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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thinking AND Living "Outside of the Box"

I agree with Batya's post, "I Don't Understand How G-d Fearing People Don't Celebrate Israeli Independence!" I cannot fathom a religious Jew not celebrating and marking Yom Ha'atzmaut in some way. How can one not appreciate the tremendous miracles He has wrought by allowing us to found our own country and witness the rebirth of Torah living and Torah learning here in the Holy Land? (Sorry this sounds shmaltzy, but after 31 years here, I still get teary eyed every time a plane with one of your boys flies over my head!)

Having said that, I must mention that there are different ways to celebrate this glorious day. Our country is extremely polarized and I don't give a hoot if what I do is considered "normal," as long as my husband and Hashem allow it :) Need one light a "mangal" and eat barbecued meat to celebrate the day? Is there only ONE kosher approved way to celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut? I have in my possession a tape of my Rebbe, Rav Yehuda Cooperman, shlita, founder of the Michlala Jerusalem La'banot. He says that to say Tachanun on this day as if it is the same as any other day is tantamount being "kafuyi toda" (lacking appreciation) for His goodness in allowing the founding of the state of Israel after the Holocaust.


However, I recently read a copy of the new book by Rabbi Dovid Holzer on Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, "Thinking Aloud." (Superb reading, by the way!) Rabbi Holtzer served the Rav as his Shamash-- right hand man: chavruta and "sounding board" for over six years. He explains Rav Soloveitchik's stand on saying Hallel with a bracha. It is not so simple, according to the Rav, and NOBODY can accuse him of not having been a zionist! It is a strictly halachic issue which Rabbi Soloveitchik analyses and explains in great detail. (This book is based primarily on tape recordings of the Rav speaking.)

Personally, when I made aliya, I bent down and kissed the ground despite the funny looks I got, and since then have never hid my zionism. My children, (boys with black kippot, girls who studied at Bait Yaacov schools) were raised in a home where Yom Hatazmaut meant another lecture about "...how blessed we are to all live here."

It has meant listening to the International Chidon Tanach (Bible Contest,) while preparing a very special holiday meal. It has meant spending the day in joyous reflection about how wonderful it is to be a Jew here in Eretz Yisrael. It has meant special food and dress, despite the day falling during sefirat ha'omer. I don't believe that I am any less a zionist than someone who chooses (as I did several times in my late teens,) to pray at Mercaz Ha'rav and dance to the Kotel.

Why? For one thing, living here has meant great sacrifice on my part. My parents were unable to fly in for my sons' bris ceremonies; nor was I able to see them every year. And, my children's weddings have never included any of my close family due to monetary and/ or health reasons.

The Netura Karta are "kafuai toda," in my eyes, living here while hating the state and they disgust me. Additionally, I find repugnant people who lack the basic derech eretz to stand in place during the sirens remembering our fallen heroes. You don't want to stand still? Then stay at home!!!! Otherwise, stand and say a bit of Tehillim for the many holy people killed "al kiddush Hashem" while sancitfiying His name, some of whom have nobody to say neither Kadish nor Tehillim for them!

I abhor young men who hypocritically claim Torah to be their life (as it is for my husband, who for the first 20 years of our marriage learned 15 hours a day. My children grew up calling out "Abba" at night, for Abba was learning Torah until 3.00 - 4.00 a.m. daily!) As a Rosh Kollel, my husband said often throughout the years to batlanim ( lazy men ) supposedly dedicated to learning, "Who are you kidding? Go do army service and get a job! What you're doing-- pretending to dedicate your life to learning- is a chilul Hashem! (desecration of His name.)

Two of my cousins in the USA work in chinuch (Jewish education,) garbed in dark blue suits and hats, with knitted kippot underneath. One studied for a few years at Kerem B'Yavne and the other at Shalabim before finishing degrees at Yeshiva University. Can you imagine an Israeli's reaction at seeing them remove their hats.... to reveal a kipa seruga???? What are these men meshugane- crazy? Not at all! Many in Ner Yisrael Yeshiva of Baltimore and Chafetz Chaim Yeshiva of N.Y. used to dress this way in my time. (I have lived here since '78 so can't say what goes on there now!)

Why must everyone in this country conveniently fit into a little box, like the children's toy that teaches them to recognize shapes. You must be a PERFECT triangle; square; rectangle; etc. to fit in. If not, well... you don't get to go into the box. There is no place for individuals who refuse to conform to being conveniently labeled "chiloni," "dati leumi," or "charedi." Well, my children were raised in a home where these lables were simply not allowed. There are people who keep Torah and mitzvot, even if they dress differently than we do, and those who as yet do not keep Torah and mitzvot. Period! When my young ones were quizzed by other children in kindergarten if we are Ashkenazim or Sepharadim, (I am the first; hubby the second; the house goes by Sephardishe halacha,) I would tell my kids to say, "I am a good Jew like all the other good Jews the world over whose souls were at Har Sinai!" Loving your fellow Jew as yourself includes EVERY Jew, no matter what his attire or affiliation.

I would never, ever wish to live abroad. I abhor my visits to the USA to visit my 84 year old father and have let the family know that after 120, they will come visit me should they wish to see me. Nevertheless, here in Israel we could do with a little bit more patience and acceptance of other Jews without pre-judging him or her by dress ; kippa; etc. such as that we witness abroad.

I adored my year at the Michlala: We were eight girls in the apartment. Two were American daughters of illustrious Charedi Rabbis; Two were American ba'alot teshuva (yours truly one of them,) a third room housed a Gerer Chasidic girl who lived in Bnei Brak across the street from a Bnei Akiva counselor (who married a boy from Mercaz during that year;) and the last room housed an Israeli Charedi Ashkenazi girl from the Haifa area with a lovely Yemenite girl from a moshav up north. I don't recall if she was dati leumi or charedi. You see I never noticed. These words and concepts mean nothing to me! She was simply a good girl-- whose neshama was at Har Sinai with mine!

