Apr 29, 2021

the modern day King Solomon splitting of the baby

Ah, Ponevezh Yeshiva.

I don't know what you did to end up like this. 

Actually that reminds me that last week I saw an article about some Chabad activist who says he does know how Ponevezh ended up like this, and it is because in Ponevezh they publicly attacked and shamed the Lubavitcher Rebbe, so it is the one yeshiva where the boys treat the rosh yeshivas with no respect and throw yogurt at them. Is he right or wrong, I dont know - that is above my pay grade, but that is what he said. 

Over the past weeks the fighting in Ponevezh Yeshiva has heated up again and intensified. Videos were seen of boys physically attacking rish yeshivas, pushing and hitting, throwing yogurts, shtenders, etc.. I don't know, or care, what they are fighting about, nor do I remember which group is who - they call the two groups the "sonim" and the "mechablim" - the haters and the terrorists. Not overly positive names.

So they have been fighting again and now the police are involved. The police brought the two sides together to seek out a compromise, warning them that if no compromise is reached the police will shut down the entire institution for a month (including over Shavuos).

Obviously each side blames the other for causing the uptick in violence and for refusing to compromise.

Kikar is reporting that the "sonim" are claiming that before corona their faction held most of the seats in the main sanctuary and their demand is to continue the previous arrangement, but in order to prevent the yeshiva from being shut down they are willing to compromise on splitting it 50-50. They say they are waiting for a response fomr the other side but expect it to be refused - this would cause a problem for the sonim as their beis medrash would be shut down leaving them no place to learn but the mechablim actually have another beis medrash to use. 

So the mechablim will reject the offer just to get the beis medrash shut down for the sonim while they have an alternative solution for themselves.

The "mechablim" are claiming that the sonim are using their connections with the police and the entire suggestion of closing down the yeshiva to force a compromise was suggested by the sonim and shutting down Ponevezh has never happened - it functions 24 hours a day.

It is not for me to determine who is right and who is wrong. I don't think I can even suggest the two factions part ways if they can't live with each other, because there is probably a lot of money and prestige involved and it would need to be determined who retains the rights to the building and property and everything inside along with use of the name.

I also don't understand why the students are fighting over this. Where is the adult leadership? Where are the rosh yeshivas in this? Why don't they get an objective arbitrator, another outside rosh yeshiva, or a beis din, to sit down and make a decision regarding whatever issues they are fighting about? WHy are the students leading the battle here?

So, while the fighting continues and the threat of the police shutting them down hangs over their heads, all that's left is that the compromise discussion reminded of the story of King Solomon sitting in judgement over the two mothers, each claiming the live baby is hers and the dead baby is of the other woman. The one that was ok with splitting the baby was determined to not be the actual mother of the live baby as no mother would do that - she would give the baby away before splitting it.






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replaced by a pig

Back in the day, specifically the initial lockdown a year ago, the streets were so empty of human traffic, foot or vehicular, that all sorts of wildlife were seen entering cities and wandering around, maybe looking for food or entertainment... in some places this continued much longer, to different degrees, even though people were out and about, it was still much quieter than normal and more welcoming for the animals.

I must note that this was not unique to Israel. This phenomenon was happening in places all around the world.

In Haifa, and other cities in northern Israel, they were plagued by wild boar roaming the city. The boar have remained until now, perhaps in smaller numbers and likely with decreasing frequency. I happened to be in Haifa one day this week and did not notice any, but the news has reported on the phenomenon that continues to this day.

It seems though that these wild boar are not just a nuisance, knocking over garbage cans, frightening children, digging up gardens and the like. They are also replacing husbands - well, at least one.

Mako is reporting that a couple in Haifa have registered for divorce over one of these wild boar. 


The Husband, a man in his forties, and his wife of 17 years, are splitting up. He claims that she has chosen the wild boar over him. They come into the garden, which they have destroyed, and she encourages them by feeding them.

He is upset that they have destroyed the garden, but he is also frightened that one day it might attack him. Not only that but he claims that she refused to let him have pets like a parakeet, but now she is letting the wild boar into the garden and taking care of them.

He says he brought in a professional to get rid of them and prevent them from coming in to their garden, but she refused to allow the work to be done.

She says she likes the animals and if he cannot live with them he is welcome to leave.

the beis din sent them to "shalom bayit" to work this out and attempt to prevent a divorce.

It can't feel good to be replaced by a wild boar.

source: Mako



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doing away with anti-semitism

In what might be one of the most important changes to the English language of the entire century, yawn, the AP Stylebook has announced that the word antisemite and its variants (antisemitism, antisemitic, etc) will no longer be capitalized or hyphenated.




Way to go.

If only we could do away completely with all the antisemitism and not just the hyphen inside it. 





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be responsible

Yesterday the CoronaVirus Czar, Nachman Ash, said that while they decided not to put limitations on the numbers of people allowed to go to Meron and Kever Rashbi for Lag B'Omer, each person should take responsibility for himself and keep in mind that infected people (who have not been tested) might be there walking around - each person should consider that and decide for himself to go or not to go, and how to behave while there.

Fair enough.

