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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Make Aliyah and Help Save Israel

By Michael Berezin: We are at a turning point my fellow Jews. The meager support we once had here in Israel stemming from Europe and America, is quickly slipping away. They have bought the Arab narrative or at the very least are choosing to support the Arab side, based on their own domestic demographic based fears. What this means is that our enemies have become emboldened. They know we can't use our fancy killing devices because of the hard work of proud capos such as Goldstone. So as a result they demand more for nothing and stockpile better weapons to one day kill us with.

Wait wait it gets better. At the same time that our enemies are both threatening to destroy us and mocking us with an all or nothing peace approach. We are fighting with our own people and telling them that for this charade they can't extend their porches or complete houses already paid for. How can this be? Where is the outrage? At what point are we going to realize that either we stay and fight for our right to be here, or we say forget it, pack up and leave. Perhaps we can join the ex Israelis in Forrest Hills. Or maybe downward to Sydney. From what I hear its a great place to enjoy the sun and learn Hebrew from the locals...

The silly post Zionists will have you believe that if it weren't for these pesky roaches I mean settlers peace would reign supreme. Never mind that if the Arabs wanted peace they would have had it at any time in the last 40 years. I mean who can forget all the wonderful goodness, the Arabs were bestowing on us prior to 1967. You know the famous 29' massacres notice how the number 29 comes before 67? or the independence war of 48'. Lets not forget the celebration of Hamas celebrating 22 years. All our concessions have really helped stem the tide of terrors popularity.

Ok we get it. The situation sucks. Why should we want to be a part of it? What will making Aliyah do to help any of this?

Back to the turning point. Now if you follow the news you will see how there seems to be two Israels. One which bows down to the farce of democracy, fears world isolation--> not G-d and sees the land as a commodity to be offered around, the other says "no and to hell with world pressure (which wouldn't go away anyhow) this is our land and we aren't going anywhere". You might recognize them as being referred to as crazy extremists.

Once upon a time it was not only good but it was inspiring to be called a settler. Many might not know this but Petah Tikvah was a settlement, actually the first one. Nobody would ever call that place a settlement now or think of it as occupied illegal land. Except, and here is a little secret the Arabs actually do see it this way. What's even crazier is that they don't keep it a secret they say it all the time. We for some reason can't hear it no matter how loud they say it, act it, and live it.

This is where you come in. By making Aliyah you are letting the world know that this land is your right and that you are here to stay. Now since the whole country will always be treated as a settlement enterprise, pissing off those who hate us anyway, you can live anywhere you want! Doesn't matter if its Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Gush Etzion. Eventually we will internalize the fact that they are after the whole thing. When that day comes will you board the plane then?

We are at a critical juncture. Either we embrace Palestinian Nationalism or we embrace our G-d given right to be here. Everyone who values holding on to this land needs to be here and make there presence felt. You could have all the best of intentions about Israel but if you don't wake up here in the morning then it doesn't do much for the cause. All this nonsense of demographics would be put to rest if more Jews from America and beyond could see the writing on the wall and take the plunge.

This would pave the way for a national consensus built on the notion that we are all settlers and thats a good thing. Don't wake up on the wrong side of history, make Aliyah this week!

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ynet Author Threatens Jewish Yesha Residents with Violence

I've read some pretty outrageously anti-religious and anti-Right pieces on YNet before, but this might take the cake so far. The author is convinced that every "settler" considers every Israeli soldier and police officer to be a Nazi and that their punishment for using such a word should be a long prison term. Ironic how somebody who rejects being classified as a Nazi wishes to throw people in prison for leading a different lifestyle than him, or even for using language he doesn't like hearing. He also goes on to say that the religious and settlers of this country are trying to provoke a civil war (interesting seeing as how they are more patriotic than most secular Israelis I've ever encountered) and how they better watch out because they've never had to deal with the secularists when they have their guns in hand. I guess if the threat of prison terms doesn't work to try and get somebody to agree with your point of view, the only other option is to try and kill them!

I'll let his vile words of (self)hate speak for themselves but before I do I'd just like to make one point. While my list of complaints against this government could fill volumes, even I don't think that everything the state does is wicked and I personally try my best to avoid using the term Nazi to describe even the most wicked Jews... that being said it is interesting to note that aside from Soviet Russia, what was the last country before the modern state of Israel to destroy Jewish communities, kick Jews out of their homes just because they were Jewish (and thus deemed not able to live there) and given money to those who wish to harm or even kill Jews? You guessed it- Nazi Germany. Shame on ANY soldier who has kicked a Jew out of his home or actively dismantled Jewish communities in our holy land of Israel, shame on the Israeli government for committing such atrocities and shame on YNet for publishing this disgusting filth.

Don’t ever call me Nazi

Settlers who refer to IDF troops as Nazis to provoke civil war

Yoram Kaniuk
Published: 06.06.09, 15:08 / Israel Opinion

The word “Nazi,” which is being hurled at both Jews and non-Jews these days, must be banned by law. Referring to someone as “Nazi” is an act that should prompt a long prison term.

