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Friday, October 20, 2017

Obviously There's Hypocrisy in the Chareidi Claims About Value of Torah Study

The past few days Jerusalem and other Israeli cities are suffering from violence, rioting, traffic disturbances and worse as many young, fit chareidi men "protesting" serving in the IDF, Israel's army. The excuse they give for not serving in the army, even in the special chareidi units, is that it would cause them to leave their prime holy occupation of studying Torah.

If studying Torah is so crucially important to their lives, why aren't they in the Beit Medrash, Study Hall?

The effects of their rioting have been absolutely awful for many people in Israel. They are causing a major chillul Hashem, hatred of all things Jewish and connected to Torah. They are going against all aspects of the crucial derech eretz.

Even if there is truth to the claim that the "demonstrators" are from the followers of a small extreme rabbi, there's no excuse. Considering the numbers and enthusiasm of the rioters, it's hard to fathom the claim that this is a small marginal group.   And if so, where are the real leaders of chareidim, and why aren't they stopping it?

Many esteemed Torah leaders, even chareidi, have shown great respect for our soldiers who risk their lives and postpone their education to protect us us here in Israel. And in the Torah it clearly states that all of the People of Israel must fight together against our enemies. This anti-IDF ideology is actually anti-Torah and anti-Jewish.
Torah Reading for Matot-Massei
5They said, "If it pleases you, let this land be given to your servants as a heritage; do not take us across the Jordan."הוַיֹּֽאמְר֗וּ אִם־מָצָ֤אנוּ חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ יֻתַּ֞ן אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את לַֽעֲבָדֶ֖יךָ לַֽאֲחֻזָּ֑ה אַל־תַּֽעֲבִרֵ֖נוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּֽן:
6[Thereupon,] Moses said to the descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben, "Shall your brethren go to war while you stay here?ווַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֔ה לִבְנֵי־גָ֖ד וְלִבְנֵ֣י רְאוּבֵ֑ן הַֽאַחֵיכֶ֗ם יָבֹ֨אוּ֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאַתֶּ֖ם תֵּ֥שְׁבוּ פֹֽה:
29Moses said to them, "If the descendants of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan with you armed for battle before the Lord, and the Land is conquered before you, you shall give them the land of Gilead as a heritage.
 
כטוַיֹּ֨אמֶר משֶׁ֜ה אֲלֵהֶ֗ם אִם־יַֽעַבְר֣וּ בְנֵי־גָ֣ד וּבְנֵֽי־רְאוּבֵ֣ן | אִ֠תְּכֶ֠ם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֞ן כָּל־חָל֤וּץ לַמִּלְחָמָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וְנִכְבְּשָׁ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ לִפְנֵיכֶ֑ם וּנְתַתֶּ֥ם לָהֶ֛ם אֶת־אֶ֥רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֖ד לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה:
30But if they do not cross over with you armed [for battle], they shall receive a possession among you in the land of Canaan."
 
לוְאִם־לֹ֧א יַֽעַבְר֛וּ חֲלוּצִ֖ים אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְנֹֽאחֲז֥וּ בְתֹֽכְכֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:
31The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben answered, saying, "We shall do as the Lord has spoken to your servants. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Israel Must Banish The EU!

The United Nations isn't the only huge international body that promotes and instigates policies dedicated to the destruction and delegitimization of the State of Israel. The European Union is its very active "junior" partner. The European Union sends "delegations," NGOs, etc to Israel to activate, organize and train Arabs to undermine and terrorize Israels.

Claiming "human rights violations" they demand that Israel compensate Arabs who break the law, and then they deny Jews the same "human rights."
EU demands Israel pay for demolishing illegal buildings
European Union demands Israel compensate it for demolishing illegal Arab buildings in Area C.
Are we Jews not "human?"

The European Union has also been promoting/inventing a new "people" called Europeans to which they include Great Britain. The EU also considers the history-less so-called Palestinians to be a legitimate "people" deserving of land and a state, but denies Jews the same, even though we are possibly the oldest People/Nation/Religion in the world today.

We Jews have a documented history connected to this part of the world, which is reinforced by archeologists and our religion. But rampant international anti-semitism, meaning anti-Jew, blinds others to our history and human rights.

