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Friday, April 24, 2015

Lesson to be Learned from Israel's War for Independence, Recent Past and Present

We have no true ally, other than  G-d Almighty!!!

This isn't a pleasant thought for most Israelis. But, in all honesty, the truth isn't always pleasant.

I'm no expert on Ancient History, nor the history of what happened over a hundred years ago. I have a pretty good knowledge and recollection of what has happened to the Jewish People during my life and the decade plus before I was born.

The history that is embedded in my mind and soul starts with the very first signs of the Modern Zionist Movement and the Holocaust. Separate Jewish Nationalism aka Zionism was a reaction to the antisemitism in Europe. Europe at the time was very strictly Christian, meaning Catholic and Protestant which has one guiding principle-- the Jews killed their god. On that they are united. In recent years, to be PC (politically correct) there have been some theological changes by some sects, but if you look at the very basis of Christianity its aim is to replace Judaism. It adopted our Bible and added more material which totally contradicts the Jewish Religion.

They claim to follow the Ten Commandments but that's an out and out lie. The very first Commandments (Exodus Chapter 20) are:
ב  אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:  לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי.
2 I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
ג  לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל, וְכָל-תְּמוּנָה, אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל, וַאֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת--וַאֲשֶׁר בַּמַּיִם, מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ.
3 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
ד  לֹא-תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהֶם, וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם:  כִּי אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֵל קַנָּא--פֹּקֵד עֲו‍ֹן אָבֹת עַל-בָּנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים, לְשֹׂנְאָי.
4 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
ז  זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ.7 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
ח  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד, וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל-מְלַאכְתֶּךָ.8 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work;
ט  וְיוֹם, הַשְּׁבִיעִי--שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:  לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה כָל-מְלָאכָה אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ, עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ, וְגֵרְךָ, אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ.9 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;
י  כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת-יָמִים עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם, וַיָּנַח, בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי; עַל-כֵּן, בֵּרַךְ יְהוָה אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת--וַיְקַדְּשֵׁהוּ.  {ס}10 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.{S}
So how can the Christians worship a man? And how can they call the first day of the week, Sunday their Sabbath? Three out of the Ten Commandments are about these two simple and basic points, principles.
1. Belief in G-dThis category is derived from the declaration in Ex. 20:2 beginning, "I am the L-rd, your G-d..."
2. Prohibition of Improper WorshipThis category is derived from Ex. 20:3-6, beginning, "You shall not have other gods..." It encompasses within it the prohibition against the worship of other gods as well as the prohibition of improper forms of worship of the one true G-d, such as worshiping G-d through an idol.
4. Observance of Sacred TimesThis category is derived from Ex. 20:8-11, beginning, "Remember the Sabbath day..." It encompasses all mitzvot related to Shabbat, holidays, or other sacred time. (Judaism 101)
And they are expounded on to make sure we understand what G-d is commanding us.

The survival of the Jewish People, especially since we had been exiled and persecuted by killings and the banning of the practice of Judaism is a totally incomprehensible fact and proof that G-d cares for us and wants us to be here, not any other religion or people.

Experts were certain of our end and didn't care during the Holocaust, ditto for the Israeli War of Independence, the 1967 Six Days War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

It is time for the Israeli public and politicians to stop trying to get support of others. They won't save us!!

עם ישראל חי!!
Am Yisrael Chai!The People of Israel (Jews) Live and Thrive!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The State of Israel, Celebrating 67 Years, 5775, 2015

Chag Atzma'ut Sameach!!
Have a Wonderful Israeli Independence Day!!

This was cross-posted on me-ander.

Thank G-d, the doomsday predictions which have followed the State of Israel even before David Ben-Gurion made the official Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, have been proven wrong. The State of Israel may not be perfect, as if there is a country someplace that really is, but it's alive, vibrant, successful, financially stable, the source of innovative technology, medicine and more. Here we are celebrating sixty-seven 67 years of independence, having survived wars and threats, we are one of the most open and democratic countries in the world. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

I have been living in Israel since 1970, when my husband and I, newlyweds at the time, docked at Haifa Port on the Queen Anna Maria-Greek Lines, along with about four hundred 400 other olim chadashim, new immigrants. I have seen an enormous amount of changes here in Israel. In 1970, Israelis lived under very difficult conditions compared to the United States, and today Israel is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Considering that we rather frequently are forced to fight wars for our very existance, survival and security, it's amazing--yes, definitely a sign that G-d is helping us-- that we not only exist, but we have thrived and outpaced most countries in the world.