I Don't Understand How G-d Fearing People Don't Celebrate Israeli Independence

As a religious Jew, I see/recognize the Hand of G-d in everything. Most religious people have the same attitude, unless they're just going throught the motions.

To me there's a fundamental irony, or even hypocrasy in the attitude of Chareidi Jews who refuse to thank G-d and celebrate the fact that Sixty One Years ago, the Zionist leadership dared to declare a Jewish State.

You may notice that I put "Jewish" in italics. Because, yes, I recognize that the state is imperfect, far from authentically Jewish. But that's the fault of the religious establishment in 1948 and to this day, both the Mizrachi (NRP) and Agudat Yisrael, because they relegated themselves, ghettoized, restricted their government involvement to their separate school systems and the religious establishment. They should have made efforts to be involved in every aspect of the country's development including, agriculture, military, entertainment and televison when it came to Israel.

Judaism demands constant striving for improvement, for Tshuva, Repentance. We must never accept status quo as permanent, engraved in stone. And we must never give up our struggles to make our country, better, stronger, more self-reliant and independent.

The Declaration signed sixty-one years ago just heralded a new begining, not an end.



We must thank G-d for it and ask Him for the strength we need to continue and make Israel a more Jewish State.

The "Lid's" Off On Israel At 61!

Chazal, our sages, say that there are shivim pannim l'Torah, seventy aspects/opinions on the Torah. Yid with Lid has presented, not quite seventy, but a very impressive holiday round up of jblog posts about Israel's 61st Anniversary of Independence.
I'll add a few more, because one can never celebrate too much. And if you want to join the party, add yours in the comments and blog about it, too.
Now for a short list of blogs to check out, which I don't think I saw by the "Lid:"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Opening the Mt. Zion Vatican Vaults

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

As Batya has already mentioned, back in 2005 the Committee to Save Mt. Zion was formed in order to thwart attempts by the Vatican to gain control of parts of Mt. Zion. Batya and I were members of that committee. Efforts included the development of a website by another member of the committee, Shelomo Alfassa.

Today’s headlines are, once again, reporting that Israel’s control of Mt. Zion is in danger
Due to the urgency of the situation - and because unlike the Vatican, we have no secrets, the Committee to Save Mt. Zion is providing the below archives to the public with the hopes that pro-Israel activists can make good use of the information (we trust that you’ll give a hat tip to Shelomo and the Committee to Save Mt. Zion if you make use of the below links and research.)

The Committee to Save Mt. Zion archives
News archives
Timeline of activism
Documents Relating to the Mt. Zion Situation
Hebrew and English media reports
Press Releases

Letters of concern over Mt. Zion property issues and the Israeli government’s disgraceful promotion of the Pope and Christianity can be addressed to the Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon via
The Director-General of the Foreign Ministry at mankal@mfa.gov.il
the fax number is 02-5303704 (from abroad, replace leading 0 with 972)
The Minister of Tourism, Stas Smiseznikov at smiseznikov@knesset.gov.il

61 Years And Praising G-d

HALLEL
Chapter 13


1
Hallelujah. Praise, O ye servants of HaShem, praise the name of HaShem.

2
Blessed be the name of HaShem from this time forth and for ever.

3
From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof HaShem'S name is to be praised.

4
HaShem is high above all nations, His glory is above the heavens.

5
Who is like unto HaShem our G-d, that is enthroned on high,

6
That looketh down low upon heaven and upon the earth?

7
Who raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the needy out of the dunghill;

8
That He may set him with princes, even with the princes of His people.

9
Who maketh the barren woman to dwell in her house as a joyful mother of children. Hallelujah.





Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Sameach!

Happy Israeli Independence Day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Empty Chair, Israel's Soldiers And Terror Victims Memorial Day

I left a bit late to get to the ceremony at the cemetery this morning. The siren began, and I stood still. I looked around. Everyone stopped whatever they had been doing. People stepped out of their cars. Tractor drivers got down from their tractors, as you can see in the picture.
The cemetery was full of people sitting and standing during the memorial ceremony. The graves in this picture are mostly of old people who died from "natural causes."
I never like photographing my neighbors during such events. I try to be discreet.


We've adopted the custom of reading T'hillim, Psalms, of the letters of the soldiers and terror victims' names at each grave. I stood with the parents of someone buried in a different cemetery. We found ourselves standing around an empty chair.

It spooked me. An empty chair, such a simple and direct symbol of their dead son.



Hashem Yinkom Damom

Swine Flu, A PR-Caused Panic?

I've been ignoring the swine flu. Maybe, you'd say, because of the name "swine," pig, an animal I, a Torah observant Jew, wouldn't eat. But as news spreads about the spread of the virus to New York, where I have to visit this summer, I've begun to wonder.

Will there be a pandemic? Will it be over by July?

Actually, if I could travel to New York by boat, like we did when we made aliyah to Israel in 1970, I'd feel a lot safer. There's nothing less healthy than an airplane, those flying boxes with recycled air. By the time you land, you've breathed in everybody's exhaled air. Even if it's filtered, how often is the filter changed and what does it filter out?

Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves? Or is this just a panic over nothing?


For the new swine influenza virus, it is too soon to know the answers. And as scientists are all too keenly aware, they have been wrong before.
In 1976, after a small outbreak of swine influenza at Fort Dix in New Jersey, public-health officials persuaded President
Gerald R. Ford and Congress to mount a nationwide immunization campaign that came in for widespread criticism. Yet 60 years earlier, an influenza virus that apparently started as a mild outbreak in the spring came back in a giant storm months later.

