Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snow in Jerusalem! (it was fun while it lasted)

(Photo courtesy of

Ah...the days of Mashiach are almost upon us.

The XGH is posting pictures of "Dreaming of a White Bayit veGan" while he's here.

Video's of the snow are popping up everywhere.

I barely made it out of the city...(but it really wasn't my fault, I was in a meeting...)

Update: Yesha Shelanu (via pix of Snow pix from Hevron, Me'arat HaMachpela

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

In Chelm, they tell jokes about Israel

In today's news:
With Israeli consent, Egypt transferred 2,000 rifles and 20,000 magazines to Fatah through the Gaza-Egypt border in a bid to counter Hamas' armament drive.
Exciting, eh? 2000 rifles and TWO MILLION BULLETS were transferred to Gaza. Prime Minister Olmert has informed us that this will be to help the "good guys" (lead by Holocaust Denier, Palestinian Authority President, Abu-Mazen) to take control of the bad guys (led by Hamas leader, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Haniyeh).

Hmmm. Sounds like a good thing? Right? After all, the Prime Minister of Israel can't be that stupid as to do anything to endanger our security?

The Popular Resistance Committees on Thursday warned that arms transferred by Egypt to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement will reach its operatives who will use them against Israel .

"We vow to show the Israelis very soon the weapons they lately channeled to the Presidential Guards and to the security services will be directed against the occupation," Muhammad Abdel Al, a spokesperson for the group said.
In Chelm, they tell jokes about Olmert.

They can't even keep up with the numbering of them, since they get written so quickly.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Off the Beaten Path...Exploring the Shomron

קום התהלך בארץ

A few weeks ago, my wife forwarded me an email she received: "Unique Tiyulim in the Shomron" Every other Friday, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM -- different walking tiyulim in the places slightly off the radar of your regular hike.

The idea appealed to me immediately -- and we thought it would also be great quality time for our second son and myself to spend together. Of course, without my wife's blessing this tiyul would never happen, since Friday is our only real day to get things done.

In what I hope is a series of blog posts, I plan to document these trips around the Shomron to give you a sense of "being here"...and that I offer you a glimpse into the hills of the Shomron and our history. These posts are not for quickly browsing in 2 minutes. Give yourself five minutes or them, click on the pictures to see the detail of the on the maps...reacquaint yourselves with Israel...and maybe share them as well with your family and friends.

Start humming Yoram Gaon's, "קום התהלך בארץ"...or any song from Israel. (There's a great selection of downloadable MP3 collections over here...)

Bring your hiking gear; a cap, a bottle of water, and a Tanach.

I'll provide the security and the camera.

And away we go!

Shomron Tiyul #1...The Kedumim Area; Nachal Te'einim, Kever Elisha.

We started our tiyul by meeting at the fun hour of 7:00 AM, at the gas station just outside Kedumim. To give you a better perspective, here's a "Google Earth" snapshot of can find Kedumim in the middle of the map.

You can follow our tiyul by the dark blue path on the maps...the arrow below is the Gas Station. When our guide showed up, we drove into Kedumim...(follow the blue line. Click the picture to see it in much better resolution)

After driving North for about 4 minutes, we parked our cars. The rest of our 4 hour tiyul would be on foot.

Walking along the road,

...we reached the edge of the homes of Kedumim...the sign says, straight ahead to Kadum (an Arab village) and a right to Mitzpeh Kedumim, a different neighborhood in Kedumim.

To our left we can see a new neighborhood, "Kerem" of Kedumim, and alongside there's an old road that goes from Shechem down to the sea. Our guide tells us that it's older than Roman times...and is probably at least from the First Temple era, if not earlier. It's one of those roads called, "Derech Avot"...the road of our forefathers...

Here's a view of the road looking North..."upwards"

And here's the view looking down...towards the Kerem neighborhood.

As we go around the curve of the road to Kadum, we see an "electrical" building...donated to the Palestinian Authority by the Kingdom of Belgium. However, Israel's Electric Company has built all the infrastructure, and maintains we don't really understand the point of the building.

Instead of walking into Kadum...

...we turn right and stated walking up the mountain.

Trudging up the hill a bit, we arrive at the "plaster pits".

These pits were used to melt chalk/limestone rock in them, and the liquid plaster was then used for plastering walls...and insides of wells.

You can't just walk around without checking out the scenery...

Or this lone "kalanit" all by its lonesome.

Looking off to the distance, we can see the remains of Chomesh. Chomesh was one of the 4 Northern Shomron settlements destroyed by the Disengagement. My kids and I stayed there till the actual forced evacuation started...seems like eons ago.
Climbing...breathing a bit heavily, we encounter a totally new type of landscape. Not your regular Shomron yellowish rock with brown dirt.

