May 24, 2022

Mordechai Shapiro - Ashira (Official Video)







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May 23, 2022

Headlines Podcast: 5/21/22 Shiur – 371 – Roe v. Wade revisited - Should we be discussing it?| Impacts made by individuals – Recollections from the lives of Harav Nota Greenblatt Zt”l & Reb Zecharia Wallerstein Zt”l (audio)







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the politics of supporting the soldiers

this law under debate right now, from uniform to studies, in which the government would fund the a majority of the academic studies of soldiers after they leave the army, is interesting.

The government, at least the rightwing parties in it, want the Likud to support the bill so it will pass. The law is one supporting the soldiers, so the Likud should support it, and many in the Likud want to. The Likud though has to play politics, and they dont want to be seen as supporting this government, but they also dont want to be seen as voting against the soldiers. 

What makes it more complicated is that UTJ and Shas heard the calls within the Likud to support the bill and got all nervous. They threatened the Likud that if the Likud supports the bill, they will stop being loyal in Opposition to the Likud.

UTJ and Shas are now being accused as being "anti-soldier", which maybe they are in some ways, but really it is just politics. UTJ and Shas could have gotten plenty of things form this government had they played this type of politics, but they chose to stay loyal to the Likud and the Opposition and oppose the government, even when it hurt themselves in the short term. They see it as a longer term goal of opposing the government and coming back to power with more sway because they backed the Likud all along and stayed loyal. The Likud is in a bind. They cant vote against the soldiers, but they also cant turn their backs on their own most loyal partners.

And this is why, or at least one of the reasons, so many were upset with the Likud - they are beholden to Shas and UTJ and have to do whatever UTJ wants, even against their own interests. To be fair, Bennett is sort of in a similar position now with RAAM and Mansour Abbas, but the Likud has been doing this far longer and is inherently a far more powerful party that should not be beholden to the demands of smaller parties.


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A Jewish Community in Middle of an Arab Country 馃嚘馃嚜 (video)







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'Who By Fire': Leonard Cohen's surprising Yom Kippur War performance in Sinai (video)







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Shalva Band: Lift Your Eyes (video)








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May 22, 2022

our very own Big Gedalya Goomber





amazing! kol hakavod to Amare/Yehoshafat!


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Take 2 with Shloimi Steinmetz (video)







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A new father clashes with the rabbi at his baby's rite of passage ceremony. | The Mohel (video)

huh?




James is jubilant with the birth of his new son. But now he has to arrange for his son's bris, flying in a "mohel" -- a trained and ordained Jew in the covenant of "brit milah," or circumcision -- at his own expense. But when the rabbi arrives, he disapproves of his wife Lola, who isn't as traditional as he'd like. And when the rabbi refuses to offer his final certificate of the ceremony, he confronts the limit of religion and his place within it. Written and directed by Charles Wohl, this short drama captures the intersection of family life with the larger cultural, social and religious structures that surround it. Shot with a gently muted naturalism, the result is an intimately calibrated, engrossing insight into how these institutions perpetuate themselves, exerting power in the most precious and vulnerable family events. Excellent writing, performances and direction offer economical but sharply observant characterizations that pack a lot of knowledge and meaning in a short amount of time. As James navigates the ins and outs of arranging for the mohel, viewers are privy to the hopes, assumptions and expectations of both James and Lola, played by actors Daniel Maslany and Kaelen Ohm with palpable connection and the tenderness of new parents. The couple's expectations get a jolt when Rabbi Fischel arrives. Played by actor Sam Rosenthal, he's friendly, warm and jovial, but key moments reveal his larger religious viewpoint, which is at odds with the couple's overall looser relationship with their faith. When the rabbi isn't afraid to assert that viewpoint, James questions just what role his religion and cultural upbringing have in his own life, and the future life of his son. "The Mohel" exists on an even keel, and while the conflict is stinging, it never falls into melodrama. Part of the failsafe is the characters themselves, modern and easygoing in the contemporary currents of the world. The storytelling understands how James is simply baffled by Rabbi Fischel's demands at the film's end, and how that bafflement pulls him into reflection afterward, as he questions just what it means for his son's future. Tradition can be a stern master but seductive in its promise of familial and communal belonging, but the film asks just how much we have to reshape ourselves to fit into it -- and what it means for the generation after.


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NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen (video)







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Bardak: wedding (ad) (video)







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Nissim Black & Levi Robin - Lifted (Official Video)







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May 19, 2022

Lag B'Omer wasnt the type of party some want

Baruch Hashem, and thanks to the State putting some actual organizational preparation efforts into the event, all reports indicate that the Lag B'Omer celebrations in Meron have passed quietly and everything went according to plan and was in order. And hopefully it will continue to remain quiet and uneventful for the remainder of Lag B'Omer. Pretty impressive for Jewish and Israeli planning, known for cutting corners and thinking "yhiyeh bseder" - everything will be ok.