It's time to banish all of the NGOs and EU offices here. Their representatives should be declared persona non grata.

Findings in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, reinforce and prove the Biblical narrative and Jewish connections over the millennia to The Land of Israel.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Looking Forward to This Year in Matan

I've lost track of how many years and courses I've studied in Matan. As much as I've grown from the experiences, Matan has grown, too. Now, besides the Jerusalem study center, 30 Rashbag Street, there are quite a number of branches.




If I had a car, I could try out the others, but I'm sticking with Jerusalem, since there are teachers and continuing courses I don't want to miss. Also, I'm part of a study group which meets in Jerusalem.



The studies in Matan are just what I like. It was begun by intelligent educated women, and we are treated  as such. Give it a try.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Labor's Gabbay Moving Right From Left Mirrors Bibi's Left From Right

The Israeli Labor Party's new leader, Avi Gabbay, is trying the same technique that Likud's Bibi Netanyahu did years ago. As I've written many times, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was then in the opposition, announced that to be a national leader and regain the top spot, he had to run for office from the Center. This is what Avi Gabbay is now doing.

Bibi, totally disregarding history and his strong Revisionist background, moved well to the Left, and now we hear this pledge from Gabbay which is to the Right of Bibi's concept of Center.
“There is no reason to evacuate settlements in a peace agreement,” Gabbay said on Monday night. “If there is peace, then why evacuate? The dynamics of peacemaking that would require evacuation may not actually be correct. In a peace agreement, solutions can be found that do not require evacuations.” (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli politics is never dull. Do you think elections will be soon?

Here I am voting in the 2015 Elections

Monday, October 16, 2017

Must Always Be Alert, Terror Lurks

It's very possible that I'm the first one ever injured by a "ramming terrorist." That was over twenty years ago. I had been waiting for a bus or ride at a French Hill, Jerusalem stop, which is now covered by the lightrail tracks. I saw a car driving badly and turned my back to the traffic to tell my friend:
"Even if it's going to Shiloh, I wouldn't get in."
My friend doesn't remember anything coming from my mouth. She just saw the car drive into/over me knocking me down. Since then, I try to have my eyes on the oncoming traffic when waiting. And I also tell people to pay attention. It makes me "nuts" to see people with their backs to the traffic and their eyes on their phones. And this includes the soldiers who are supposed to be guarding those waiting for buses and rides.

All sorts of things trigger memories of that day. Thank Gd the injury to my foot was relatively minor, and within a few months I was perfectly fine. But it's one of those things that can never be erased from my mind.

This morning I got up early since I have to travel, and I saw this headline:
PA Arabs nabbed attempting to sneak into Jerusalem
It ends up that they were caught at Hisme aka the "city line," where I'll be passing today. Thank Gd the soldiers were alert and doing their jobs.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Antisemitism, Not Ignorance, Fuels the World's Policies

Sorry, but I'm rather pessimistic about educating "the world" about Jewish History, rights and connections to the Land of Israel. I think it's antisemitism that is behind most policy, not ignorance.

Most people all over aren't interested in the truth. They just don't want Jews around. That's how Hitler had such an easy job in discriminating against and later murdering Jews. Not only did the ordinary citizens of the various countries invaded by Nazi Germany cooperate with Hitler's plan, but the USA, which found itself being forced to try to "rescue" Great Britain and other countries, didn't have stopping the anti-Jewish Holocaust in its battle plans.

Here we are almost a hundred years later, yes, I'm rounding off the 80+ to a century, and our Jewish and Israeli leaders still expect justice and truth.
DEFENSE MINISTER: EUROPEANS PUTTING HEADS IN THE SAND

“The Europeans continue to put their heads in the sand, exactly like they did before World War II,” Liberman told Channel 2. “The leaders of Europe prefer to run away from reality.”
I'm a pragmatist, which makes me a pessimist.

Unfortunately, we're the ones who are putting our heads in the sand by not recognizing the antisemitism so prevalent in the world, including the international bodies which claim to support justice and human rights.

I'm glad that our Prime Minister Netanyahu has followed US President Trump in announcing that we're leaving UNESCO, but I'm embarrassed that Bibi didn't take the initiative first. The problems with UNESCO aren't new. And I wonder how long it will take for both countries to rejoin...

