Saturday, March 31, 2007

Making your office cubicle Kosher for Pesach

Someone with waaaay to much time on their hands...he probably blogs from work as well.

hat-tip: DTC

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First Pizza Pie after Pesach...for sale on ebay!

Current bid: US $51.00






Hat-tip: Amshi.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

The Plague of Publicity

Some people are desperate for publicity.

Andy Grove, the past CEO of Intel Corp proved via the Pentium bug fiasco, that there's no such thing as "bad" publicity.

Therefore, how do some religious Israelis get their name everywhere?

They write articles that bash...religious Israelis.

In this fashion, the spotlight is on today's idiot, "Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg"

I have no clue who she is, but her article in YNET entitled, "The Plague of Eretz Yisrael" is proof positive that she's an attention seeker, rather than someone who wants to honestly deal with facts.

Her opinion piece can be summarized as such: Religious Jews in Israel place an inordinant amount of focus on Eretz Yisrael and neglect everything else...and that is a "plague."

Her closing paragraph:
Yes, the Land of Israel is beloved, and it’s important, and it’s possible that for some people, there is no other issue. But the total focus on the struggle for the Land of Israel is not just a religious, social, and moral injustice. It’s also a plague.
Since Ms. Efrat Shapira hyphen Rosenberg is too busy mouthing-off via her YNETnews soapbox, let me tell you a single story from last week, which shows just how wrong she is.

Last week, Magen David Adom needed volunteer ambulance drivers and medics for night shifts in large cities in the Gush Dan (Tel Aviv) region. I answered their call, and did a night shift. What I found was the following: in this particular city, there were no local all!

Rather, all their volunteers in that (rather large city) were from settlements in the Shomron, and one volunteer from North America!

So the next time MS Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg has an epiphany about bashing religious Jews and settlers for caring "too much" about Eretz Yisrael, perhaps she should check out all the wonderful work they are doing around the country; including volunteering for MDA, Hatzala, Soup Kitchens, Aiding Developmentally challenged children, outreach, social service and welfare programs, and of course...IDF duty.

And if some people want to focus on Eretz Yisrael, that's their right, just as I know some people who focus on tzedakka, some who focus on learning and teaching Torah, and others who focus on saving lives.

Focus is a "religious, social, and moral injustice"???

I would advise that she be very cautious about using language such as "plague" and Eretz Yisrael in the same breath.

When the 10 spies spoke poorly about Israel, it didn't do them any good, nor the rest of our nation.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Pesach's Downside

Despite the RWAC Pesach lovefest in the air, I feel it important to bring up a downside of Pesach. No, I'm not referring the cleaning aspect of the holiday, "Dust isn't Chametz" but something a lot more disturbing.

Pesach is a holiday for the Jewish People, a national celebration of liberation from slavery, culminating is receiving the Torah and our acceptance of the laws and responsibilities of Judaism. That galvanizing experience molded us into a nation.

The authentic Pesach experience of the Jewish people in their homeland, involved the "Chabura" and eating of the Korban Pesach, the Passover sacraficial lamb. The "Chabura" aspect, was that families and friends would eat the Korban Pesach together. An entire lamb was too much for a single family, and groups and groups would join together, and experience their seder toegther.

That was classical Pesach.

Unfortunately, the downside of Pesach today is an insularity among many parts of the frum community due to Pesach kashrut observances. Chumrot and Minhagim isolate families from their friends to the point that I commonly hear, "We don't eat over by anyone on Pesach."

Don't get me wrong; I'm not attacking the Ashkenazic ban on "kitnoyot" at all.

Yet if we look at the spectrum of chumrot and minhagim about Pesach including, but not limited to:

Mei Kitnityot
Kitniyot which changed their form
Lecitin (yes or no?)
Only Hand Shmurah Matza
Only "Chai Regaim" Shmura Matza
Only Machine Shmura Maztza (if using machine baked matza)

...we see that the possibility of returning to the "Chabura" communal aspect of Pesach is impossible in this day and age.

The Pesach Seder "Chabura" pictured here in the Temple Haggada.
(link in English or Hebrew...hmmm, can't find the hagadda link
in Hebrew, but it exists, and is excellent...I own one)

When people refuse to eat by friends (or even family) because of too many chumrot and minhagim, then in my humble opinion, we are losing out on a crucial aspect of Pesach.

