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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going Home

If you live in Jerusalem you may have noticed some extra Nesher Airport Taxi vans whizzing around the city this week. And many of the streets around town are missing something uniquely Jerusalem.

That's because it's that time of year again. Time when all the yeshiva guys and seminary gals have finished "their year" and are all set to head "home."

Some will come back for a second or third year. Some will even be on a Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah flight this summer. (Studying at Bar Ilan instead of YU/Stern is becoming a hot trend!) But some, won't.

It's an interesting thing, that year. I have some of the fondest memories of my life from my year and it certainly is a life changing experience. A great many students are so impressed by Eretz Yisrael while they are here that they decide to seriously consider moving here (even in the places that aren't pushing Aliyah and certainly in the ones that are.) I hear students that I know never dreamed of Aliyah say things like "If I made Aliyah I would live over here." That's a huge step.

The best advice I can offer to those so many students that have been inspired this year is not to wait! If you have a plan - like studying for a degree at Bar Ilan - stay here or come back with NBN this summer. And if your plan calls for a brief stop over in Chutz L'Aretz (mine did) then make sure the keep the flame alive because if there is one thing Golus is great at it's burning out that Aliyah flame. If you don't actively keep the dream of Aliyah alive it will quickly change from a goal to "a nice thing to maybe do one day" and later in some cases Israel will become "a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there."

So how do you keep that flame alive? Get involved. Many colleges already have Aliyah clubs - join them! In my case the Aliyah Club at my college was defunct so I restarted it myself. Then I joined Kumah. And I made sure to visit Israel every free chance I got! As long as you keep that connection with Eretz Yisrael alive your dream of Aliyah will come true. And then you'll finally really go Home!

We'll greet you at the airport!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Okay, Gil, Now For My Prediction

The winner of the 2008 election for the next United States President will be none other than G-d, himself. (No, wise guy, I don’t mean Obama!) It will be our father in Heaven. See, we here at Kumah have a tradition of not endorsing any candidates for U.S. President.

Why? Don’t we feel that one candidate is far better for the State of Israel and for the Jewish people in general, than the other? Of course we do. Don’t we feel that one candidate’s rise to power will actually put Jewish lives at danger? It may sound like hyperbolic talk, but frankly, yes. Do we feel that every Jew has to do everything he or she can to prevent a calamity from befalling us? Certainly.

But that’s not our focus. Our focus is getting the Jewish people to return Home. Furthermore, we also realize one important reality. Every occurrence in life, whether a large world event or the smallest personal incident, is completely in G-d’s hands and more importantly, everything, large or small, that G-d orchestrates in his world is for the best. Period.

Make no mistake. G-d still demands we do our best to influence his world in the way we think will lead to the best outcome. But all the while we must acknowledge that G-d is in the driver’s seat. And that is a good thing.

So if one candidate is more of a catalyst for Aliyah. So be it. And if the other helps Israel defend herself, excellent. Whatever G-d decides is best. Nevertheless, one truth remains. The great Shofer is sounding calling Jews from around the world to return to the land of our heritage. And that Shofer will not stop sounding regardless of who G-d chooses to elect on Tuesday night.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Video Blog: Witness NeoZionism - 43 New Members of Israel and the IDF

At Kumah we call it NeoZionism. It's that spirit of giving it all to rebuild our Homeland. Witness it yourself in this video. 43 young adults (age 20, plus or minus - usually minus - 3 years) gave up the "good life" in America to join the IDF. The ingathering of the exiles is well in progress as our Nation is infused with this new energy, this new passion, for returning home and contributing to the growth of the Jewish Nation.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kumah's Tu B'Shevat Seder

Does anyone know what tomorrow is?

If you are living in the United States of America you will probably answer “Of course - it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

No, silly! Tomorrow night is Tu B’Shvat!

(Those of you in Israel would say “Of course – It’s Tu B’Shvat tomorrow night!” And would say – “Really? MLK day? I had no idea!”)

Tu B’Shvat – yet another reason to make Aliyah. Here this “forgotten holiday” is actually widely celebrated. The sad truth is (even though, or perhaps because, I grew up in Yeshivish surroundings) I never even heard of a Tu B’shvat seder until I actually made Aliyah. Here everybody makes them.