The swine flu may just be a big nothing, only modern testing techniques have given it such early publicity. Or, considering how much people travel nowadays, it may G-d forbid be horrendously deadly.

Or will the stress and worry over it cause more medical problems than the notorious virus?

Off With Their Masks!

US President Obama and the United Nations aren't hiding their joint agenda.

They aren't pro-Israel, nor do they hide their pro-Arab terrorist ideology. Obama doesn't care if Hamas gets the United States aid. And about the UN, we all know that it's run by the Arabs and Arab supporters.

International Human Rights got another whipping from the United Nations due to Durban II. Besides Anne Bayefsky's UN Watch and a few bloggers, who really cares?

Did you ever wonder how the Nazis could have exterminated so many millions of people without any international protest?

Monday, April 27, 2009

In Just An Instant...

In just an instant life can change, from joyous laughter to tragedy and death.
Here in Israel, we take it in the opposite direction. We begin our Independence celebrations remembering those people who lost their lives fighting for our freedom and security and for those murdered by terrorists.
I just returned from our Shiloh Memorial Event.
Besides a few traditional prayers and T'hillim, Psalms, we heard the stories behind the establishment of a few communities named after people who had been killed. Then there was a movie about neighbors, all young, who had been murdered. Their families spoke about them.
It was held in the "Payis Building," our sports center, where many large events take place. It was good that we were kept in the dark, more private, at such an emotional program.
Tomorrow there will be a ceremony at the Shiloh Cemetery, and then we end the day of mourning together.

And then, the celebrations will begin.

In just an instant, we will go from mourning to celebration!



Sixty One Years

Since Israel Declared Its

Independence!

The United States Verses Democracy

The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been instructing the citizens of Lebanon about who should get their votes.

I may be a naive purist, but that's not democracy. Clinton isn't Lebanese, and she doesn't live there. She has no right to tell them what to do.

In that same thread, I don't approve of the United States or any other country interfering with Israeli politics. I don't even like diaspora Jews telling us whom to vote for.

I live in Israel and have lived in Israel all of my adult life. Most of that time I have lived in Shiloh.

I'm still an American citizen. I keep an up-to-date passport. According to American Law, I have the right to vote in United States Elections. But I don't vote. I don't vote because I live here in Israel.

Yes, I admit that I blog my opinions about American elections, but I don't instruct anyone about what they must do. I don't claim to know American needs better than those who live there. OK, part of the reason is because I'm a cynic, and I know that no matter who gets elected, they may "transform" into someone else's policies.

There's something extremely insidious about Clinton's telling the Lebanese for whom to vote. She doesn't want "the Islamic militant group Hezbollah " to prove its popular support. The New York Times, may call Hezbollah "militant," but we all know that they are terrorists and they want to destroy Israel. During that disastrous Olmertian Lebanese War a couple of years ago, the world kept trying to paint a picture showing Israel attacking innocent civilians, when we were trying to get at the Hezbollah terrorists who hid in civilian settings.

Clinton's "technique" bodes ill for world peace. You can't fix things if your diagnosis is faulty.

The Catholic Pope's Visit To Israel -- Taking Bets


I got the idea for this post from a comment by josh.


The Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit Israel very soon. Josh suggested that maybe he'll be bringing one of our Holy Temple Treasures which the Romans stole from the Beit HaMikdash thousands of years ago. I doubt it, because it would admit that they have our property.


Nu? What do you think? What do you expect the pope to bring us? Israel is planning an outrageously disproportionate gift of our Holy Mount Zion.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Here We Go Again, Saving Mount Zion

A few years ago, I joined the efforts to save Mount Zion from the Vatican. We demonstrated on a rainy Friday morning at the President's Residence. Katzav was then Israel's President and we had been told that he was traveling to the Vatican and planning on presenting the Pope with a "gift."

The "gift" wasn't his to give. It's not some piece of art that the Israeli Government can give to foreign religions. It's our Land, our History.



Yes, Mount Zion must stay in Jewish hands. Today, with the Roman Catholic Pope about to visit, the negotiations have been renewed, and we've received word that Israel, the Jewish Nation, wants to give the pope Mount Zion. The Catholics will make it a shrine to further belittle the Jewish ties to our HolyLand.

We must find a way to stop it!

Just Days After Durban II, Vichy France Exhibit in New York

Vichy France clearly exhibited the French support for the Nazis. There wasn't much struggle, neither against German political control nor the Nazi "civil rights" policies.

I plan on seeing the exhibit about those times at the New York Public Library during this summer's visit, G-d willing.

As I've written many times, no country in Europe or the rest of the world, including the United States, has the right to take the moral high ground against Israel. No country fought Nazi Germany because of its racist anti-Semitic and anti-minority policies. The countries which opposed and militarily fought them did it only for their own survival or other security reasons.

All and all, nothing has really changed in the past seventy years. No country has apologized for their passivity and acquiescence to Nazi policies. The United Nations, established just after World War Two ended, is a hot bed of anti-Semitic (Jewish/Israel) ideology, as we just saw at Durban II.

Because of France's quick willingness to be part of the Nazi German Empire, it was saved from physical destruction. The New York Exhibit tries to analyze its moral state. Let's see what we can learn from the past, if people are willing.

Rebranding Michelle Obama


At one point in their campaign for the United States Presidency, Michelle Obama almost lost it for Barack, when it was revealed that she had stated that it was the first time she was proud to be an American.



Michelle has rebranded herself from resentful Black Power to strikingly fashionable domestic goddess. She was a successful lawyer before her husband.
Michelle, who like other political wives such as Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Edwards, Eleanor McGovern etc, is no dumbbell and probably a lot smarter than her husband. Her taking control of her image is impressive and highly professional. I don't think that anyone doubts her influence over her husband, but she's more subtle and discreet about it than Hillary was.
The big question is about her future. Will she branch out later to establish her own political career?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

That's How It Works Here


Netanyahu Gov't Continues to Divide Jerusalem
Defense Ministry continues work on partition wall in capital -- even though court has yet to decide on its legality.


