Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Visit From the Department Of Homeland Security

This blog, being a part of the Global Village, has had visitors from all over the place. Recently we had a visit from the Department Of Homeland Security in Centreville, Virginia:

The visitor was apparently searching for images of former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and he found the wonderful graphic we posted here.

I wonder what the visitor did afterwards. Did he print out the graphic and hang it on the wall in his office? Perhaps he decided that it would be a nice background for the "desktop" of his computer. Maybe he is thinking of cloning a pack of "McKinney attack dogs" to protect the White House.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jbloggers on WikiLeaks

The jblogosphere is just abuzz about the leaks.

Yaak suggests that these leaks are a Divine punishment for the unjust imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard:
Now, BeDavka in the middle of Parshat Miketz, the U.S., who has incarcerated Jonathan Pollard for 25 years for revealing secrets to a friendly nation, is getting what it deserves by having its state secrets revealed to any and every nation in the world, says the article.
Also see what he wrote about the graveness of revealing secrets.

The Muqata has a continually updated Israel WikiWatch.

Israelycool has a summary of the leaks based on what The Guardian reported.

Israelity has a positive take on the matter.

Backspin notices that Iran used ambulances to smuggle arms.

Pamela Geller places the responsibility for the leaks on the shoulders of President Obama.

Daled Amos notices that the Arabs agree with Israel with regards to the Iranian threat.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fasting and Praying For Rain

Tomorrow, I will, (without making a vow), fast for the first time on a day that I am not absolutely required to fast on. The drought here in Israel is very serious, and the Chief Rabbis have called for prayer and repentance:
In light of the continuing drought in Israel, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger have declared Monday as a second day of prayer and repentance, in which Israelis will be asked to fast and hold special prayers for rain. The Chief Rabbis called on everyone who is able to fast on Monday. Individuals who plan to fast should accept the fast upon themselves when praying Mincha on Sunday. The fast will begin at dawn Monday, and end at sunset.

The Chief Rabbis will participate in special prayers at the Kotel on Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM, and they called on those unable to get to the Kotel to hold prayers of repentance in their local synagogues. A similar day of fasting and prayer was held several weeks ago.
Secular Jews are also joining in:
The Head of the Regional Council Center, Shmulik Rifman, a member of secular-socialist kibbutz Revivim, called upon residents of all regional authorities to take part in the prayers and ask for rain.
May God answer our prayers with a lot of the wet stuff!

What's A Nice Cosmo Girl Like You Doing With An Orthodox Husband?

Wow, this article was written ten years ago, but I discovered it just a few days ago. Andrea Kahn presents us with an exceptionally well written and concise description of her spiritual journey. (I wish I knew how to write like this!) Here's a taste:
My husband and I met in New York, through a mutual teacher who knew us well. I'd spent plenty of time engaged in the rites of Los Angeles-style dating. This was a whole different ritual. In venturing into this shiddich -- which, loosely translated, means "date" -- we had agreed to an express purpose. We were to decide if we were a match -- and with far less dillydallying than in most modern courtships.

Aaron and I spent hours together eating Chinese food, playing miniature golf and pinball, ice-skating, boating in Central Park. I came to respect his integrity, his strength and his constant striving to do and be better. (And he's cute!) Four months after we met, we began a 10-week engagement. (My mother, who had spent a year planning my sister's nuptials, was aghast.) We never touched, but got to know each other, unclouded by the bond of physical intimacy, which so often super-glues the wrong people together.
Now read the rest!

HH #293

Here it is!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Translation is Not a Simple Matter

Jpost has an article about the Shas letter that I blogged about yesterday. Translating Hebrew into English is not an easy matter, especially when one is dealing with flowery language, imagery and idioms. I think that jpost really messed this one up:
"He cooked this dish in public in order to find favor in the eyes of those who hate Torah," it continues. "He, as a teacher, is kicking his rabbis. He is added to our troubles - peasants and haters of Torah sages - and caused a desecration of God's name."
It should read, in my humble opinion:
"He burned his dish in public in order to find favor in the eyes of those who hate Torah," it continues. "He is like a student who has rejected his rabbis. He is added to our enemies - ignoramuses and haters of Torah sages - and caused a desecration of God's name."

Some More Intermarriage Statistics

Not to long ago I blogged about Intermarriage Statistics and Torah, a post that contained some grim intermarriage statistics. Now I found some more statistics that should be considered:
But the effects on the marriages themselves can be tragic -- it is an open secret among academics that tsk-tsking grandmothers may be right. According to calculations based on the American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.