This was sand.

We're told that it's from limestone and chalk...something out of the ordinary in this area.
With my M16 rifle slung over my back, we continue walking through the sandy landscape to the other side of the hill facing the main part of the Kadum village. There are burial caves all over the place dating back to the first and second Temple Mount period. It's the city of the dead...those that used to dwell in Sebastia...the Shomron of biblical times.

No reason to enter the caves...though I must admit, its very tempting to explore.

We see a square indentation in the large rocks underfoot, and notice that about 6 feet away is another pit. This is where grapes or olives would be squashed, and then the oil/wine would run down into the pit and pool there for collection.

OK...executive blog decision time. I have other non-blog related things to do now, so instead of waiting another day to finish the posting, I'll put it up now and continue later...(we have lots more ground and material to cover!) Instead of editing this, and making it "perfect" or more "exciting" -- it's probably better to post it as is...and finish it later.'s SNOWING here in Jerusalem now!

OK, it's not sticking...yet...



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, December 25, 2006

Public Service Announcements

As a service to friends, I am pleased to present the following Public Service Announcements to the JBlogosphere:

1. A friend's son from Israel is now far, far away from Honolulu. This guy's parents are happy that he found gainful employment, and he's working at a new kosher restaurant and deli. Fine deli sandwiches, steaks, burgers & fries, falafel and salads. Best knishes for thousands of miles in any direction. Take out or hang out in their lovely open air seating. Glatt kosher meat and poultry by the pound and kosher food on sale. Next time you visit Honolulu, don't forget to drop by Yudi's deli and say hi to "Yehuda Aryeh". You can tell him Jameel sent you, but he'll wonder who the heck you're talking about :)

Yudi's Deli
2740 East Manoa Road (next to Boston's Pizza in the old Shell station).
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone 808 988-6700
Fax 808 988-4400
Call for easy directions from Waikiki or get a map.

Monday - Thursday 11am to 8pm
Friday 10am to 2pm
Sunday 11am to 6pm
Closed Shabbat

2. As always, the principle of "the poor of your city come first". And building up Eretz Yisrael should always take priority over the building up of Chutz LaAretz. That said, if Jews are in a city, then they should have a mikva. Got the following from the Jewish BlogMeister...
Help Build A Mikvah Please!

Boise, Idaho is a major city in America that is in great need of a mikvah! Here is an unusual mitzvah opportunity. Not only to help others become more religious but to be a part of growing the Jewish community there. I personally will be making a donation and I encourage all my fellow readers to donate whatever you can to this truly worthy cause. If you would like to spread the word in your community you can download information pamphlets here. To make a donation online please click here. If you prefer to mail your tax-deductible check, the address is:

Idaho Mikvah Fund
6114 n. Cape Arago Pl.
Boise, Idaho 83714
I'm not endorsing the mikva, because I have my own local tzedakot...but if you want a good cause, it looks like an important one.

Thats all for now. More stuff coming tomorrow. Good Stuff. You'll see!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Who Kisses Holocaust Deniers?

With all the outrage against some fringe Neturay Karta Jews who attended a Holocaust Denier's convention in Iran...including calls to have these Jews charged with treason, you would assume equal treatment to anyone who panders, hugs and kisses Holocaust Deniers, right? It's not like the Neturay Karta people said there WASN'T a Holocaust...but they attended to further their own agenda -- and yet, this upset everyone.

Yet when other Jews kiss, pander, and offer $100 million dollars to other Holocaust Deniers, then the world is strangely silent. In fact, some are overjoyed...look at the smiles on these people's faces.

Photos courtesy of YNET. They report:
Olmert gives Abbas a warm welcome Saturday evening, with food and kisses. Palestinians surprised to find Palestinian flag and Israeli flag standing side by side in PM's driveway; the two flags found together on table inside house as well.

Olmert insisted on leaving his home to welcome the President and his convoy with kisses. "It is my pleasure to welcome you, Mr. President," said Olmert to Abbas.

The Palestinians were surprised to find the Palestinian flag and the Israeli flag standing side by side in the PM's driveway. The two flags were found together on the table inside the house as well.

This is the first time that Palestinian flags were waved inside any official Israeli institution, not to mention the prime minister's residence.

Even senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office found this hard to believe; Palestinian flags in the heart of a Jerusalem neighborhood.

Olmert's men explained that the warm welcome and the Palestinian flags being raised alongside the Israeli flags were meant to prove that there is no patronization on the Israelis' part, and that they were negotiating with Abbas because they truly believe he wants peace and they hope to make him a real partner.