Yes, that's how it works.


That's the system if someone wants to open a restaurant. The process of getting all of the varied "government approvals," yes in the plural, is complicated and convoluted. It's permitted to open your restaurant for business without all the permits... as long as you're in the process of getting them.

The wall is just another business, so Bibi and company aren't going to bother to wait for anything as minor as a permit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crime Pays Someone -- The Madoff Movie

Bernie Made-Off with lots of other people's money. And now there's going to be a movie about him.

No surprise. Crooks generally make interesting characters. I once went to a lecture about book-writing. We were told that there must be some conflict.

The Bernie Madoff story has lots of conflict. On one hand, he lived a very moral life. He was involved in Jewish organizations and seemed the model super-rich Jew. Unknown to almost everyone, he was really a top con artist.

Now, the real billion dollar que$tion for the script-writers will be:
"Who else was in cahoots?"

So far, I haven't heard any real answers.

Did his wife know?

Did Madoff's sons know?

I think (of course, I can't prove anything being just a blogger, neither police nor Private Investigator) that his sons knew. They, both generations, feared that the Ponzi Scheme would soon be discovered. So they decided on one last scam. The sons would turn him in claiming that they had just discovered the truth. Bernie would swear up and down that his precious sons were totally innocent, as if anyone with half a brain could really believe the guy who had been lying and tricking even his best friends all these years.

Well, fools, like tigers, don't change their stripes so fast. Just look at Israel, which keeps on giving the Arab terrorists Land, gestures etc to encourage them to make peace, and all Israel gets in exchange is terrorism, war and threats.

Will this movie really be made? And if so, who gets the profits?

Don't Seat Me In The Back Of The Bus!

Sorry, I couldn't find an illustration of a modern bus, of the types used here in Israel, but this one does have the same basic proportions.


In recent years there has been a very disturbing trend in Israel. Chareidi Jews, those who look for extreme ways of interpreting Jewish Law, have succeeded in getting the public bus companies to establish "separate seating routes."
I'm a religious, Torah-observant Jew and I don't see what's so holy in pushing women to the limited seats in the back of the bus. In these buses married couples are forbidden to sit together. Even if one of the couple is sick or infirm, his/her spouse must desert the needy partner or other passengers attack them.
Most bus seating arrangements are like this illustration. There are many more seats in the front of the bus, so it's very common for women to be forced to stand while the men are seated one to a two-passenger seat.
Now, I don't know what Torah these guys obey, but in their zeal not to look at women, they ignore those who need help. That is a much bigger sin than walking through an aisle in which women are sitting on both sides.
I'd like to hear some rabbis quoting Jewish Law opposing these discriminatory buses. It really bothers me that the non-Chareidi Torah rabbis allow the Chareidi ones to make up laws. I don't see the Chareidim as more authentically Jewish as us ordinary religious Torah Jews. Actually, it's the opposite. They've adopted very Christian attitudes.
The Chareidim have set up Jewish monasteries, differing only in that the yeshiva students are encouraged to marry and have children. Our forefathers and Chazal, wise men, always worked at professions. The great mitzah is to "work for six days and rest for the seventh." Studying theory isn't work.
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
Have a Good Month and A Peaceful Shabbat

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chodesh Iyyar Tov! Have a Blessed New Month

I just got back from Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb. Yes, it was crowded.



Kever Rachel, so close to Jerusalem, has always been a popular place for prayers, though it's not for the claustrophobic, or the asthmatic. Today's Kever Rachel is nothing like the Biblical, or even the one I first saw almost forty years ago.

Compare that to Shiloh. OK, the archaeologists will tell you that what is now Tel Shiloh is the remains of the Biblical city heaped on the spot where the Mishkan, Tabernacle rested for 369 years. But the plants are most probably descended from, or somehow related to, the ones which grew when Eli was Kohen Gadol, High Priest, Chana came to pray and Shmuel, Samuel, was sent to be mentored by Eli.




Relax, close your eyes and sense the the Ketoret, the fragrant incense once prepared for prayers. The air feels as pure as it must have been thousands of years ago. Chana, Elkana, Eli, Shmuel and thousands and thousands of Jews were here in Shiloh then.



For the past year and a half, I've been inviting women to join me in Tel Shiloh for Rosh Chodesh Prayers. Tomorrow, Friday, April 24, is Rosh Chodesh Iyyar. We'll be at the Tel at 9:30, G-d willing.



Women's Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Prayers at Tel Shiloh
יום ו' 9:30
יש זמן לפני שבת. נא להזמין אחרות
Friday 9:30am
להתראות,





Even if you enjoy the crowds at Kever Rachel, that shouldn't stop you from coming to Tel Shiloh.
Tel Shiloh is open to tourists all year long. Parties and other events can also be arranged there. For more information email: telshilo@gmail.com or call 02-994-4019.

Chodesh Tov!

“Never complain and never explain.” Benjamin Disraeli

Never complain and never explain.” Benjamin Disraeli, who also said:
You will find as you grow older that courage is the rarest of all qualities to be found in public life.

Yes, that's what was going through my mind last night as I glanced at Israel's Chanel One News, when an IDF, Israel Defense Force's officer was trying to explain, point by point why we hadn't done anything wrong during the recent Gaza "war."

Israeli Military Says Its Actions in Gaza War Did Not Violate International Law


It's foolish and dangerous to justify the complaints and accusations in that way. The only way to respond to say:

That's the price of war. If the Gazans don't like it, they shouldn't attack us.