And that's a huge downside.

Therefore, I'm happy to report that we WILL be having a joint seder at our friends and neighbors home this year...unless of course, we merit to have our Chaburah Seder with the Korban Pesach in Yerushalayim with a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash.

A Chag Kasher vSameach to all our readers!

Jameel & Co.
The Muqata

Lexicon (no time to get hyperlinks for them, so here's a quick, off the cuff listing)

Halacha: Jewish Law
Chumorot: Personal stringencies going above the basic required Jewish law.
Minhagim: Personal Customs, not Jewish Law, but a personally accepted (or inherited) custom.
Kitniyot: Legumes, not outright Chametz.
Mei Kitniyot: Oil from Kitniyot
Gebrochts: Any combination of baked matza and liquid, whether baked or eaten together.
Chametz: Google it yourself :)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What to avoid on Pesach?

R' Gil Student and the RabbiWithoutACause come out against Kitniyot. (no surprises there...can't even say I disagree with them) [update: came out against EATING kitnoyot, meaning, kitniyot are STILL prohibited]

Teaneck Jews are avoiding Ethanol Gasoline this Pesach. (OK, we know that's a joke...since I've been informed that the Teaneck Israeli who owns the gas station is Yoram and not Yaniv)

HOWEVER, Michelle Levine, a spokeswoman for Israel's "Green Leaf" party has announced: Cannabis is among the substances Jews are forbidden to consume during the week-long festival, which begins Monday.

Green Leaf is a small political party that supports the legalization of marijuana. Although it is by no means a Jewish religious authority, the group decided to warn its observant supporters away from the drug on Passover.

"You shouldn't smoke marijuana on the holiday, and if you have it in your house you should get rid of it," Levine said. The edict was first reported in The Jerusalem Post.

But not everyone needs to give up their habit for the duration of the festival. The rabbinic injunctions banning hemp were never adopted by Sephardic Jews, who come from countries in the Middle East and North Africa. That means there is no reason they can't keep smoking marijuana, Levine said, except that it remains illegal, despite her party's best efforts.

Green Leaf contested the last three national elections but never won a seat, despite gaining popularity as a protest vote. According to Levine, the party has a large number of religious supporters. YahooNews (hat-tip: Amshi)

Huh? What does marijuana have to do with kitnoyot? I must have missed something in the Washington Heights Drugs for Dummies 101 course. (Not for users of course, just for general knowledge)

KIDS: Say no to drugs all year round...not just for Pesach!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Leaving Chomesh...L'ehitraot, not goodbye.

Israelis don't say "goodbye" but rather "lehitraot", "meaning see you again." (OK, there are Israelis who use the slang word "bye", but that's not Hebrew).

I had SMS exchanges last night with people in and around Chomesh about what time the forced evacuation was to take place. We decided it would be in the early daylight hours of the morning...and the text message I received "Pinuy [evacuation] is NOW!" came at 6:38 AM.

Everyone knew this was coming, yet no one regretted going to Chomesh, even if it was only for a few precious days.

Unfortunately, the Israeli police came armed and wearing their black riot uniforms, which was totally unnecessary, and totally provocative, yet we have no expectations for sensitivity from the Israeli government, which brutally bashed heads at Amona, and STILL has not provided ANY long-term solutions for the Gush Katif refugees.

About 100 were arrested for no reason at all, and the vast majority of the re-settlers went quietly...the police dropped them off at neighboring yishuvim (settlements), and I drove 7 of them home.

I dropped off a family of 3 at Givat Assaf, an outpost between Beit-El and Ofra. The young family with their infant daughter had spent the last 2 days in Chomesh. While the husband slept most of the ride, the wife spoke quietly to their 11 month old daughter, who was exceptionally well-behaved and content, strapped into a car seat in my van.

This family had lived in Gush Shirat HaYam, and were evicted during the Disengagement by the Israeli government. They were thrilled to take part in the "Chomesh First" campaign even though they knew the odds of being able to remain were a million to one.

And they would and will be ready to do this again.

Only having my cellphone camera, I took some pictures of them walking up to their caravan, and of the "Givat Assaf" outpost.

