Friday, August 31, 2007

The Annual Waffle Hunt

Get ready folks, it is almost time for the annual Mad Muqata Waffle Hunt. It is that special event in which Jameel hides a golden waffle. The person who finds the waffle receives a very special prize and is eligible to participate in one of Jameel's special tiyulim.

As you can see from the picture above some people have already begun playing. What are you waiting for? Stop reading and get out there and find that waffle!

Wherever I am, I make very special waffles.

You will be assimilated

Meet..."The Berg"

No, he's not from StarTrek, he's an Israeli IDF soldier using top of the line equipment from ITL Optronics -- advanced infantry electro-optic systems, thermal imaging, navigation, orientations and battle management systems, as well as with laser-aiming devices and sights. (YNET)

Now, if this soldier were a cohen, he could also do the "Live Long and Prosper" thing with his hands as well.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Of Outsides and Insides.

Jameel's recent post about the El Al plane with the wrong tires has prompted me to share yet another travel story from your friend the Road Warrior.

A few weeks ago, I had boarded a flight at JFK, bound for SFO (that's San Francisco for the less-traveled). As I was walking towards my seat (always aisle), I looked ahead to see who I would be sitting next to. This was going to be an interesting flight I thought to myself as I noticed a Christian Monk sitting in the Window seat. Well, I'm assuming he was a Christian Monk, only because he was dressed in a long flowing robe, had a shaved head, was wearing a kind of kippah on his head, and there was a huge wooden cross hanging from his neck.

In reality, I have countless stories about conversations I've had around the topic of religion and Judaism (you'd think I work for AISH or something), and so I naturally assumed that I'd be spending the next few hours engaged in an active discussion. Boy was I wrong. I sat down, said the friendliest hello (he responded in kind), and then the fun began.

The plane was pretty full and just the last few stragglers were boarding. The flight was totally full and this guy walks on carrying what seemed like 5 carry on bags. Of course, this individual proceeds to open all the overheads to find space, and of course, it's a futile search. Yet, the man persists. Dave Barry jokes about people trying to stuff pianos into the overhead compartments, but this was no joke. He stops right above us and peers into the overhead. The man moves a few things around and then lifts his bag and proceeds to JAM them in.

The monk sitting next to me obviously had a bag in that overhead compartment because he seemed particularly annoyed at this guy jamming more stuff on top of his. Then the guy takes yet another one of this bags and jams it into the overhead. Then the monk reaches across me and pokes the guy in the aisle. He says "hey, what's your problem, there's no room up there." Then the monk starts cursing under his breath and calls the guy an idiot. I admit I was a bit taken aback by that reaction -- I guess I didn't expect to see or hear such a response from this gentleman. But whatever. I now turned back to the book I was reading as everyone took their seats and we were getting ready to back away from the gate.

Then the pilot gets on the PA and tells us that during a final walk around the aircraft, they found a cut in one of the tires. The tire would have to be replaced. No worries though -- the plane could be jacked up and the tire replaced without us having to leave the plane, but the process could take up to an hour.

The monk besides me just lost it at that point. He was livid. He was cursing (louder now) and I really didn't even know how to respond. I tend to use humor to help me deal with many of life's challenges, and so I remarked, "well, I guess it's better than having to try to change the tire in the air". The monk did not think that was funny at all. I thought he was going to hit me. I buried by head back in my book.

The monk apparently had his cell phone in his bag which was up in the overhead compartment, and he mumbled an excuse me as he stepped over me to get to the aisle. As he dug for his bag and his phone, he gave plenty of nasty glances to the guy across the row who had jammed all of his bags on top of the monk's bag.

Finally, the monk sat back down, visibly frustrated. He didn't say another word the entire flight. In fact, he took his blanket and wrapped it completely around his head and went to sleep. Odd behavior indeed.

I was struck by two things as this story unfolded before me.

One, I totally did not expect such behavior from this person. I kept thinking about how a Rav might respond to similar circumstances. For some reason, I just couldn't picture the same responses and behaviors. It brought to mind a lesson once learned that you can dress to look like something or someone, but that is just the outside appearance. The inside is what really counts. As Jews, we hold ourselves to different standards, and while we dress differently, that means nothing unless we ACT differently as well.

Two, I realized that I was judging this person. Maybe it was his first time flying, or maybe he was just a really nervous flyer? Maybe he had a bad day? Maybe there were other challenges he was dealing with at the time? But WHY was I judging him? Obviously, it was because of the way he was dressed. Plenty of other people on the plane had similar reactions to this man (especially so when we were informed of the hour delay), but those reactions didn't bother me at all. Yet, because this man was dressed a certain way, I expected a certain behavior from him. Is that wrong? I don't know. Maybe.

But more importantly, it made me realize that because of the way I dress -- wearing a yarmulka wherever I go -- causes other people to look at me and expect a certain kind of behavior as well. Like it or not, I'm sure I'm judged differently by others. Even if it isn't a conscious thing, but it happens. And not necessarily for bad things either (I know that in business for example, anytime a coworker or associate uses foul language, they will always turn to me and apologize). Knowing this makes me realize that I have to act differently as well -- both on the outside, and also on the inside.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

An Elul Posting: !מקימי

If you want me to look at a book quickly, it's best to have it positively reviewed in Makor Rishon or BiSheva (the only 2 newspapers we allow in the house).

Chagai Segal wrote the following about the book, Mikimi (מקימי) in this past week's Makor Rishon:
Once, I read an article by Rav Sharlo against the Tefillin Stands of Chabad [where they offer men to put on tefillin and say Shma], and I was convinced. I thought it wasn't appropriate for Judaism to market itself this way...through "amulets." Today I think otherwise. The Chabad Tefillin stand is a saviour of Eretz is the Shabbat Candle stands of "Maaynei HaYeshua."