They certainly shouldn't expect G-d to protect them the way He protects us. Yes, I know that sounds a bit flaky, but there's no other explanation for the very small amount of casualties we've had. Yes, "disproportionate," but just like some families have more "bad luck" and illnesses than others, and some have more boys or more girls or more talent and money, life isn't "fair." It's also not a simple mathematical equation.

After the 1967 Six Days War, there was a popular book, So Sorry We Won, by Efraim Kishon. That's the perfect title to sum things up. The world was ready to give the young State of Israel a glorious funeral, but G-d directed a very different outcome. Yes, G-d, because there was no Israeli battle plan to liberate the Sinai, Golan, the Jordan Valley and our ancient and Biblical Homeland to the Jordan River.

Benjamin Disraeli may not have been the perfect Jew, but that doesn't mean that we can't learn from him.

Recently, there have been all sorts of mailings and articles telling us to bombard US President Obama with urgings to cease his "two states" policy. That would be a total waste of time and energy. The object of such a campaign must be Israel, politicians and media. The problem is here, not abroad. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is correct when he says that the United States will follow Israel on the issue.

Some countries, like Great Britain, have always been anti-Israel. That's why we had to fight it to establish our state, and things haven't changed. They may be experts at "proper statements," but that doesn't change history. I'm a pragmatist; I don't fall for pretty and unbacked words.

Our battle for survival is really here in Israel. We must change public opinion, the media and the politicians. Actually, the most effective order would put the media first. They control both the politicians and public. The media also muzzles the public, in order to create an impression that the public agrees with the media.

Just like how people are instructed how to avoid being attacked by bullies and muggers, it's the same here. Israel uses the "body language" of a victim. We're easy targets. That must change!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clarifying The Past

Being a Jew and living in Shiloh, a location so rich in Jewish Biblical History, it's so clear to me that our past is our present, totally intertwined, in a way that no other People experience.

Recently, my husband has been involved in researching the kidnapping and murder of Alexander Rubovitz, a young, teenage Lechi (Stern Group) activist by Roy Farren of the British Police. To this day, over sixty years later, the body has never been found. There was no funeral, and no "closing" for his family, friends and compatriots.

That's not the only story from our struggle against the British for the Independence of the State of Israel recently researched. Natan Brun, whose father, Akiva, had been accused by the British of planning on bombing London decided to learn the facts.

Akiva Brun had also been a member of Lechi. The British hated and feared the Lechi, which had split from the Etzel Irgun during World War Two. The crucial issue was whether or not to take a hiatus from attacking Britain which was then fighting Nazi Germany.

The Etzel misread the situation, ignoring the fact that England was fighting for its own survival, not for any greater good. At the same time Britain refused Jewish refugees entry to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. It didn't care how many Jews were murdered, whether by Nazis or Arabs. Today the next generation is in the Knesset. Etzel leader Menachem Begin's son, Benny is a Likud MK, and Lechi leader Yisrael Eldad's son Arieh is a Ichud Le'umi (National Union) MK. Yes, the same political-philosophical struggle continues.

Tim Franks' opening paragraph is attention-getting but skirts criminal libel.

Did Al-Qaeda draw on Jewish inspiration for its attacks of 11 September 2001? It may seem unlikely, but more than 60 years ago, Jewish militants were arrested in Paris on suspicion - as newspapers in Britain, France and the US reported at the time - of planning to bomb London from the air.

Both the Lechi and the Etzel were careful never to harm innocent civilians. It's slanderous to imply that there could be any connection between them and Al-Qaeda.

No surprise that Natan Brun "...has come up with conclusive evidence that the gang was planning only to drop leaflets, not bombs over London." It's obvious that the British discovered that, too, because Akiva Brun wasn't executed by the British. He was allowed to return home to his family after the British Mandate ended.

And it would be a kind, humanitarian gesture if the British would assist in finding the body of Alexander Rubovitz. Let him be given a proper Jewish burial. Sixty-two years have passed since he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered. Considering that Great Britain attended Durban II, I don't hold much hope that they care about the teenage Jew they murdered all those years ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mixed Bag - New York Times Editorial

At first I thought that a miracle had happened. Maybe the Messiah is really getting closer. It had looked like the New York Times had an editorial I could agree with.

In an ugly speech on Monday that served to divide and incite rather than find constructive solutions to racism, Mr. Ahmadinejad said the formation of the state of Israel left “an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering” in order “to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine.”
We commend France and other European nations for walking out in protest.

Then it snuck in something to insinuate that there must be a basis to the "war crimes" charge.

There are legitimate questions to be raised about Israel’s handling of the Gaza war, which had a disturbingly high number of civilian casualties. The Israeli military last month investigated allegations of abuses made by Israel’s own soldiers and quickly concluded that crucial data were based on “hearsay.” We agree with the nine Israeli human rights groups that have called for an independent inquiry.

If that wasn't bad enough, it comes to an even worse conclusion.

After weighing the issue, President Obama decided not to send an American delegation to the conference. Perhaps it would have been better if his administration had been present to fight for an improved communiqué until the end.

Well, more proof that a tiger can't change his stripes, or is it a lepord his spots... ... or an Arab terrorist his values and morals....

The True Lesson From The Holocaust

Arlene Kushner has an excellent article on YNET explaining what has been missing in Israel's hasbara, information campaign.

This is a very long-running problem. Nothing is new at all.

Today, being Holocaust Remembrance Day, it fits for me to criticize Israeli and Jewish leaders' reliance on a false premise that many in the non-Jewish world support us because we lost so much in the Holocaust. The world didn't care when Jews were being systematically and legally discriminated against when the Nazis first took over Germany, by democratic means, and they didn't do anything at all to stop the legally sanctioned murder of Jews.

We have no cushion of support and sympathy. It's a myth.

How many world leaders have clearly apologized for what was done to European Jewry?

The legitimacy of the State of Israel isn't derived from the ashes of dead Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Yes, murdered; they didn't perish!