In a paper published in 1993, Evelyn Lehrer, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that if members of two mainline Christian denominations marry, they have a one in five chance of being divorced in five years. A Catholic and a member of an evangelical denomination have a one in three chance. And a Jew and a Christian who marry have a greater than 40 percent chance of being divorced in five years.
What's the moral of the story?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rabbi Chaim Amsalem's Political Future

It's official: Rabbi Chaim Amsalem has been disowned by Shas. You can see the letter at Kikar Shabbat, written and signed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He is referred to in the letter as Mr. Chaim Amsalem sans the title "Rabbi". What's more, Rabbi Amsalem's mentor Rabbi Meir Mazuz added his signature saying, "We have already revealed our opinion that we have no portion and inheritance with him". It must be quite painful for Rabbi Amsalem to see such a letter!

Shas has requested that Rabbi Amsalem resign and return his mandate to Shas, which he is required to do according to a written agreement that all of Shas's candidates had to sign. Rabbi Amsalem refuses to do so.

Where will he go from here? As long as the present Knesset does not dissolve itself, his career as a politician is not over. Does he have enough support to form his own political party, one that can pass the threshold of votes to make it to the Knesset? I doubt it. All of the sympathetic talkbacks he is getting on Israeli web sites won't help him on election day. His only hope is to join another party that will be willing to guarantee him a high place on its list to the next Knesset.

His views on the proper relationship between learning Torah and supporting oneself seem to jive with those of the Jewish Home (formerly National Religious) Party. However, I think that Rabbi Amsalem has greater ambitions than joining a small party and sitting in the shadow of Zevulun Orlev. He would be a fool to join the critically ill Labor Party. That leaves the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu or Kadima. My guess is that he will opt for the Likud. Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Calatrava Bridge Update

I've got nothing to say but it's okay. Just to say I posted something, here's another view of the Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge:

The trains look like a couple of unemployed caterpillars. When will they start moving?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Every Jew Has a Jewish Background

Here's an interesting excerpt from an article about intermarriage:
A story was told by Mr. George Rohr, an American philanthropist, at a convention for the Lubavitcher Rebbe's emissaries in 1996. Mr Rohr related how he had the privilege to meet the Rebbe on one occasion just after Rosh Hashanah. Mr. Rohr thought it appropriate to present the Rebbe with a "spiritual" gift. A short time before, he had set up a beginners service at his shul in Manhattan, and on Rosh Hashanah 120 Jews attended this new service. Mr. Rohr decided to announce this to the Rebbe and was sure the Rebbe would receive much nachas from this good news. When his turn arrived, he confidently strode up to the Rebbe and said, "Thank G–d, this Rosh Hashanah we set up a beginners service in our shul and had 120 Jews with no Jewish background participate!"

Until that point the Rebbe had a broad smile on his face, but when Mr. Rohr told him the news the Rebbe's face dropped, and Mr. Rohr searched his words for anything he may have said that had upset the Rebbe.

"What?!" said the Rebbe.

Mr. Rohr repeated, "… 120 Jews with no Jewish background."

"No Jewish background?" asked the Rebbe. "Go and tell those Jews that they are all children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Now Mr. Rohr understood. The Rebbe objected to these Jews being described as having no Jewish background. Every Jew has a very illustrious background – they are all sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

Soccer Dad Retiring From Blogging?

That's what they say. I have in the past called Soccer Dad "one of the founding fathers of the jblogosphere". He will be missed. I have a feeling that he may just be taking some time off. Time will tell.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Movement to Free Pollard is Gaining Momentum

Just saw this:
United States President Barack Obama is under increasing pressure to free Jonathan Pollard with 39 Members of Congress submitting a letter calling for his release. The petition was initiated by four Democrats in Congress.

It was signed by some considered close allies of the president, including Representatives Barney Frank and Henry Waxman.

The petition notes that Pollard has been punished more severely for his actions than have others. “We believe there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served – or not served at all – by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us,” the letter states.

Let's hope that Jonathan Pollard will be free soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Potpourri: Persecuting Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu,Tithing Wine, Censorship, Latest New Israel Fund Scandal, Etc.

Remember the awesome interview? Now the left wants to hit Rabbi Eliyahu in the pocket:
Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman on Wednesday called on Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman to immediately suspend Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for his ruling banning the renting or sale of Jewish-owned apartments to Arabs in the northern city, Radio Israel reported.
Rabbi Eliyahu has abused his position to engage in a racist campaign against Arabs in contradiction of the peaceful spirit of Judaism, Braveman told Ne'eman in a letter he wrote. He added, the incitement against Arabs harms the social fabric in the Galilee region and Arab-Jewish relations in the area and does not advance the state interests that a municipal rabbi should serve.
LOL!!! Braverman thinks that he knows more about Judaism than Rabbi Eliyahu! How do you spell "hubris"?!
Rabbi Eliyahu replied to Minorities Affairs Minister by pointing out Braverman's hypocrisy:
Responding to Braverman’s letter – which had been in the works but was released after a front-page interview with Eliyahu on the subject was published Wednesday in one of the Hebrew dailies – Eliyahu slammed the minister, saying that as a member of the government, Braverman endorsed the same values, as far as land ownership.