If I were Moetzet Yehsa, I would put up a stand in the Azrieli Center [in the middle of Tel Aviv] and distribute for free to every chiloni [secular Israeli] with an earing, this sweet by Yaron. It will do more for Eretz Yisrael than all the right wing speeches in the Knesset and all the articles on security of your's truly. While Yaron did not write word against Olso, (and it's good she didn't), if she manages to turn 1/5th of Tel Aviv into Breslaver Chassidim, Dayeinu. [it would be enough]"
Similar to Segal, I was never a huge fan of Chassidut...and there are aspects of Breslav I believe are totally incongruous with Rabbi Nachman's thoughts. Specifically, I disdain those who abandon Eretz Yisrael and flock to R' Nachman's grave in Uman, even though it's clearly a mitzva to be oleh laregel to Eretz Yisrael for the chagim, and not to go to Uman.

However, Segal's review in my opinion was so captivating that I purchased the book the other day, and it's been a challenge to put it down.

מקימי מעפר דל -- Bring me up from the humble dust. מקימי is a book by Noa Yaron, one of Israel's secular superstars on the sleb social scene. Her smiling face graced popular children and adult TV shows, and had a huge audience of listeners as a radio show host on IDF radio.

Her captivating book describes the unbelievably shallow life of Israeli sleb lifestyle from a first person point of view -- refusing to acknowledge herself as Noa...rather as עלמה, Almah, the young heroine of the story.

"Bring me up" ... "Pull me up" ... Ascension ... Teshuva ... is the subtle theme as Almah searches for more to life than her hedonistic existence. Much of her journey is left unexplained -- it isn't hard logic of proof of G-d or theories of intelligent design that direct her towards teshuva...mysticism and Chassidut play a significant role.

Caught up in the Disengagement 2 years ago, I couldn't easily explain my deep connection to Eretz Yisrael -- it rose above logic of the mind; it was spiritual and mystical. I agree with Segal now -- logic and promises of security have little influence over much of secular Israel, yet a book like this could have much more impact than any discussion about how allowing Chomesh to fall into Palestinian hands would be a security catastrophe for Hadera. Just as I was wrong to assume I could convince people purely based on logic...I guess I was wrong about Chassidut, and that it can also be a valid way to approach G-d.

Noa Yaron now lives in Tzfat with her husband and 6 children, and the life she used to lead is far, far away -- and her delightfully honest, entertaining book is also uplifting and motivating.

Bring us up...Teshuva from the depths.

Aliya from the depths.

It's all interconnected.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Enemies Annoyances of the State

14 Year old Danny Katz was your average Israeli teenager. Walking to visit his friends in Haifa, his life was interrupted when he was kidnapped by 5 Israeli Arabs on December 8, 1983. His badly beaten corpse was found a few days later in a cave in Carmel. In 1991, the five Arab men who confessed to the crime, were sentenced to life imprisonment for abducting, sexually assaulting and murdering Katz. According to the original indictment against the five, they met a few days before the murder and decided to kidnap and kill a Jewish child. (YNET)

Fast Forward to 2007.

The Katz family receive a phone call from a journalist asking for a comment. They ask, "a comment on what?" The journalist says, "You didn't know? President Shimon Peres has just reduced the life sentences on your son's killers."

Humiliated. Shocked. Outraged, Danny's brother told reporters: "Peres hasn't even warmed the presidential seat and already he is busy releasing the vile men who murdered my brother."

To the dear Katz family: Welcome to the club called "Annoyances of the State"

You are now official annoyances of Israel, for you dare to criticize Israel's President.

This club contains all sorts of unfortunate people...
  • Families of Terror Victims who demand justice for killers...or at a minimum, that terrorists won't be freed. (Update next week - mentioned on radio this morning, not in print yet)
  • Senior State Employees who whistleblow about corruption. (Finance Minister Ronnie Bar On has informed the accountant-general, Yaron Zelekha that his contract would not be renewed at the end of October, when he is set to complete a four-year tenure...Zelekha reported Ehud Olmert's involvemnt in tailoring the tender sale of Bank Leumi to his personal cronies. YNET)
  • Sederot residents who wish for some measure of safety for this children when going to school. (Yet another Qassam rocket his Sederot today...Sderot's parents association has been threatening not to allow the school year to open in the town on September 2, due to the government's failure to complete the fortification of classrooms and schools. YNET)
  • Elderly Holocaust survivors who receive a pittance of a stipend from the government. (‘Israel demanded reparation funds from Germany, but did not allocate them in a just and logical manner,’ Dalia Itzik says. MK Pines-Paz: According to the deal, if Anne Frank were alive today she would not have been recognized as a Holocaust survivor YNET)
  • Gush Katif residents who were evicted from their homes...and would appreciate some relief -- in terms of housing or employment...or even acknowledgment of their plight. You don't need a link for I bring it up every other week.
The list goes on.

My heart goes out to the Katz family -- because the way Peres, Olmert & Co. treat citizens here, if you're an annoyance, you're an enemy.

Unfortunately, Shimon Peres treats the real enemies of the State with much more compassion that he does for the members of the Annoyances of the State club.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

LOL = Elul?

I'd like to do this in Israel as well...(it's a bit long, but worth watching)

hat-tip; Jewlicious.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Last night at Ben Gurion...

Got an urgent message last night at midnight:

Hatzala and MDA EMTs are requested to go to Ben Gurion Airport...ELAL jumbojet approaching...due to land in an hour...issue on board.

Since I'm a bit of a drive from the airport, and there are many EMTs who are much closer, I didn't go.

The following showed up: 4 Mass Casulty MDA vehicles, 9 ICU ambulances, 32 standard MDA ambulances, and over 300 volunteer MDA and Hatzala medics, paramedics and doctors.

Apparently, the wrong tires were installed on the plane in Bangkok, and there was a fear the tires might explode on landing.