And even though I saw some Haredi talking heads complain about this general warning, pointing out that nobody made any similar warnings regarding the Muslims on Har Habayit for Ramadan, etc, I think the warning is fair. I see nothing wrong with reminding people to be responsible.

That being said, maybe some other people can use a similar reminder....

According to Ynet, the limits on public transportation were officially lifted this morning (even though they were mostly not enforced all along). According to Ynet the buses are jam packed, filled with people.

I have no problem with that. The rules are the rules. If it has been determined that it is time that it is safe enough to lift the restrictions, so be it. Pack 'em in like sardines just like we used to. If you need to use public transportation, just eb aware of the situation and take that into account. If you have no other choice or if you are fine with it, if you are vaccinated or recovered and don't really care, gei gezunt. If you are concerned, for whatever reason, be aware of what you might encounter when the bus arrives, and plan ahead.






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Apr 28, 2021

blocking roads on way to Meron

I am not sure if this is quite like "cutting off your nose to spite your face", but it can't be too far off.

A yeshiva bochur was arrested yesterday by Kever Rashbi (people go camp out there early before Lag B'Omer in order to make sure they get in, to get a good spot, etc) - he was arrested for never having appeared before the IDF draft board to get his army deferral/exemption. Essentially he was AWOL.

The Peleg people are now threatening to hold hafganot and block roads tomorrow afternoon/evening on roads leading to Meron. 

Tomorrow night is Lag B'Omer and tends of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people will be travelling to Meron from all around the country to celebrate by Kever Rashbi. Hafganot on the roads leading to Meron will be devastating.

Additionally, they say that Rav Shimon Bar Yochai who was persecuted by the government for learning Torah will be there for anyone being moser nefesh to learn Torah today in Eretz Yisrael. 

That's a funny comparison. Especially in the defense of someone who gave up learning Torah a couple days early to go hang out by Kever Rashbi instead of just going up Thursday night or Friday morning and spending these days learning Torah.

A reporter from Hamechadesh has reported (on the Hamoked News whatsapp broadcast), though it isnt on their site yet, that the Eida Hachareidis is upset by this threat of a protest by the Peleg while people are trying to get to Meron. The Eida has said they have no problem with them protesting on Friday, on the way back from Meron, but in no way will they allow Peleg to protest on Thursday night. Sounds reasonable - protest and create unreasonable traffic jams on Friday when people are trying to get home for Shabbos. 









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Picture of the Day




I don't know if this is picture of the day or weird story of the day.

According to the report, someone tried to bring his horse into the elevator of a [luxury] apartment building in Tel Aviv. He and his friend were arrested, though I am not quite sure why. TOI says he was suspected of having abused the horse. Just because he tried to bring the horse into the building it was abuse? The other guy was violating his house arrest, so bad on him.

In his defense the owner says he was going to visit a friend and didn't want to leave his horse outside, where it might be stolen. He did not see a sign saying it is illegal to bring a horse in, so he assumed it is ok..

He should have tied his horse up by the local saloon.









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Rav Don Segal says there won't be a government

Rav Don Segal, aka "One of the Mashgichim" made an unusual statement today. 

He said, reportedly, that "the wicked ones will not succeed in forming a government. You think there will be a government? I am telling you there will not be a government. How do I know? The gemara in Sanhedrin says that Rav Chama Bar Chanina stated that mashiach wont come until the petty government is ended in Israel. Rashi explains that they won't have even a a light or weak rule in Israel.

from his mouth to God's ears. I hope it is a sign of mashiach's impending arrival. If it is, then all this chaos may have been worth it. And hopefully this will all be resolved soon and not take another 50 or 100 or 1000 years of hatred and fighting with unending election cycles before Mashiach comes. Hopefully it will be within weeks or even months...

I am not quite sure use of the term "wicked" was necessary to make his point, but ok.







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Apr 27, 2021

Picture of the Day




This afternoon traffic got backed up on Highway 1 as horses somehow were galloping loose on the highway alongside the cars. Police shut down the road for a bit as they tried to corral the horses. They should have hired some cowboys....

Not quite the mustang you expect to see while driving on a highway...




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Iran or Kerry

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Zarif, said that John Kerry told him details of Israeli strikes on Syria at least 200 times back in the day when he was President Obama's Secretary of State.

Everyone had a field day with that, which led to Kerry issuing a statement of denial. Kerry denies ever having given such information to Iran, when he was Secretary of State and ever since.

Did Kerry leak the information or not? I don't know and I don't have anyway of knowing. I personally do not really trust any politician, almost ever - but especially when they are talking about top secret topics and their lies can almost definitely not be uncovered. As the old joke goes, how do you know when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving.

However, getting upset at Kerry over this means you trust the Iranian politician to be telling the truth. While I might not trust Kerry as far as I can throw him, I would trust the Iranian guy (especially on the topic of Israel) even less.











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Quote of the Day

I will use the opportunity [of being a member of the Knesset Finance Committee] very well to safeguard the interests of the public and to fight for a fair society and a just economy. The chairman, MK Moshe Gafni has 20 years history of a complicated relationship with me. not surprisingly, the skies did not fall when he gave me the right to speak. With a full heart I wished him success.