I did see a lot of online complaining from both Haredi news media sites and on social media saying the State took it over and ruined the celebrations, causing few people to go, leaving the Mt Meron largely empty with a weak celebration of little or no music and no food, limiting how much time people could be there, etc. They were mostly complaining that instead of a celebration it is mostly a depressing event.

I think it was clear to most people that far fewer people would go this year. Not because they are afraid. I think most people are not afraid, especially with a lot of the irresponsible things being stopped. But because there is just a bit of a damper on it. The tragedy of last year with 45 celebrants being killed in the crowds and collapse along with many more injured, just put a damper on the whole thing. several hassidic groups told their people to not go. 

The police did not tell anyone not to go. They made thousands of tickets available to the public. Anyone who wanted to go was able to. Even if it was not perfect, and even if the police gave groups of tickets and priority to some hassidic groups over other people (as some reports have claimed), there was still plenty to go around. Anyone who wanted to go was able to. Anyone who wanted to daven by Kever Rashbi was able to. Anyone who wanted to participate in honoring Rashbi was able to. And anyone who did not want to chose not despite being able to.

It isnt a failure just because the event did not draw 500,000 people. The event was not a failure just because it was not a mad crush with a chaotic celebration, with every group making its own bonfire and tish, with the tens of thousands of people crushing together like sardines. It was not a failure just because there was not a crazy trance concert with free food being given out. 

We know that this year's celebration was not like last years or the years before. It was planned to not be, so just because it wasnt the type of party some want doesnt make it a failure. Some people just like to complain no matter what.



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Lag Baomer 2022 Emet - Ariella Zeitlin (video)







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Haim Yisrael, Neshama Choir, Ari Hill, Bentzi Stein, Ahrele : Reb Shimon (video)







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May 18, 2022

Kahane in Meron

Matan Kahane (I am not sure what his title is right now - MK? Minister? Deputy Minister?), responsible for overseeing the Meron festivities, just issued a statement in meron, sitting with the police, talking about their responsibilities in preventing people from ruining the festivities while ensuring the safety of the celebrants....




the thing is, I thought they banned food and drink from being served up there... :-)

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traffic about to get worse

Times of Israel is reporting that the City of Jerusalem is planning to build a new skyscraper and it is being modeled in some way after Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The Jerusalem skyscraper will be known as The Epstein Building. Sounds Jewish. I dont know what Burj Khalifa means or who it was named after, but "Epstein Bulding" just doesnt have the same ring to it...



I am not quite sure in what way it is being compared to the Burj Khalifa - Burj Khalifa is about 830 meters tall, with 163 floors, while the new Jerusalem skyscraper will be 40 stories high. Also the architects behind the design are saying it will not be a copy of the Burj Khalifa but will be designed to fit in with the Jerusalem landscape.

So, in what way is it like the Burj Khalifa? I think Israelis are still just enamored with Dubai and excited about this so we can say we are like them. Maybe it will be fancy and high end like the Burj Khalifa?

The new tower will be in the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood of Jerusalem and it will include housing, a hotel, a cultural center, viewing spaces and public spaces. They expect it to take five years to build, and are still waiting for some of the licenses. 

Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan are planning, and building, some new skyscrapers as well. if Ramat Gan gets its way it seems they will soon host Israel's tallest building as part of the redesign of the are surrounding the Diamond District..

If you thought traffic was bad now, just wait until this project gets underway....




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not losing because of Shabbos

Srugim is reporting on a story first publicized by Sivan Rahav Meir. 

A young man on Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, a religious kibbutz in northern Israel, named Nateh Eiger in 11th grade qualified for an international competition in chemistry. He traveled to Europe to participate in the event. 5 other young chemists went from Israel to participate along with Nateh. Eiger advanced through the first two rounds with excellence but had to bow out when he discovered the third round would take place on Shabbos.

While it seems organizers had promised Eiger that if relevant he would be able to do his presentation no either Friday or Saturday night, when push came to shove they did not allow him to and he decided to bow out of the competition rather than to be mechalel shabbos.

He left the event early and went home for Shabbos where his community prepared a grand welcome to celebrate his success and his decision that Shabbos has priority, despite having prepared 3 years for this.

That is an amazing story. This is a kiddush hashem. And Nateh Eiger is a direct descendant of the great and famous Rabbi Akiva Eiger. I am sure he is shepping nachas right now up there..

Kikar adds another twist. MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) has called upon the Ministry of Education to award Eiger with some sort of respectable compensation for this. Maklev says the system should stand behind Eiger, and as a Jewish state, keeping Shabbos is a central value held by the State. Eiger should not lose because of Shabbos. Minister of Education Yifat Shasha Biton said she would consider it, and would look into making official arrangements for future international competitions so things like this should not happen again.



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May 17, 2022

pay for protest Meron price list

this sign is crazy...



Not exactly "pay for slay" but not that far off....

The sign is really a posting of a price list of sorts for fighting with the police in Meorn on Lag B'Omer.