The plane landed safely on a foam covered runway...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Message from Jameel and Jack Bauer

This guest post from the Holy Hyrax, was inspired by a phone conversation with Jameel...centering on...this:

Which resulted in this...

Got that kids?

NO DOWNLOADING! We'll buy the movies rather than download them.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

ebay: getting rid of junk

My wife, G-d bless her, hates collecting junk.

As I've written before, I collect "stuff", and then try to hide some of it in the attic, some in boxes, and some, gets thrown out. I can't throw out lots of it because it's worth so much...Star Wars comic book #1, my telescope, microscope, N scale train set -- we're talking decent hobbies. Of course, when I try to find something important, like a 5.25 inch floppy drive so I can copy important files from 10 years ago from floppies onto a CD (and thereby, throw out hundreds of floppies)...I can't find it.

Maybe I should take more advantage of ebay. We've already seen the following items for sale on ebay (and reposted on this blog):

1. The City of Petach Tikva
2. R' Ovadia Yosef's car
3. The first pizza after pesach

This Weird Al video clip puts ebay into a clearer perspective.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Recipe Needed

Anyone out there have a recipe for Bazooka flavored potato kugel?


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Quick! Trash the place before the cops show up.

On second thought, we're the cops.


Today at 12:49 PM:
IDF forces evacuated several dozens of settlers who arrived at the former West Bank settlement of Homesh, Sunday.

One man was detained for questioning. IDF sources told Ynet that the tents erected by the settlers will be destroyed.
And at 1:48 PM:
Juvenile court judge states Disengagement Law no longer valid, and therefore prohibition on visiting former settlement is null

"The penal chapter of the Disengagement Law has completed its role, and therefore suspects cannot be brought before a court based on it," Judge David Gadol of the Juvenile Court in Kfar Saba ruled recently.

Gadol, who presided in a hearing on the remand extension of a teenage girl who was arrested after visiting the evacuated settlement of Homesh, said that the girl did not commit a criminal offense because the law in question – which bars Israelis from visiting the former settlement - was no longer valid.

As Ehud Olmert always says, Never let the law get in the way of a good eviction.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Israel's Best.

So many things to post about, so little time. I will still blog last Thursday night's escapade to deep in the heart of the Shomron, and Friday morning's continental breakfast off the beaten path, but first I must tell you about Israel's best.

Though some of you will say this guy is a "frier" (and his parents may even agree), you still need to read this story.

In 2002, IDF units operating in the Shomron received a "high priority warning" that a Palestinian suicide car bomb was about to leave the Arab village of Nazlet Zait, on its way to one of Israel's coastal cities; probably Netanya. An IDF officer jumped into his jeep and drove like the devil to the village, with a single purpose in his head; "stop the terrorist car."

Entering the village, his jeep was immediately pelted by rocks, iron bars, and everything a quickly formed Arab mob could find to prevent the jeep from searching for the suicide car and bomber. Exasperated, the officer fired into the air -- far and away towards a building where more rocks were being thrown from. The shooting mildly displaced some of the mob, and they raced around the village attempting to find the car, but to no avail.

Later that day, a dead teenager was brought to an IDF checkpoint; an IDF doctor at the scene pronounced him dead. The teenager's parents claimed he was shot by an IDF soldier.

The Israeli Left, Peace Now, Gush Shalom and friends, took up the cause and hounded the IDF for months, demanding that the IDF officer be brought to "justice." Unable to withstand the pressure, the officer was tried and found guilty. He was sent to demoted and sent to military prison. The officer and the IDF just lost a civil case as well and were ordered to pay 500,000 NIS compensation to the parents of the teenager. (Apparently, the IDF will foot the bill)

The officer's sister wrote a letter about it all here.

A few important points to ponder you won't read about in the news.

1. Total lack of habeas corpus; at no point in time was a post-mortum examination done to determine that the teenager had even been killed by a bullet, let alone from the IDF officer. There is no ballistic evidence at all.

2. Although officially demoted by the IDF and served jail time, the officer is still in the IDF (and apparently, is still highly wanted there as well).

3. Prior to this operation, the officer had received the "outstanding officer" award by the IDF chief of staff.

4. The Arab judge who sentenced the IDF officer to pay 500,000 NIS compensation, glibly stated "although the unit was hard pressed to intercept the car, the officer could have circumvented the stone-throwing crowd without opening fire."

I sincerely hope this judge finds himself and family in the same situation (sans gun) in the near future.

So what's my angle to this story?

Why the heck does this IDF soldier STAY in the IDF? Not only does he get stabbed in the back by the IDF but again by the State...and yet he remains in the IDF and continues to serve.

When asked on the radio about this, the officer's mother stated, "He isn't serving the establishment, or the rotten corrupt government, but he stays in the IDF because he's an excellent soldier, and Am Yisrael needs excellent soldiers. It's his decision to make, and he's there not to support the establishment, but The Jewish State."

Scratch your head and ponder today's headlines...almost half of all IDF combat officers today are religious.

I may not agree with his conclusion, but it's something to ponder. Sort of like an Israeli Jack Bauer; the country sends him on a mission, and then turns him into a traitor and criminal.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jameel's Day Versus My Own

We all know that we should be thankful for what we have because it could always be worse, but sometimes it is tough. But when I look at Jameel's dayand then compare it to my own I admit to feeling a little twinge of jealousy.
Just call me Happy Jack.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summertime in Eretz Yisrael!

What a day!

Guest posting at DovBear's

Being given the awesome title of "Da Man" over my good friend Jacob Da' Jew.

And spending the day rafting on the Hatzbani and Dan rivers in Northern Israel.

What could be better?

Life is good.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

What makes you so special?

Sometimes there are big advantages only to those living in Israel.

I know that when posts like this have been posted here in the past, it started a comment war between those who think life is better in America and those who think life is better in Israel.