You know what they say about paranoids having enemies...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Unique Jewish Lunar-Solar Calendar

There is no other calendar like the Jewish one, which is not only unique, but it ties the Jewish People/Nation with The Land of Israel. The Jewish Holidays are intrinsically connected to the Land and seasons. That is something that neither of our "competitors" can say.

Bright, though not full, moon in the night sky

Neither Christianity nor Islam have a religion/holidays that have anything to do with the Land of Israel. Christianity's holiday's can be based on pagan ones which they adopted. And Islam's calendar of holidays float around the seasons, because, unlike in the Jewish Calendar, they are dissociated with the Land and seasons. There is no mechanism to periodically correct the timing of their holidays.

Jewish Holidays must fall at exactly the correct time of the solar year (agricultural season) and are celebrated on dates according to the phase of the moon. Twelve cycles of the moon are just a few days less than it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun, so without periodically adding a month the holidays and seasons will quickly be out of sync.
The Jewish calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the Earth about its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon about the Earth (a month); and the revolution of the Earth about the sun (a year). These three phenomena are independent of each other, so there is no direct correlation between them. On average, the moon revolves around the Earth in about 29½ days. The Earth revolves around the sun in about 365¼ days, that is, about 12.4 lunar months.
The civil calendar used by most of the world has abandoned any correlation between the moon cycles and the month, arbitrarily setting the length of months to 28, 30 or 31 days.
The Jewish calendar, however, coordinates all three of these astronomical phenomena. Months are either 29 or 30 days, corresponding to the 29½-day lunar cycle. Years are either 12 or 13 months, corresponding to the 12.4 month solar cycle.
The lunar month on the Jewish calendar begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.
The problem with strictly lunar calendars is that there are approximately 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, so a 12-month lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than a solar year and a 13-month lunar is about 19 longer than a solar year. The months drift around the seasons on such a calendar: on a 12-month lunar calendar, the month of Nissan, which is supposed to occur in the Spring, would occur 11 days earlier in the season each year, eventually occurring in the Winter, the Fall, the Summer, and then the Spring again. On a 13-month lunar calendar, the same thing would happen in the other direction, and faster. (Judaism 101)
...in an attempt to coordinate the traditional lunar year with the solar year Judaism has worked out a system of 19-year cycles, in which there are seven leap years. In distinction to the day added to the secular leap year, the Jewish calendar adds a full month to the end of its year. In this manner the Jewish holidays fluctuate by about a month or so in relationship to the Gregorian calendar, but always fall at the same time of year. (My Jewish Learning)
A complex mathematical system was set up, pre-computer, to periodically compensate with an extra winter month. That's why some some years have thirteen months and others just twelve. Also the cycles of the moon sometimes take twenty-nine days and other times thirty. That creates a situation that periodically deprives people, like my youngest, of a birthday.

Unlike in Biblical times, when Rosh Chodesh was only known after the first sign of the "new moon" was spotted, nowadays we know in advance. So, I'm taking this opportunity to remind you that next week, yes, this coming Friday will be Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.


Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5778 
Friday, October 20, 2017 
30th of Tishrei, 5778, 8:30am 
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
Tour of Tel Shiloh 
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson 
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors. 

תפילת נשים ראש חודש חשון
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ו' 20-10-2017
ל' תשרי, תשע"ח 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan is two days, the first which is Friday the 30th of Tishrei, and the first of Cheshvan will be on Shabbat. Since women come from places other than Shiloh, and it will already be rain season, we're meeting on Friday, the 30th of Tishrei, October 20, 2017.


Ladies, please join us for Rosh Chodesh Prayers!  In the meantime, Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Absurdity of Jewish Prayer Said by Christians




Yesterday I had a very enjoyable time at Shiloh Hakeduma, the archeological site at Tel Shiloh. As every Hol Hamoed, the "Intermediate Days of Succot and Passover," there were activities for all ages.

I made my way to the site which is believed to have been where the Mishkan, Tabernacle had been for almost four hundred years. There were a couple of musicians and a group of people. I quickly noticed that the people weren't Jewish. They were Christian, and some were even wearing large crosses. I sat on the side quietly observing the interaction between them and the young men playing the saxophone and electric organ.