Last year Kumah’s own Malkah put together an absolutely stunning Tu B’shvat Haggadah! (Special thanks the Yechiel for helping us dig it up.)


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aliyah Summer 2007 Begins: Photos Tell The Story

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Say Unto Zion, "Kumah - Arise"

Today is the fast day of the 17th of Tamuz. It commemorates the day that the walls of Jerusalem were breached (once it on that day and once it was a little earlier), 3 weeks before both Temples were destroyed, as well as the day the Moshe came down from Mount Sinai to find the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf and destroyed the tablets. A Roman officer burned a Torah scroll on this day at the time of the destruction of the Temple, idols were placed in the Temple (commentaries differ on who did this and when it was done), and this day starts the 3 week mourning period for the destruction of the Temple and many other calamities in Jewish history.
In selichot (prayers said asking for forgiveness on fast days and around the new year) this morning, we said:
"Turn to us, You Who dwells on high, gather in our dispersion from the ends of the earth, may Your hand once more acquire this awe-struck nation, and may You say to Zion, 'Kumah - Arise!' - and transform the 17th of Tamuz for us to a day of salvation and consolation."

May we see Zion arise speedily and may we all merit to take part in it!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kumah's Pro-Hebron Demonstration

Yesterday's anti-"Peace Now" protest in Hebron was awesome. Our Kumah bus, sponsored by National Young Israel - USA took us to Hebron where "Peace Now" came to mark 40 years since the Six Day War by calling for Jewish Hebron to be destroyed. We came to let them know that "This Land Is Our Land" and that we will now let this horrific demonstration go unchallenged. Though the day was hot, and the mood tense, we had a great time raising the flag of Israel in Hebron, speaking with the media, meeting the brave folks of the area, and of course, visiting the holy sites, and even eating a pizza in Gutnick Hall outside the cave of the Patriarchs. Check out the pictures by clicking here.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Kumah's Awards Showcase

This year (2007) Kumah picked up four JIB Awards including 1 gold medal, 2 silvers and an important bronze. We also won other awards in past years so we decided to organize all our awards in one nice clean post... let's call it our awards showcase.

We'd also like to express our gratitude to all the people that volunteered their time and put such a great effort into making these awards competitions such a success. And of course we'd like the thank our loyal readers whose voted for us! Thank you!

And a final note, during the voting we here at Kumah enjoyed learning about so many new blogs that we never heard about before. Many expressed strong neozionist ideas. So we plan on updating our blogroll accordingly. Be sure to keep an eye on it.

*** 2007 Awards ***

Kumah took the GOLD in Best Live Event Coverage for our We Return To Homesh report! Our very first Gold! Yay!

Kumah won a Silver for Best Jewish Religious Post for a post about the Shabbat Candle Ladies of Yerushalayim.

Kumah won a Silver for Best Humor Post! This was for a reader submitted post about Becoming a Real Israeli.

Perhaps one of the most important awards to us, Kumah once again (see 2006) took the Bronze for Best Group Blog!

*** 2006 Awards ***

Kumah won the Bronze Medal for Best Group Blog!

*** 2005 Awards ***

Kumah advances to the finals in five categories, Best Group Blog, Best Jewish Religion Blog, Best Life in Israel Blog, Best Overall Blog, and Best Post but comes up short among fierce competition.

*** 2004 Awards ***

Kumah won the Silver in Best Post By A Jewish Blogger for a post featuring photos from a Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah flight called Young and Old KEEP MAKING ALIYAH!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kumah NINE Time JIBs Finalist - Vote Now!

UPDATE 5/15:

We have marked the votes that are extremely close. Like 1 vote close! So please vote for those first if that's all you have time for. Thanks!

It's official. Thanks to our loyal Kumah readership Kumah has gone to the finals in every single category that she was nominated in. What's more? Every single Kumah blogger that was nominated through another blog has also made it to the finals in every category they were nominated for. Looking around at the competition in the finals is humbling because it really is unbelievable company to be in. That said we are clearly the underdog that has already gone further than anyone thought we would. It sends a great message that people are excited about the Aliyah Revolution!

And now even more eyes are on us! So let's send an even greater message!

1.To vote click on a link below. (Repeat this for all links.)
A new window should open. (Or right click and "open in new window.")


3.Close the window and right click on the next link...