Following are photos from Independence Day, Yom Ha'atzma'ut Prayers and Celebrations in Shiloh, where we have lived since 1981.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Israeli Soldiers and Terror Victims Memorial Day- People Not Places

In Israel many towns, villages, cities, kibbutzim and moshavim are named after people. That includes quite a number of yishuvim in Judea and Samaria, such as Givat Assaf, established in memory of Assaf Hershkowitz of Ofra murdered as he passed there, the junction to Beit El where school girls stood yesterday waving Israeli flags to the passing cars, Jewish, Arab and all those "diplomatic plates" on their way.

Yesterday I caught a tremp (hitchhiked) from the Sha'ar Binyamin to Ofra with a young woman. We began to talk, and she told me that she lives in Givat Harel. I asked her how many families now live there; sixty 60 was her reply. I was obviously impressed at its growth.
"You probably remember when there were only ten families" she said.
"I remember Harel" I replied.
Yes, for me they are people, these communities and towns. I taught Assaf's brother, know Harel's family well, and Rachalla Druk, for which Shvut Rachel and Rechallim were named, was a very good friend.

When I look at these places, the homes, gardens, children and public institutions I feel a sadness and also a wonder. I wonder if the precious people whom they are named for are observing and guarding them from their status in Olam Haba, the Next World.

And for many years I've felt that if only we had established these communities sooner, then the victims would not have been killed. This is because the communities in the locations where they now are would never have had been established there if we hadn't been looking for a way to memorialize their lives and values.

Last night as I walked around our traditional display of victims of Arab terror connected to Shiloh, whether residents or family members of those who live here, again, like every year I felt that it had become harder for me than the year before. It just hurts more. I look at the pictures of those I knew and whose families I know and the pain is endless, reverberating as I see those optimistic faces. I see their siblings, parents and grandparents. I see the grandchildren, nieces and nephews they never knew. I see those named after them who will G-d willing be granted long, healthy and successful lives. Recently friends wrote a moving letter that they took their grandson, the first-born grandson of an IDF solder, a friend of ours, who had been killed in action, to enter the IDF. I tried to find the right response as I fought back tears.

"May he merit to bring his grandchildren to join the army, just like you are doing."

We in Israel know very well that our independence did not come easily nor cheaply, and the struggle hasn't ended. I fully approve and agree with the custom of having Israeli Independence Day follow immediately after Memorial Day.

יהי זכרם ברוך
Yihi Zichrom Baruch
May Their Memories be Blessed

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Greatest Thing About These Flags and No Current Israeli Government

I photographed these in Rami Levy, Sha'ar Binyamin this week. There are two things I love about it. One is the simple beauty of all those Israeli flags flying overhead. and the other is the fact that they were hung by Arabs. Yes, it is the job of the Arab workers to do things like change light-bulbs and decorate the store for Jewish and Israeli Holidays. That includes hanging Israeli flags. Two years ago, I wrote about the worker who begged me not to take his picture doing it.
"They'll kill me" he said, "and you know who they are."
This year two Arab workers worked as a team to put up more flags than ever before. They were smiling as if having a grand old time. The past few months, ever, since last summer's war, there haven't been many Arab shoppers in Rami Levy and Yafiz, but lately they seem to have returned. It may be different on "the other side of the green sic line," but I think that the percentage of Arabs working in Rami Levy may be higher than a few years ago.

Contrary to the ideological hallucinations of the loony Left, I see that local Arabs are very happy living under Israeli rule, getting Israeli salaries, benefits, low (yes, we do charge less for many things than in Arab stores) prices and security. Everyone knows that non-Israeli Arabs, even from enemy countries, take advantage of the world-class top Israeli medical care. The Arab clans that work for Rami Levy take care not to get involved in anti-Israel terrorism, because it can endanger the employment of all the family. They do not want a change in the political status quo, since a "Palestinian State" sic would mean the end of their jobs and security.

And that's where our present lack of new coalition government comes in. Bli eyin haraa, all the while that we're without a proper government we haven't seen our representatives negotiating for a Two State Solution sic. Crafting a new and stable coalition is taking up all of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's time. Also without a stable, reliable and disciplined coalition, Netanyahu can't rely on getting Knesset approval for an agreement.