Rather surprisingly, the group requested Jewish religious songs. They sang along with great enthusiasm. They kept asking for "Sh'ma Yisrael," a very iconic Jewish Prayer which states an important principle in Jewish theology, but the musicians insisted that they didn't know it as a "song." After singing a few other songs to the music played, the Christian group offered to sing "Sh'ma Yisrael" acapella, sans music.

The musicians and I were shocked to hear them singing the prayer exactly the way it's said in synagogue including the name of Gd and the second line, which is normally whispered. The translation is:

Listen/Hear Israel, The Lord is Our Gd, The Lord is One
Blessed Be The Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever

This is a total contradiction to Christian theology. And I couldn't remain quiet. I spoke:
"Do you know the actual meaning of this prayer?" I asked them.
"It means that there is only one Gd, one message, forever and ever."
Their leader tried to contradict me with the usual "prophet" quotations. I refused to get into a theological discussion. I wanted the group to understand the very basis of Judaism and to stress that we do not accept their premise that the person they worship was a god who brought a new/revised message. By translating from the original Hebrew and ignoring the timeline, Christianity distorts the Bible.

Judaism stresses the importance of the first five books over Prophets and Writings. And we learn the Bible in Hebrew. Every translation is a distortion, because no two languages are the same. Only simple numbers can be translated without an agenda.

I find this hijacking of this basic Jewish Prayer very disturbing, because Christianity's entire theological agenda is the exact opposite of the message of the Sh'ma. I wonder if anyone really listened to me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Does The "World" Promote Apartheid Against Jews?



I've lived in Shiloh for thirty-six 36 years already, and from day one, I've been hearing that we Jews can't stay. We should expect to leave.

It's rather ironic, that besides some remains of churches and mosques down at the Tel, built on the foundations of much older synagogues, the area of Shiloh was totally deserted when we Jews returned to live here in early 1978. Besides the occasional tourist, pilgrim or archeologist, Shiloh had been empty for millennia.

Gush Shiloh aka the Shiloh Bloc of Jewish Communities is probably the fastest growing in Judea/Samaria. We're equidistant to Jerusalem and the Petach Tikvah/Hod Hasharon area and just a few minutes' drive to the Jordan Valley. Yes, we are the true "Center" of the country. And bli eyin haraa, unlike many other Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, we haven't been plagued by NIF Leftist lawsuits claiming Arab ownership, even after land had been purchased by Jews.

Why do these Leftists groups support Arab exclusivity over freedom for all?

Many Jewish cities and neighborhoods have Arabs living in them. This doesn't bother the same Leftist (including Jewish) groups that consider it immoral, illegal etcetera for Jews to live freely and safely in our Jewish Homeland. When Jews buy a building in Hebron, they are forbidden the simple right to live in it.

There are many Arabs today living in the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, Jerusalem, but Jews aren't allowed to live barely a kilometer away in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat. Why should tolerance be demanded of Jews but not of Arabs?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Still Trying to Change the World

Yesterday I found myself having a bit of an argument with an elderly, obviously older than me, man on the lightrail. We were among the half-dozen or so senior citizens trying to "stare" a couple of very young men into getting up so the two eldest of us could sit down.

Usually I'm pretty good at it, but even though not only were we all staring daggers at the kids and complaining sufficiently loudly, neither of them got the hint. The very elderly man was rather jaded by the bad behavior and announced that he'd be getting off at the next stop hoping that he'd get a seat on the "next train."

Somebody said that we should be a bit more aggressive and just tell the kids to get up.
The old man said "not to bother. You can't change the world."
"Of course we can change the world." I replied.
"No, it's impossible." The man countered.
I was very upset by this little arguement. It was still bothering me when later on I got on a crowded bus. Three young men occupied four seats in a way that made it impossible to sit down. And again there were a number of much older people who needed seats. I didn't have the patience to wait very long. I could see that they had glanced at us, although they didn't get up. So I took the initiative:
"I guess you haven't learned Dererch Eretz*."  
They looked up, saw that we were all old enough to be their parents or grandparents, so gave us the seats. I admit that I wasn't all that polite. Most of the time I have absolutely no problem just sitting down, but one of them had taken over two seats in a way that made it impossible.