Well, here’s a new one for you.

Nefesh b’Nefesh is offering a $3000 prize for the best video… now get this… not on what is best about living Israel, but what is unique about living in Israel.

OK, so we can end this war right now: “Unique”, not “Best”.

Now I just need some unique ideas (so leave your comments).

The first idea is that this contest is uniquely open only to residents of Israel!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 20, 2007

8 Days of Destruction

As we conclude the second anniversary of the destruction of Gush Katif, YNET publishes pictures from Yisrael Bardugo, a 24-year-old freelance photographer working in Israel and abroad, who documented the evacuation and destruction of the Gush Katif settlements.

See them all here.

Don't forget the Kleenex.

And then, read this post below to help.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Double your Mitzvah before Ein Kitzvah!

It is unfortunate that sometimes politics and bureaucracy can get in the way of so much in Israel.

Two years ago when the residents of Shirat Hayam in Gush Katif (a town I visited at the time) were forced to leave their homes and communities, they were promised by the government that their community would be able to stay together and build anew elsewhere.

The government and the community even agreed on a location, Maskiot in the Jordan Valley. A site founded by the IDF Nachal Brigade.

However, for the past 2 years, this community has been bounced around like ping pong balls, as the bureaucrats and government, well, act like Israeli bureaucrats with the lives of these people.

Rosh Hashana is approaching. This community has been through so much, and now they find yet another obstacle in their way.

They have no shul to pray in on Rosh Hashanah!

Their needs are small and simple.

They need a caravan where they can sit together in and pray.

A caravan costs $33,000. A sum this community no longer has, as their means and livelihoods have been destroyed, and only now are they able to begin to be able to rebuild their shattered lives and community in Maskiot.

Before Rosh Hashana - Double you Mitzva.

As you buy your seat in shul, please ask your shul if they can donate a part to this community of Shirat Hayam-Maskiot.

On these Days of Judgment, as you sit in shul praying for a good year for yourselves, ask yourself, have you helped this shattered Jewish community get the same opportunity?

And you can directly donate to them any sum (tax deductable) you want. That would help them (and you) a lot.

You can find out more here, or contact their representative, Aviva Harbater at 050-874-3484 or 1-516-515-95-92.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Israel: Faster than the Speed of Light

"New Scientist" reports that that two German physicists have propelled photons faster than the speed of light. This would be in direct violation of a key tenet of Einstein's theory of relativity that states that nothing, can exceed the speed of light.
Günter Nimtz and Alfons Stahlhofen of the University of Koblenz, Germany, have been exploring a phenomenon in quantum optics called photon tunnelling, which occurs when a particle slips across an apparently uncrossable barrier. The pair say they have now tunnelled photons "instantaneously" across a barrier of various sizes, from a few millimetres up to a metre. Their conclusion is that the photons traverse the barrier much faster than the speed of light.
We all know that's not true...they aren't "the first."

Here in Israel, you can experience "faster than light" speeds all the time.

At any random intersection in Israel when you're stopped at a red light, the average Israeli driver behind you will start honking his horn at you EVEN BEFORE the light changes to green.

Silly Scientists.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Prophesy in Jerusalem

The Edison Theatre at the edge
of the Geula neighborhood in Jerusalem

Built in 1932, the Edison Theater was Yerushalayim's 3rd theatre. While agreements had been signed between the Orthodox community at the time with the 2 other theaters against movies and activities on Shabbat, the Edison showed little interest in being closed on Shabbat. In the 1950's, there were many demonstrations on Friday nights against the theater (and those who attended movies there on Shabbat), and a leading rabbi told demonstrators at the time, “You have nothing to be worried about – Edison will be ours.”

Who would have believed in 1950 that the prophesy of his statement would come true; the Edison eventually stopped showing movies, closed down as a theater, and was eventually knocked down.

Even more than that -- the Satmar Rebbe just arrived in Israel this week...for the cornerstone laying of a new building and community on the site of the Edison.

Announcement of the celebration for the cornerstone laying
of the "Kiryas Yoel" neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Gathering of Satmar Chassidim this past Pesach

The current Satmar Rebbe

Some say that the Ultra Orthodox are taking over Jerusalem.
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the founder and chairman of the religious ZAKA organization, says “haredim are not taking control of the city because a few rabbis planned it. They are taking control because ultra-Orthodox couples have many children – that’s just how it is.

“Those who want to stop us should have killed us when we were young.”

(via YNET from 1.5 years ago)

Maybe if the theater didn't show movies on Shabbat back then, there would be more harmony in the city today? The demographical dynamics of Jerusalem are definitely moving in the direction of more Ultra-Orthodox. However, if the secular population is pushed out it does not bode well for the city, as Jerusalem will eventually become the poorest city in Israel. Something to think about.

My prophesy is simple; Jews will return to Gush Katif and rebuild it. And that's going to happen much quicker than people think.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Likud Gorillas

One of the most annoying aspects of attending Likud Central Committee meetings, is the smoke. Before entering the actual hall where the speeches take place, the entrance area is so full of smoke, you can choke on it.

Inside the hall, you can often hear mindless gorillas screaming, "Beeeebeee, Melech Yisrael, Chai Chai, viKayam." There were plenty of the same screaming idiots who could compete with Tarzan who would yell "Ahhhhhhhh-Reeeeeeeek" for Arik Sharon. If you tried disagreeing with them, you could find yourself shoved...pushed...nothing nice.

Thankfully, most of the drek from the Likud leadership ran away to Kadima. Good Riddance. We don't need them in the Likud, nor their gorillas in the Central Committee.

Today is the Likud Primaries Election...the big run off between Manhigut Yehudit Leader Moshe Feiglin and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu's supporters are mostly on vacation and too bored to participate.

Feiglin's supporters are enthusiastic and actively working around the clock.