Kumah's "Shabbat Candle Ladies" post is in the finals for

Best Jewish Religious Post

And Kumah is in the finals for:

Best Group Blog - VERY CLOSE!

Best Slice of Life in Israel Blog

Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog

Best Designed - VERY CLOSE!

Best Contribution / Blog that Made a Difference - VERY CLOSE!

Best Jewish Humor Post for Becoming a Real Israeli

Kumah also made it to the finals twice (even with "splitting the vote") in:

Best Live Event Coverage Post - "HOMESH" one is VERY CLOSE!
(Vote for either one.)

Kumah Bloggers In the Finals

Malkah's Eyshet Chayil - Best Kosher Food/Recipe Post (listed as "Chayil.")- VERY CLOSE!

Ze'ev's Israel Perspectives - Best Right-Wing Political Blog

Also, my personal blog Point of Pinchas is in the finals for

Best Personal Blog

Best Photo/Graphics Blog - VERY CLOSE!

Best Picture or Video in a Post
This is for photos I took at a Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight arrival.


Best Series
This is for my "Only in Israel" Series.

As always, there are links to all of these posts on the respective voting pages if you have time to check them out. Polls close on May 16, 10pm US-EDT.

Thanks again for your support!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

JIBs: Kumah Advances, now Round 1 - Part 2

Thanks to everyone's help it looks like every single nomination posted here before has advanced to the finals! (Still waiting for the certified results.) But before the finals start next week there is still part 2 of round 1. More importantly Kumah has been getting more hits and more people are talking about Aliyah. Could we say it's a mitzvah to vote Kumah or would we sound like Shas?

1.To vote click on a link below. (Repeat this for all 4 links.)
A new window should open. (Or right click and "open in new window.")
3.Close the window and right click on the next link...

Kumah's "Shabbat Candle Ladies" post for was nominated for

Best Jewish Religious Post (Group A)

And Kumah got nominated twice for
Best Live Event Coverage Post (Group A)
(Vote for either one.)

Also, my personal blog Point of Pinchas
was nominated for
Best Picture or Video in a Post - Group A
This is for photos I took at a Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight arrival.


Best Series - Group B
This is for my "Only in Israel" Series.

It looks like we have a great chance at going far. There are links to all of these posts on the respective voting pages if you have time to check them out. Really worth it IMHO...

Thanks again for your support!

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Technical Difficulties

The Gemara relates the story of how Jerusalem was conquered in the times of the Hasmonean kings. While city was under siege the Jews would lower money in a basket and the people outside would take the money and place sheep in the basket. This allowed the Korban Tamid to continue. A Jewish traitor told King Hyrkanus that the Jews will never be defeated so long as the Tamid was offered...

"The next day when a basket of coins was lowered the people placed a pig in it instead of the lambs. When they lifted the pig up it dug its hooves into the walls of Jerusalem and the land trembled for four hundred leagues all around. This was a sign of Divine Wrath." (Meam Loez on Shemini p. 239)

And so - perhaps that explains why just a few days after we post pictures of pigs on the Kumah site the main server has a massive stroke destroying a month's worth of posts. Or not.

Whatever the case may be we have switched over to our backup server for a few days till the main server could be rebuilt. Almost everything works though some images seem lost, perhaps forever, or at least until we reload them to the new server. In the meantime please pardon our appearance and keep commenting!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Open Letter To Yishai

Dear Yishai,

I love you but this latest post of your's doesn't sit well with me. I don't feel it has a place on the Kumah website. Just as a picture of Neturei Karta burning an Israeli flag, which I posted, has no place here. Do people really need to see these pictures of pigs? You may be the co-founder of Kumah but the Kumah message has taken on a life of it's own. And that post is not Kumah. Perhaps it's Kumah-style but it's not Kumah!

Let's go straight to the point? Jews living in Chuz L'Aretz are responsible for Yerida? That's like saying the Israeli aggression is responsible for Arab attacks on Jews.

Who is responsible then? There are only two correct answers.

A. Hashem.


B. The Yared.

As I wrote in my comment, if Hashem decrees you can not enter the Land you could be Moshe Rabbanu himself and you are not going to enter the land. By your logic you could be Moshe Rabbanu - and even want very much to live in Eretz Yisrael - but nevertheless your presence in Chutz L'aretz makes it easier for Yardim. So are you saying Moshe C"V is a Chazer? Are you saying our own beloved Shulamis, by residing in Chu"L is responsible for Yardim?