“The Labor Party founded the State of Israel bearing two banners, redemption of the lands and Jewish labor,” Eliyahu wrote. “Braverman is putting the legacy of the party, whose depleted remains he represents, to shame.”

Eliyahu contended that “the
Jewish National Fund (JNF), which deals in redeeming lands for the Jewish state, wouldn’t have existed, either, if the Labor party had endorsed Braverman’s ways.

“Braverman should be reminded that he, too, is bound to the government’s decision, which with the justice minister’s approval endorsed the JNF’s regulations that prohibit selling lands or homes to a non- Jew,” he went on.

“Braverman should further be reminded that as a minister in the government he is bound to its decisions, including that of ‘Judaizing the Galilee,’ a resolution aimed at preserving the Jewish character of that region, as required from the Declaration of Independence of the ‘democratic Jewish’ state,” he said.

“If I ought to be fired, thousands of other rabbis who ruled in the same manner should be fired as well,” declared Eliyahu. “If I should be fired for issuing a ruling to prohibit selling apartments to non-Jews – all the government’s ministers should be fired for being signatories to the exact same ruling. Enough of this hypocrisy!”
And now for something completely different: has pictures of the separations of tithes at the Hebron Winery. You can really see the happiness in the faces of the people performing this special mitzvah. Definitely worth seeing!

Next up:

The "Yad LeAchim" organization created a community service announcement that warns Israelis about missionary activity that takes place at various festivals. Israel Army Radio and the Voice of Israel refused to broadcast it. You can hear it here.

We'll finish this post with the latest scandal involving the nefarious New Israel Fund.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harry Potter is Buried in Israel

Arutz 7 reports that the grave of Harry Potter in Ramle has become a tourist attraction:
Private Potter was born near the town of Birmingham, England and came to serve in the Holy Land in 1938 shortly after signing up with the British military.

A member of the Worcestershire Regiment, Potter was killed in action on 22 July 1939 while battling armed gunmen in Hevron. A post on his regiment’s website states that he was 18 at the time. On his tombstone, however, it lists his age as 19, due to his having lied in order to enlist.

Thousands of tourists flock to Ramle’s British military cemetery each year to snap photos alongside the gravestone, which has proved to be a great tourist attraction for the working class town.

Tour guides have begun to make the grave site a regular stop on their routes, and the city has listed it on the municipality’s tourism website.

British soldiers who fell in Israel during World Wars I and II, and in the period in between, are buried in the military cemetery, which is located in the industrial zone on the road from Ramle. It was built after World War I, when Ramle was under the control of the Australian Brigade of Light Cavalry. Also buried in Ramle’s British military cemetery is the grandson of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

How long will it take until the Arabs claim that Harry Potter was a Muslim/Arab/Palestinian?

Intermarriage Statistics and Torah

Food for thought:

Today, Jewish intermarriage is common. According to the National Jewish Population Study of 2000-01, the intermarriage rate for Jews who married
  • before 1970 was 13%
  • between 1970-1979 was 28%
  • between 1980-1984 was 38%
  • between 1985-90 was 43%
  • between 1991-95 was 43%
  • between 1996-2001 was 47%
The reasons for intermarriage today differ from those in the past. Intermarriage today is primarily the result of 1) American Jews living in an open society in which they are more likely to meet non-Jews, 2) American Jews being less educated about and thus attached to Judaism and their Jewish heritage.

The vast majority of American Jews receive no Jewish education after age 13. Thus, their knowledge of Judaism is elementary, and they are not exposed to the more advanced theological, philosophical, and ethical teachings of Judaism. Since they are not knowledgeable about their heritage in the first place, intermarriage today, in contrast to intermarriage in the past, is not a deliberate rejection of Judaism.

Further on this note, it has been found that the more intensive the Jewish schooling, the lower the rate of intermarriage. The intermarriage rate among Jews who did not receive Jewish education is 43 percent and among those who received some kind of Jewish schooling is 25 percent. Intermarriage is rare among those who attended a Jewish day school or yeshiva. It follows that intermarriage is far lower among orthodox Jews, who are much more likely to give their children intensive Jewish schooling, than among Jews of other denominations.
Interesting and sad: when I grew up in the 1960s, the rate of intermarriage among American Jews was around 10%. Today, it is about 50%!

The Jews that came to America at the beginning of the previous century were not always careful in mitzvah observance, but they were culturally Jewish. Their mother tongue was Yiddish and they would not even imagine marrying out. The next generation was also culturally Jewish, but Yiddish was a second language for them to be used when speaking to Bubbie and Zaide.

The third generation, that is to say mine, did not speak Yiddish. We were American through and through! Why shouldn't I marry a gentile? She eats bacon and we eat bacon. What's the big deal?