So, at this point, I'm happy. I loved watching Arabs decorating the stores for Israeli Independence Day, and I feel safer knowing that Bibi's hands are tied.

I just hope that Herzog (Tsipi Livni has been kept out of the news) sticks to his principles of not joining with Netanyahu! And if after all the time has expired to make a Likud government, and then Herzog tries and fails, we end up again with elections, so be it. Maybe the so-called Right will get it right and do the Right thing, G-d willing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Memories of the JTS Library

Some of you may be surprised at this title; that's for two reasons. One is that the JTS, Jewish Theological Seminary is the academic center of Conservative Judaism, and I'm Orthodox, and another is that I'm not an academic, intellectual type. Those precious old books of Jewish Law aren't what draws me at all.  So, why am I suddenly writing about the JTS Library?

Honestly, I haven't thought about that library for decades. But just now I saw an article in the Jewish Forward about major changes in JTS and how they are packing up the library for a move.
The library at Manhattan’s Jewish Theological Seminary — Conservative Judaism’s largest rabbinic seminary — holds the most impressive compilation of Jewish historical materials outside of Jerusalem: hundreds of ancient Jewish marriage contracts, thousands of unique manuscripts, and tens of thousands of fragments recovered in Egypt from the famed Cairo Genizah.
Now, the future of this collection is a matter of heated debate in Jewish scholarly circles as JTS sells off real estate assets to help ease a years-long financial crunch. Over the next few years, JTS plans to sell two buildings now serving as residence halls to developers, along with air rights to its main campus. The school will also replace its current library building with a new library and conference center. (Forward)
I was in that library once, almost fifty years ago. I was not there to do research, study or anything like that. I was there because of a call many of us young Jewish activists got because of a major emergency. There had been a fire in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and precious irreplaceable historic books and documents had been damaged and worse.
The Jewish Theological Seminary library fire was discovered on Monday, April 18, 1966 at 10:15 AM when smoke was seen pouring from one of the small upper windows of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America library tower at Broadway and 122nd Street in New York City.
The tower, with only few small windows, was the perfect environment for a major conflagration. There were no floors separating one level from another, only steel library stacks surrounded by catwalks. The tower was like an oven and the fire spread quickly. Extinguishing it was extremely difficult, with only one entrance and stairwell from the bottom and limited window access.
Fire Chief Alfred Eckert dispatched masked firefighters to the highest floor that could be safely reached. The firefighters spread canvas tarpaulins over as many shelves of books as they could, while hook and ladder trucks sprayed water through the highest openings in the tower, cascading down to the fire below. (Wikipedia)
Jews of all stripes  gathered there to rescue and clean the books. I was one of them. We went into a massive room that smelled of the recent fire. Books and papers were charred. I don't quite remember everything we did. I do remember checking for dampness and sorting the various books and papers according to their condition.

The collection of Judaica, historically important Jewish books and documents in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America library is precious to all Jews and predates the rather modern "inventions" of Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist Judaisms. What is today in America called "Orthodox Judaism" was once the standard, the only Judaism in existance. The old books in the library are Jewish treasures for all Jews, not just for those who consider themselves  Conservative Jewish. That's why we all went running to help. I do not know how davka the Conservative Jewish library ended up with such an incomparable collection.

I hope that the JTS Library's treasures will be stored and displayed as safely as possible, so that future Jews will have them for study and research.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bad Deal by Bibi; We Should have Demanded IDF Bodies for PA Money!

Again, one of the reasons I'm not really happy with the Likud in the helm of our precarious ship the State of Israel...

Binyamin Netanyahu's government has agreed to give the PA (Palestinian Authority) money not only without deducting all that they owe to us, but without demanding the return of the soldiers from the Gazan Arab terrorists.
Following international pressure, Israel agreed last month to resume the transfers and said it would pay $400 million, having deducted money it said the Palestinians owed for utilities and medical treatment.
However, Abbas said he would not accept this sum since Israel had made its deductions unilaterally. The current agreement appears to have resolved this issue.
"An agreement was reached to send three months' worth of funds in full and a joint (Palestinian-Israeli) committee will discuss all the amounts that belong to us and what we owe," Abbas said. (Reuters)

Our enemies are holding Jewish bodies, the bodies of IDF soldiers brutally murdered in last summer's war, and they refuse to hand them over to Israel for proper Jewish burial.

Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin, both murdered last summer by Arab terrorists from Gaza, 
IDF Spokesman

Last October, there was talk in Hamas of a swap of Arab terrorists in exchange for the bodies of Givati Brigade officer Hadar Goldin and Golani Brigade combat soldier Oron Shaul, although the deal never materialized.
Now, in an interview with Tayaf radio in Gaza, Mashaal said Hamas would not sign any agreement to release terrorists in exchange for thebodies, "before Israel fulfills its earlier commitments regarding the release of prisoners" - a reference to the fourth tranche of terrorist releases Israel halted in 2014 after the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas declared a unity government.
Mashaal also demanded that all terrorists rearrested after being released during the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal be re-released. (Arutz 7)
Considering that Israeli policy is to connect Gaza and the area administered by the PA as a future "Palestine" sic, and the PA gives payments to Gazan terrorists who are held prisoners by Israel, I see a direct connection between the two.

To repeat what I've been saying for a long time:
PM Binyamin Netanyahu gives a great speech, especially when talking to foreigners, but when it comes to policy, he's very weak. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

One of the Most Heartening Things About The Recent Bible Marathon to Shiloh

This sign was on one of the buses, Tel Aviv! Yes, there were runners from all over the country, even from Tel Aviv.
On the sixth day of Passover, there was the first of what I hope will be an annual event, the "Bible Marathon." It was a a full and challenging marathon from Rosh Ha'ayin to Shiloh, more specifically "Shiloh Hakeduma," the archaeological tourist site in my hometown of Shiloh, the same location as the Biblical one.

Running is a popular sport in Israel, and there are all sorts of marathons all over the country. There is a biblical connection between running and the ancient city of Shiloh. So having a marathon, also a fifteen kilometer run from Ariel and a five kilometer run in the Shiloh area was something that makes sense historically and biblically.

Many times when I bring people to Tel Shiloh, and we stand where experts say the Mishkan, the Tabernacle stood for close to four hundred years before Jerusalem became the Jewish Capital and location of the Holy Temple, I ask them to listen to the sounds of the traffic from the main road, which follows the Biblical road our ancestors trekked thousands of years ago. Then I tell the story of Eli, the High Priest, who had been sitting near where we are waiting to hear news of the battles. He was old and blind at the time. Suddenly he heard the sound of a runner. That runner was coming from the area of Rosh Ha'ayin and probably took a route similar to those who ran the marathon:
Samuel 4
יב  וַיָּרָץ אִישׁ-בִּנְיָמִן מֵהַמַּעֲרָכָה, וַיָּבֹא שִׁלֹה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא; וּמַדָּיו קְרֻעִים, וַאֲדָמָה עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ.12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
יג  וַיָּבוֹא, וְהִנֵּה עֵלִי יֹשֵׁב עַל-הַכִּסֵּא יך (יַד) דֶּרֶךְ מְצַפֶּה--כִּי-הָיָה לִבּוֹ חָרֵד, עַל אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים; וְהָאִישׁ, בָּא לְהַגִּיד בָּעִיר, וַתִּזְעַק, כָּל-הָעִיר.13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon his seat by the wayside watching; for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.
יז  וַיַּעַן הַמְבַשֵּׂר וַיֹּאמֶר, נָס יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים, וְגַם מַגֵּפָה גְדוֹלָה, הָיְתָה בָעָם; וְגַם-שְׁנֵי בָנֶיךָ מֵתוּ, חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס, וַאֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים, נִלְקָחָה.  {פ}17 And he that brought the tidings answered and said: 'Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.' {P}
יח  וַיְהִי כְּהַזְכִּירוֹ אֶת-אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים, וַיִּפֹּל מֵעַל-הַכִּסֵּא אֲחֹרַנִּית בְּעַד יַד הַשַּׁעַר וַתִּשָּׁבֵר מַפְרַקְתּוֹ וַיָּמֹת--כִּי-זָקֵן הָאִישׁ, וְכָבֵד; וְהוּא שָׁפַט אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל, אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה.18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck broke, and he died; for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
Last week's runners brought good news. Shiloh is now on the modern runner's map! And I was very happy to see that bus from Tel Aviv. Here are some more photos I took that day of runners and those cheering them to the finish line.

Next year, I'd like to walk the five kilometer race, G-d willing. A number of people did that, and if I had known, I would have.