They were far from defeated, and were in good spirits.

We shall overcome, and return, and rebuild.

Lehitraot Chomesh...we'll be seeing you again soon.

Givat Assaf

Hmmm...that sort of looks like my banner...doesn't it?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Like it or not...we will keep returning.

Great Return to Chomesh picture roundup on HNN. (hat-tip ASJ)

The NY Times had the following to say:
The reoccupation, even temporarily, of a destroyed Jewish settlement deep in the West Bank, near Jenin, is an open challenge to a weak Israeli government. How it plays out will be viewed by Palestinians as a sign of whether Israel intends to keep its pledges, or whether settlement activity will continue to proceed unhindered, despite Israel’s promises to halt it.

“We are not here to cry,” said Batya Danziger, 16, one of the many teenagers who took part in the effort to reach the now desolate Homesh. “We are here to live and build it back up again.”

“Hooray, a house!” her friends shouted out in delight as they used palm fronds to fasten a lean-to against one of the few remaining stone walls.

Despite initial warnings to participants that their attempts to reach Homesh would be considered illegal, the government did not order security forces to stop the group from making its way there by foot. Instead, the forces provided security for a six-mile stretch of winding road on which the activists made their way to the site.

Parents held the hands of preschoolers, young people banged on drums and some pushed strollers piled high with sleeping bags, tents, bottled water and canned tuna as part of a campaign the organizers called Homesh Is the Beginning.
Yes, this is just the beginning. We will keep returning...and to Gush Katif as well.

Who would have thought it would have been this quick? Limor Har-Melech, the widow of Shuly Har-Melech who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorists on his way home to Chomesh, remarried, and today is the brit of her newborn CHOMESH.

The Arabs...and even some Jews may not want us here, but we will keep returning.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Pictures from Homesh, תובב"א

Pictures from Chomesh, a preliminary batch, courtesy of A7.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Easiest way to clean for Pesach

Many more fun Pesach graphics and photos over at

I'm still recovering from last night; will post about it later.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, March 26, 2007

Liveblogging the March to Chomesh!

7:19 AM Too exhausted to think. Very long I provided medical support to the IDF and Chomesh marchers/settlers. Will update later.

8:44 PM What am I bringing to Chomesh?

Camera. Check.
VideoCamera Check.
Hot Tea for Elchonon. Check.
Blanket and inhaler for neighbor. Check.

Warm clothes for me...check. Off to bed. Getting up at 11:50 PM...

7:45 PM OK everyone - expect a full report in the AM...with pictures. I've gotten official clearance to go. Bye!

5:57 PM UPDATE: Having gotten a few phone calls about this post, here is a clarification!!!!

I, Jameel, am not (yet) in Chomesh...this is being relayed via SMS and phone calls by friends who are there now. I'm sick...but may go this evening in any event. We'll see.

Over 5000 people reported there so far! Galei Tzahal reports that an Israeli flag was burned there. However, from eyewitness reports, Israeli flags are being WAVED there....(and A7 has it as well).

Will update soon.


4:08 PM
Chomesh! I'm crying, cut, burned and bruised. I made it! (I can barely type this in...)

3:52 PM
Just got a call from a neighbor. He's at Shavei Shomron and starting his march now. I told him to take pictures, and he got so upset for forgetting his camera, that he wanted to hang up! Luckily, Elchonon is taking lots of pictures as I remind him every few minutes.

Other reports indicate over 20 buses of people have arrived so far, over 1000 people there, over 1000 on their way, with more arriving at the Shavei Shomron "springboard" from all over the country...details coming within the hour.

3:47 PM
We are walking straight up the mountain...Chomesh is in clear view.

3:41 PM
"We are walking up the mountain...15 minutes left. The [people pushing] strollers stayed on the road [on their march]. Guys and Donkeys are [going up the mountain, not on the main road], carrying rubber pipes and canvas [for tents]."

3:35 PM
Elchonon reports that he has 3 kilometers left till he reaches Chomesh. He estimates that almost half the people marching are chilonim (secular) Israelies. He just passed a 70 year woman who is walking as well.

IDF jeeps pass by in both directions, keeping watch on the marchers, securing the road.

