never have thought about it and would not think it necessary or important. Now that they are doing it, without pressure from anyone, I think it is notable and significant, and even meaningful. It somewhat surprised me that this is what it turned into. On their own initiative they turned something I was ambivalent about into something that is meaningful.

(By the way, I speak for nobody else but me. Perhaps other people who are descendants of Fulda victims, or victims of other places, always felt memorials are important, or maybe some feel even now they are still not. I speak only for myself)




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Facebook Status of the Day







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Sing For Jerusalem: Jerusalem Day Performance (video)







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Ashley Blaker & Imran Yusuf: Prophet Sharing – Complete 45 minute show (video)







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The Lenny Solomon Show Webisode 10 - Streets of Jerusalem and The 50th State (video)







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The NY Cantors - Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (video)

Written by Naomi Shemer in 1967. The original song described the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's unification under Israeli control. At that time, the Old City was under Jordanian rule; Jews had been barred from entering, and many holy sites had been desecrated. Only three weeks after the song was published, the Six-Day War broke out. The song was the battle cry and morale booster of the Israeli troops. Shemer even sang it for them before the war and festival, making them among the first in the world to hear it. On 7 June, the Israel Defense Forces captured the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City from the Jordanians. When Shemer heard the paratroopers singing "Jerusalem of Gold" at the Western Wall, she wrote a final verse, reversing the phrases of lamentation found in the second verse. The line about shofars sounding from the Temple Mount is a reference to an event that actually took place on 7 June.
THE NY CANTORS
Three amazingly talented young cantors, already rising stars on the world Jewish music scene, are brought together in Amsterdam's revered 17th century Portuguese Synagogue for a concert of Jewish sacred and secular music. The New York Cantors, all serving synagogues in New York, are: Brooklyn-born Yaakov (Yanky) Lemmer, Cantor of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, Azi Schwartz, a native of Israel and Cantor at New York's Park Avenue Synagogue. and Netanel Hershtik, also Israeli-born and Cantor at The Hampton Synagogue, Westhampton Beach, New York. Some of the most beautiful songs in the Jewish musical history are prayers sung by cantors during shabbat services. For this concert these ancient songs have been given splendid new arrangements by the accomplished Dutch composer/arranger Bob Zimmerman. The program also includes favorite secular songs evoking memories of Jewish tradition and its rich musical culture, as well as music with a nod to Broadway. Maestro Jules van Hessen and his 34-piece orchestra and 8-voice male choir support the concert recorded under a thousand live candles in one of the most architecturally and historically famous synagogues in the world. The New York Cantors concert reprises an earlier project for PBS in the same synagogue, Cantors, A Faith in Song. That ground-breaking recording became a popular staple of PBS station programming for Jewish holidays and fund-raising drives for years following its premiere in 2003






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Shlomi Shabbat - Jerusalem (video)







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May 20, 2020

Headline of the Day

Abbas: PA no longer bound by accords with Israel and US, including on security


  -- Times of Israel

This is the most underwhelming announcement ever...




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which came first? the chicken or the egg...

Rav Shalom Ber Sorotzkin was given permission to open his yeshiva without the limitations of the "capsules" as it has been over the past couple of weeks.

Rav Sorotzkin gave a drasha in the yeshiva and said some very nice things to his talmidim about them being chosen to be first to open fully...

The interesting part is that Rav Sorotzkin said took the credit for the end of Corona by saying that as soon as his yeshiva opened, the pandemic finished.

That is like the question of which came first - the chicken or the egg? Did the yeshiva open because the pandemic was over or is the pandemic over because the yeshiva opened? Maybe it does not matter, and let each person think what he wants about it.

And, to be fair, the pandemic isnt quite over. People are still sick and dying from it, even in Israel, even if the numbers are going down. Hopefully it is really on the way out, but we don't really know for sure.





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Pindrus bad mazal strikes again

Remember Yitzchak Pindrus? I once described Pindrus as having the worst mazal ever...

Everything was looking set for Yitzchak Pindrus to get into the Knesset in the very near future. The coalition agreement included a clause for the Norwegian law to be passed very quickly. That would allow Ministers and Deputy Minisrters to resign from the Knesset, pushing people further down the party lists higher up and into the Knesset to replace those retired Ministers. And if the Minister or Deputy Minister should ever lose his portfolio, he automatically goes back to his former seat in the Knesset, pushing his replacements back down to their original positions.

Pindrus was slated to move into the Knesset, with Meir Porush and/or Yaakov Litzman resigning. Despite some little spat within UTJ that was threatening implementation of the Norwegian Law by UTJ candidates, the entire Norwegian Law is now on hold because of a dispute between Kachol Lavan and Likud as to how it will be implemented. With the Norwegian law being suspended. Yitzchak Pindrus once again gets stuck at the door of the Knesset.

They might work out a solution at some point and get the law passed, but for now it is on hold, and the bad mazal of Yitzchak Pindrus strikes again.






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UnderDos: Buba Shel Minyan (video)







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Debate Jeremy Saltan vs Labor's Yoram Dori (May 19 2020) (video)







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Meet All Star Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 27 Mevaseret Tzion B (video)







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Oseh Shalom / Salam mashup (video)







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May 19, 2020

Facebook Status of the Day







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