  -- MK Gilad Kariv (Labor)

this is one of those relationships that is going to be interesting to watch in the Knesset. Hopefully the elections that will come sooner or later won't rob us of this opportunity..



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Guri Alfi's The New Jew, Episode 3: the Future (video)

I had no expectation of enjoying this series as much as I am. I think this adventure, this exploration, of Alfi's is really fabulous and fascinating. I did not know some of these forms or versions of Judaism even existed.... 






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Saving Vilna (video)

someone sent this to me for posting. I do not know the details beyond what is presented here, in addition to what the person sent to me, which will be posted under the clip...

Truthfully, these countries have so much empty land, I never understand why they have to build these things over cemeteries rather than in some other patch of land that is actually not in use....



The Lithuanian government is on the verge of destroying a Jewish cemetery in Vilna, Lithuania.



A shocking act of Antisemitism is about to be played out.  A state-owned Lithuanian bank wishes to build a conference center on a Jewish Holy Site, a cemetery with over 50,000 graves in Vilnius, Lithuania. This is the site on which the Vilna Gaon was initially buried together with thousands of legendary Torah scholars. You can watch a short video to see the tragedy which is unfolding, at this link: https://youtu.be/N9Dp0Q2uOk8

There is much you can do to help prevent this.

1) Schedule a Zoom call with with to us to find out more information, at https://pw06p.youcanbook.me
2) Sign the petition at: https://savevilna.org/petition
3) Write a one-line communication objecting to the proposed "Vilnius Congress Centre" addressed to the below listed politicians who are part of the desecration. 
a) The Prime Minister of the Lithuania

Honorable Ingrida Šimonytė

ingrida.simonyte@lrs.lt

b) Minister of Culture

Honorable Simonas Kairys

dmm@lrkm.lt

c) Mayor of Vilnius 

Honorable Remigijus Šimašius

remigijus.simasius@vilnius.lt





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street survey with Oded Menashe: how is the government doing in its response to terror from Gaza? (video)








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Kids Try a Jewish Grandma’s Favorite Recipes | HiHo Kids (video)







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Tatty My King - Benny Friedman (video)







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Apr 26, 2021

homosexual marital burial plot victory

I know chevra kadishas, at least in religious cemeteries or in religious sections of cemeteries, are generally careful to not bury an unrelated man and woman next to each other. Spouses are definitely buried next to each other, and I think siblings can be as well, though sometimes the logistics can get difficult as they try to avoid burying a woman between two men or a man between two women.

I must say that I never heard that two men cannot be buried next to each other. That is normal practice in cemeteries. For example, in a row of graves they will not bury (assuming spouses) man, woman, man, woman, man, woman, etc but will bury woman, man, man, woman, woman, man, man, woman, etc. And except for being buried next to each other there is no declaration of them being spouses or whatnot. What is written on the gravestone is a private matter unrelated to the chevra kadisha and the selection of a plot for burial.

The LGBTQ community is raising a flag of victory of sorts. In Rishon Letzion they succeeded in getting what they consider recognition from the chevra kadisha, for the first time ever, for a homosexual couple to be considered married to be buried next to each other. 

A young man died of cancer, after battling it for a few years. His spouse wanted him to be buried with the adjacent plot reserved for himself as his spouse. They specifically had discussed the desire for Jewish burial, together as a couple but assumed the chevra kadisha would not allow it. They were prepared to go for civilian burial, if necessary, but explicitly preferred Jewish burial.

They were surprised the chevra kadisha allowed it, and had a full religious burial with kaddish and everything, and the adjacent plot is reserved for the spouse.
source: Mynet Rishon

I am happy they found peace and their grief was not turned into a religious battle, but I am also not sure what the big victory is. There is nothing wrong with two men being buried next to each other and it happens all the time. I am not sure on what grounds the chevra kadisha could have prevented it or refused the request, even if they did not like the optics. 




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Quote of the Day

The Arabs are Israeli citizens, at least for now..

  -- MK Betzalel Smotritch (Hatzionut Hadatit), in the Knesset Arrangements Committee during the discussion about forming a new committee to be headed by MK Mansour Abbas (Raam) to be called The Committee for Arab Issues.




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more on the jerusalem Jewish goy

Since yesterday's post about the Haredi family in Jerusalem that were really missionaries, much more information has come out and been made public. I posted some links in the comments section of yesterday's post, and you can check those links out for more details and information.

What I wanted to add here, after being in touch with people who knew the family personally and were even involved along the way with the discovery of the family's real identity, is that the entire story seems less dramatic than it initially sounded or as the news made it out to be.

First, Mr Fraud, Michael Elkohen, was learning in a kabbalist yeshiva and claimed to be a cousin of Baba Sali. That is pretty funny. I wonder if he was aiming to turn himself into a Baba like the rest of the family and make millions off the family name.



The anti-missionary organizations knew about them for a while and were not overly concerned. Maybe because they were not actively missionizing. I do not fully understand because even without the missionary work they were non-Jews posing as Jews and should have been outed. Perhaps they served treif food to friends and to community members (ie guests for Shabbos, shalach manos, meal train participation, etc). While it might not be the worst prohibition in the Torah, at minimum anyone who ate their food was eating bishul akum even if the food was not actual treif. So the organizations seem to have known but were not overly concerned.