3:15 PM Marching on the road to Chomesh, Elchonon has just passed ad abandoned gas station. I remember this gas station clearly from the times I used to drive to Chomesh.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Chomesh, First!

Hearing Yedidya Lerner's voice on IDF Radio today after the 12:00 PM news was the most uplifting and exhilarating message I could have asked for.

Not many people know Yedidya Lerner, but he used to live in Chomesh. In the days leading up to the destruction of Chomesh in the Disengagement, I lived on Yedidya's front lawn in a tent, along with 12 other tents. We had shifts to help out in the Lerner's home; washing dishes, cleaning the toilets and washing the floor) as dozens of people camped out on their front lawn.

I remember connecting my laptop to their phone line and gained meager dial-up access to read about the Disenagegment on other blogs...and how infuriated I was at the general apathy (to outright support) for the Disengagement. If anything caused me to start blogging; it was there and then.

Today, a year and half later, I heard Yedidya's voice on the radio. He had already made it back to Chomesh, to the ruins of his home on the hill. He said very clearly that he would not confront the IDF, and that he was hopeful for the long run that eventually, he would rebuild his home in Chomesh. He had already visited Chomesh this past Chanuka, and was back now. He said, "maybe we'll be removed from here tonight or tomorrow, but we will keep returning, and will rebuild."

As I type this, I keep getting SMS messages from my blog-friend Elchonon, who is updating me minute by minute of his progress.

Starting the "march" from the closest settlement to Chomesh, Shavei Shomron, he reports that hundreds and hundreds of people are marching towards Chomesh...families pushing strollers with babies...teenagers with backpacks and sleeping bags, old and young wearing orange streamers and shirts that say, "Chomesh First" (A take-off of the Failed Oslo Accord plan, "Jericho and Gaza First"), as they hope that this march will be the awakening to restart the settlement in Chomesh.

As Yedidya Lerner stated; we aren't fooling ourselves, and we may not make it this time...but we will keep coming back.

Perseverance is the key.

More details to be posted as they come in. Please Note: The IDF is securing the road to Chomesh from Shavei Shomron, and there is no confrontation between the marchers and IDF forces. Which is exactly how it should be.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Re-Settling Chomesh?

For those of you who don't know, the Shomron has been buzzing the past few weeks about the upcoming resettlement march to Chomesh.

Chomesh, one of the 4 Shomron settlements forcibly evacuated and destroyed by the Disengagement is now on the drawing board for resettlement. Obviously, not by the Israeli government, but by grassroot Israelis who want to rebuild Chomesh. The IDF is in Chomesh routinely these days, as the IDF knows it's suicide for Israel at present to abandon Chomesh to the Palestinians.

Taking this cue from the IDF, many are hopeful that tomorrow (Monday) will be the start of a new campaign to rebuild the ruined yishuv.

I spent a few days there before it's destruction 2 summers ago, living in a tent with some of my kids, so I'm very familiar with it (it's not that far from the Muqata either).

In order to prevent people from trying to reach Chomesh "through all available means" (read: going through dangerous Arab villages), it appears the IDF is going to allow an organized march to Chomesh from the nearby Shavei Shomron settlement, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the marchers.

That means the standoff will not be on the way to Chomesh, but at Chomesh itself.

I certainly hope there won't be a repeat of Amona, where intentional police brutality shattered the bones and skulls of many...and I hope the Chomesh resettlers will continue to use passive disobedience (if challenged) to accomplish the resettlement goals.

The JPost talks about it here, but I'll have the full story on my blog tomorrow.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pre-Pesach Observations in Israel

With the Jewish Month of Nissan in full swing, Pesach is less than 2 weeks away.

And how can you tell? Doing our first serious round of Pesach grocery shopping a few nights ago, I found special "Kosher for Pesach" areas in every aisle (in addition to the exclusive "Kosher for Pesach" aisles).

The difficult problem is the "kitniyot" issue. (For info on kitniyot, I suggest you check out Hirhurim or maybe RWAC will have something to say...or perhaps The Orthonomic SephardiLady...the following link is interesting, but I'm not recommending you follow it without consulting your local halachik authority)

As opposed to say, the USA, where "Kosher for Pesach" generally means "kitniyot free", in Israel, products are diverse.