A large percentage of  passengers on public transportation here in Israel are senior citizens. Many times when I get on a crowded bus or train, I see that those seated are my age or older. Then I am just very thankful that I can hold on and stand. At my age, you can't take such a thing for granted. I sometimes ask a young person who's sitting to get up for someone who needs a seat. We shouldn't be shy about it.

I hope that old man got a seat on the next rain.


*Derech Eretz are the Jewish Laws pertaining to how to treat others including the elderly.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Looking Through The Sukkah at Kohelet, Ecclesiastes

There's a time for...

Chazal, our sages decided that the book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes should be read during the Succot holiday, which Gd commanded that we celebrate just as summer becomes winter. This is a time of the year when the weather here in the Holy Land can be very unpredictable.

We've been living in Israel for almost half a century. I have memories of days so hot they rival sumer and also rainstorms that had us in the house rather than the sukkah. There have also been years with such winds that the sechach, the special "roof" blew off the sukkah. And other families, whose sukkot are less sturdy than ours, lost theirs completely.

Kohelet, Ecclesiastes has a very well-known section in Chapter 3, which reminds us that there's a season for all things:
1Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven.אלַכֹּ֖ל זְמָ֑ן וְעֵ֥ת לְכָל־חֵ֖פֶץ תַּ֥חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
2A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot that which is planted.בעֵ֥ת לָלֶ֖דֶת וְעֵ֣ת לָמ֑וּת עֵ֣ת לָטַ֔עַת וְעֵ֖ת לַֽעֲק֥וֹר נָטֽוּעַ:
3A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break and a time to build.געֵ֤ת לַֽהֲרוֹג֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִרְפּ֔וֹא עֵ֥ת לִפְר֖וֹץ וְעֵ֥ת לִבְנֽוֹת:
4A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing.דעֵ֤ת לִבְכּוֹת֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִשְׂח֔וֹק עֵ֥ת סְפ֖וֹד וְעֵ֥ת רְקֽוֹד:
5A time to cast stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.העֵת לְהַשְׁלִ֣יךְ אֲבָנִ֔ים וְעֵ֖ת כְּנ֣וֹס אֲבָנִ֑ים עֵ֣ת לַֽחֲב֔וֹק וְעֵ֖ת לִרְחֹ֥ק מֵֽחַבֵּֽק:
6A time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away.ועֵ֤ת לְבַקֵּשׁ֙ וְעֵ֣ת לְאַבֵּ֔ד עֵ֥ת לִשְׁמ֖וֹר וְעֵ֥ת לְהַשְׁלִֽיךְ:
7A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak.זעֵ֤ת לִקְר֨וֹעַ֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִתְפּ֔וֹר עֵ֥ת לַֽחֲשׁ֖וֹת וְעֵ֥ת לְדַבֵּֽר:
8A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.חעֵ֤ת לֶֽאֱהֹב֙ וְעֵ֣ת לִשְׂנֹ֔א עֵ֥ת מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְעֵ֥ת שָׁלֽוֹם:


Considering the unpredictability of the weather during Sukkot, you'd think that Gd would try to make it a bit easier and command us to live in these "temporary huts" for Shavuot, which falls in early summer, late spring. But Gd must have wanted to challenge us. Life isn't supposed to be easy.

There are good Jews who live in places in which there are frequent snowstorms or hurricanes just when Sukkot is on the calendar.

On Sukkot, we're, davka, commanded to be happy and celebrate. If someone dies and/or is buried during Sukkot, mourning is postponed. That's because we must learn to separate our personal joy or sadness with our religious/national feelings. We must remember that, contrary to pop/modern psychology, we are first Jews and part of a unique People/Nation.

It's not even a matter of simple "Gd will take care of us." We must remember that after This World, there is another. And that is the place where we enjoy or suffer for how we lived our lives here.

Chag Sameach

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bible Marathon in Shiloh

Today was the Annual Bible Marathon in Shiloh. Each year it grows larger and larger. Runners come from near and far. I walked down the hill to Tel Shiloh to join the excitement this morning. Running isn't my thing, but cheering people on sure is.












Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Could Nikki Haley be The First Female POTUS?