Netanyahu is so stressed by the apathy of his supporters, that he arranged for Likud members to be able to vote at ANY Likud voting station around the country, (so vacationers can vote anywhere), and voting times have been extended to 11:00 PM!

While Feiglin and supporters are always portrayed as a right-wing militant fanatics by the media, and even by Netanyahu himself, the truth is, the only violence that ever erupts at Likud events is from everyone else.

NRG reports that Likud activist Shimon Edri attacked and threatened a Feiglin supporter at a polling station in Sederot. A formal complaint has been filed against him at the local police station there.

You can figure out on your own who Edri supports...and who sent him.

Netanyahu's sweating today, and it's not because of the heat.

More Gorilla Warfare - Update: 5:50 PM. Moshe's campaign manager, Michael Fuah was attacked by 4 Israel Aircraft Industry employees at the Shoham Likud polling station. They attacked him after he photographed them arriving to vote in IAI rented vehicles. Fuah has formally filed a formal complaint to the police.

Be a part of for Moshe today!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Rappin' in Yiddish

After R' Gil discusses the use of secular tunes in Kedusha, it was only a matter of minutes before YNET (in Hebrew) reported about the "Rap in Yiddish" music CD which has yet to make its way to Israel. Recorded in America by 2 chareidi musicians, the album consists of tunes from Madonna, 50 cents, and others -- converted into Jewish themes...and Yiddish. Chareidi newspapers report that the CD isn't in Israel yet due to rabbinic pressure, and is only available in the US.

Granted, this isn't really a new thing.

Mordechai Ben David did the same with the hit song, "Yidden, Yidden" -- which is based on the German Eurovision song, Ghengis Khan.

This one is much better because of the intro...which isn't "news" to most people who remember when the song came out.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Truth: The General's Visit

While this post could be about many of the issues discussed regularly on this blog, it will only focus on one particular issue: The Truth of the General's Visit.

Please give me a minute to explain.

There were a few big stories today in Israel;

Israeli security guards kill a terrorist in the Old City of Jerusalem. Apparently, the terrorist was an Israeli Arab from the Galil -- and the Israeli Arab population ran to his defense, and said he was "murdered" by Israeli security guards. Fortunately for the guards, Israeli Police cameras in the Old City captured the entire thing on film, which proves beyond a doubt that the terrorist acted with intent, and the 2 guards who killed him deserve (and are receiving commendations). The head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch Sheikh Raad Salah - soon to be indicted for incitement against the State – even declared the terrorist to be a shahid when speaking at the funeral.

There was an awful car accident on Shabbat, when a truck driver (with over 190 traffic violations and convictions) smashed up a car on the Jerusalem/Tel-Aviv highway, killing a father, 5 year old daughter, and seriously wounding the mother.

Those are real big stories.

Yet I'm going to write about another news story which made headlines in every single newspaper today; Hebrew and English. It concerned the family simcha this past Shabbat of Major-General Elazar Stern.

JPost: Stern receives bashing at family simcha
When Stern exited the synagogue after the prayer service, a number of residents approached and began shouting at him, calling him "traitor" and "trash" and accusing him of destroying hesder yeshivot. Some of the residents spat on him.
YNET: Settlers slam IDF general
Coward, chicken, traitor – those were some of the words hurled at Major-General Elazar Stern during a ceremony in honor of his daughter’s wedding in the Elazar settlement in Gush Etzion Saturday.

Residents gathered around the settlement’s synagogue and blamed Stern for turning Gush Katif’s residents homeless.

One of the settlers, Menachem, told Ynet, “All day Saturday it seemed as if Major-General Stern was stressed, and acting like he was being persecuted. He felt uncomfortable, and after what he did in the disengagement, I think that is warranted.”

According to him, Stern’s wife pushed people away from the synagogue and yelled, “Go away, crazies. Leave us alone.” Eventually, the Stern family left the synagogue.
The same story appears almost identically in Hebrew as well on: NRG, YNET, Arutz Sheva, YeshaNews, Makor Rishon, and others.

The reason I chose to write about this item, is that an insignificant, private visit by General Stern to a settlement in honor of his daughter's Sheva Brachot was turned into a media event of massive proportions, when in fact...nothing really happened.

The reason I know this, is that I happened to be in the same shul this past Shabbat.

General Stern sat a few rows in front of me...and I witnessed none of the animosity, cursing, persecution, traitor-calling, bashing or slamming that "took place." Not in shul, not out of shul -- only in the imagination of a "setttler" named Menachem, who no one has been able to find.

What did happen is that on Friday evening after the mazal tov announcements were made in shul (including one to Stern for his daughter's wedding), is that the announcer congratulated those from the yishuv who refused orders to evict Jews from Hevron this past week. The announcement apparently directed at Stern, and not at those who refused orders, didn't appear to phase him, let alone "bash" or "slam" him.

In fact, I saw most of those in the shul go over to him afterwards and wish him a mazal tov.

OK, I admit it. When it came time to throw candies after each "mazal tov" aliya, (and there were at least 3 other smachot in shul), I personally threw a candy at the General (from behind, so he would have no idea it was me...the last thing this blog's anonymity needs is for an IDF general to investigate it). I also threw candies at about 10 other people.

The "big" incident then took place on motzei shabbat -- a woman arrived out of nowhere and started yelling at Stern over his involvement in the Hitnatkut. The incident was over in less than a minute...and if I had a shekel every time there was a yelling match in Israel I could have retired 10 years ago.

What bothers me in all this reporting, is how an episode was blown out of proportion on all newsites; left, right, religious and secular. How does a 1 minute yelling match turn into a national story on the level of all the serious news stories going on today?