Whoever is behind this says that they have achieved funding for people who will be harmed by the police, according to the following price list:
If you get arrested, up to 1 day: $200
if you get hit by the police (better with it being documented): $100
if you get a fine: double whatever the fine is

Qualified participants should leave a message on the various system lines (I guess the relevant people know them, as they aren't included in the sign)

Accompanying the lower picture of a police bus to hold detainees, they write that even 50 of these won't be enough.

Looks like it will be leibedige on Lag B'Omer, though I really think their bark is worse than their bite... there probably wont be too many of these whackos...

It isnt a bad price list for people who dont have any other regular income... I do wonder if they get $100 for every time a policeman hits them, for each klop on the head, or is it $100 overall for being hit but not for each punch or slap?

I wonder how much money they were able to raise for this incentive program - they could not even afford to print a real sign but printed it on a home printer using A4 paper....




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May 16, 2022

Badatz wants to make Meron interesting

The Badatz Eida Hachareidis does not like the new arrangements at Meron for the upcoming Lag B'Omer celebrations. 



They accuse the government of trying to take over Meron and take the treasures of Meron and the area for itself, and to that end have destroyed shuls and batei medrash and the tzniyus roads and paths (which the government built in previous years in the first place)...

The Badatz calls on its adherents to not follow the rules of the government and to go to Meron without cooperating and without needing any favors or goodwill from those evil people.

I am not sure what they are expecting to happen - are they buying tickets to get in and just dont plan to follow the rules once there? Are they going to go without buying tickets and plan to fight their way in? Are they just talk and bluster and really will play along very nicely? Very often their public fights get a lot of public Haredi support from young hotheads. The issue of Meron is unique. Because of what happened last year I am not sure people form the general Haredi community are going to support them in this approach.

The last thing we need in Meron right now is to see the Edia zealots going to Meron and fighting their way in, attacking policemen and policemen attacking them to keep them out, or even getting in and then messing up the logistics in place...



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Jamie Geller Reunites with Heroic Farmers in Jerusalem (video)







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Trying the HOTTEST Hot Sauces On Earth | Eitan Bernath (video)







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Jerusalem 馃А BEAUTIFUL WALK DURING SUNSET 馃А (video)







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May 15, 2022

Ukraine wins, but not the war

I understand Ukraine won this year's Eurovision contest yesterday. With Israel having not made it to the final rounds, I didn't pay attention at all, but saw a headline in passing.

It has always been said, at least since I have ever heard about Eurovision (never before I came to Israel), that Eurovision is always political. It might be a song/singing/music/weird costume  contest but the voting is always political.

With Ukraine having won, it seems in 20/20 hindsight (or even maybe in foresight among people who think about Eurovision more than I) that no other country ever had a chance, because of the war, so I feel even less bad for the Israeli contestant who failed because he never actually had a chance.

Ukraine has already beaten Russia on one battlefield. Let's see what happens on the other.

the big question is how Ukraine plans on hosting next year. Even if the war finishes before then, and even if the country Ukraine remains after the war, how will they rebuild fast enough to host the competition?


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scalping Meron

Arrests have been made of two young Haredi men suspected of forging tickets to Meron for Lag B'Omer.

In light of last year's tragedy at Meron in which 45 people were killed on Lag B'Omer, among the changes for this year's festivities, entry will only be permitted to those carrying tickets. Tickets are meant to stagger the numbers of participants so there won't be too many at any one given time, with entry permitted for up to 4 hours. When purchasing a ticket, the ticket will be for a specific time. 

I guess it was bound to happen. With tickets limited, whether by number or by time, someone was going to forge them. I assume there will also be scalping at some point, if there isn't already. Some people probably bought large amounts of tickets, ostensibly for groups, and will resell them at a higher price.

Interestingly, one of the men arrested, a 19 year old Haredi from Jerusalem, is being defended by a lawyer who has claimed that he did not do it. His argument is that this young man has no knowledge of computers and only holds a kosher phone, so there is no way he could have done this. The phones confiscated during the arrest have no connection to the Internet and with his lack of knowledge in how to use a computer, it is an unreasonable suspicion to think that this young man is unreasonable for the forgery.
source: Behadrei

I dont know that any of this need necessarily be an impediment to forging documents and selling them (his partner could have done that part of it while he handled other aspects of the plan), but I obviously dont know that he did. The police will have to make their case.




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Book Review: 999 Fun Facts About the USA

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: 999 Fun Facts About the USA, by YL Patz
This book, 999 Fun Facts About The USA, by L Patz, is a small book, but good thing come in little packages.


999 Fun Facts goes through the USA, state by state, with about 20 or so fun facts about each state. This book is not particularly Jewish, until one considers the bonus. Each state also has a bonus fact after the initial 20. The bonus fact for each state is a Jewish fact - some quirky fact about some Jewish aspect of the state.