I guess I'm in a very tiny minority of Jews, because I consider the Holocaust misused. I don't want anyone's sympathy. I don't want their money as "reparations." By emphasizing the money, the financial losses, there has been a de-emphasis of the moral aspect, the moral responsibility of Germany, Europe, the United States and the rest of the world.

By demanding money and not demanding that the world admit its guilt, World Jewry has failed. And that is the foundation of the constant condemnation we suffer from the United Nations and all the so called human rights organizations.

If World Jewry hadn't considered money as the payoff for the Holocaust, we wouldn't be witnessing Durban II right now.

According to Jewish Law, Teshuva, Repentance is dependent on first admitting sin. That is stage one.




Instead of just walking out on Ahmadinejad's speech, the European countries, the Unites States, Canada, Israel etc should walk out of the United Nations, banish it from New York and stop all the financial support.

The United Nations is a disaster. Without western money it would fold up. And that's what it should do. It's dominated by fascist, racist hypocrites who blame everything on Israel.

The lesson of the Holocaust is that we, the Jews, can't count on anyone, on any other nation or people.

Our strength must come from ourselves,

our unity and G-d.

Our Biggest Enemy? Apathy!

Many would question my provocative title. Had I written, "Biggest Enemy- Chamas," or "Fundamentalistic Islam," or even "Revival of World Anti-Semitism" most would refrain from eyebrow raising. However, I stand by my words and will explain why:

A baalat teshuva, after becoming religious I was taught 40 years ago that G-d is responsible for all that occurs here in our world. As I read, according to Rabbenu Bachaye (of the renowned book "Chovot Ha'levavot,") should a worm raise its head above ground and a Jew deems this coincidental, he is a heretic! Other Rabbis disagree and are less apt to deem the person a non-believer.

Regardless, the phrase "G-d helps those who helps themselves" is also an integral part of Judaism with the rabbinical supposition in Hebrew, "Ha'ba le'tahair, mi'syin b'yado." That translates roughly as, "He who comes to be purified (do a good deed,) gains heavenly assistance." As I teach my Ulpana girls at school, I firmly believe that this is relevant for every positive action and not just mitzvot De'orita. (Mitzvot specifically mentioned outright in our Torah.) I tell my pupils that if they do their utmost to succeed in their studies, Hashem will surely aid them with heavenly assistance.

I may have grown up in a non-observant zionistic home, nonetheless I was taught many ethical truths. One is that should one refrain from an attempt to change an injustice, he loses the right to complain about that injustice. Hence, from the age of ten I belonged to the SSSJ (the "Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry") and wrote countless letters to refuseniks in the former USSR.
This is also why I have in mind daily in my prayers when written, "... matir assurim...," ("... who frees captives..." ) Jonathan ben Malka Pollard and Gilad ben Aviva Shalit. Additionally, I call the White House (have American citizenship) as well as send e-mails and sign petitions for both captives. Likewise, we should utilize our Internet access to protest the despicable conference now in progress in Geneva. What reprehensible hypocrisy!

The moral morass we find ourselves living in during the present era is in no way conducive to promoting actions like petition signing; taking part in demonstrating; sending e-mails; etc. However, as my husband, a graduate of the prestigious ultra-Orthodox Ponevich Yeshiva told me before the expulsion from Gush Katif, "Dear, what will we say in heaven when we are asked, "What did you do for the sake of the Land of Israel and Am Yisrael? What will we be able to answer ?"

He continued, "Please, I want you to go to each and every demonstration while I remain home and learn Torah for the sake of the success of these public gatherings!" This was, on the face of it, not in character with our beliefs, as I usually refrain from mixed demonstrations; I dislike the intermingling of men and women as physically bumping into men makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable, although I do not judge others who attend such demonstrations for worthy causes. So yes, I went to each and every demonstration although deep down I felt it was a futile attempt to change our despicable government policy. Why? I would never have been able to forgive myself had I not.

Thus, even today, although it is surely futile, I occasionally pen an e-mail to CNN and BBC to complain about their subjective pro-Arab reporting and sign petitions that deal with environmental issues. I still recall my Mom, an eloquent speaker, phoning our N.Y. Congressmen and State Senators to fight for what she believed right. So, by now I assume you gather that my personal philosophy is that one must do whatever possible to promote our Jewish moral and physical survival both here and abroad without the convenient prevalent cop-out, "....it won't change a thing in any event." The same can be said for other issues such as saving water here in Israel; other vital environmental issues and fighting injustice on the international stage.

In conclusions, you've learned two things I believe in: Firstly,yes, indeed there are zionistic Israeli Orthodox Jewish charedim, and not just "chutznik" ones raised abroad despite what you may think, (for I am married to one!) And secondly, our most significant challenge as Jews today is to overcome the inertia of doing nothing to change injustice anywhere in the world, especially those issues that affect our country and our people.

Chodesh Tov, my dear brothers and sisters, whatever your affiliation!

Monday, April 20, 2009

UN Watch, Worth Watching


The UN Watch surprised the delegates at the U.N.’s “anti-racism” conference, known as Durban II. The chairwoman kept banging her gavel and interrupting the Arab doctor who had been imprisoned in her country. She kept insisting that he was off-topic.

Here are two videos of it:






And here is the short and clever video produced by Israel to illustrate the vast variety of races living together here in Israel.




Honestly, I don't think the way to influence the United Nations or most other countries is to be "nice" and amenable. No doubt the countries which walked out of the conference in protest were inspired by the fact that Israel, the USA and others didn't attend.
We're better off just cancelling our membership in protest and saving the money we waste. We'd probably make more friends by standing up for our rights and not being afraid of foreign disapproval.