I don't know about you, but I've been very impressed by Nikki Haley, who is the American Ambassador to the United Nations. And to be honest, I'd be impressed by such qualifications and pro-Israel policies even if she wasn't a female.  When I check out the quality of a person in politics, I don't consider the sex of the politician. I look at policy, honesty and statements/actions when it comes to Israel. From what I've seen of Haley, I'd be very happy to have her as POTUS, President of the United States. What do you think?






Ambassador Nikki R. Haley

Ambassador Nikki R. Haley is the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

Prior to her service at the United Nations, Ambassador Haley served as Governor of South Carolina and chief executive of a state government with more than 67,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $26 billion.

Under Haley's leadership, South Carolina's economy flourished. Haley visited foreign countries including India, Sweden, France, Germany, and Japan on economic development missions to recruit jobs and investment for South Carolinans. She negotiated deals with some of the largest corporations in the world and convinced them to make South Carolina their home.

The state announced jobs in each of South Carolina's 46 counties - more than 85,000 jobs total - and South Carolina’s unemployment rate hit a 15 year record low during the Haley administration.

Haley was the first governor in America to sign legislation combatting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanction, or "BDS", movement. Haley also fought back against efforts to bring terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to the United States. In 2015, Haley led South Carolina through one of its most difficult periods, forging unity and consensus in the wake of tragedy at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, and the record breaking 1,000-year flood that devastated the state.

Born in Bamberg, South Carolina, the daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley’s first job was keeping the books for her family’s clothing store —at the age of 13. She is a proud graduate of Clemson University.

Haley and her husband, Michael, a Captain in the Army National Guard and combat veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, have two children, Rena, 19, and Nalin, 15.

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mulling Over Succot and The Fragility of Life

There's a great irony in the Jewish Holiday of Succot. It's called זמן שמחתינו Zman Simchateinu, The Time (Holiday) of Our Joy. We're specifically commanded  to be "happy" and celebrate, but at the same time, we must move out of our permanent homes and "live" in a succah with a temporary removable roof.

Nu, what if it rains? How can we keep out the bugs, bees and animals? What type of crazy "festive" holiday is this?
Don't forget that Jews in other parts of the world have to contend with weather a lot more extreme than here in the Holyland.

For many Jews, the logistics of the Succot Holiday are a total nightmare if you try to observe it in an actual succah. Here in Israel it's very common for buildings to be designed with the holiday in mind. There will be uncovered terraces. In other parts of the world, there are even legal problems in having a "hut" for eating and sleeping even for just over a week. And even here in Israel, many people live in places which don't have easily available or designated succah locations. The logistics of a building, neighborhood or other type of communal succah can be a nightmare. And it also happens that sometimes here there are winds and storms that blow off the sechach, special temporary roof of the succah or the succah itself in the middle of the holiday.

Gd designed/created the Succot Holiday to remind us of the fragility of life in This World. Succot is also one of the holidays that cancels or postpones the shiva, mourning period. One is commanded to be joyful, even when a close relative has died and just been buried. The joy of the holiday overrides personal mourning. And if a family member dies and is buried during the holiday, then the shiva is postponed until afterwards. We are first Jews who worship Gd and celebrate His Holidays, then we are individuals. Our personal feelings are secondary to Gd's mitzvot, commandments.

The Succot Holiday is when we are commanded to find the Joy in All that Gd has given us.

חג סוכות שמח
Chag Succot Sameach
Have a Joyful Succot Holiday

Monday, October 2, 2017

By Legitimizing Terror Attacks in Israel, The World Invited Terror Home

It's no longer rare to hear of a terror attack, almost always done by someone with an Arab sounding name, in Europe, the Americas and further afield. Years ago, I began warning that "understanding," excusing, rationalizing and legitimizing the Arab terrorism here in Israel would only whet their appetite and make terrorism spread all over the world.

Unfortunately I was right. The terror attacks have gotten larger, more frequent and in more and more places. Also the excuses have gotten more varied, creative and even less clear. It now seems more and more that the attraction of violence, the smell of the blood turns on some people, and they attack just for the "fun" of it.


Just a couple of hours ago, terrorists shot up a concert at a casino in Las Vegas. There may be a couple of dozen dead and about a hundred injured. Each update is worse.