Another point. Do you think most Yardim are Dati? And actually think they say about American Jews, "I could be just as frum as these American Jews?"

Reality check: Most Yardim are not Dati and never even heard Lecha Dodi sung on Shabbat. They grow up in places like Haifa and Ramat Gan raised to be like the other nations especially America. And so where better to live the American dream but America. That's why they choose America! Not because there are Jews there but because there are cars and big houses and because money grows on trees in America.

And do you know what happens to these Yardim? Some Yardim who are after the American dream end up in places relatively void of Jews. But others - since they have the option - choose to live in Jewish areas because they might as well be near Jews. And do you know what happens? They start going to shul on Friday night because it's right next door. The shul in Haifa was a mile away. And they start getting closer to Hashem. Closer then they ever could have gotten in their setting in Eretz Yisrael. I have seen this happen with my own eyes countless times!

And then you know what happens next? They return. They come home. And then they get even closer to Hashem here than is possible anywhere else in the world. I see this happening too!

Ultimately every Jew has Eretz Yisrael inside of them. Every Jew has the yearning for her. That yearning is awakened best by positive thoughts. (It's easier for the Yared to come Home since they have the language and the culture.) A Jew native to America will need an even more positive message as they will face more challenges to make Aliyah successfully.

Yishai, it bothers me too that it doesn't seem enough American Orthodox Jews seriously consider Aliyah or even give a single thought to it. But the way to get them focused on it is by promoting the positive aspects of Aliyah and the beauty of life in Eretz Yisrael. This is a message Kumah has been building up for years since it's inception and it is the proper authentic Kumah message.

Everybody out there - click on this link !!!

This is link if FULL of Klassic Kumah posts. Scroll through the whole thing! Authentic Kumah. Go on click it! Look at those post. Each and every one of them. Then tell me what we should be posting on Kumah.

B'Ahavat Yisrael,

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Monday, April 23, 2007

JIBs: Round One Voting Open (Mostly)

So what do these awards matter you ask? Why do we care? Is this third grade? Of course not! If you notice Kumah doesn't even display the awards we already won in previous JIB contests. But as "Aussie Dave," founder of the JIBs explained the purpose of the JIBs is to bring new readers to your blog. To let the world see what's out there and hopefully pick up more loyal readers who will make Aliyah! Or keep on making Aliyah! So there you have it. A vote Kumah is a vote for the Aliyah revolution!

We laid out things real easy for you. The whole thing takes a few seconds.

1.To vote click on a link below.
A new window should open. (Or right click and "open in new window.")
3.Close the window and right click on the next link...

Best Group Blog (Group B)

Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog (Group C)

Best Slice of Life in Israel Blog (Group B)

Best Designed (Group B)

Best Contribution / Blog that Made a Difference (Group C)

Best Jewish Religious Post - Delayed a week
Best Live Event Coverage Post - Delayed a week

Malkah's Eyshet Chayil - Best Kosher Food/Recipe Post - FINALIST!

Ze'ev's Israel Perspectives - Best Right-Wing Political Blog (Group B)

Point of Pinchas -
Best Personal Blog (Group D)

Best Photo/Graphics Blog (Group B)

Best Series - Delayed a week
Best Picture or Video in a Post - Delayed a week

Thanks for your support!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kumah Nominated For 8 JIBs + 6 more JIBs!!!

The 2007 JIB awards are here and Kumah is very honored to be nominated EIGHT times. Round one voting starts Sunday night (Israel time) so check back here for details on how to vote.

Kumah was nominated for the following awards:

  • Best Group Blog
  • Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog
  • Best Slice of Life in Israel Blog
  • Best Jewish Religious Post
  • Best Humor Post
  • Best Live Event Coverage Post
  • Best Designed
  • Best Contribution / Blog that Made a Difference

Aside from those, Kumah bloggers (blogging elsewhere) were nominated for another 6 awards.

Malkah's Eyshet Chayil was nominated for Best Kosher Food/Recipe Post

Ze'ev's Israel Perspectives was nominated for Best Right-Wing Political Blog

And your's truly's Point of Pinchas was nominated for Best Personal Blog, Best Photo/Graphics Blog, Best Series, and Best Picture or Video in a Post

Congratulations to the whole team on these well deserved nominations and good luck to everyone!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kumah Does Facebook

By popular demand: The Kumah Facebook Group.