I have on many occasions hosted kids from "Birthright" at my Shabbat table. Many of these kids are the products of my peers that intermarried. The mother is Jewish and the father is not, or the other way around. They are very confused about their identity. How many of them will return, and how many will leave the Jewish nation forever?

The point of the story is that we really are a nation only through our Torah.

Update: I just saw this:
The Knesset's Information and Research Center has revealed that intermarriage has skyrocketed 200% in the past 50 years in Diaspora Jewish communities

In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union 65% of Jews marry non-Jews. This is followed by the United States where 55% of all Jews intermarry. Rates of 35%-45% were recorded in France, Britain and most of Latin America. Meanwhile in Australia, Canada and Turkey the rate is “only” 25%-30%.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Centrality of the Land of Israel in Judaism

Akiva of Mystical Paths posted this at Beyond BT:
But regardless of one’s political position there’s two things that can’t be denied. Judaism and Jewishness is directly tied to the Land of Israel. One cannot deny this without denying the Torah, the Mishnah, the Gemora, the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Artist Morris Katz Passes Away

From Vos iz Neias:

New York - Eccentric artist Morris Katz, in a career spanning six decades, used toilet paper to create instant art - and a lasting legacy.

The Polish-born Katz, hailed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest and most prolific painter, died Friday after reportedly suffering a stroke. He was 78.

Katz’s motto, as detailed in a book and his worldwide appearances, was simple: “Paint it good, paint it fast and sell it cheap.”

Katz moved to New York with his family in 1949 and launched his unique approach seven years later - using only a palette knife and wads of toilet paper to produce his paintings.

The rolls of bathroom tissue were used to clean the knife or create shadings and shapes.

The artist was cited by the Guinness book after completing one painting - a child in the snow - in a mere 38 seconds. Katz sold more than 225,000 pieces of art in his career, setting another record.

I'm happy to say that one of the 225,000 pieces is property of the X family. About twenty years ago the X family was vacationing at Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim and Morris Katz was there. We saw how Mr. Katz created very nice paintings in no time, while keeping the crowd entertained with his gab and jokes. My wife wanted one, so we bought it.

Yehi zichro baruch!

Jblogosphere News

1) Robin has the latest edition of jpix .

2) HH #291 is at The Rebbitzen's Husband.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen published the following in this week's issue of the popular parsha sheet, Shabat BeShabato:

To: The Honorable President of the United States, Barack Obama:

I assume that this is a moment for self reckoning after the significant losses of the Democratic Party in the United States Congress, in relation to the opposing Republican Party. It can be assumed that you are surrounded now on all sides by strategic advisors, perhaps trying to draw you into various aspects of the discussion about "What happened?" – And all this in an effort to improve your situation and your status, and perhaps also your image.

From my miniscule position, as a Jew born in Israel who lives not far from Jerusalem, I am allowing myself to presume to write you with typical Israeli "chutzpah" and in a straight manner to give you a small piece of advice. Perhaps this will not help your situation, your status, or your image, but it stems from a basic point of truth, both humanitarian and moral, and in my opinion it also corresponds to the democratic principles which you so proudly uphold.

My advice is this: Do what you can to give a pardon to Jonathan Pollard and to set him free! This month marks a full twenty-five years that he has been kept in prison (starting in November, 1985)!

I can imagine your reply to this request. Such a move will not add to your political credits on a global scale, and certainly not within the Middle East. Granting a pardon might even force you to give up a "card" in the hand which you are using to pressure Israel into making various political moves. I am aware of the advice that your predecessor Bill Clinton received from his Jewish advisor Dennis Ross - to keep the "card" Jonathan Pollard close to home and take advantage of having him under your control, making use of this factor in very small doses. Anybody familiar with Jewish history realizes that in giving this advice Ross was acting in the role of those "little Jews" who gave advice to their Gentile governments which was against the best interests of the Jews, evidently in order to avoid being accused of collaborating with their own people. Such people have been objects of total disgrace within the Jewish nation, which has a very long memory, for good and bad.

In any case, you are a man who rose to the presidency on a platform promising to improve the lot of the weaker people in society, to uphold human rights, and to be fair and open, all based on a deep religious faith (perhaps you should consult the compassionate preacher from the Trinity United Church who has had such an influence on you in the past). As far as I am concerned the time has come for you to make what is a very small move on your part, but one that is very significant in practical terms. I read your autobiography, "Dreams from My Father," and I was quite impressed by the humanitarian approach that you demonstrated in the book. You managed to convince your readers that among everything else you are a man with humanitarian values. This feeling instills in me some hope that you might not just throw this letter of mine away.