The labels on products range from:

Kosher for Pesach, only for Kitniyot eaters
Kosher for Pesach, also for Non-Kitniyot eaters
Kosher for Pesach, not for those who don't eat Kitniyot
Kosher for Pesach, contains "Mei Kitniyot"
Kosher for Pesach, only for Kitniyot eaters who eat "Lifteet"

Confusing? No Kidding.

Wish we had a real Sanhedrin already to get rid of Kitniyot once and for all!

When my wife reminded me to check every single package, she wasn't kidding. The hamburgers came in 3 different packages, and while 2 out of 3 were ok for non-kitniyot eaters, one was not (you really have read the fine print!)

However, the amount of Kosher for Pesach food is enormous, regardless of whether you are Sefaradi or Ashkenzai, and eat Kitniyot or not. Prebaked cakes from Elite and Osem are simply amazing (fudge chocolate with chocolate chip) and it's a far cry from the Streits cake mixes from 20 years ago.

Barton's chocolate was cool though...and I sold enough one year to be the grand prize winner for the entire school...which won for me a $10 walkie talkie set which didn't work. (They should have offered helicopters instead).

Obligatory Pre-Pesach Joke.

Q: What’s the difference between an Arab terrorist and a woman cleaning for Pesach?
A: With an Arab terrorist you can negotiate...

And last year's Pesach video:

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

More: Only in Israel!

This is definitely working out conveniently for me, as I've been too swamped the past few days to adequately blog (but due to good reasons, family smachot).

Here's a new one I just received:
I took my son to the Kotel to put on tefilin for the first time. I told him that we would go on the Kotel tunnel tours after davening. Now, you can’t just walk up to the tunnel tours and buy tickets. You have to order and reserve your places in advance, and of course I didn’t do that. So we walk up to the man selling the tickets and I ask him for 2 tickets for today. He looks at me and says "No way! We are completely booked for today -- you need to reserve in advance."

So I said to him "but my son just put on tefilin for the first time today."

He said to me "Don’t say another word!" -- and he gave me 2 tickets, and blessed my son that he should grow up to be a big tzaddik.
Only in Israel.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Only in Israel...

Received from the Muqata Mailbag (from a loyal reader)...

Instead of spending 2 hours each morning sitting in bumper to bumper traffic trying to get into Tel Aviv I have recently started to take the train on a daily basis. Among the thousands of commuters who have "seen the light" one usually sees the same familiar faces, standing around the station each morning taking the 8:11 AM train into "town."

Yesterday, the station master, a young man with payot & a kippah sruga approached me as I was standing on the platform awaiting the train. This fellow sees tens of thousands of people a day pass through his station who buy tickets from him.

He said; "You usually buy a Chofshei chodshei (monthly Pass) don't you? I answered in the affirmative. He said, "I just want to point out to you that next month April, coinsides exactly with Chodesh Nissan. There aren't many work days in the month due to Pesach, Chol Hamoed, Yom Hazicaron &Yom Haatzmaut so I suggest you buy a daily, or weekly pass only -- save yourself some money and buy your wife something nice for the chag." I thanked him and smiles to myself.....only in Israel.

Come may, I bet the vice president of ticket sales won't understand why the Month of April saw a drastic drop in monthly pass purchases. If only the CEO of Israel railroad knew his train masters were giving his customers insider information......only in Israel

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good Great News from Israel!

Despite the chilling air-raid siren at 2:00 PM (it was only a country-wide drill), there are many great news stories from Israel today.

1. Jews from the Kiryat Arba/Hevron area moved into a legally purchased building last night. The building, "Beit HaShalom" (The House of Peace) was purchased by the Jewish Community of Hevron for $700,000 and is a four-story structure, about 3,500 sq. meters (roughly 35,000 sq feet) -- slated to be home for dozens of new families!