The talkbacks on YNET and others tell the whole story; starting with this explosive story, the comments snowballed into a screaming match of epic proportions:

"Disengage the settlers from the country"
"Violent Fanatics that even G-d abhors"
"Gush Katif Refugee=A settler paid lots of money to relocate"
"National Religious Education is all about hate"
"From day to day the national religious make everyone hate them even more."

Whatever point the newspapers or "Menachem" (who "leaked" this sensationalist story to the press) were trying to make, it's been far marginalized by the snowball of hate in it's wake.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some Lucky Kid...

I would have loved to have had one of these to play in when growing up.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Carving up the Center

One has to assume that Netanyahu is trying to “carve out the center” as his position. Of course that is no longer possible, as the center simply doesn’t exist. In the last election, instead of fighting Olmert and trying to differentiate his politics, Netanyahu chose to waste his energy fighting Moshe Feiglin, to show why he, Netanyahu wasn’t a real right-winger, but rather a centrist.

Congratulations, you proved you weren’t a right-winger and so therefore there was no reason to vote for the Likud anymore, was there?

Even now Netanyahu continues along the same path.

He toured the Binyamin region the other day, and discussed why Adam should be inside and not outside the fence. Wonderful, so Netanyahu takes a maximalist left-wing position, instead of, at least, a minimalist right-wing position.

The public is tired of this nonsense. If they want a Leftist, they’ll vote Left, but there is no reason to vote for a wishy-washy Right(?)-winger who will go Left anyway– and that is part of the reason why voter turn-out was so low in the last elections.

And that is really why Netanyahu is afraid of Moshe Feiglin.

It is not because the Left will attack Netanyahu as a right-winger, or the Likud as an extremist party, but because Feiglin is doing to Netanyahu, exactly like Feiglin did to Sharon in the Likud internal vote against the Expulsion. He is showing how empty Netanyahu’s position is, how unLikudlike his politics have become, and how Netanyahu is no longer in sync will the will of the Likud and the people.

That is what annoys Netanyahu, and that is why he is using every legal, but anti-democratic method he can to disqualify Feiglin from running against him.

When Feiglin speaks of a Jewish State, everyone jumps and says Taliban. And certainly after watching the Chareidim ban music concerts this week, people are definitely afeaid of what a Halachic state could be (I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a Chareidi Halachic state).

And that is the problem.

People hear sound bites that the media choose to present, but don’t actually hear the message that Feiglin is saying. Feiglin isn’t talking about a Halachic state, but he is talking about basing the Jewish state on Jewish values, not “universal humanistic” values (and we know what those are worth).

He is talking about reversing the lack of proper Jewish education and history that Jewish children in the public school system receive. He doesn’t say force them to think a certain way, but he certainly says they shouldn’t be ignorant of their own heritage and what they are doing in Israel.

He is talking about introducing Checks and Balances into the Court system.

Personally, I think it is time, right before the primaries,
for people to hear for themselves what Feiglin has to say, rather than what they hear from the talking heads.

Copied word for word from JoeSettler

Jewish Leadership in the Likud

I'm too busy to write something, so here's what Moshe Feiglin has to say about the upcoming Likud primaries this Tuesday. (I'm voting for Moshe instead of Netanyahu). You can find more about him here.


By Moshe Feiglin

Time and again, the same small leaders from Kfar Maimon and the Yesha Council harness themselves to the old, G-dless leadership. Major Yesha figures are working with all their might to convince Judea and Samaria's Likud members of the dangers of the belief based candidate. Their conclusion? The settlers must vote for Bibi. As if Bibi had never hugged Arafat, surrendered most of Hebron to the Arabs, released and armed terrorists, negotiated to surrender the Golan Heights, voted in favor of the expulsion from Gush Katif -- and as if in these very days he has not proposed to bring the Jordanian brigade of the PLO to police Judea and Samaria.

What is the source of this psychosis? Clearly, the only reason that the settlers of Judea and Samaria are enjoying so much attention from Netanyahu is the very fact that an authentic alternative to the Left has been created. Why do the Yesha leaders prefer to perpetuate their role as the battered wife who will always accept her violent husband's apology -- until the next time?

The following is Moshe Feiglin's open letter to the Likud members of Judea and Samaria:

valetHave you noticed how important you have suddenly become? So important that the same person who just two months ago suggested that an entire brigade of Jordanians be brought to your homes has now taken the trouble to visit your settlements. It seems that when your votes are needed, you suddenly turn into legitimate Likud members. You have become so important that you receive telephone calls almost every evening explaining why it is so worthwhile for you to support the man who never missed an opportunity to betray you. The refugees from Gush Katif are now being asked to give their Likud primary vote to the man who could have prevented their expulsion, but chose instead to support it from the Knesset floor and to fund it as Finance Minister.

You may think that Bibi is reaching out to all the Likud members. But that is not the case. Bibi is not investing in other Likud voters even a fraction of the resources that he is investing in you. Because suddenly you are V.I.P.s. Suddenly, you are the very most important people around. Everyone else is out of the country or on vacation or simply apathetic about the elections. They are unmoved by the chairman of their movement and will not trouble themselves to go to vote against the candidate who expresses their core belief in G-d.

So strange as it may seem, the primary elections for the head of the Likud will be determined by the settlers. Dear friends, YOU will determine who will be the head of the Likud and its candidate for Prime Minister. That's why Bibi is not running to Hadera or Ramat Hasharon. His phone staff is not investing long hours to convince the residents of Netanyah to vote Bibi. All the scare tactics and brain washing techniques are focused on you.

Suddenly, you have transformed from the most marginal sector that has no human rights -- citizens who can be expelled and destroyed and taxed and whose sons can then be sent to the army -- to the most significant group of voters.