It seems he was sofer but never wrote a torah and the mezuzas and tefillin he wrote were not sold publicly but were written for his messianic community. Also he was not a public mohel but only circumcised his children. I am not sure all this information is 100% true - if a friend asked him to do a bris, would he always have said no? If a friend asked for tefillin or a mezuza would he always have said no? If we knew he was writing for messianics all along, how was he not exposed earlier? It sounds strange but it also sounds like his influence, in the sense of being a messianic and missionary, was very minimal.

The worst of it seems to be the deception on a personal and communal level. They made friendships, they used that to raise money from friends, all based on a false persona created by deception. That hurts people who were their friends.


   




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Netanyahu can't give the premiership away

The news has been reporting that PM Netanyahu (or someone on his behalf) offered (or floated the idea that) Aryeh Deri might be Prime Minister for an initial term of 1 year and only after that will Netanyahu serve as Prime Minister in a rotation agreement. (Deri says he is not interested, though I don't know why not)

Another proposal reported on is that of Netanyahu trying to sway Benny Gantz to join his coalition with Gantz's 8 mandates, in exchange for a rotation agreement, but this time Gantz would serve as Prime Minister first. Gantz supposedly said no, though I don't know why. I guess that ship has sailed.

Another idea discussed has been having someone else form the Likud, maybe Yariv Levin, serve as Prime Minister first, in order to form a coalition, and then after a year switch to Netanyahu.

Basically, Netanyahu seems willing to offer the position of Prime Minister, and first in a rotation arrangement, to almost anyone with a pulse other than Naftali Bennett.


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it looks like issued lockdown fines might be canceled

MK Moshe Arbel (Shas) has approached the Ministry of Justice with a request to cancel all fines given for people leaving their homes beyond the allowed distance during the October lockdown.

 The Supreme Court already ruled that all fines given during the October lockdown to people who left their homes beyond the permitted distance to participate in a protest must be canceled. The right to protest is a basic right in a democracy and the people should not be fined for it.  Arbel has petitioned the Ministry to equate people leaving their homes for the purpose of prayer to that Supreme Court decision and any fines given to people who left their homes for the purpose of prayer should be canceled retroactively.

According to Kol Hai News, the Ministry of Justice is considering the request, and is also considering canceling all fines from that lockdown (for leaving home beyond permitted distance). The reason for this consideration is that the police do not have accurate information on the fines and who got fined for what exactly and why they had been beyond the permitted distance. 

Arbel is also requesting that should these fines get canceled, anybody who already paid the fine should get his money back. And obviously anyone in the process of legal issues because of the fines (ie added interest, collection agency, hotzaa lapoel, etc) should be released form all that with it canceled.

We all knew it was coming. Nothing surprising here. Break the rules, don't pay the fines and the politicians will get it canceled for you. The rest of us are freiers, suckers, but that's ok, and we knew it already anyway. 

 





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The New Jew, by Guri Alfi, Ep 2: Shades of Jew (video)







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Palestinians: Who will win the 2021 [Palestinian] elections? (video)







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#53: Behind Behind the Bima (video)







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Hatzala Beit Shemesh (video)



Hatzala Beit Shemesh from Menachem Schloss on Vimeo.





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Apr 25, 2021

Interesting Psak: responsible for her death

The recent tragic incident in which a young woman died of an allergic reaction to dairy after accidentally being served dairy whip in a fleishig restaurant, led to a discussion regarding the culpability of the restaurant owner.

 The question is if the owner is responsible for her death, from a halachic (rather than legal) perspective, or if an allergy to this extreme that would cause death is so rare that it is not something he could, or should, have anticipated and would be considered an "oness" that he is not responsible for.


The question was posted to Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq. Rav Zilbershtein said that it seems because he made a mistake regarding the ice cream (or whip, depending on the version of the story) and that mistake was not considered an "oness", an accident, but negligence, so he can also be blamed for what happened as a result of that. He cannot claim oness because the mistake that led to the death was negligence not oness.
source: Hamechadesh

Just to note, as almost always, different rabbonim will see this differently. I heard a shiur on Shabbos that dealt with this question based on the information we know of the incident. The rav, to put it briefly, concluded that the restaurant owner would not be responsible for her tragic death, as the allergy to this extreme to cause death is too rare and is not something he could or should expect and take precautions against. 



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Picture of the Day



an IDF office in Hebron is protecting a Palestinian woman from stones being thrown by [Palestinian] protesters






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The Jerusalem Jew who is really a goy

Have you heard the old story of of the goy who bought the community's chametz for Pesach and then turned out to be a Jew?

What about the story, joke actually, of the fellow learning in yeshiva with his chavrusa for 15 years and then one day tells his chavrusa he isn't Jewish. What do you mean you are not Jewish - you have been learning in yeshiva and learn as well as anyone else! Well, I love the learning, it is academic and intellectually stimulating, but I am not Jewish.  What do you mean you are not Jewish - you eat only food with the best, most stringent, hechsherim!? I like the food, no problem. What do you mean you are not Jewish - we know a goy that keeps Shabbos is punishable by death, and I have seen for 15 years how strict you are in your Shabbos observance!? Well, actually I make sure to keep something in my pocket, so whenever I go outside I am actually carrying, so I never kept Shabbos. But there is an eruv! You think I hold of the good for nothing Rabbi's eruv? He doesn't know enough halacha to make a kosher eruv!