(I think the way facebook is built, you can only see it if you join Facebook)

Viva la Alia Revolucion!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Post Month: Greatest Place on Earth!

Okay, so I just wrote up this long post on what the Meam Loez writes about the Sanhedrin in Parshat Mishpatim and why Jews are far better off with one than without one... but then I thought hey, it's Rosh Chodesh Adar! Let's get happy!

So with the power invested in me as chief-head-super-duper-ultimate-supreme-master-and-
and-kumah-webmaster-and-blogmaster-general I herby declare this month of Adar to be Kumah Happy Post Month!

I'll kick things off with this happy post.

A Tale of Three Cities

I have the esteemed privilege to be able to spend Shabbat all over this wonderful land that Hashem gave us as a gift along with his Torah. The past three weeks I spent Shabbat in Beit-El, Bnei Brak, and Ramat Beit Shemesh, respectively. And while all three places certainly have their differences I find they have some wonderful things in common.

For example in all three neighborhoods one would be very hard pressed to find a car on Shabbat. In all three one will find the streets full with many children playing and enjoying Shabbat. They are the future of the Jewish people! Can anything be more exhilarating?

In all three one will experience Shabbat on a higher more intense level than is possible in many other places on earth. Sure I could think of a handful of other places, (Tzfat springs to mind, and I've always been impartial to the Old City of Jerusalem) but nearly all of them are in Eretz Yisrael.

So attention Brooklyn Jews: when the siren goes off in Boro Park (and now Flatbush) in a futile attempt to build a "mini-Jerusalem" and "recreate" the atmosphere of the real Jerusalem, just remember you can't beat the real thing! So why risk upsetting the goyim (and make no mistake. They do get annoyed hearing the siren each week) when you are guests in their kind country when instead you can simply come home and play Jewish music over the loudspeakers for a half hour on Erev Shabbos because it's our home and we make the rules!

Take the Kumah challenge: Visit Eretz Yisrael and spend Shabbat on any Yishuv or any of the places I mentioned and you'll experience what Shabbat is really all about!

It's a little secret which we shouldn't keep to ourselves but everyone here knows that the Jews of Chu"L simply have no idea what they are missing. I thank Hashem every day that I am somehow worthy of experiencing Shabbat in Eretz Yisrael every week!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Torat Yisrael Parshah Sheet

In Israel, there are many weekly publications that find their way to synagogues every Shabbat. Most of these "Parshah Sheets" are in Hebrew.

image of this week's Torat Yisrael weekly Parshah SheetThe main one in English has a lot of Torah, but not many Neo-Zionist nationalist issues. A friend and I recently started a new English Parshah Sheet to bring ideas from the Torah related to the Land of Israel, and look at nationalist issues from a Halachic (Jewish law) perspective. Appropriately, we are called Torat Yisrael.

This is our 3rd week and already we have had 2 members of this blog write for us, as well as people from Elon Moreh to Chevron (kind of like Avraham's journey). This week features an article about Techelet from Rav David Bar-Hayim that was referred to in an earlier blog post. Every week there is also an Eretz Yisrael Photo of the Week by me. This (and last and IY"H next) issue also features a front cover ad for this blog (see image below)! We are circulating around Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh (and RBS), maybe also some yishuvim this Shabbat. If you live in Israel and want us to distribute to your shul, let me know. In any case, you can view each week's issue on our website - Shabbat Shalom!
advertisement of Kumah

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Get Your Oomph On!!!

So, this is my second post ever UHHH, woo hoo. Everyone has written such amazing articles... sweet!!!

I just started my new job, and I don't have that much time to read the news, which I think is a good thing, considering the news that is going on right about now. I think the stomach and heart burn companies are going to sky rocket, we should invest in them!!! The really sad part is that people reading those pathetic articles (I don't think I need to give examples, just go to cnn or jpost) really believe what they are reading, its like BEYOND pathetic. I guess that's why its good there is a revolution and a kumah website :-)

So reading some good news and trying to re-do the bad news is pretty cool, but sometimes you need a little more oomph then just passive reading... ever get that way... well if you do, then I have some suggestions on how to get your oomph on!!!