Will know how to preserve your new status? Or will you become intoxicated by it until Election Day (30 Av -- August 14) and immediately afterwards return to your real status as doormat of the Likud and of Israeli society? Bibi is not stupid. He understands that your votes can determine the outcome of the upcoming elections. Now it is in your hands!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, August 10, 2007

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen to the Mustard Man

Everyone knows of the amazing finale of M*A*S*H. Hawkeye and BJ stand there, looking for the words to express how they each meant to each other. Hawkeye then climbs into the helicopter, takes off and see’s the “Goodbye” message BJ left him. I don’t think you can see that last scene and not get a bit choked up about it. I think it’s because we can all relate somehow to it. I think its the camaraderie and the way each character had to face a new direction in life, that we can all relate to.

Right now, I feel like I am in that sort of position. In a little more than 72 hours I will have to say goodbye to a very dear friend of mine, Chardal. On Sunday, he will be returning to Israel. The honest truth is, he belongs there. I have not met anyone else so devoted to Torah, the Jewish people and Israel as much as he is. But still, I am very sad he has to leave. He has become a mentor to me in Torah. He has taught me more than any rabbi that I have ever met. He has had an open ear, an open mind and an open heart to all that I have been through in my path to attain some sort of truth in Judaism. I don’t think I could have bared these last couple of years without him. Honestly, I am amazed he has been able to deal with all my ramblings and rehashing of the same arguments...but he did. He was always there for me. And now, he is leaving.

In the finale of M*A*S*H, it was all a matter of time. They knew the war was over and it was only a matter of time before they had to say goodbye to one another. You were able to see the emotions not only in the end, but during the whole show. I think the same is happening here with me. I know I will have to say goodbye, but I don’t want to. It’s too hard. Sometimes, you just wish things can stay as they are, but you know change is around the corner.

So before this post starts sounding cheesy :), I just want to say thank you to my friend Chardal. I won’t forget the friendship you showed me and I am sure you won’t forget the mood swings I showed you :). I will always remember the fun we had blasting some of the bloggers. And even though we did not finish the kuzari, I think you taught me some skills that I can proceed further on my own. And ofcourse, I have to thank you for introducing me to the works of Rav Kook. I wish you luck and happiness in Israel. Continue to be a light to those around you and who knows, maybe one day, we will be neighbors again.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Brothers in Hevron: The Maggid's Tale

My good friend from the JBlogosphere, the Maggid of Bergenfield writes an interesting tale entitled "Brothers" about what might have happened in Hevron the other day.
"The following story is based on a picture from the front page of the New York Times on August 8, 2007. The caption reads: Israel riot police met resistance yesterday as they removed Jewish settlers from illegal residences in the West bank city of Hebron. As one settler was carried off near the market, an officer rushed to pick up the man’s glasses from the ground."
Go read it here.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Don't light the match!

Two astronauts land on Mars.

Their mission: to check whether there is oxygen on the planet.

"Give me the box of matches," says one. "Either it burns and there is oxygen, or nothing happens."

He takes the box, and is ready to strike a match when, out of the blue, a Martian appears waving all his arms... "No, no, don't!!"

The two astronauts look at each other, worried. Could there be an unknown explosive gas on Mars?

Still, he takes another match...and...

A crowd of hysterical Martians appear, all waving their arms, screaming: "No, no, don't do that!"

One of the astronauts says, "This looks serious. What are they afraid of? Nonetheless, we're here for science, to know if man can breathe on Mars".

Ignoring the Martians...he strikes a match.

It flames up, burns down, and...nothing happens.

So he turns to the Martians and asks, "Why did you want to prevent us from striking a match?"

The leader of the Martians says, "Today is Shabbat!!"

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

I've been to this home before.

An Israeli policemen rests on a table in the remains
of a Jewish home in Hevron he just destroyed.

This was a Jewish home in Hevron.

It was a Jewish home in 1929, and a mob of Hevron arabs slaughtered and maimed the Jewish community there...the Slabodka yeshiva students, the men, women and children of the Jewish neighborhoods.

As a result, Jews were barred from living in Hevron. Their property was destroyed, cemeteries vandalized, cemetery tombstones used to pave sidewalks, and shuls turned into garbage dumps and corrals for animals.

All that came to an end when the city was liberated in 1967 by the IDF. The liberation was rather easy, as every single Arab home in Hevron flew a white flag of surrender outside their window -- since they feared a revenge operation by the IDF for their 1929 pogrom. Hardly a single shot was fired in Hevron in the 6 day war of 1967.

Despite the Israeli government's staunch opposition to allowing Jews to return to Hevron, the Jews returned. Despite tremendous hardships -- pioneering, self-sacrificing Jews created a tiny community in Hevron -- with hundreds on the waiting list to move there.

The above pictured home used to be a rebuilt home which had a Jewish family living in it. I've been there was neat, clean, and like almost any other home you might visit. Except that this home belonged to Jews who were slaughtered for being Jewish, and it was rebuilt and refurnished out of the slop of the local market.

3000 IDF soldiers and policemen evicted a Jewish family from it, and then destroyed the home to prevent the Jews from moving back there.

Are they so stupid to think we won't return and rebuild?

We will return and rebuild in Gush Katif, and rebuild in the Northern Shomron, and even this home in Hevron will have Jews living there once again.

And a Jewish family will sit around a table, eat their Shabbat meal, and sing together in the same room...where this pictured policeman lies on their table.

Update: One of the commanders of the Duchifat unit who refused to evict the Hevron Jews from their homes was judged and given a 28 day army prison sentence. This same commander was himself thrown out of his home in Gush Katif 2 years ago. What sort of twisted senior officers demand that his own commander who was thrown out of his home, do the exact some thing to others?!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jewish Mayor of Arab Town Lambasted over Mezuza

The Israeli Arab town of Taiybe did a very poor job of running itself over the past few years. They ran up so much debt and were so mismanaged that the Interior Ministry installed a mayor for is done when locals can't manage to elect someone effective enough to provide municipal services, balance the budget, and pay their local municipal employees.