This book is a quick read. It is light and entertaining with facts like where the first female mayor was elected, , where the first potatoes in America were planted, and who invented the Frisbee and where (all three selected randomly).

There is not much to write about this book. It is a small book, but as I said, it is fun, it is quick and it was far more interesting and captivating than I originally expected. Read 999 Fun Facts aloud with your family or read it alone in a couple of sittings while you relax and relieve some tension. Either way it is a good fun read.

buy 999 Fun Facts About the USA on Amazon.com 



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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Proposed Law: Plastic Bag Tax

The platic bag tax went into effect back in 2016, requiring supermarkets to charge 10 agurot per plastic bag in an attempt to minimize their use to the benefit of the environment.

At the time the discussion was that this would be the first step with eventually the tax being expanded to include all shops, not just supermarkets.

MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzano (Yesh Atid) has proposed a law that would now expand the original tax to include medium and small businesses being required to charge the 10ag tax for plastic bags. Additionally the proposal would allow the Minister of the Environment to set the maximum tax at 1nis per bag instead of the maximum today of 60ag per bag.

According to Ynet, since 2016, when the tax first went into effect, there has been an 80% decrease in the use of plastic bags. In recent years though there has actually been a slight increase again, with 2020 being marked with a 9% increase over 2019, and both 2018 and 2019 seeing a 5.5% increase.

While Israelis initially did not want to pay the tax and largely stopped using the bags, it seems we got used to it little by little and also thought the 10ag charge was not significant enough to change our habits. Personally, I still use them much of the time. 

I think that as important as this tax, or its goal, might be, now might not be the best time for it, considering the general rise in cost of living we are going through right now. 

That being said, I do wonder why they only charge 10ag per bag if they have been allowed to charge up to 60, and now up to 1nis if the proposal passes. It is not like any government to charge less tax than allowed. And why expand the law to small business rather than first charge the maximum allowed?




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Headlines Podcast: 5/14/22 Shiur – 370 – Roe v. Wade – What’s the Torah’s approach? It might be a lot different than you think (audio)







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Lev Tahor: Yoel Levy’s Dramatic Escape After 3 Suspicious Deaths (video)







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US Embassy on Yom Haatzmaut (video)







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May 13, 2022

Shabbat with Rabotai - Friday Night Medley (video)







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May 12, 2022

Quote of the Day

In the past few days they have attacked me that I am so to speak going with Yair Lapid... why would anybody think that I would go with these idiots and evil people? He who regularly says that I will gow itht he Left, he himself went with them and brought Oslo on us..

  -- MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ)

it is interesting to watch Gafni and Deri bickering. they are both sharp and can attack at the most hurtful spots. Deri has been attacking Gafni for recently inviting Yair Lapid to participate in his birthday celebrations. Gafni retorted attacking Deri for being responsible for the Oslo Accords. Deri didnt vote in favor of Oslo - he had Shas abstain at the time instead of vote against. Shas at the time was propping up Rabin's government. Voting against would have collapsed the government and put an end to Oslo Accords, but he abstained. Later in the votes of Oslo 2 Shas voted against. Deri has ever since tried to erase the claim of Shas having supported the Left and Oslo, and Gafni hit the most painful point by raising the issue again and accusing Deri of this.

At this rate they will bring down the Opposition before they bring down the Coalition




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Takanos of RBS Hei

Everybody has their preferences for the type of community they want to live in. Some people want a more diverse community, some want a more tolerant community, some want a more religious community, some a less religious community, some a Haredi community, some a Dati Leumi community, some a secular community, some want more yeshivas, some want more parks, come want more community centers and basketball courts or soccer pitches, some want more shuls and schools, some want more Hassidic, some want mroe Litvishe, some more Sefardic, some more Ashkenazic, some want a more "anglo" community, some a less anglo and more Israeli community, etc. 

I do not begrudge anyone their personal preferences of what type of community they want to live in.

That being said, if I want to live in a specific type of community I will seek out such a community and try my best to move there and settle in. I do not think it is legitimate to move into a community that is not as preferred and then try to use discriminatory practices and bullying methods to keep others out so it will hopefully become the community I want.

While we saw the other day a call to residents in RBS D to continue building the community there as a heimishe community and not rent or sell to "others" that was a personal call made by an anonymous person. Someone like that can be marginalized or ignored. What is one person going to do? He might garner up support for his plan but at this point he is just one person. Reject him but he can basically be ignored.

RBS E/H/5/Hei - aka RBS Hei - was built as a more diverse community. The plans, prepared by then-Mayor Moshe Abutbol, was to plan and market Hei to 3 different sectors, 1/3 Haredi, 1/3 Dati and 1/3 Secular. Anyone buying or renting and moving to RBS Hei knows in advance that this neighborhood was designed to be a more diverse neighborhood. Over time market forces might lock that down in some way with some moving out and others moving in and it turning to develop some more specific character, but in the early stages it is meant to be a diverse community.