1) This is an easy one which most people do already, but just in case...WRITE COMMENTS. The power of the pen... no joke. When those anti-Zionist articles are being thrown at your face, well shove it back, by writing how you really feel. Even if its just a quick "I think your article is bias" because you never know who is looking at the responses, and if they see enough opposition to the article, they might be less inclined to believe in it, like it's the holy grail (oops wrong religion)

After doing that you do feel a little invigorated, knowing that you put your thought, little or not, out there, for the internet surfers to read... so that's a little oomph ish. But remember every LITTLE bit counts, so if your not into oomphing, then start slow, and work yourself up (if you need any encouragement, listen to this)

2) Do the polls. Such as, this one and this one. I know you think they mean nothing, and they probably do, but still, it's the power of you being "one human that can make the difference" approach. Aside for the fact, that its fun to look back and see your name, and how many people signed up after you (that's only if your really bored)

But really, to see yourself getting counted and the pollster say they are going to show the numbers to someone important, can definitely get an oomph going. Like "there take that, I am the 1737th person to sign the petition" and then you go and make all your friends sign too, so its like a contagious oomph, and it's a great way to see who your true friends are... jk.

3) And yes I do save the best for last, I don't know why... But ya, I think this one is the best, and of course since it is the best Arutz Sheva got to it already, Shocker :-) But really, I think it's the best oomph drug there is. I mean, you call 1-202-456-1414 (the White House, USA)and a nice person asks you which state you're calling from, and then wham... you give it to them, you can say whatever you like, just let it all out, and the cool part is, legally they have to keep a record of what topic and what views each caller is addressing. So its like, you get some nice little American to sit and listen to your rant about... well anything, pick a topic... they will listen and record what your views are. I doubt they write up everything, but the gist definitely gets documented.

So when you feel like a whole container of Tums wont do the trick, and you did suggestion 1 and 2... then hit the white house. You never know Mr. Bush might pick up the wrong line, and you get to oomph him... Anyhow, it's a great way to get out your frustration with the stupidity of the world around us, and you might make a difference while you're at it... which is the ultimate OOMPH.

But just remember, every person can be the one to change the future (not to sound sappy or anything) But really, at an era of the neo-Zionist revolution, we don't have time to think if we are big enough or worth it enough... Because we TOTALLY ARE!!!Which reminds me of something whinny the pooh said (I'm obsessed with cartoons) "your stronger then you seem, smarter then you think, and braver then you believe" So fellow neozites... go get your OOMPH on... and make a difference!!!

As always, comments are accepted and greatly appreciated ;-)

TTFN, DFTSS ~ Shulamit

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Neo-Zionism "R" Us

Hi, my name is Yishai and I'm a Neo-Zionist Uberblogger.

To see this blog up and running is very exciting to me. I remember when Kumah first went up and how excited I was when we only had a banner up with no content - I knew then that we were beginning something big.

For many years our focus was just physical Aliyah from the Exile. Now our goal is to share ourselves more fully - to talk about Aliyah in the broader sense. Our vision of Zion is a holistic one, which sees our 'local' redemption as having grand implications to the world at large.

We are living in very exciting times, times when the majority of Jews live in Israel after 2000 years of exile. (Unreal! Why have we merited this?) We are also living in a semi-dark era when half the Jews choose to remain exiled, and even those who have been born to redemption, reject their spiritual inheritance.

Many commentators specialize in diagnosing the problem without offering much of a solution. I hope to use this forum positively - to focus on ideas and on the 'art of the possible.'

My incredible job at Israel National Radio allows me to interview some of the finest minds and souls dealing with the issues I care about, and I plan to use this forum to share with you some of those interviews.

It happens to be that today I interviewed Rabbi David Bar Chaim - a Neo-Zionist revolutionary with ideas as to how the Jewish people can fullfull the Torah more fully, more redemptivally. Recently he railed:

One of our greatest strengths as a people has been our adherence to tradition. Throughout the Galuth (Exile) our forefathers gave their all to ensure that we, their descendants, would continue to live in accordance with the Torah. To this end a strategy was developed, a central feature of which was an extremely rigid conformance to minhag (customary practice) and a sanctification of the present state of Jewish affairs. It is fair to say that in the fullness of time this came to be the essential yardstick and paramount concern of Judaism; the status quo became a mitzvah.