"Abu Mazen," said Olmert's men, "was welcomed at the prime minister's residence just as any other head of state would be."
I'm sure that the IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, held hostage for months in Gaza appreciates the warm welcome that Olmert gave Abu-Mazen. I'm also sure that all those who lambasted the Neturay Karta and insists they be tried as traitors against the Jewish people for associating with Holocaust Deniers, feel the same way about Aliza and Ehud Olmert.

Right? Otherwise that would be hypocritical...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, December 22, 2006

Chanuka. With no sign of any other holiday in sight

The Muqata family vacation to Eilat was successful! (Driving to and from Eilat with a car full of "are we there yets", and my wife and I still have our sanity, means the trip was successful. And the kids had a great time too)

While I'll definitely post a ton of pictures from our trip, the most noticeable aspect was that CHANUKA was the holiday of the day. No red and "displays"...just lots and lots of "Chanuka".

At the Eilat underwater observatory, the diver went below to feed the fish (and sharks) and to the delight of the children there, he "lit" a chanuka menora. It's a bit difficult underwater, so he used "glowing sticklights". And when he recited the bracha, he only said "Hashem" (which I thought was very impressive), and all the kids sang after he lit the candles. What a wonderful example of Judaism-in-action -- religious, historical, educational and cool all wrapped in one (with not a sight of Santa to be seen anywhere). The only thing left to do is show you the picture...

And may all our enemies be eaten by piranha fish, speedily, in our days.

A Happy Chanuka, Happy Rosh Chodesh, and a Shabbat Shalom to all.


PS: Tons of blog posts coming up next week :)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sufganiyot; Blech!

If there's anything that will make me sick to my stomach; it's sufganiyot. Some call them jelly donuts, I just call them mega-calorie temptations. Want to gain weight? Just stare at 'em. Taste one...and you're done for...self control goes out the window..till you're slightly bloated, and wondering if they were really worth it.

YNET claims the following:
A five percent drop in the sale of sufganiyot (traditional holiday pastry) is expected this Hanukkah in comparison with last year’s figures.

According to Manufacturers’ Association of Israel (MAI) estimates, some 18 million sufganiyot will be sold ahead of and during Hanukkah for a total of NIS 50 million (USD 12 million).

The average Israeli will consume 3-4 sufganiyot two months prior to and during the holiday. Sufganiya prices range from NIS 2.5 – 8 (59 cents – USD 1.90); according to doughnut manufacturers, the prices of sufganiyot have not increased this year despite a 15 percent rise in flour and energy prices.

Some 5 million of the sufganiyot expected to be sold during the holiday will be mini-doughnuts, as opposed to the 3 million mini-sufganiyot sold in Hanukkah 2005.

According to the MAI, some 36 million candles will be sold this Hanukkah holiday, marking a 5 percent increase from last year’s sales. Total candle sales are expected to reach NIS 4 million (USD 960,000).

MAI officials mentioned that this Hanukkah 2 million dollars worth of candles will be exported, mainly to Jewish communities in the United States, France, Australia, Canada and the UK.
Well, with that out of the way, you can now enjoy the following Chanuka flash animation. Didn't get many this singing candles...nothing.

Just click it...and enjoy.

regards from eilat! :)


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Important Request

First of all, thanks to all those who submitted information about the previous posting (Kibi, Fern, and someone who wrote to me directly) all receive 25 Muqata points, and Jack is invited for Waffle breakfast for his contribution in invisible ink.

We're off to Eilat, so I don't know how much I'll be blogging over the next few days.

Ari (and others) will be happy to learn that I've started going on a bi-weekly Shomron tiyul seminar on Fridays -- to places off the beaten path, and I hope to share all of these trips with you (I took LOTS of pictures this past Friday). If any of you living in Israel are interested in tiyulim like these, please drop me an email for more info (we leave around 7 AM, and finish around 11 AM, every other Friday).

And now...please direct your attention to the following important posting by my blog colleague, MOChossid. If this works out, if will be one of the most impressive uses of the JBlogosphere ever. So...drop on over, and please read it. Just to give you a heads-up, here are the first few paragraphs;
A Home of His Own

This is the story of a boy. He’s 12 years old. He was removed from his home when he was three. Since then, he has lived in five or six homes, I’ve lost track. He lived with us for a couple of years. For the past three years, he has lived in institutional residences to treat certain psychiatric and emotional issues.

He is very sweet and loving. He can converse with you about the deepest topics, conversations you wouldn’t expect from most 12 year old boys. He is very smart but he has some learning disabilities. He reads a lot but has trouble making change. He can’t sit still for long periods of time. He has psychiatric and emotional issues that are being treated.