There is now a call by a group of Haredi rabbonim and activists to push out the non-Haredi sector and only allow Haredim to rent or buy apartments in Hei. They have put together a set of "takanos" for RBS Hei....

That is different than the guy in RBS D - that was an individual, a nobody. This is a call out, with a published letter signed, by a slew of local rabbonim. This is not a private individual stating his opinion, but it is community leadership, it is the "system", it is official.




They can do what they want, no matter how wrong it is. but if and when calls anywhere in the country get put out to not sell in a certain area to Haredim, they are the first to scream discrimination and call people anti-Haredi. And it used to happen in the earlier days of Bet Shemesh when the newer neighborhoods just started being built and Haredi communities started being developed here and some even started spreading out and buying in older areas that had a secular or dati atmosphere. There were calls to not let them buy in those areas, and they were rejected but they were also condemned, and the Haredi communities and leadership, even at the national level, screamed bloody murder at such calls. I would like to see a reporter take such a poster to Moshe Gafni or Yaakov Litzman or Aryeh Deri and ask them what they think about it. I would like to see them reject such behavior and use the Degel or Aguda or Shas resources to put an end to it. 







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Court sets precendent with ruling n Avreich compensation

In what seems to be a legal precedent, a court ruled considering an injured avreich based on normal average wages for compensation rather than based on what his kollel earnigns are and how they were affected.

A mid-40s avreich from Bnei Braq was injured in a traffic accident. According to the article in Haredim10 he was not significantly injured and the injuries did not significantly affect his ability to function as normal, but his injuries did cause him to qualify as 10% disability.

The avreich decided to sue for damages and his lawyer claimed that his earnings potential that was affected should not be considered based his earnings now as an avreich, which is really far below his potential, but as the possibility that he could have decided at some point in the future to become a dayan and earn a very respectable salary.

It seems such claims are normally more accepted when being used for a younger client, but clients already in their 40s are not considered to be realistic as at that age people dont suddenly change their careers and get such lucrative positions. The judge however accepted the claim and decided that the potential earnings damaged by the injury should be considered by taking into account the average wages in the general workforce and not based on earnings of someone not expected to work even though right now, and his entire life, he hasnt worked and hasnt earned an average salary.

The decision led the avreich to be granted compensation far above what was originally expected.

Firstly, good for him.

Secondly, it seems it is a realistic claim for anyone to make that even though now I am an electrician, a teacher, a social worker, a whatever making an average salary to be considered as having the potential to one day be President of the country or partner in a major law firm or hi-tech entrepreneur with higher earnings potential.




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getting the Nazi kink on

This is just insanely crazy.

The TOI via JTA reported on a Mexican couple that got married last week with a Nazi themed wedding. Obviously Fernando and Josefina adore Adolph Hitler, may his name and memory rot in eternal damnation. 


This is actually their second wedding. The first was a civil marriage several years ago, and this wedding was a religious ceremony (which religion? Probably Catholic). They have a couple of kids already, each named for a prominent Nazi from Hitler's confidants. Both weddings, the original and the recent, took place on the anniversary of the wedding of Hitler and Eva Braun.

From TOI:
In photos from the nuptials, the groom is dressed as a Nazi SS officer and the bride is seen sitting on top of a Volkswagen Beetle that has been painted in a camouflage pattern, draped in a Nazi flag, and given a fake license plate with SS bolts.
Fernando, whom Mexican media said is a public official, said the couple chose the Nazi theme because they venerate Hitler
.
The best part, or weirdest part, is perhaps what the groom said...

“I understand that for many people, Hitler represents genocide, racism and violence. People, on the other hand, make judgments without having all of the facts, Hitler was a vegetarian who rescued his country from famine and returned to his people the lands lost during World War I. His friends and family adored him."

judgments without all the facts? No, I am pretty sure we know pretty much all the facts in regards to Hitler and what he liked and did not like.

to some Hitler represents genocide and racism but he was really a vegetarian who saved Germany from famine.... yes, his vegetarianism far outweighs his racism and genocidal plans that he acted upon very efficiently.




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HBO Max to Produce Dramedy Based on Nissim Black’s Life Story (video)







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Haredi Hi Tech Week #2 (video)







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ILTV Exclusive Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu (video)







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Lenny Solomon Live (video)














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JERUSALEM. Old City. Walking Tour from The JEWISH Quarter to The MUSLIM Quarter (video)







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May 10, 2022

Dont Invite Just Netanyahu


The news is reporting that Yeshivat Merkaz Harav has decided to not invite Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to its annual Yom Yerushalayim celebrations, and is even considering inviting MK Benjamin Netanyahu, Head of the Opposition, in his place. 

Merkaz Harav has invited the Prime Minister to the Yom Yerushalayim celebrations for a long time. I dont know if they always did or only since Netanyahu has been Prime Minister. I tried finding information but couldnt really find anything solid. I know they invited Jerusalem mayors as well, and other politicians at times.