Present-day Orthodoxy, born in the crucible of Galuth, has no room for 'new Mitzvoth - even if they are very old. The essential article of faith of the 'frum' world - 'That which is new is forbidden' (first introduced 200 years ago as Orthodoxy's battle cry in its war with the German Reform movement) does not allow for innovation and originality, even when the Torah demands it. When faced with the task of implementing the Torah, in all its aspects and manifestations from Techeleth to trade and industry the rabbinical Establishment is, sadly, completely out of its depth. And when rabbis are unable to deal with Torah and make it work in the real world we, the Jewish people, are in a state of profound crisis.

Press "Play" below to listen my interview with Rabbi David Bar Chaim

So to sign off my first post of Kumah Reloaded I thought it fitting to quote Tank, Neo's operator in the original Matrix:

Goddamn, I got to tell you I'm fairly excited to see what you are capable of. I mean if Morpheus is right and all. We're not supposed to talk about any of that, but if you are, well then this is an exciting time. We got a lot to do so let's get to it.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Unity is a Warm Gun. The First Shot Has Been Fired.


Ever heard of it?

It's like this: You see something that needs fixing. You have some choices:

1. Complain about it and walk away
2. Claim the entire endeavor was either a mistake or the work of the devil from the very start (post-Zionism, Neturei Karta)
3. Realize that you, as one who sees the problem, are now charged with doing something to fix it. If you believe we humans were given the power to destroy, believe that we have the power to rectify.

We Jews are a people of extremes. Our 'moderates' are the most extreme of all - so fervently clinging to their moderation that they don't dare analyze new facts as they come to light, for fear of becoming part of 'the problem' (which, of course, is extremists on all sides. Duh.).

But back to Neo-Zionism. The new, reloaded Kumah mega-blog is a place where complaints and critiques of every aspect of the Jewish State and the Jewish Project will be heard (alongside all the good stuff that the Kumah blog has always provided), but with the starting assumption is that these things can and will be fixed.

Those who have converged upon Zion - particularly from the comfortable North American corner - are an opinionated and passionate bunch. Things will get heated. There are no allies in this corner of the Blogosphere. We are looking to stir things up and shake everyone out of the boxes that exist even in the roomy expanse of the Internet.

If a think-tank like the Shalem Center (parent of Blogs of Zion) touts itself as a new voice for the Land of Israel-loyal Jewish Nation and then shut its eyes during the Disengagement, making no mention of it on their web sites or journals, we will point such a thing out and ask whether it had anything to do with its cosmetics magnate-sponsor's politics.

If a certain super-lefty mega-blog is the only other voice clearly opposing the Partition Wall - we will join forces with them, even as they happily cheer the death of Zionism - because the passion of the leftist Jewish radical is so much closer to the Biblical revolutionary than the comfortable moderate who supported Oslo, Wye, Oslo II, the Disengagement (or maybe he opposed, but felt that 'a government decision simply must be respected') and is filled with hope by Bibi's second coming.

If a delicious Jewblog embraces the sheer delight of being in 'the middle' on every issue, we will be there alongside them providing them the opportunity to take a stand ,in their snarkiest finery.

Most of all, we will remind Jews that talking about unity is useless. Our unity is in our realization that we as a people have always been tribalized. There were always tribes with different super-powers from one another. One tribe may be better at noticing the injustice while a little weak in sticking up for our peoples’ rights, another may excel at reaching out to the eternal Jewish party animal and turning him or her on, while yet another may fulfill the Jewish addiction to rationalizing inaction in the name of some lofty intellectual concept - but the unity everyone talks of only happens when those tribes duke it out with words, while managing not to hate each other and get nasty.

It isn't easy, but it is going to happen. Here, and in a blog near you thanks to our long Elders of Zion tentacles.

Speaking of which - here is a music video from Reb Shmuel Skaist, who attended and performed at the Canaan Conference, back in the day.


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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tu B'Shvat in Beit El (Photos!)

Kumah, Yavneh Olami, and Am Segula teamed up to put together an unbelievable Tu B'Shvat Shabbaton in gorgeous Beit-El!

On Friday the group planted trees in one of the highest and most breathtaking points in the region. If you weren't there here's a bit of what you missed!

Yishai shows the group the stunning view.

Everyone helped out!

Keep making a splash!

More photos are on the way!

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