It's going to be very hard for the world, its leaders and media to reverse the process, a major and complex "undo." The key would be to admit that terrorism against Israelis, no matter on which side of the "greenline" is totally immoral and inexcusable. Let's see if that ever happens. And if it doesn't, international terrorism will only grow, get worse and more frequent.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Opinion Please: What Makes a Good Chazan/Cantor?

We've just finished the two Jewish Holidays which demand the most time in a synagogue listening to and singing along with a chazan/cantor.

Here in Shiloh, all of our "cantors" are volunteers. They are mostly neighbors and don't get paid. Personally, I don't miss the professional chazanim, who sometimes perform more than doven.  Listening to those lovely voices is fun on a rare occasion, but since I like to sing along, our amateurs suit me better. But I'd like to know your opinion, thanks.

Please vote in the comments, thanks.
You can rank the choices here, too.

  • Voice
  • Soul
  • Tunes
  • Choir
  • Speed
  • Innovation
  • Other
Chag Sameach
 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Yom Kippur 5778, Please Forgive Me

May I take this opportunity, just hours before Yom Kippur to ask forgiveness from all of you...

For those of you who know me personally, f2f, and those who just read my words on social media...

For anything I may have said or written that I shouldn't have...

I meant no harm...

גמר חתימה טובה
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May You Be Inscribed "Well," or "For Good"

Actually, I truly wonder what that means. When good people, holy, mitzvah doing people die, especially when they die and/or suffer at such young ages, I don't like, or can't accept, the idea that the חתימה Chatimah means that either a person lives or dies. Honestly, it makes no sense to me and that philosophical, dilemma is the cause of much suffering for many. 

Simplifying Judaism, or any religion, into Gd gives a long happy life to the good people and makes the evil suffer is not what we see in This World. Just this week, two very holy people I knew passed away much too young. 

For this blessing to make sense to me and be a comfort, I go back to the Jewish concept of This World and The Next World, aka The World to Come, עולם הזה ועולם הבא Olam Hazeh vi'Olam Habah. Chaza"l, Our Sages teach that the payment/receiving of reward and punishment aren't in This World; it's in the Next World, the one world after death. So the "Inscription" referred to in that blessing must really mean that when we die we will benefit or suffer from the grade or score or mark we get for all we have done in This World. 

We, therefore, shouldn't look at death as a punishment for sins or a long life as a reward for good deeds, because we all know of absolutely wonderful people, including innocent children, who have died very young even after great suffering. And we all know of dangerously evil people who lived very long healthy and wealthy lives. 

May we merit the opportunity to fully repent before death. And that means that we should take advantage of every day for repentance, not just Yom Kippur, the first ten days of Tishrei and the Month of Elul. Repentance should be on our minds 24/7, Gd willing.

Please Forgive Me



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interpol Fiasco Proves No Justice From Nations & Failure of Bibi's Peace Policy

I guess by now everyone knows that Interpol members voted to let the cat watch the cream.
Interpol Gives Palestinians Full Membership
'State of Palestine' admitted to Interpol as new member
Last night on Israeli news they actually brought up a good point about it. Prime Minister Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has been insisting that most countries are more favorable to Israel than their "public votes" show. There is too much pressure to appear pro-Palestinian; he'd claim that in secret votes we'd do better. But this Interpol vote was secret, and it went in favor of the so-called State of Palestine.

There's a great irony in the fact that even those Israelis who are pushing for a Palestinian State don't like the idea that the source/support of terror is a member of Interpol. Remember that by giving them membership in Interpol, the terrorists become "partners" with those who are trying to stop terrorism. And there are many undercover activities against those very same terrorists which now will be fully revealed to the PLO.

We also mustn't ignore the connection of Netanyahu's policies and statements with this latest anti-international security and anti-Israel development. Netanyahu has been supporting the establishment of a Palestinian, sic, state for quite a few years already. Of course he claims to envision it with certain limitations and restrictions, but that's a total fantasy as we clearly see. Even before the official establishment of such a state, and Gd forbid there will ever be one, foreign countries and international bodies have been treating it as a completely legitimate national entity.  As far as the world is concerned, there is a State of Palestine, but it is being strangled by the evil State of Israel.

We will not find any justice or support from foreign countries nor international bodies, even one as important to international security as Interpol.

We have only one ally, Gd Almighty. How many reminders do we need?