Even if they do not have to invite PM Bennett, I think it is a mistake not to, and it is definitely a mistake to invite the Head of Opposition without the Prime Minister. Meaning, if you are not going to invite the Prime Minister, dont invite Netanyahu either. Inviting Netanyahu and not Bennett turns the yeshiva too political and divisive and in the long run will likely be bad for the yeshiva and for Torah in general. Dont invite any politician is better than inviting just Netanyahu.

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unreasonable Lag BaOmer plans

The City of Bet Shemesh published the following announcement regarding Lag BaOmer bonfires around Bet Shemesh for the upcoming holiday...



If they would like to see even a semblance of compliance they should really make it slightly more realistic.

The announcement is that bonfires will only be allowed in areas that will have been designated and prepared for this by the Iryah. And it goes on to list the designated plots for bonfires throughout the city. Each neighborhood listed has two sites or more designated for bonfires. For some of those neighborhoods, two might not be enough either, but let's say it is. RBS A, possibly the largest single neighborhood of the entire Bet Shemesh is the only neighborhood with only one designated area - on Ein Gedi St. and it doesnt even say where on Ein Gedi St

Besides for the fact that it is not realistic to send thousands of people to one spot unless you are trying to create a disaster, and that is without even taking available parking into account, do they really expect people from Nahal Dolev, Nahal Raziel, Nahal Shimshon, Nehar Hayarden, and other streets on the other side of the neighborhood to go all the way to Ein Gedi, even if the people who live closer will? This is like set up to fail!

If they expect compliance, or anything close to it, they should have an area for bonfires in each area of the neighborhood - RBS is very large and spread out so more than one, probably at least 5 or 6 are needed.... (it might be just as insufficient in other neighborhoods, but I am only referring to RBS A)


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Glatt Kosher Money / Episode 3 (feat. Rabbi Shmuel Wittow): Rosh Kollel's stock portfolio REVEALED (video)







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Rabbi Moshe Margaretten in Hollywood (video)

Rabbi Moshe Margaretten of the Tzedek Association receiving the Medal of Valor in Hollywood from the Simon Wisenthal Center April 27 2022 for his humanitarian work, including Criminal Justice Reforms, giving a second chance to those incarcerated with thousands of benefiting recipients, as well as saving the lives of hundreds of Muslims in Afghanistan and as well latest, saving the lives of Ukrainians caught up in the horror of war. Alongside with the Humanitarian Award honoree Eddy Cue (Senior Vice President of Apple) & Medal of Freedom honoree Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Rabbi Moshe Margaretten (C), recipient of the Medal of Valor, and Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and CEO Rabbi Marvin Hier (R) speak onstage during the Simon Wiesenthal Center National Tribute Dinner at The Beverly Hilton on April 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.





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ISRAEL. INDEPENDENCE DAY IN A FREE DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY! TEL AVIV (video)








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May 9, 2022

what happens next?

One of these days the government will collapse, one way or another. It is inevitable. A narrow government of 61 is difficult enough to maintain for too long, and a government of barely 60 is even more complicated. It does not matter to me if it will take a week, a month, or 6 months, but as difficult as it is for any government in Israel to be stable and serve its term to anywhere near completion (it only happened once in Israel's history), it seems to be near impossible for a government like this to last for too much longer.

All that being said, whenever this government will make its way into the history books, I wonder what will happen with the next government that gets formed. while obviously I dont know what the makeup of the government will be, which parties will get in and which will fail to cross the minimum threshold, how many seats each will have and what type of coalition will come together, assuming either the next Knesset looks somewhat similar to the current one, or assuming elections will be avoided and attempts will be made to form a new government from the current Knesset, will they let bygones be bygones or will they work together?

Meaning, after all the verbal and emotional abuse the Likud and Bibi, along with UTJ and Shas, have heaped on Naftali Bennett personally this past year calling him the worst names (whether you think he deserved it or not), and others as well but Bennett got the brunt of it, so what happens next? Does Naftali join a Likud government and ignore the past? Does the Likud take Naftali and his party as members with positions of authority commensurate to the size of the party despite everything they called him this past year - is he suddenly kosher because he will help Bibi/Likud (assuming Likud is tasked with forming a government)?

And was this RAAM's one chance - after Bibi legitimized Mansour Abbas and Abbas joined the Bennett government, the Likud has spent the last delegitimizing Abbas and RAAM. So, is that it? Will they no longer join, or be invited to join, a future government, at least in the near future? And after they were a very unstable partner, regularly demanding more things in exchange for remaining in the government, did they overplay their hands and make themselves undesirable again?

What do you think?




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Picture of the Day



This is Yair. Yesterday Yair saved the lives of his entire family, and probably of others like his neighbors in Tekoa. He saw someone climbing his property's fence and called out to him, receiving only an incomprehensible response. He realized this was likely another attack, this one on his family, so he took his wife and kid sinto the house and told them to shut the doors and windows. He got his gun and went back outside. In the meantime the terrorist has gotten behind him via the driveway. He saw the terrorist coming out at him from the bushes and he shot him. Shot him dead.