Hebron spokesmen stressed the importance of this building: "The house of peace, on the main road between Hebron and Kiryat Arba is an additional link in the growth of the City of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Bonding Hebron and Kiryat Arba, this building will provide homes for dozens, if not hundreds of Israelis, waiting to live in Hebron. It is a tremendous asset which marks another step in the renewal of the Jewish community of Hebron. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the return to Hebron, during the 1967 Six Day war. What could be a better way to celebrate the return to Hebron than by dedicating a new building! It is our hope that this will truly be a place of peace, and that our new neighbors will finally accept that Jews have returned home, to the first Jewish city in the Land of Israel, never ever to leave again."
The really good news is that despite knee-jerk reactions from Leftwing MKs, who demand in typical fashion, "Evict the Jews first, ask questions later" the IDF Civil Administration had decided not to evict the Jewish residents and treat their ownership claim seriously. (Trust me, if someone pays $700,000 for a building before moving in, they aren't planning to lose in court)
Knesset Member Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz to immediately work to evacuate the settlers who raided the Hebron house, until a decision is made on its rightful owners.

"It's time for the defense minister to start working and stop making statements which mean nothing. The State of Israel is a state of law, which should apply to everyone," Pines-Paz said. (YNET)
Jerk. A "State of Law" means that if you have a deed to a house, you should be able to live in it. Oh oh. Will Ophir Pines-Paz sue me in Pamela Greenbaum fashion for insulting him? I think he should change his last name first.

Summing things up, the Police have no plans to evacuate the settlers a senior police official told Ynet on Tuesday morning.

"We have no legal basis to evacuate them," he explained.

Seems like Nissan, the Jewish month of Redemption has gotten off to a great start!

2. YNET informs us of more corrupted Kadima government ministers...
Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson (KADIMA) was investigated under warning Tuesday for his suspected involvement in the embezzlement of funds from a non-profit organization. Hirchson's son Ofer was also questioned. Is this another tag-team?

According to suspicions, Hirchson failed to report embezzlement in the organization when he served as chairman of the National Workers Labor Federation.

Police officials recently said that they had enough evidence against the minister.
I was at the Ramat Aviv Likud polling station for the Likud membership vote on the Disengagement issue, when Abraham Hirchson showed up to vote. He voted as a Likud member in favor the Disengagement, yet the resounding majority of the Likud (close to 70%) voted against it. So he pushed it ahead anyway with Ariel Sharon...and is now under investigation for corruption. I guess it takes a corrupt individual to treat the Gush Katif people they way they did...and they still have no permanent housing solutions, and unemployment is over 50%.

3. Wine Sales in Israel are soaring in advance of Pesach! Use Israeli wine for your seder this year...our award winning wines not only help our economy, but why drink grapes from chutz la'aretz which is compared to a land of idolatry when you can drink wine from Eretz Yisrael?

Some 54 million wine bottles manufactured in Israel a year, BDI economists say; sales total NIS 730 million in 2006

Wine bottle sales in 2006 totaled NIS 730 million (abour $173 million) in 2006, a rise of 4 percent compared to the 2005 sales, according to data released by Business Data Israel.

The number of wine bottle manufactured in Israel also rose by 4 percent last year, amounting to approximately 54 million bottles.

BDI data show that ahead of the holiday of Passover, like during the period before the Jewish New Year, the wine industry saw a rise of more than 40 percent in sales compared to previous months.

Fine. If you want, you can still buy Kedem Grape Juice which costs less than milk...but get the rest of your wine from here!

Lots more good news going on here....will post more soon.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm back...what a trip.

My heartfelt thanks to the Holy Hyrax, Ezzie, Jack, and Joe for keeping us all amused at the Muqata while I was traveling. Ending Adar with a bang, I think the Holy Hyrax has proved himself not only as a master podcaster, but a graphic artist and blogger par excellence. Though the eyebrows on the yellow smiley of me being "rescued" were a bit much (I think!).

The main issues on my head these days are as follows, and I'll be writing about each of them this week.

1. The month of Nissan is approaching -- the month of redemption. Do we really feel that redemption is something that can actually happen at any given moment? Do believing Jews, specifically Modern Orthodox Jews, actually view the arrival of Mashiach as a reality?

2. Yeshiva students at "The Mir" (Mirrer Yeshiva) in Jerusalem. Relatives of mine who learn there refuse to visit "The Muqata" because "its too dangerous." When I answered point for point that Jerusalem was "more dangerous" statistically, my facts were thrown to the wind. This annoyed me big-time.