For the record, here are some relevant details, which I assume you already know: Twenty-five years ago Jonathan Pollard was put in prison for the crime of spying for a friendly country, the State of Israel, without any intention on his part to cause harm to the United States. In his trial (twenty-three years ago), no claim was made that he gave any indirect help to the Soviet Union, through Israel, although as years have gone by this was one of the suggestions that appeared in various speculations by the press. A secret declaration by the Secretary of Defense at the time, Caspar Weinberger, which was seen only by the judges and not by Pollard's defense lawyers, seems to have been the main reason for the punishment meted out to him – life imprisonment, with no chance of parole or a reduced sentence. Your great nation has never given such a harsh sentence to any person who spied for a friendly country. Just last month those who ask for leniency for Pollard were joined by Lawrence J. Korb, the deputy of Secretary of Defense Weinberger, who gave this important declaration to the court. Korb stated that Caspar Weinberger himself felt that the case and the punishment have been blown out of all proportion.

Even if you feel that Pollard's motives were as low as possible (in the interests pf financial gain and for the "adventure" involved), and that the security interests of the United States were harmed, take into account the spy-prisoner exchange that took place this year between the United States and Russia. Remember too how many murderous terrorists Israel had set free as a result of pressure by the United States, in return for dead bodies. Where is the proportionate character of justice?

Mr. President, I will end on the same note that I started this letter: In a moment of reckoning, it is good to rack up a few merits in the eyes of the Almighty and of humanity.

Sincerely yours,

Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, Alon Shevut, Israel 90433.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mazal Tov! Margalit Har-Shefi Engaged

Okay, I am a few days late on reporting this. But I just heard about it today! From INN:
Margalit Har-Shefi of Beit El is engaged to marry a man from Be'er Sheva, a member of the Chabad chassidic movement. The engagement party was held Sunday in Jerusalem.

Fifteen years ago, when she was a 19-year-old law student, Har-Shefi was publicly blamed of being complicit in the murder of Prime Miniter Yitzchak Rabin. She had known assassin Yigal Amir, and was convicted of not taking seriously and therefore not reporting, remarks he made about murdering Rabin which she said she considered mere rhetoric. She was sentenced to nine months in prison.

Even attempts by Emunah, the Religious Zionist Women's Organization, to let her be at home for the Passover Seder were denied and she was only allowed to conduct the seder with a Chabad volunteer so as not to spend it in the company of criminals.

In recent years, many public figures have come forth to fight to retroactively exonerate Har-Shefi. In 2007, former Israel Security Agency (Shabak) head Ami Ayalon announced that Har-Shefi was falsely convicted. “Har-Shefi did not know that Yigal Amir wanted to murder the Prime Minister. I know this from intelligence, I was head of the intelligence agency,” he declared.

This year, MKs and rabbis advocated on Har-Shefi's behalf, calling on State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to vindicate her retroactively. The request was rejected.

In 2001, as she began her jail term, Har-Shefi said, "I am being sent to prison today for one reason only: They had to find someone to blame, to cover up for an entire network that fell asleep on the job - as if I, a 19-year-old girl at the time, was the one who could have saved the country from this terrible trauma."

She admitted after the Rabin assassination that she – like many others – had heard Yigal Amir say that he wanted to kill the prime minister. However, she has argued from the beginning that his threats sounded “imaginary,” and that if she had known that Amir actually planned to commit murder, she would have done everything in her power to stop him.

Politicians and activists on the political Left opposed the move to vindicate Har-Shefi, although their arguments were largely philosophical, and did not mention the specifics of the case, such as Ayalon's declaration that Har-Shefi was innocent. MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said, “We must not pardon or relieve the burden of anyone who was involved in Rabin's murder,” and added that anyone who does so is “no less than a collaborator.”

The far-Left Peace Now organization accused those speaking up for Har-Shefi of running “a cynical campaign whose aim is to cover up the murder and pardon Yigal Amir in the future.”

Once out of prison, Har-Shefi' was hounded by the left and then-Education Minister Yossi Sarid refused to allow her to engage in education, even as a teaching assistant.

I can only say Mazal Tov. She yizku livnot bayit ne'eman beyisrael!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For a Good Laugh....

go to the Muqata!

The Old "Shaking Hands With a Woman" Controversy

Here is an old controversy that has come up once again. You are a Jewish guy. If a woman extends her hand, are you allowed to shake it?

Rabbi Yuval Sherlo has recently answered in the affirmative. He says that embarrassing the woman by not taking her hand is a greater sin:

לכן, במקרה שבחורה מושיטה לבחור יד ללחיצת שלום (וכן להפך), איסור לחיצת היד אשר נובע מההחמרה היתירה בקרבה לעריות, נדחה מפני כבוד הבריות והלבנת פנים. מובן שעל לחיצת היד להיות רשמית בלבד, ואין לגלות בה גילויי חיבה יתרים

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner disagrees, and tells an appropriate story about Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l:

פעם נערכה לו קבלת פנים אצל מלכת אנגליה, והיא הושיטה לו ידה, אך הוא נאלם דום והצמיד ידיו לצדדיו לעיני כל בית המלוכה והטלויזיה. בערב התקבלה התנצלות מבית המלוכה על כך שהביכו אותו, ובדקו בספר הפרוטוקולים, וכתוב שאין למלכה להושיט יד לרב יהודי

Once there was a reception with the Queen of England, and she offered him her hand. However he stood silent and placed his hands at his sides in front of the Royal House and television. In the evening an apology was received from the Royal House on that they had embarrassed him. They checked the book of protocols, and there it is written that the Queen should not extend her hand to a Jewish Rabbi.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh has also expressed his opinion on the matter. He is against shaking hands, and has called on the National Religious public to "stop searching for hard-pressed leniencies and to cease justifying ourselves".