This morning Yair posted the above picture  with the caption "waiting for the next terrorist".

Good job Yair, and I like how cool, how calm and collected you are... I hope your outer coolness doesnt belie any internal trauma...





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passing out sweets

This image disturbs me a bit. This picture was published online by Otzma Yehudit, Itamar Ben Gvir's political party, of its young activists passing out sweets to soldiers in celebration after the terror attack in Tekoa was thwarted by an alert citizen, a hero, who shot the terrorist dead when he saw the terrorist trying to enter his property with a knife.

No, defending yourself from terrorists is not the same as terrorists killing innocent civilians. That should not even need to be said. But still, the image of young Jews passing out sweets in celebration is too reminiscent of the images of Palestinians passing out sweets after a successful terror attack. I know that is exactly their point and their goal is to be provocative, so mission accomplished. But still, I dont like it.









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Book Review: Depressed: A Story of Struggle and Inspiration

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: Depressed, by Yoni Palmer
I knew Yoni Palmer way back when, in the early days of RBS. We did some community work together (he much more than me) back then. We lost touch over the years, especially when he moved out of RBS, but even before that. I have not seen Yoni now in a bunch of years, and I had no idea he was suffering through this depression.


Reading Depressed: A Story of Struggle and Inspiration by Yoni Palmer was both enlightening and difficult. My brother died of mental health illness (that included depression) less than two years ago and I must say I honestly never really understood it until I read this book. Even now I probably don't fully understand it, or even close to fully, but I think I now have a much better grasp of what people with these illnesses suffer through.

Depressed is a very different book than other books already on the market about depression and other mental illnesses. Most books on the topic, other books on the topic, are from a clinical perspective with experts talking about what it is and how to handle it. Books written by someone suffering from depression, describing what it is like, how he handled it, how it affects his family and job and friends, how he descends into thoughts of self-harm, and all that also including Torah sources on the matter - that seems rare and unique to me.

Palmer describes the events that led up to his illness, how he suffered, how he got diagnosed and treated, how he came out of it and how he repeatedly suffered from it again and again over the years. One thing that struck me is how he discovered many others suffer similarly without talking about it - he was able to pick up the signs from some that he previously didnt identify, and others told him so as a fellow sufferer. When I was sitting shiva for my brother, and for some time after, I too discovered that so many suffer from mental illness or have someone in their family that does and it was a shocking revelation, especially considering how quiet it is kept and how little it is talked about. 

Yoni's purpose in writing this book, as he himself says, is to raise awareness, to show others what it is like and to help even one individual who might read the book and finally understand what is happening and get some guidance. I never before understood the depths of the level of pikuach nefesh and danger people who suffer mental illness go through, sometimes on a regular or extended basis.

I really connected to and learned from Yoni's experiences as documented in Depressed. And I feel like I already had my eyes opened and had some understanding - I see how little I understood, and still understand, but I have a better understanding now. If someone suffers from cancer or diabetes or heart failure, we get it, but if it is mental illness, we just dont get it. And even if we accept it and sympathize, we still dont really get it and dont see or understand the depth of suffering. This book really opened up my eyes, at least somewhat, to what people with this illness go through.

Depression and other mental illnesses need to be destigmatized, but even if you are not prepared to open up more publicly, reading Depressed will help you understand more what you or your friend or relative might be going through, and it might help you pick up some of the signs and allow you to be more helpful and understanding of what your loved on is going through. 

buy Depressed on Amazon.com



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

I have grown tired of seeing people who are supposed to lead us taking our flag and erasing the blue from it and only leaving it as a white flag of submission. I am waiting for the leader that will instill fear of God in the hearts of our enemies. He should act without concern of what anyone outside of our country might think.

  -- Jonathan Pollard

is he preparing to enter politics or is he just talking?



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Inside the Hasidic Jewish Community of BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY (video)







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Golda Meir: The Girl from Milwaukee who Became Prime Minister | Great Jewish Heroes | Unpacked (video)

I always had a special affinity for Golda Meir...





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Ultra-orthodox views on Israel's army conscription (video)







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Pesach 5782-2022 in Gush Etzion (video)







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Super Walk Along the Tel Aviv Promenade. (Full video)







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May 8, 2022

Tweet of the Day



MK Yisrael Eichler, the UTJ representative of the Belz sector, paid a visit to Bet Shemesh today. Despite Shimon Goldberg, the Belz city councilman in Bet Shemesh, recently announcing he will be running for mayor and will be the next mayor, Eichler sat with the current mayor, Dr Aliza Bloch, and in their meeting he said to her, "You can record this, I wish you to complete in your upcoming second term what you began in your first as Mayor of Bet Shemesh". Journalist Ari Kalman tweeted this saying it looks like it wont be easy to get Bet Shemesh back under Haredi leadership, as Eichler expresses support for Bloch.