Well, this is not a joke or a laughing matter, but this incident in Jerusalem did remind me of that joke.

The Haredi community in Givat Hatzarfatit, French Hill, in Jerusalem was rocked when it turned out that a local well known family of immigrants form the United States were actually Christians, not Jewish. They were embedding themselves in the community to eventually missionize to Christianity. They got in with forged paperwork and settled in French Hill in Jerusalem and lived there for years as frum jews and pillars of the community. Mr Fraud was known well as a kohen, redeeming first born sons, along with duchaning and all the other kohen stuff. Additionally he officiated at weddings. He worked as a sofer stam, writing tefillin and mezuzos for people. The children went to the local schools, the cheider and bais yaakov. Mrs Fraud claimed to be the child of Holocaust survivors.

And he is, they are, actually goyim.

It seems their plans got thwarted somewhat when Mrs Fraud got sick with cancer. They raised a lot of money from the community during her illness and after her death, and put their plans on hold, so continued to go mostly undetected. 

Somehow the fraud was recently discovered and Mr Fraud admitted the deception. 

According to Behadrei, this was discovered a little while back but was kept quiet so he would not disappear while they tried to work with the authorities on getting their citizenship revoked. It seems that now he stopped sending his kids to school and have disappeared so they are publicizing this to prevent him from just moving to a different community that might be unsuspecting.

That is a crazy story. Their names and pictures should be publicized, so if they do move to another community, the community will be ale to find out who they really are. 

To think of all those children who will need to be redeemed again, along with people who got married by him especially if he acted at times as a witness. The tefillin and mezuzos he wrote that are invalid that people bought and are using.

Wow



 

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Headlines Podcast: 4/24/21 – Show 319 – Sefirah and Lag Baomer - All you need to know (audio)







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Episode 1 of Guri Alfi's series "The New Jew" (video)

Guri Alfi spent a year traveling between various Jewish communities in the United States, meeting different types of Jews and having different types of experiences.. here is episode 1







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street survey with oded Menashe: should Hatzionut Hadatit sit with Raam? (video)







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where's Effie? this time with Ichud Hatzala (video)







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Apr 22, 2021

Interesting Psak: Bring the Children to shul!

Technically right now in Israel shuls are open according to the Green Passport guidelines - only people vaccinated or recovered are allowed in. And in shuls numbers of people are limited, with the requirement of distancing and mask wearing.

I dont know any national numbers, but from what I see and what i have heard from other people, my impression is that in many/most Haredi shuls Corona is treated mostly as being behind us,  with children being allowed in, masks not enforced, etc. in National Religious shuls it seems to be keeping mostly with the rules of the Health Ministry, and because of that many are still having outdoor minyanim, because the children cannot go to shul.

A National Religious-affiliated shul representative posed a question to Rav Aryeh Stern, former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, asking what to do with the children, if the rules of the Health Ministry should still be adhered to or if they should now be brought back to shul even against the rules.

Rav Stern replied saying that after seeing what is happening now in the streets of Jerusalem, we should immediately open the shuls to children under 16, and it is crucial.

It is unacceptable that all restrictions on children in schools have now been lifted, and they can also go to malls and restaurants with everyone together, both adults and children, but only in shuls children are still not allowed.

Now that it is no longer cold, the children should be in shul, and the windows should be left open with distancing and masks worn.
source: Kipa

A confidante of the rav is quoted in Kikar saying that while by the Haredim this has been the situation already for a while, it is unusual among the Dati Leumi for an official call to act against the rules of the State.




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Facebook Status of the Day








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the bonfire problems of Lag B'Omer

While it seems that the issues with Lag B'Omer in Meron have largely been resolved, there are still some general complications.

In some cities, including Bet Shemesh, the city administration has instructed the relevant departments to dismantle and remove bonfires that have been built around town, and that has already begun to happen. 


Additionally, the administration of the Firefighting Authorities, or whatever they call themselves, has just signed an order banning all bonfires around the country for Lag B'Omer due to potential danger, as extremely hot and dry weather is expected. Some locations have been explicitly excepted from the order, including Kever Rashbi in Meron, but in general, bonfires will not be allowed. (source: Ynet)

And, Rav Davidovitz, a rav in RBS and the rav in charge of the eruvs of Bet Shemesh, has explained another problem caused by the bonfires. Rav Davidovitz says, and shows, that many bonfires have been placed under or very near to eruv wires. The heat from the fire, if not the fire itself, will melt and destroy many of the wires. 

With Lag B'Omer being Thursday night this year, that will make it very difficult for his team of eruv maintenance people to fix the eruv before Shabbos. There just will not be enough time. Rav Davidovitz says they will do their best and repair whatever is necessary and hopefully will have everything ready in time, but parents should help out by having the children build their bonfires further away from the eruv wires.  

With the order being signed by the fire people to prohibit bonfires, Rav Davidovitz's issue might actually no longer be a problem...