3. What's happening here in Israel? Olmert's popularity is at an all-time low (which is bad news, because that means it can only go up). The good news is that the Kinneret's water level is increasing daily! There's still snow on the Chermon!

4. Toys toys toys. My wife always says, that when boys get older, their toys get more expensive. This does NOT have to be the case!

Check out these cool toys (CHEAP) that I'm playing with or ordering these days (and my kids are mega impressed).

Amazing Radio Controlled Helicopter ($20 including shipping) I'm having a blast with this...and everyone at work today was totally jealous.

The Green Laser. As opposed to regular "red" lasers, you can see the entire beam on a green laser (think: Star Wars). This will have Jack drooling with envy...and I'm sure he'll want to order one as well. (Warning: anything above the 5 milliwatt version may be dangerous!) Only $16.75...these things are too cool!

Edmund Scientific has loads of fun stuff, like the drinking bird Only ($7.95 for TWO)

OK guys (and cool women) this is your chance to get yourselves some cool afikoman presents, without breaking the bank.

Will be posting more soon. Good to be back.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

UNICEF in Israel: License to Kill

(My welcome back post coming later...first, something important)

The UNICEF website cites the following "information" about children, "At a glance: Occupied Palestinian Territory"
Armed conflict continues to kill dozens of children each year in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. [no mention of Jewish victims of Arab terror here]

Poverty has dramatically worsened since 2000; access to jobs, schools, and medical care is hampered by hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks. [no mention of terror here, or the active role that Palestinian children play in terror attacks]

Approximately 10 per cent of girls ages 15 to 18 are pregnant or already have a child. [hmmm....Israel's not responsible for this]

Violence against children is a problem in homes and schools. An estimated one fifth of children have experienced violence at the hands of family members. [sounds like our optimal peace partners]

Children in nearly a third of all families experience anxiety, phobia or depression. [with leaders like Abu Mazen I'm not surprised]

School enrolment [sic?] is high, but it is starting to decline. The quality of education is also suffering because schools lack textbooks and other materials. Nearly half of all students have seen their school besieged by troops, and more than 10 per cent have witnessed the killing of a teacher in school. [if they didn't harbor terrorists in their schools, this might be less of a problem...did you know that Gilad Shalit was being kept in a school in Gaza for a while?]
Veeeeery impressive.

What better use of donations can their be, than to help All, Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory?

Let me tell you where UNICEF money is really going.

On my way to work this morning on Road 60 (the main Jerusalem-Shechem/Nablus road), I was nearly run off the road by a brand new UNICEF 4x4.

As an EMT first responder, I see car accidents all the time, and poor driving is the primary culprit. While everyone slips up from time to time, the driving habits of a pair of UNICEF 4x4's I saw this morning were among the most horrendous I've seen, including:

1. Excessive speeding.
2. Above, going zooming through a residential Palestinian village [oops?]
3. Crossing over a solid white line to pass other cars.
4. Above, at high speeds, almost resulting in hitting 2 (Palestinian) pedestrians [oops?]
5. Above, at high speeds, crossing solid white lines on blind curves.
6. Passing on the left using a left turn only lane.

When they finally stopped at the entrance to the Hizma village at the edge of Jerusalem, they stopped at the side of the road and 2 drivers in expensive suits got out to chat. No emergency, no rush, just blatant disregard for road safety and the lives of everyone on the road.

Using my camera cellphone I took a picture of one the 4x4 and using patented "24" Chloe-image-enhancement technology, the license plate of one of the offending cars is:

UNDP 107

Oh, and does UNICEF actually care about the young Jewish victims of Palestinian terror?

Of course not.

They are too busy dealing with the problems of the Palestinian society including teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, and the willingness to blow yourself up for Allah.

I hope that when these guys finally run off the roads killing themselves, that no one else gets killed in the process.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, March 16, 2007

JAMEEL RESCUED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very happy to announce two things. 1) I was right, he was kidnapped and 2) Jameel Rashid of the famed Muqata has been finally rescued by my covert team "The LA Chossids." After my informants spotted Jameel, I quickly flew to the "Deadzone" aka, New York and joined my team. So that I wouldn't get hurt or dirty, I stayed next to my car, BUT, I am please to inform you that I was able to photograph all the action, including the dialogue. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is what transpired:

There you have it. Amazing huh? Jameel is safe now, but I bet you are asking yourself who was behind the kidnapping. Well, I'm sure most of you have figured it out. I mean, who else could it have been? I knew it from the start.