גמר חתימה טובה
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May You be Inscribed for a Good Life

And צום קל Tzom Kal, Easy Fast to those fasting on Yom Kippur.

75 Palestinian Authority schools named after terrorists and Nazi collaborators and honoring Martyrs and Martyrdom
(Sept. 26, 2017)
  Palestinian Media Watch

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Save The Date: Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Prayers at Tel Shiloh

Rosh Hashanah was the beginning of the Jewish Month of Tishrei, and pretty obviously, there weren't any Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh on those days. Now it's not only Tishrei, but it's the new year 5778. And it's time to mark Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in our "planners."

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5778 
Friday, October 20, 2017 
30th of Tishrei, 5778, 8:30am 
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
Tour of Tel Shiloh 
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson 
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors. 

תפילת נשים ראש חודש חשון
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ו' 20-10-2017
ל' תשרי, תשע"ח 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan is two days, the first which is Friday the 30th of Tishrei, and the first of Cheshvan will be on Shabbat. Since women come from places other than Shiloh, and it will already be rain season, we're meeting on Friday, the 30th of Tishrei, October 20, 2017.

In the meantime, גמר חתימה טובה, Gmar Chatimah Tovah, May Gd Inscribe You With a Good "Grade"

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

1967 Six Days Victory, Alternative to Destruction

"So Sorry We Won" was the brilliantly prophetic name Ephraim Kishon and Dosh gave to their post 1967 Six Days War political satire. Here we are a half a century later, and even Israelis think there was a viable alternative to the miraculous victory of Biblical proportions which gave the State of Israel our Historic Homeland.

I was about to graduate high school when Egypt's Nasser began his tirades threatening to destroy the State of Israel, wipe it into the sea.
The absence of any significant international reaction to the reimposition of the blockade on the Gulf of Aqaba only emboldened Nasser. In a speech to Arab Trade Unionists on 26 May, he declared his real objective: "The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel." (Jewish Virtual Library)
There was nothing ambiguous about his statement, and there was nothing ambiguous about the fact that the United Nations and every single solitary country in the world just acquiesced or ignored Nasser's threats.

Here we were thirty years after the rise of Hitler and Naziism in Germany, just over twenty years after their defeat, and it looked like Hitler had risen from his grave.  The world, including the United States, had sat idly by when Jews were murdered by the Nazis, and now their successors were standing placidly on the sidelines while Nasser was orchestrating the destruction of the nineteen year old struggling State of Israel.

That was the situation in June, 1967, when without any foreign ally the State of Israel achieved the most miraculous and unprecedented victory in the history of warfare. In six days, not only did we defend the indefensible Auschwitz borders, but we liberated all of the land from the Golan Heights in the north to the Suez Canal on the south and to the Jordan River on the East. This not only gave the State of Israel all of historic, holy and Biblical Jerusalem, it returned the locations of our Biblical National History and finally gave the modern state logical and defendable borders.

You'd think that such a victory would be embraced, celebrated and accepted by all sectors in Israeli society for eternity.

The Jewish People may be academically brilliant with a disproportionately high percentage of discoveries and prizes in science, but when it comes to politics and "self-defense," we tend to get things wrong. In the Bible you can read about how our very first king, King Saul, was more concerned with trying to kill David than obeying Gd's decree that he destroy all of the enemy Amalek. And unfortunately, things haven't changed all that much.

Not only are the European Union and most foreign governments boycotting the big celebrations of the 50 years our 1967 victory and subsequent settlements in the liberated Land, but many Israeli politicians and political parties are boycotting the Judea and Samaria jubilee.

Honestly, I'm not surprised by the fact that non-Jews and other countries don't care about the survival and security of the State of Israel, but I find it truly incomprehensible that there are Israelis who don't understand, or more accurately, refuse to understand that the alternative to that 1967 victory was the destruction of the State of Israel, Gd forbid. Here we are a half century, fifty 50 years later, and they still haven't a clue as to the perilous security situation we'd be in without having full control and sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

It's bad enough that Menachem Begin gave Egypt the Sinai. But there is no way the State of Israel could survive with an enemy Arab terror state inside our borders.

Allowing Jews to live in all parts of the Land of Israel we now control is the only way to secure the Land and make even Tel Aviv a safe place for Jews.