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Yehuda Meshi Zahav's suicide note

The Yehuda Meshi Zahav situation, which went from bad to worse, from horrific to tragic, was one that I did not really have anything to say about. What he was accused of was horrible, the supposed cover up, for years, was horrible, and if true everyone involved should be punished harshly.

Today's suicide attempt that left him in critical condition added an element to the story. As if the family has not suffered enough, now they have this painful incident to deal with as well.

But now somehow his suicide note has been leaked to the news media. 


in his note he says he has already received his punishment. he implores people to remember the good he did, and to always remember what he himself forgot - there is a watching eye, a hearing ear and all your actions are written in a book. He signed the note saying I always loved you and am very embarrassed.

When I first saw this a short while ago, I had two initial immediate thoughts.

My first thought was to wonder why this is not a personal family matter and why was this released to the public. How dare the police publicize this, unless they got permission from the family - but if so, the release should include that information, that the family chose to publicize it.

A short while later Meshi Zahav's lawyer put out a statement claiming this note is fake and it is not his signature or handwriting. So, if true. that is just cruel on the part of whoever put it out - not cruel to Yehuda Meshi Zahav. I dont care about him, but his family did not do anything wrong and they are suffering enough. There is no need or benefit in being cruel to his family.

My second initial thought was to wonder, if the suicide note is not a fake, could this be used as evidence of guilt, an admission, in court, should he survive. or should his victims choose to sue his estate for damages if he dies.






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good job Smotritch

MK Betzalel Smotritch (Hatzionut Hadatit) deserves some praise.

The other day an agunah situation was being dealt with in beis din. It was going on for a long time unresolved, when both parties requested the presence of Smotritch. This person had held out for a long time and had already been dealt sanctions by the beis din for refusing to give the get - he had his license revoked and had undergone public shaming. It seems he recently agreed to give the get but then turned it into a financial dispute, seemingly over what to do with the joint apartment. 

In order to resolve the dispute, Smotritch agreed to sign as a guarantor for the sum of 650,000nis.
source: Hamechadesh

Whatever the exact details of the case were, and they were not really made available to the public so we don't really know, Smotritch got involved and personally put himself at risk in order to resolve the situation and help the aguna get her get.

I have no idea why both the husband and wife asked for Smotritch, of all people. And helping one person in such a situation is not the same as setting policy that will help all such situations, but helping one person, while putting himself at risk, is still more than most others are doing. 




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dressed up as a woman to avoid arrest

Sometimes arrests are funny.

The police have been conducting raids in Mea Shearim recently in order to arrest troublemakers who have been violent in recent protests against the expansion of the light rail line.

One of the arrests made the other day was of a young man, a boy.


This person arrested - I dont know how old he is but in his pictures that I saw he looks pretty young - saw the police coming and ran to hide and conceal himself. He did so by putting on a dress and tichel.
sources: Ynet, Kikar

Besides for that he lied several times about his name, giving the police different names at different times. In the video of him being led away he is laughing and joking. He looks like a kid who makes trouble and just has a good time doing it. The kind of kid who is just looking for some action.

Funny that he went to hide and threw on a dress and tichel. Funny that he didn't have a problem with the issur of "lo tilbash" - wearing women's clothing. Such a frum guy, labeled a religious zealot and extremist, protesting the light rail that might cause their neighborhood to change somewhat, but no problem with an actual halachic issue.

Still, a humorous, and ironic, incident.

I do wonder if the frum publication will post his picture in their newspapers. On the one hand he was dressed up like a woman and they do not publish pictures of women. On the other hand, he is not a woman but a man, and publishing his picture should be ok. I wonder which way they would decide such a situation. 




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interview in Knesset with MK Moshe Abutbol (video)

Abutbol always gives an interesting interview, but I don't know why he has to keep screaming instead of just talking with the interviewer





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MODI at Stand Up New York (video)

funny, but he swears a little bit....







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INSIDE DESTROYED ISIS VILLAGE IN IRAQ (Hassan Sham, Kurdistan) (video)








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street survey with Oded Menashe: how well are the police doing in dealing with recent incidents of Arab attacks (video)







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Malchus Choir with Bentzi Klatzkin: Kol Oilam : Shochein Ad: vocali (video)







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Apr 21, 2021

Netanyahu on broken promises

Netanyahu is angry right now and criticizing Bennett for clearly breaking a campaign promise, the document he signed on live television.

1. It is always fun when Netanyahu criticizes others for breaking campaign promises.

2. the document signed by Bennett on national television was an agreement. As far as I can recall, Netanyahu never added his signature to the agreement. I don't think Bennett remains obligated to it.

3. Bennett has not [yet?] formed a government with the Left. He might yet one day, but he ha snot broken any campaign promises at this point. he could have gone with Lapid, but in the meantime has given Netanyahu the opportunity to form a government. If Netanyahu continues to fail to do so, that is on Netanyahu, not Bennett.




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new production at the Kotel

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is releasing a new attraction in the Kotel area. in time for Yom Yerushalayim. 

The new center is called "The Chain of Generations" and uses unique advanced technology. The technology takes you through 6 different underground chambers under the Kotel and is accompanied with musical productions by Evyatar Banai and Asaf Amdorski.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is now reopening the Kotel Tunnels, after a year of being closed due to the Corona situation, and along with it this new production.