I remember my Chabad Rabbi in New Jersey who, when offered a lady's hand, would raise his hand up to his forehead and say, "I salute you".

I am in no position to say who is correct according to Jewish Law. Practically speaking, I think that it is best not to take the lady's hand. One time it may be a little bit unpleasant, but after that people know that you are just that kind of guy and they won't put you in that situation again. One who gives his hand once, will have to give it again and again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Awesome Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Interview - in English!

I already blogged about this interview, which fellow blogger Yaak described as "awesome". I agree with Yaak, and I searched in vain for an English translation of the interview. I was unwilling to accept the fact that those that haven't mastered Hebrew would miss this gem. So the Cosmic X translation team, which includes me, myself and I, have worked hard to bring the interview that was the talk of Israel to the English speaking public. Here it is:

Interview of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in an Arab-Israeli Newspaper

Q: To respect a neighbor and nation, and others is considered a biblical commandment. How does that fit in with your declarations against the Arabs?

A: It is certainly a commandment to respect every person that was created in God's image, be it Arab or Jew. Certainly it is a mitzvah to respect a neighbor and nation. But there is no commandment to respect those that wage warfare against us. If the Arabs of Israel identify with Hezbollah and Hamas, who have inscribed on their flag (the goal of) destroying us - they are no longer in the category of a close neighbor.

Apart from that there are other biblical commandments that God has written. The main one among them is that God swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that the land of Israel will belong to the nation of Israel. We respect God's will. I think that the Muslims must also respect it especially since Muhammad himself wrote in the Koran in the name of Allah that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews:

In Sura 5 verse 21-22 is written in the words of Moses to the nation of Israel: "O my people, enter the holy land that God has decreed for you, and do not rebel, lest you become losers." In Sura 7 line 137, the words of Allah: "We let the oppressed people inherit the land, east and west, and we blessed it. The blessed commands of your Lord were thus fulfilled for the Children of Israel." Even regarding these very days Muhammad says that the people of Israel will return to the land of Israel. In Sura 17 which deals with the end of days it is written in verse 104: "And we said to the Children of Israel afterwards, "Go live into this land. When the final prophecy comes to pass, we will summon you all in one group."

We are now in the age where the prophecies regarding the ingathering of the nation of Israel that was dispersed all over the world are being fulfilled - how can a true Muslim that believes in the word of God go against God? How can one fight against the return of the nation of Israel to the land that was promised to it by God?

Q: There are Arabs in the hospitals and the clinics and there are construction workers...why did you come out with these proclamations specifically now?

A: This is not something that I made up. I mentioned this law twenty years ago when I became Rabbi (of Tzefat). This law was mentioned by rabbis 500 years ago and 1000 years ago. That is the law and it is the word of God. It is not something that we made up. We do not have permission to change the words of God. For if we change them they will not be the words of God but the words of man.

Q: One can understand from your proclamations that you are in favor of and call for deporting the Arabs. And in your opinion we cannot live together in coexistence?

A: God gave the Arabs twenty-two states and gave the nation of Israel one. This is the state of the nation of Israel, the Chosen People. Even according to Mohammad in the Koran this nation is the Chosen People and one must respect them because of that. It is true that the nation of Israel sinned and was expelled from the Land but since then many years have gone by and God has brought us back to the Land of Israel just as He promised.

According to Jewish law if there is an Arab who recognizes this fact and he comes here as a guest of the Israeli nation - he is welcome. If he comes to undermine God's promise and imagines taking the Land for himself, if he thinks that the Arabs should have twenty-three states and that the nation of Israel shouldn't have a state at all - we must expel him from the Land of Israel immediately.

Q: You have declared that you wish to guard the Jewish character of Tzefat. Are you also in favor of guarding the Arab character of Akko?

A: Akko, Yafo, Tzefat, and Jerusalem should be Jewish cities. Even if Arab families are living there now - these cities are part of the Land of Israel that was promised by God to the nation of Israel. And therefore if the Arabs in Akko will respect Israeli rule in the land of Israel they can in the future enter the category of "ger toshav" (resident alien) who according to God's Torah can live in the land of Israel. In any case the character of Akko and every city in the Land of Israel will be, in the end, Jewish.