He loves to watch and play sports. He likes to wear sports jerseys. He loves to go to ballgames. When he was six, I took him out to ride his bike. He insisted that I take off the training wheels. Against my better judgment, I did. He started riding by himself the very first time I let go of his bike. (He couldn’t stop but that’s another story).

I never once saw him cry when he got hurt. If he walked into a wall he’d just grimace and keep going. He’s the toughest kid I’ve ever met.

His devotion to Hashem is inspiring. Despite the many trials and disappointments in his short life, he has never taken it out against the Master of the Universe. He keeps kosher and wears his kippah in an environment where, not only is he the only Orthodox kid, he is the only Jewish kid. Sometimes the other kids in the residence get non-kosher goodies, but he passes, without complaint. He benches and says Asher Yatzar. He is fervently Shomer Shabbos and even makes his own havdalah. He learns with volunteers at every opportunity but his Hebrew reading needs work. I don’t know where he gets the strength to maintain his Jewish identity in such an uninviting environment. I am humbled.

Please read the rest over here at MOChossid's blog (that's Modern Orthodox Chossid, for those of you who don't know him)

Have a Chanuka'll be hearing from me soon :)


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Anyone who can help me identify the people/objects/symbols below,
wins 100 muqata points, and maybe even breakfast at the muqata!

Time's a wasting -- I need this info within the hour...



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

There are some things money can't buy.

Home in the five towns: $600,000

A Yeshiva Education for 4 kids through college in the US: $800,000

Your kids able grow olives, press them into oil to use for lighting their own menora, and spinning a dreidle which says "A Great Miracle Happened Here" -- IN ERETZ YISRAEL:


Money can buy alot...but for the authentic
Jewish Educational and Religious Experience
(for your kids and yourself)
it's only here
living in Israel.

A Happy Chanuka to all!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jews to boycott...UPS

UPDATE: Well, it's interesting to see the facts. This post was based on incorrect information, and Ive heard from numerous sources that UPS, does in fact deliver to some yishuvim...(and it's not "security" related). I'd like to publically apologize to UPS (and their fine employees who read this blog).

You can ignore the rest of this post (but the one below it is much more important anyway)

With the looming Chareidi strike against ELAL for flying on Shabbat, UPS has stepped up to the plate to offend another segment of Israel; Jews living in Yehuda, Shomron (The West Bank), and the Golan Heights.

Debbie Schlussel (don't know where she writes, but I got this from Naomi Regan via my wife) received the following email from a reader:
Dear Debbie:

A friend of mine has a son learning in the Gush in Israel. She wanted to send him a package. She called UPS about shipping her package to Gush Yeshiva [DS: A yeshiva is a Jewish academy] in the Gush Etzion. UPS told her they do not deliver packages beyond the green line. He would have to go the Jerusalem to pick it up. My friend asked if they deliver packages to Ramalla. The reply was yes. After further research for a delivery service she called DHL, they had no problem taking her package and delivering it to her son.

Are you aware of this? Why won't UPS deliver in all areas of the State of Israel?


Ruth G.
Baltimore, MD

So Debbie did some research...
Last night, I called UPS to verify this, and, in fact it is true. Not only is it true, but UPS will not recognize even parts of Israel that are within the "Green Line," such as the Golan Heights. A man from UPS read me the following statement (which is not on the UPS website--perhaps they are too cowardly to acknowledge this online):

UPS service is provided to and from most addresses within Israel and the Palestine [sic] Authority area, except for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a few remote areas in the Golan Heights, and the Southern Negev desert.

I asked the UPS employee if I could send a package to "Palestinian" areas of the West Bank. He said yes. I asked him if I could send a package to Ramallah. He said yes. I asked him if I could send a package to Arab areas in the Golan Heights. Again, the answer was "YES."

I asked the man why UPS would not deliver to Jewish areas of these regions.
He responded, "for security reasons. It's dangerous there."

I asked the UPS employee how it could possibly be safer in the streets of Ramallah, where Fatah and HAMAS terrorists are killing each other and Westerners, daily, than it was in Gush Etzion. "I don't know. I just work here. I don't set policy," was the response.
Security Reasons? Try Left-wing political agenda...reasons. Not to deliver to the West Bank Jewish communities, but to deliver to Palestinian communities in the West Bank? What are they worried about?

Since UPS won't deliver to Jewish areas, I suggest you send your packages via DHL, which has no such phony "security" problems. And tell your friends and family, too. And tell UPS that Jameel is sponsoring the boycott - that should really confuse them!

(Ironically, DHL is German-owned; UPS is supposed to be American.)

Can you say, catch-22?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

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