This new production takes the viewer through the generations of families and the connection of the Jewish people with faith, hope, responsibility and memories throughout history. 

For now this production is only in Hebrew but will eventually be available in English as well. Spots can be reserved on the Kotel website and calling the heritage center at *5959, and is according to the Tav Yarok guidelines (vaccination card or recuperation document, etc)

enjoy!

source: Israel Hayom




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Quote of the Day

The dream is to establish the kingdom of the Jewish nation in its land. the dream is of the return of the Jewish nation to its land, to its independence and to its language. The dream of the Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael. That is what they all dreamed about and fought for throughout the generations. They did not dream about "a state of all its citizens", and they did not dream about "the only democracy in the Middle East".

  MK Avi Maoz (Noam (faction of Religious Zionism) ), in his inaugural Knesset speech



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Picture of the Day

photo credit: Avi Parshan 2021


they are protesting the construction of a new "kosher phone" store

the signs say life is only blissful without internet and movies. In smaller text it adds that this includes filtered Internet and protected phones.

I must say, their lives don't look overly blissful. At least not noticeably more blissful than anyone else's. And if their lives are so blissful, why are they out protesting?

the hardhats are a cute touch... 



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Apr 20, 2021

saved from the shave


An Orthodox Hassidic Jewish sailor in the US Navy, aboard Aircraft Carrier Theodore Roosevelt, has been fighting for an exemption from shaving. he wants to keep his beard for religious reasons.

You can read about the history and the back and forth between the sailor, Edmund De Liscia, his commanders and the courts in these military websites.


Interestingly, the court ordered a temporary restraining order until the end of the month. That means his commanders cannot force him right now to shave, and it seems a decision will be taken by the end of the month. 

Which means, that however this turns out for the long term, at least until after Lag B'Omer he won't have to shave, so at least he gets saved from shaving during Omer this year.

hmmmmm...





 

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SHARK! GET OUT OF THE WATER!

SHARK! GET OUT OF THE WATER!

now that it is beach season in Israel, I always think of that old line from Jaws! 

Especially when shark season arrives.

Sharks in Israel?

Yessir.

We don't [yet?] get Great White sharks or Bull sharks or Tiger sharks, but we do get sharks. At least in recent years. 

Tens of sharks tend to swim in the shallow waters off the coast of Hadera, due to the warm water from the local power station.

And Israelis love to go check them out and swim with them.

The Nature and Parks Authority recently put out a warning that people should not go, as these are wild and unpredictable animals. Even if they normally do not cause harm to humans, at any time that could change for unknown reasons.

Yet Israelis still go.

According to Algemeiner, these sharks are about 13 feet in length and weigh 770 pounds. That makes me wonder if somehow Chabad is involved or behind this in some way.

Ynet has some cool pictures of this as well, and says the authorities are looking into closing off the area to keep people away and out of potential danger..





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anger at Smotritch

There has been a lot of criticism and anger, or as they say, shade being thrown at Betzalel Smotritch and Itamar Ben Gvir for their strong position against a coalition relying on the Arab party Raam led by Mansour Abbas. 

Smotritch and Ben Gvir's strong position has led to difficulties in coalition negotiations along with yesterday's embarrassing results in Knesset to the Right bloc.

Smotritch and Ben Gvir are an ideological party. They are not a ruling party that has to be flexible with its partners and positions. Anyone who voted for them did so very much because of this style of their party. If they wanted a wishy washy right wing party that was flexible on "right" issues, they could have voted Bennett or Likud instead of Smotritch. They voted Smotritch because this is the style and approach they support. 

Anybody upset at Smotritch and Ben Gvir for not being flexible and thereby hurting the Right is in la la land. I have no idea what they were expecting. This is the modus operandi of Smotritch and Ben Gvir. They are not going to change their beliefs, ideals and positions just because it is hurting the Right bloc. Without their positions, they aren't any different than Bennett or Netanyahu and can shut their parties and merge with Likud or Yamina.

More ironic is that ideological parties like UTJ (and Shas) have come out publicly most critical of Smotritch - even harsher than the Likud. UTJ has spoken very harshly about Smotritch's misplaced priorities, with 3 main points of criticism:
1.  lack of gratitude for Netanyahu working to get them past the threshold
2. having "stolen" votes from UTJ and then not supporting the Right and UTJ's position because of Abbas
3. not recognizing the bigger picture of being able to form a right wing government but sticking instead to their misplaced ideals.
4. prioritizing the Land of Israel (and not sitting with Arabs) over the Torah of Israel (ie by not compromising and allowing the government to form the Torah of Israel is being forsaken because a left wing anti-torah government will be formed)

This is largely disappointing.

My main disappointment in UTJ for this is that they are an idealistic party as well. UTJ would never compromise its ideals "for the greater good" or to accomplish something for someone else. Would UTJ say sure, draft the yeshiva bochurim because it will help us form a government? cut the yeshiva budgets, as doing so would help the Right form a government. We will agree to teach core curriculum studies in our yeshivas as doing so would help the coalition.

They would never do this. As an idealistic party, and a strong one at that, how dare they demand another party give up its ideals for the greater good. They would never be willing to and should not expect Smotritch to either.