Tonight and tomorrow are Holocaust Memorial Day. What country in the world did anything to try to stop the murder of the Six Million Jews and the millions of others the Nazis decided didn't have the right to live? A few individuals, yes, but not a single country. And yes, that includes the United States which refused entrance to refugees.


Remember that the United States did not fight the Nazis for the sake of the Jews. And Britain didn't either. Both countries fought the Nazis for their own benefit. Great Britain just wanted to survive, and the United States didn't want the Nazis to attack the United States, so it joined, rather late, Britain in the battle to contain them in Europe.


After the allies defeated the Nazis, then the Jewish prisoners in the death camps were discovered. Many of them died, because they were overfed, given the wrong foods by the American soldiers.


The message we must understand from the Holocaust is that we are alone, alone with G-d and we can't trust any other country, organization or leader to care about what happens to us.


"Yisrael Batach B'Hashem!"

"Israel, Put Your Faith in G-d!"

Is This Some "Good Cop - Bad Cop" Act?

First the news was filled with news that Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was demanding recognition of Israel by the Arabs before any negotiations.

Then it was denied. Here's the announcement:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insistent in his approach that recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People is a matter of substance and principle that enjoys wide recognition in the country and around the world, without which it will not be possible to advance the diplomatic process and reach a peace settlement. However, the Prime Minister has never set this as a pre-condition for the opening of negotiations and dialogue with the Palestinians.

Now the news from the Foreign Ministry is:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, this morning (Monday), 20.4.09, have decided to recall Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland Ilan Elgar home for consultations in protest against the Geneva conference, which is hosting a Holocaust-denying racist who has openly declared his intention of wiping Israel off the map.

What's going on?

Tolerance and Racism

As Durban II is about to open, attended by an assortment of international hypocrites, it's eye-opening to listen to Israel's veteran Likud MK and Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin:

"There are those who say that we need to transfer Umm el-Fahm [to Palestinian control]," Rivlin said. "This is a city in Israel, was [a city], is, and will be forever." (complete article)

Unlike Israeli Leftists and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater, Rivlin, descended from the Nachalt Shiva Rivlins, recognizes Eretz Yisrael, The Land of Israel, as Jewish regardless of who's living there. And that includes places like Umm el-Fahm.

Rivlin promotes civil rights to all Israeli citizens, Arabs and Jews, unlike Arab leaders who promote killing all Jews.

And while all this is going on, a new very expensive of course, Holocaust Museum opened near Chicago. Of all the Jewish fundraising causes, nothing attracts money like dead Jews. What does that say about racism?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ministry of Tourism sells Israel...down the tubes

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

The Israel Ministry of Tourism has launched a new website dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI’s first Papal visit.

Israel is a Jewish state and to produce a site and video presentation which promotes the "holiness" of Christianity at the expense of Jewish identity is a sham and a shame. Talk about replacement theology! The video repeatedly hails jesus as lord and savior, while Israel is reduced to a "modern, democratic state" on the cutting edge of Hi -Tech, Bio-Tech and Agri-Tech (oh, I forgot... there was Jewish content... I caught a glimpse of the Chief Rabbi bowing to the Pope).

It was also
reported on Israel National News that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, "It is possible to bring an additional one million tourists per annum to Israel in the near future."
Netanyahu said he believe that Christian historical sites have a great unrealized potential that could assist the Israeli economy in general, and the development of the Galilee in particular. The Prime Minister has previously raised the need for a comprehensive plan that would lead to a revolution in the tourism sector by rehabilitating various sites, increasing incoming tourism, creating jobs and increasing revenues.

The Jerusalem Post also reported on an increase in Christian pilgrims, but the stats were a bit suprising..."Last year, more than a million incoming tourists defined themselves as Catholic, 300,000 as Protestant, 360,000 as "other Christian," and 75,000 as Evangelicals, according to the Tourism Ministry statistics that were released during a tour of Christian holy sites in Nazareth ahead of the Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land next month."

Hmmmm...the evangelicals seem to have come up a bit short... Does this mean that the Catholics are our new best friends?

While you ponder that question, take a look at the video (which is also on YouTube) and if it offends you, write to the Minister of Tourism at smiseznikov@knesset.gov.il

Finally, Some Good News


It looks like the United States won't be attending the anti-Israel Durban II.
Australia, The Netherlands and Canada won't be attending either:

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said his country had already expressed strong concerns when the 2001 Declaration "singled out Israel and the Middle East."

It would be a good idea to take this into account if you're planning to vacation abroad. Why give your money to a country which is so comfortable in an anti-Israel/Semitic event?

There Are Plans, And There Are Plans

Just because Israel's Defense Forces have prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities doesn't mean that the plans are truly operational.


Every single country has its military prepared for operations it may never order. In Hebrew, the term is "b'megurot," in the "drawer," or "closet."

Sometimes, to "shut up" military officers and keep them from nagging their superiors, they're given a unit or platoon of soldiers for their "pet" battle plans. This doesn't mean that the plans are taken seriously. It's just good management to let the overly dreaming officer play soldiers so he'll stop driving everyone nuts.

A classic case was in post Six Days War Israel, 1967. During the summer of 1973, my husband attended an unforgettable World Betar Convention. He told me that some of the older Israelis there were bragging about their IDF positions and history. Somebody got the late Gidon Shiponi to reveal his army reserves job:


"Arik Sharon and I are training men to cross the Suez Canal."

That sounded ridiculously far-fetched, even to Betarim, but that's the army, and that was Arik Sharon, and that was Gidon Shiponi. And that's probably why Arik was passed over for Ramat Kal, Chief of Staff.


Well, I don't know how many of you remember who had the last laugh.

Yom Kippur, October, 1973, Israel was shocked by coordinated attacks by Egypt and Syria, on our northern and southern fronts, the northern and southern June, 1967, cease-fire lines. Our army and politicians were in a frenzy of panic. All of our military experts had declared us invincible. We had been reassured over and over that the Arabs would never attack us again.