He who thinks differently does not believe in the word of God. It's a shame for a man to fights God's words. In the end he will lose.

Q: You claimed that Arabs are sexually harassing Jewish females...on what are you basing yourself after all this is a matter for the police?

A: According to Jewish Law one must love his wife as he loves himself and honor her more than he honors himself. Not all Jews are behaving in this manner however that is the goal and objective of their lives and they are continually progressing towards it.

To my dismay, in Arab society women are not being properly respected. I do not want to interfere in your lives; however it is a mistake to degrade women. Apart from that, if an Arab man would harass an Arab woman like they harass the Jewish ones - they would stone them in the streets in the manner that you do when family honor is desecrated. I personally witnessed married Arab men harassing young Jewish women on the streets of Tzefat. Have you no shame? Where is your faithfulness to your wives?

I think that the harassment of Jewish women is not just our problem, it is yours as well. Also according to the Koran it is forbidden for an Arab to marry a Jewish woman. This is unfaithfulness and adultery.

To sum things up: in the end we are all humans and we must know that the word of God is above all. If we fulfill them - we will be able to exist in this world. If we go against it - we shall be obliterated. It's a shame to go against God and against his promises and oaths which he swore that the land of Israel will be the place of the nation of Israel.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Arutz 7 - Soon in Arabic

"Srugim" reports that Arutz Sheva is setting up an Arabic language web site. The new web site will contain articles from the Arutz Sheva web site and from the BeSheva magazine (translated into Arabic, of course) as well as writings from moderate Arabs from Israel and around the world. The site will also serve as a vehicle for Arab journalists whose works are censored in their native countries to tell the world what they really think.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Arabs Dressed as Hareidim Nabbed in Jerusalem Neighborhood

This happened not to far away from my home:
Residents of the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem were reeling Friday night after an attempt by Arabs to break into Jewish homes in the neighborhood – dressed as Hareidi Jews.

The two “Hareidim” were seen walking around the neighborhood Friday night by residents, and at about 9:30 PM, a resident named Eliran saw the pair attempting to break into an apartment near the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the neighborhood. He called police, who came within minutes. The Arabs began to run, and Eliran joined police in chasing them. He nabbed one of the Arabs himself, while police chased down and tackled the second one.

The two were quickly questioned, and they told police that a third member of their gang was awaiting them at the nearby Har Hamenuchot cemetery. Police converged on the site, and he, too was arrested. Residents praised police, and especially Eliran, for his quick thinking and quick action.

HH #290

Be sure to check out this week's edition.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Some Blogging Notes

1) It turns out that in opposition to a previous post, Bloglines is not going to disappear.

2) You can now follow Cosmic X in Jerusalem on Facebook. To do so you can click here or on the "like button" on the below. Who will be the brave soul to hit the "like button" first?

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu - Like Father Like Son

This is amazing! You may remember the story I told not too long ago about Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l: how he explained that Arabs, when told the truth, appreciate it.

Here his son, Rabbi Shmuel, the Chief Rabbi of Tzefat, writing in an Arab newspaper, tells the Arabs the truth and nothing but the truth! In the meantime the article is available only in Hebrew .

Friday, November 05, 2010

We are not Slaves

From an interview with MK Michael Ben-Ari:
Ben-Ari said Kahane should be remembered as a different kind of leader, one who, unlike those who saw Israel as a shelter, believed Israel existed to spread the message that God rules the world and that Jews must reiterate that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.

“This impacts everything we do,” Ben-Ari said. “For example, the letter to the UN secretary-general.

Some say, how can we fight the US when it’s so big? Kahane said God is great and America is nothing. I don’t mean to mock or harm the US, but we aren’t the slave of any empire.”
Compare this to what President Peres says:
President Shimon Peres said that Israel cannot survive without the help of the United States, at a Jerusalem conference of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute on Thursday.

Peres said that, "for our existence, we need the friendship of the United States of America."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Torat HaMelech - Part 5

I've finally finished reading Torat HaMelech Part 1, cover to cover, all 230 pages with the footnotes. In an earlier post I suggested that I would write a review of the book. So here it is:

Torat HaMelech Part 1
R' Yitzchak Shapira and R' Yosef Elitzur
230 pages
Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai

Torat HaMelech is the book that the Torah observant soldier has been waiting for. The books for religious soldiers up until now dealt for the most part with the private miztvah observance of the soldier: how to keep the Sabbath, dietary laws, etc. in the army. Finally, someone has taken the responsibility to clarify what is proper in time of war and what is not, relying on Torah sources and not from what he or she imagines to be "moral". We learn our morals from the Torah, and not from the Sabbath desecrating judges of the Israeli High Court of Justice.