Also, Smotritch did not steal UTJ votes. They mostly got back some of the votes that UTJ took from Smotritch in the previous elections. UTJ campaigned among the Chardal communities that normally support Smotritch. When it looked like Smotritch would not pass, the Chardal vote largely went to UTJ. Also the Ben Gvir vote. Now that people were fairly confident Smotritch and Ben Gvir would pass the threshold, they went back to voting for their natural party. Smotritch doesnt owe them anything. As if anyone owes anyone else anything for campaigning and winning over voters. Once again, UTJ shows that they think they own certain votes and voters, and anyone who persuades those voters to vote elsewhere owes a debt of gratitude for them. And, UTJ didnt donate those votes. Campaigns were held, voters were persuaded, and that's it.







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Meeting The Famous Mohammed Saud! (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) (video)







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where's Effie? in the Haredi vacation town, Bet Chilkiya (video)







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street survey with Oded Menashe: was the torch ceremony too political? (video)







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Lenny Solomon Live (video)









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Apr 19, 2021

Picture of the Day






I almost feel bad for PM Netanyahu. he suffered a crushing, and somewhat surprising, defeat this evening in the Knesset. Not only did he lose in his own vote for the Knesset Arrangements Committee with the Raam party voting against Netanyahu's proposal for the makeup of the committee, but then he lost when Raam voted in favor of Lapid's proposal for the committee.

Netanyahu had put so much into bringing Raam into the Likud coalition, at least as external support, and in the first relevant vote am voted twice against Netanyahu.

I don't know what Raam's game is. Did they just get a better, more attractive offer from Lapid? Have they been stringing Netanyahu along all this time and just playing him for a fool? Did they do this just to remind Netanyahu of the position they hold and are letting him know not to fool with them?





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Quote of the Day

We must advance the direct election. If Bennett will not support the direct election law, it is final that he is committed to the Left. It is absurd that Bennett will be Prime Minister

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu, at Likud meeting after concluding his meeting with MK Naftali Bennett






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Proposed Law: Direct Elections now

Here it comes. the law for direct elections that was discussed last night has been proposed. it is amazing how they can talk about the need for electoral reform for years, even decades, and do absolutely nothing about it, but when Netanyahu needs it to help him, they can come up with a detailed plan in five minutes.

So here is the proposed law, as submitted by MKs Michael Malkieli and Moshe Arbel (Shas). 

It should first be noted that this proposal is not for how future elections should be run on a new system that will avoid the current stalemate we find ourselves in. This is a proposal for right now, to get out of the stalemate immediately, despite being in the middle of a post-election process of forming a government.

Arbel and Malkieli proposed a law that would send Israel into elections again immediately - the actual election would be held within 30 days. This election would only be for the post of Prime Minister, and not for the Knesset spots and parties.

Anyone already elected to the 24th Knesset in the most recent elections would qualify and be able to run for Prime Minister in this direct election. To run though, each potential candidate would be first required to get the support of 20 MKs for the candidacy, and each MK can only support one candidate.

I am not sure why this clause is included, but they also would limit the voting to people who voted in the most recent election. If you did not vote this past March you won't be allowed to vote in this direct election. I mean, I know why they included this clause - so that the anti-Netanyahu camp cannot rally its voters better than last time to come out and vote against Netanyahu. What I do not get is how this could possibly be legal and constitutional (not that we have a constitution, but still...). If this law passes, which I cannot see happening, I cannot see how this clause will hold up.

The winning candidate would have to amass 40% of the votes or more. If no candidate reaches the 40% mark, or if it ends in a tie, a second round will be held within 14 days. The results of the direct election will be published within 8 days. As soon as results are announced, the elected Prime Minister will immediately be granted full authority of both the Prime Minister and of the Alternate Prime Minister. The winning candidate will have 90 days to form a coalition, and the President will not be involved in any way but this process will go through the Speaker of the Knesset.

Obviously some Opposition MKs have spoken out against this proposal. Likud MK Shlomo Karhi says this is not enough because it still does not help Netanyahu form a government, but a proposal he has mad ein the ppast would and this should be included. Karhi has proposed that the winning candidate will be granted an addition 10% of MKs to be in his coalition - another 12 MKs. sort of virtual MKs. The Knesset is made up of 120 MKs, and all 120 were elected in elections, but the winning candidate would get an extra 12 that do not actually exist and were not elected by the people, to ensure that the winner can form a coalition. Again, make things up just help Netanyahu.

I am not even sure why they don't just try to pass a law to forgo elections and say that the people have clearly chosen Netanyahu so we will declare him king and there is no need for the Knesset to form a supporting coalition or make Netanyahu keep running. The law should appoint Netanyahu as Prime Minister until he chooses to retire.

They must really know that such a law proposal has no way to pass. Not when they stack it so far in the favor of Netanyahu and make the entire process unfair and probably undemocratic. The entire thing might be an exercise in creating appearances of trying to help Netanyahu in any and every way possible, and if he still fails, it is on him and then his partners can feel free to graze in other pastures. I don't know what else could be behind such a ridiculous law proposal. 

Source: Maariv, and all the other news media


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