Here he is, OUR KIDNAPPER............

dum dum duuuuuuuuum. Yup. Ezzie Goldish. He is currently in custody, but more questioning will be needed. I have my theories as to what drove Ezzie mad to kidnapp Jameel, but I am not at liberty of disclosing that yet. Maybe some of you have some of your own theories.

Anyways, Jameel is safe and sound back at the Muqata, thanks to me, and regular blogging will continue soon like none of this ever happened.

Wherever you are, I guess I'm not getting your stereo

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Joe Settler's Vivid Imagination

Folks, I am growing more concerned about Joe's vivid imagination. He fell for the oldest trick in the book. The old smiley face on the head trick fooled him into thinking that he actually ate dinner with Jameel.

Jameel is still working on the super secret project which explains why he is traveling in a special bubble boy ball.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Where's Jameel?

What are you all babbling on about?

I (JoeSettler) had dinner with him and his family last night at the Muqata.

Here's the picture my kid drew to prove it.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Jameel's Location

Hyrax my friend, you need to take a deep breath. Our pal Jameel is actually participating in a special program. If you listened to the Podcast you might have heard him say 198 hours until Manaic, or should I spell it phonetically mah nai ack.

Anyhoo that was part of the code to let the boys know that Operation Waffle House was a go. Not only that, but the entire podcast is sprinkled with clues to his current location. If you play the Psychotoddler entry backwards you'll find out that not only is Paul not dead, Jameel is currently in.............

You didn't really think that I was going to give it away did you.

Ok, for those of you who want to play along in the home version here is what you need to do to get started.
  1. Go into Jameel's archives to this post: Great Jewish Expulsions in the last 2000 years
  2. Add the first dozen entries and then divide by 12. That will provide you with vital information. It is not going to be latitude or longitude, but it will help you find the first address you need.
  3. Time for some basic Gematria. Take the value of Jameel's name, multiply it by chai and then divide by his age.
  4. Stay tuned for more directions.
That is it. On behalf of Jameel we extend our thanks.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Fellow blogers. Something awful has happened. I was not sure of this before, but now I am.

Jameel has been kidnapped. How do I know this? I have for a few days now smelled foul play at hand. I made some phone calls in the east coast and related my concerns to a few of my sources there. In no time they were out looking for Jameel.
My sources found a strange parked car in Flushing NY. Before they could approach the vehicle to check it out, a couple of people showed up and my men had to flee and the car sped off...but not before they were able to snap this picture (in night vision ofcourse):

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no denying it now, Jameel has been kidnapped. He looks pretty beaten up too the poor shmoe. I dont know why or by whom. But I will find out.

Now that I think about it, I think Jameel new something was up. Why else would he send me an invite to guest post at the Muqata a couple of days before his disapearance? He knew he could trust me, that if anything went wrong, I would help.

Well, I'm a coming buddy. Hang on tight. The Holy Hyrax is on his way.

Wherever you are Jameel, can I have your stereo?

Where's Jameel!?

So... where is he? I didn't poison him, I swear. He did seem a bit confused by the whole "Daylight Savings" thing (in case he wasn't having trouble with time before that, missing flights and the like), but he's had a few days already. This is just weird already.

Meanwhile, I think it behooves all the people who have rights to post here to have tons of fun crashing and posting whatever we want - don't you?

I just hope Jameel's not drinking again.

UPDATE: Rumor has it he bought a place in the Hamptons.

Wherever Jameel is, he still kicks some serious Muqata butt. Maybe.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Voted Most Likely To Drive an Ice Cream Truck

In the recent JWB (Jews With Blogs) awards Jameel received the prestigious Most Likely To Drive An Ice Cream Truck award.

Now I am not really sure what kind of benefits are bestowed upon the recipients of this award, but I have got to imagine that they are as good or better than the JIBs. What I do know for certain is that they have got to come up with a cool graphic of Jameel driving the truck. Picture something like the Good Humor Man with a big smiley face.

Second thought/question. What music would the truck play? An ice cream truck has got to play music.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

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