Elections are a long way away. What he says today about support can easily be changed by tomorrow. Maybe he will support her, maybe not. Anything he said now is really meaningless.

Regardless, I want to know why she is shuckling while he is talking.





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the hot cholent hero

Several years ago there was a rash of terror attacks and some attacks were thwarted by regular bystanders. By "regular bystanders" I mean not members of any of the security forces. While generally we think of people stopping an attack by pulling out a licensed gun and shooting the terrorist dead in his tracks, or maybe we might fantasize about someone driving by and seeing an active shooter and driving right into him to stop him, or maybe driving alongside him and swinging open the door to smash into him, James Bond style of whatever, back then some of the attacks were stopped by people brandishing household items.

I dont remember all of them but a brief search brought up someone who stopped an attack by using an umbrella, another fellow who used his guitar to stop the attack and yet another who used nunchucks. I am pretty sure there were others but I dont remember them offhand.

This past week's horrific terror attack in Elad can be added to the list. According to Behadrei via TOI, two young men were sitting in their car eating the traditional Thursday night cholent (hmmm) when the terrorists approached to make them the next victims. One threw his bowl of hot cholent at the terrorist, burning and startling him, forcing him to pause his attack. Meanwhile the other grabbed the bottom of the axe and pushed him away...the other terrorist then tried to step in and they pushed him away as well, and the terrorists turned and ran. 

Add cholent to the list of potential weapons that might be available to a quick-thinking bystander...good for them for protecting themselves and pushing them away and preventing an even worse situation.

With all the calls for people to carry weapons to shul (anyone who has a permit to), I think we might be better served making sure the shul has a pot of steaming hot cholent.. and maybe the parishioners should all be given a bowl to hold, just in case, throughout the services. They should definitely eat it before it gets cold and ineffective, and the gabbai should make sure to keep refilling the weapons...



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open racism in RBS D

This ad was run in local Bet Shemesh periodicals..





While it is written in a mix of Yiddish and Hebrew (mostly Yiddish), I was able to get the gist of it, and then got some assistance form Google translate to lock it down further. And some local news media translated it broadly as well

This racist and hypocritical ad really did not need to be mentioned or commented on. It is not the work of any official organization nor city or state policy - just some guy, or some group of guys, who are racists and hypocrites. the world is full of them and I dont need to comment, and I usually dont, on each person's personal ideas. This though is somewhat entertaining, somewhat sad, and interesting that they felt strongly enough about it that they paid money to take out a full page advertisement to promote the idea.

The text is regarding the holy shtetl of Rama Daled, aka RBS D, which has a significant community of Chassidim. Basically the author thinks it is so lovely that the community of RBS D is a holy shtetl with more and more chassidic institutions opening and more and more chassidishe families moving in. he is worried about the future and what might happen to the atmosphere if other types of people are allowed to move in. He calls upon the landlords and homeowners to not rent or sell apartments to other people who are not chassidishe. RBS D, he says, should be a continuation of RBS B and the Kirya Hachareidit. 

It is rare to see such open and blatant racism nowadays. At least most people try to couch it in vagueness and misdirections....

Ahhh.... and if people from Bet Shemesh were saying only sell or rent to people like us so the atmosphere of the city doesnt change, that would go over really well. Oh wait, that happened. And it didnt go over well at all. Some people still think they have the right to decide who can live near them and who cannot while nobody else has that same right. And the truth is nobody has that right - at least not in an open city. You want to live in a shtetl, go live in a gated community that runs an acceptance committee....



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dogs like Saddam Hussein

This terrorist situation is crazy and insane. Similar to Saddam Hussein, security forces found these two brutal murderers laying like dogs in a field or forest with no food or water.

There are calls all over saying that the soldiers who caught them should have shot and killed them, as now they will go to prison and get first class prison treatment, with free access to a university degree and "hotel-like" accommodations, in addition to the families drawing salaries form the Palestinian Authority. I personally would add to the outrage that they will also get life sentences to prison but will likely get released after a few years n a prisoner swap arrangement or as a goodwill gesture.

While the outrage is real and righteous, we cannot lower ourselves to their level. Unless the dogs were threatening the security forces, which from the videos they clearly were not, we cannot have soldiers in the field playing judge and jury. I get the outrage and I share in it, and I wont judge anyone for stating their opinion at this time while still in shock and anger. But that is not how society works. I would totally support some sort of death penalty for these types of terrorists and let them go through the process to the point of execution, but we cannot be calling for policemen or soldiers to just decide for themselves who should be killed and who should not be.



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Headlines Podcast: 5/7/22 Shiur – 369 – What makes a successful marriage? What are common mistakes that should be avoided? (audio)







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Imaginative new interactive video puts you in Ben Gurion's office in 1948 (video)







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Yemenite vs Samaritan vs Modern Hebrew (Can they understand each other?) (video)







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