There was only one spot of calm, and that was Arik Sharon. He and his officers, including Shiponi of course, were fully prepared. They shocked Egypt by efficiently crossing the canal.


But I have no doubt, that most surprised were Sharon's superiors, including the politicians in the know, who had never expected those plans to go any further than some "reserve duty exercise."

The IDF file cabinets are full of "what if" plans, long past their possible usefulness. Every army has them. You have to be prepared for all possibilities. They're supposed to be kept top secret, since their effectiveness is severely reduced when the element of surprise is deleted.

It was once much easier for Israel to keep its secret plans secret. No foreign army was privileged to know anything. Israeli army officers didn't consult with foreign countries. Israel didn't ask permission. We were much stronger then.

Our security is endangered by the close contact, the close connections we now have with the United States. It's to our detriment and possible, G-d forbid, destruction. We should reject all American aid and advice. I don't want to be killed by kindness and Trojan Horses. I fear our "friends" more than our enemies.

G-d willing a Shavua Tov, A Good Week to us all.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not Everything's In The Newspapers

Maybe for Israelis living in other parts of the country, this isn't newsworthy, but I think it should be.

Some friends were invited to a party in Jerusalem. It was in Ir David, near the Old City. They went by car and parked the car near the entrance.

After the party, they found their car seriously damaged, almost unrecognizable. The Arabs in that area had tried to break into the car. Yes, they parked it in an Arab neighborhood, so they knew that only Arabs could have done it. Theirs is a bullet-proofed car. Because of those special windows, the thieves couldn't get in to try to jump-start the car.

And these friends were the lucky ones. Other Jewish cars parked in the same area weren't found after the party. Yes, they were stolen. Of course it was all reported to the local police, the Israeli Jerusalem Police. Not that it will do any good.

There's a sign by the "exit" from Jerusalem at Hizme, reminding people not the leave their cars in the PA (Pseudisitinian Authority.)

There used to be a popular American sitcom, "Who's the Boss?" The situation in Jerusalem is no joke. There's anarchy. With all the talk of a united Jerusalem, what's the truth? Law isn't enforced in Arab populated areas. It's that simple.

Because of the constant pressure on Israel, and Israel's dangerously weak politicians and Left wing media, the Arabs consider it in their best interest to support the terrorists.

It was so much safer here in Israel... before all the peace broke out like malaria.

Friday, April 17, 2009

If You Still Think That The U.N. Has Value And Integrity...

You ought to read Anne Bayefsky's article about Durban II. That's if you have time while waiting for the Easter Bunny, crocheting socks for Santa Claus and similar occupations.

Again, Bayefsky brings up the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy which rules the United Nations and most of the world. Here's her opening:

The UN's idea of an anti-racism conference entered the final stretch yesterday with the planning committee deciding Iran ought to preside as a vice-chair, Libya will serve as the chair of the "Main Committee" running the conference and that Cuba will be the "rapporteur." All three human rights paragons will assume their new duties on the first day of "Durban II" set for Monday, April 20.

How any of these countries dare judge and condemn Israel when they're so much guiltier than we ever were, if we're guilty at all. We'd be better off just condemning the entire circus and recalling our ambassadors to every country which participates and that would include the United States if Obama has his way.

Our only defense is to take the moral high ground. We should be putting on the pressure. We certainly have the right to do so.

Dangerous Words


Bibi Netanyhu and other western minded small "d" Israeli and Jewish democrats and liberals continue to challenge the Arab terrorist leaders to just recognize Israel as a Jewish state and then we'll discuss a "Palestinian" one.


PM: Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state

That's a very dangerous mantra, because even if today the Arabs still refuse, someday they'll be ready and willing to say the "magic words," and then we'll be stuck.

It's not enough that Bibi has orchestrated another voice/note by Avigdor Lieberman, whose job it is to carry a different tune, reminding all that Israel's previous concessions, gifts to the Arabs have just brought us terror, death and war.

Israel needs a government which takes one thing into account as top priority, our security and independence.

In just two weeks we'll be celebrating Israel's Independence Day. G-d willing, we'll be truly independent of foreign rule in every single sense of the term.

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach
May You Have A Peaceful
and Blessed Shabbat!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Very Unpleasant Article

I don't know why I started reading the article in Ha'aretz internet edition. I get the "daily newsletter" and rarely click for more than those minimal headlines. This time, for some reason, I was curious.

For Jerusalem's Hebrew-speaking Catholics, Jewish identity is cardinal

Maybe it was the pun.

No surprise, considering the newspaper's agenda, the article describes this Catholic Church in Jerusalem in which many of the members, and even the priest, were born Jewish. Some were raised as Jews, even religious and traditional and some of the older ones were saved from the Nazis in Catholic homes and institutions.

Yesterday it was still Passover. A week ago we celebrated the Seder and read from the Haggadah:

היינו עבדים לפרעה במצרים
Hayinu Avadim l'Paroh b'Mitzrayim
We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt

The Joke Fell Flat To Jail

As I've been saying for years, humor can backfire. Sarcasm and mockery are understood verbatom, and "sick jokes" can be deathly.

Domino's the international food business got burnt when some misguided employees thought it would be funny to pretend to send out disgustingly tainted food, with the whole production filmed and then youtubed.

What started as a prank ended up in prison for two thirty-something employees. And Domino's is busy trying to put the cat back in the bag. Once words are said and images are broadcast, they're hard to erase. According to Jewish Law, repenting after saying forbidden things about someone requires locating each person who heard. It seems like Domino's management is discovering this the hard way. While the perpetrators of the crime are in custody of the police, the pizza company has to wipe up the sauce. I guess it's easier to throw the pizza.