The pedagogical technique of the book is fantastic. The authors take the reader step by step, teaching him the foundations of these laws before moving on to more complex situations. Everything they write is backed up by Rabbinic sources, which they quote in their original language and later explain in modern day Hebrew. This gives the reader the feeling that he is listening to a lecture. At the end of the book is a three page summary of the book's six chapters. You really feel that the authors are doing everything they can to make the deep halachic inquiries understandable to the average religious Jew who has a background in Jewish learning.

It is no secret that the book caused an uproar among the ignorant and among the learned as well. Personally, I could not care less what the ignoramuses have to say. They lack the tools to understand such a work. What's more, their desire to promote their warped version of reality often compromises any intellectual integrity they might have had. On the other hand, I am very interested in what the Rabbis have to say about the book. The gauntlet has been thrown down! Any Torah Scholar that does not agree with the book will have to pick up the gauntlet and show where the authors are mistaken, using Torah sources. Blanket condemnations that are not backed up with appropriate references to Rabbinic literature will not be accepted!

The relevance of the book is obvious. Immoral people spread their mistaken notions of morality through the mass media. Combat soldiers are sent to jail for using "nohal shachen", which Torat HaMelech teaches us is a completely acceptable practice according to the Torah. The IDF endangers the lives of its soldiers in order to protect the lives of the enemy's civilians, a practice which is against Jewish Law and common sense.

This book is not easy reading. It is not a novel. If you do not have a background in Jewish learning the book is not for you. However, if you do have a background, and you are interested in knowing what the Torah has to say about morality in war, the book is highly recommended. I cannot wait for Part Two.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

109 MKs: Pardon Pollard!

From INN:
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) has given Prime Minister Binyamin Netenyahu a letter signed by 109 MKs calling on U.S. President Barak Obama to grant a pardon to Jonathan Pollard. The number of MKs who signed the letter means that MKs from all the Jewish parties signed on and only the Arab MKs refused.

Pollard will soon mark his 25th year in American prison. Recently several former senior U.S. defense officials have said Pollard's sentence was extreme and unfair and have called for his release. Prime Minister Binyamin Netenyahu is to visit the U.S. Sunday.
More information on the Pollard case can be found here.

A Funky Car

I was in Har Nof this morning when I saw this (to appreciate these pics click on them to see enlargements ):

This reminded me so much of the 1960s, when everything was "groovy" and "funky". Here's the car from the other side:

The writing on the rear window tells us that the car belongs to the "Song of the Grasses Gardening and Development Company".

Now that's one funky Subaru. You got to love the guy's creativity!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Everything I've Written About Obama

Just click here to see everything that I've written about Obama.

I start by being uncertain about the man and what he stands for.

As time went on and I saw him kowtowing to the Arab despots and adopting their bogus narrative, I became anti-Obama.

Then there was this post that got referenced by Yahoo News.

Readers of this blog may remember the first time I used this graphic:

Then I concluded:
This blogger did not pay too much attention to the elections in the U.S.A. Obama revealed himself as a sleaze bag to me and others here is Israel during his Cairo speech. His racist policies with regards to where Jews are allowed to live are just a continuation of his sleaziness. BO stinks!

Monday, November 01, 2010

You Must SeeThis! Yaniv Ben David Formerly Busmon Abu-Ras

This is an amazing story. If you understand English, read the article. If you understand Hebrew, listen to the interview:
As more details on the story of an Palestinian Authority Arab ex-con on his way to converting to Judaism are revealed, the more astonishing it becomes.

Yaniv Ben-David, an Arab from the PA territories and Haifa whose official name until recently was Busmon Abu-Ras, found Judaism and G-d while serving a 12-year term in prison. The full miraculous story has come out in three interviews, including one with Arutz-7’s Hizky Ezra [which can be seen here, in Hebrew] and another on Radio Kol Chai with the head of the Civil Administration, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, known as Poli.

Yaniv’s speech is liberally sprinkled with “May G-d’s Name be blessed” and the like, as if he had grown up all his life in a traditional Sephardic neighborhood. But in actuality, his story is very different. Without getting into details, he explains that he became involved in criminal activity of which today he is very ashamed, but that once in jail, no one in his family ever visited him. “My crime was not related to terrorism, Heaven forbid, chas veshalom,” he says, “but I don’t want to discuss it.”

Calatrava Update: Trains Sighted!

I got an SMS today from Ya'aqov Ben Yehudah:"Trains now parked at Qiriath Mosh-R' Tzvi Yehuda Stn.!" Ya'aqov (and anyone else who reads this blog) knows that I'm a little obsessed with this thing. Thanks for the tip, Ya'aqov! After work I went to take a look.

Here are a couple of train cars with the bridge in the background:

Safety is going to be a big concern. Don't play on the tracks, look both ways before crossing, etc.:

When will be able to take a train ride?

HH #289

Soccer Dad
keeps the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival rolling with a departure from the regular format. This week's edition is dedicated entirely to RivkA z"l.
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