The appointed mayor, Shlomo Tweezer, decided he wanted to put a mezuza on his office in the Taiybe City Hall.

Outraged local Moslem councilmen voiced their opposition to the planned mezuza action, and the residents are reportedly furious.

As a result, Tweezer has held off affixing the mezuza for the time being.

Not to be outdone by local residents, Meretz MK Ran Cohen said at the Knesset plenum,
"This is totally outrageous. The entire appointment of Tweezer is outrageous, and putting a mezuza in a building in an Arab Moslem town is a disgrace. Next, he'll be forcing the Arabs to put on tefillin."
MK Ran Cohen thinks it's totally outrageous for a Jew to be mayor in an Arab offends his sensibilities.

Yet he has no problem whatsoever sending unwilling IDF soldiers to kick Jews out of their homes in Hevron. That doesn't offend anyone's sensibilities.

Personally, I vote for Rabbeinu Tam.

Source in Hebrew here.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 06, 2007

Palestinians Admit the Truth about Arafat's Death

In the words of my friend Robert Klein, "There's something distinctly pleasurable about watching Arafat's own terrorist cronies disowning him and referring to him as a "plague".

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

More IDF soldiers refuse orders to evict Jews from Hevron

Hot on the heels of the story below, the IDF is desperately looked to find suitable replacements for the IDF elite duchifat commandos who refused to have anything to do with the eviction of Jews from their homes in Hevron.

So who did the geniuses find?

The Nachal Chareidi!

Surprisingly (not), the IDF soldiers from the Netzach Yehuda (Nachal Chareidi) combat infantry units also refused (story here in Hebrew).


Who are the lunatics running the IDF and Defense Ministry today?

Doesn't anyone there have a brain?

Update: While Defense Minister Ehud Barak prepares for a violent eviction of Jews in Hevron, Ehud Omert's friends in Gaza are sending over Katyusha rockets at kindergartens in Sederot.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Elite Commandos Refuse to Evict Hevron Jews

Over 30 soldiers from the elite "duchifat" IDF commando unit, have informed their commander that they will refuse orders to participate in the upcoming expulsion of 2 Jewish families from their homes in Hevron. (Update @ 2:06 PM: the number has risen to almost SIXTY!)

One soldier's father said on the radio (Army Radio, Galei Tzahal) this morning; "My son was trained to be a sniper, he was trained to ambush the enemy. It is not his job to kick Jews out of their homes from Me'arat HaMachpelah. [in Hevron]"

After hearing it reported live, on the radio, I found it here on YNET:
Thirty yeshiva students serving in the IDF have announced that they will not take part in the evacuation of two Jewish families from the Hebron wholesale market after consulting their rabbis.

The story was first reported by Army Radio. The soldiers, from the Kfir Brigade's Duchifat battalion, were slated to replace a Border Guard force on Tuesday and take part in the forced evacuation.

Following their protest, their commanders sat with them and explained the importance of the mission. The potential "refusniks" were also told that those who will not carry out the mission will be treated severely by the army.

IDF officials clarified that the soldiers have so far not declared that they will not get on the buses to the Hebron market and are continuing their regular training.

Meanwhile, a special fund headed by an American millionaire has spread the word among troops in Hebron that a soldier who will refuse an evacuation order will receive a financial award of hundreds of dollars. If a soldier is tried over refusing an order he could receive $600.

UPDATE: Forget the above -- this is MUCH better (new comments from the families of the soldiers)

Meanwhile, however, family members of some of the soldiers arrived at the Bekaot army base and threatened to block the buses. One of the signs they prepared read, "My son, don't expel."

We came here to say: If they want to evacuate Jews they should send the police or the Yasam unit, rather than IDF soldiers," said Tomer, one of the soldiers' brother.

"My brother and his friends were sent to replace Border Guard officers to evacuate Jews, and this is definitely helping evacuation. This is not a suitable mission for an army which is supposed to defend the State of Israel. The army should not be a partner to the expulsion of Jews from the city of our forefathers, and we are here to help our brothers from Hebron," he told Ynet.

The brother, who fought in Lebanon last summer, explained, "I did not refuse an order then because it was defending the State of Israel. Then they also knew how to recruit yeshiva students because they needed manpower, because the other guys were sitting in Azrieli (Tel Aviv shopping mall) – those sons of important people, who don’t even know how to hold weapons."

He added angrily, "I did not see an Arab father or an Arab woman evacuated from a mosque, but I did see a Jew expel a Jews from a synagogue."

His father claimed that the army had lied to his son and their friends when it did not tell them about the mission's objective.

"They were told to prepare a field package. It wasn't real. The army is lying shamelessly. Our children did not take a snipers' course in order to evacuate Jews from Hebron," he said.

Shmuel, the father of another soldier, said, "All the soldiers did a big Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying the name of God). It's time they learn not to use the army for such things. An army should be run according to what is permitted. A Jewish army should be run according to the ways of the people of Israel and not of a political gang."

It's no wonder that the IDF performed so poorly last summer; instead of concentrating on training to win wars against our enemies, the political echelons are abusing the IDF to expel Jews from their homes in Gush Katif...and now in Hebron.

There's an Israeli police force that's trained to evict people from their homes...using the IDF is more proof of the idiocy of Israel's leadership. Our leaders are truly pathetic; instead of Defense Minister Ehud Barak using his head, and try to retain some level of unity in the IDF, he uses commando units from yeshivot to help further his political agenda of throwing Jews out of their homes in Hevron. The police is an option...but he uses the IDF.

Don't get me wrong; I think the wording of the prayer for the safety for IDF soldiers is perfect:

May Hashem who blessed our forefathers, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our G-d.
It's the soldiers who deserve G-d's blessing and protection, when they are doing the job of protecting our land.

I will continue to stand for this prayer every week.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

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