The Jewish people cannot bear with the curses uttered by Judea and Samaria residents, who hurl the word “Nazi” at police officers and soldiers, as well as any other person, regardless of whether he is Jewish, German, or Arab. Those residing in the occupied territories would do well to learn some history. They should learn that those who refer to a Jewish policeman or soldier as “Nazi” are similar to those who deny the Holocaust.

We cannot have a situation whereby protestors hurl this term at the soldiers who protect them, in the presence of a Knesset member who confronts security forces, as was the case in the recent outpost evacuation. We cannot have them direct this term at all of us.

Many of us had relatives who perished in the Holocaust. However, it seems the children of Judea and Samaria residents don’t know what happened there. Many years ago, Menachem Begin said that Arafat is like Hitler in his bunker. The Shoah survivors who supported Begin earlier were stunned. After all, no Arab is Hitler, either in or outside a bunker. Not every murderer is a Nazi; neither is every enemy, and certainly not a Jewish policeman or soldier.

Once upon a time, a settler called me a “Nazi” as well. It happened a long time ago, when this term was new in the country. I attempted to explain to him that the Shoah indeed happened, and that 60 of my relatives died in one day, in one pit, in one forest in Galicia. In response, he called me a traitor.

Years have passed. For several years now, Israeli soldiers and police officers have been dubbed “Nazis.” If we had worthy army chiefs and defense ministers and police commissioners, they would have detained anyone who uses this term a long time ago. The law should have silenced this malady.

Detached from the State

Yet it appears that Israel’s defense ministers and police are also unfamiliar with the history of our people. They fail to realize the power of precedent inherent in this terrible nickname. Israelis must not desecrate the memory of the Holocaust and reject its reality with their despicable words.

There are more and more people among the settlers who have detached themselves from the State of Israel. They apparently know it will end with a civil war, because a day will come where we can no longer remain silent in the face of the wickedness we see in the territories. The killings. The razing of homes. The destruction of Arab trees. The worst thing may be the way they treat Israel’s citizens as enemies.

We are nearing the day where a civil war will break out. Especially after a retiring commander recently smeared Tel Avivians, classifying them as bad ones, as opposed to the wonderful settlers. After all, he doesn’t know how many thousands of Tel Avivians fought and died for the existence of this state. He is an ignoramus, yet he is no different than a defense minister who allows us and our sons to be dubbed “Nazis.”

It may be that we, the secular Israelis who served in the army and today wish to sit at a café or in a library, to learn and teach at the universities that are the foundation of our economy, appear to be geeks and nerds to the Shoah deniers in Judea and Samaria. Perhaps. Yet they have not encountered us with weapons in our hands, and we need to protect our children and our grandchildren from those who view us as Nazis. We have lost hope that their malice will vanish.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

The Guys Nobody Seems to be Talking About (But Maybe Should)

Lots of buzz is going around between people and definitely in the news about the big players in the upcoming election: Tzipi, Bibi, and Lieberman. Yet not nearly as much is attention is being focused on the forth alternative: Shas. Now before anyone wants to post a comment about how they're all a bunch of crooks I'd like ask why would you single them out? Do you think the other major Knesset parties people would vote for otherwise are squeaky clean? Kadima's head, our current prime minister has just gone through several rounds of indictments and the Prime Minister before him (Sharon) was also tied to some shady deals. And anybody who's had interactions with the government knows that in Israel things with the government are often not quite so "Yashar" as they should be. Plus despite some problems with members in the past, the current head Eli Yishai seems like a fine man and I am not aware of any bad report of him.

Other people want to complain that Shas are all sellouts, they are just interested in money for their causes and nothing else. Well let's take a look at those causes real quick. From what I'm aware of the majority of the money Shas funnels is into religious schools, ways to help educate non-Religious Jews in Jewish knowledge, and other general Torah learning institutions. Chazal says that Hashem created the whole world for the sake of learning Torah... so much so that if there was a moment in which Torah wasn't being learned anywhere in the world it would cease to exist. So for Shas to divert as much money into Torah learning as possible doesn't sound crooked to me, quite the opposite- I would think it would be the best investment this country could make.

Some want to criticize how they obey the directives of Rav Ovadia Yosef and seem to do whatever he says. Well if anyone has something bad to say about Rav Ovadia I would suggest you bite your tongue- for your own sake. This is because he is one our current generation's biggest Talmidei Chachim (if not THE Gadol Hador), and the Gemara's definition of a heretic is one who claims what do we need the rabbis and the Torah scholars for, what good are they?

I ask any right wing religious voter in Israel, or any religious voter for that matter, who would be a better choice? I don't even think I need to explain away Barak or Livni. Bibi? Last time I checked he doesn't sport a kippah on his head too often and he's already proven his diplomatic resolve and love of Eretz Yisrael and our religious heritage by giving away Hevron. If even Sharon didn't have the backbone to stand up against American diplomatic pressure do you really think he's going to?

What about Yisrael Beiteinu? Arutz Sheva recently reported an American diplomat has released a book of his experience dealing with Israel in which he tells that Lieberman once agreed to give in to the PLO's land demands and give away our precious Yesha. Even if he wants to deny this he can't deny things on his official platform like supporting civil marriage. Currently the Rabbinate controls who gets married in this country and Baruch Hashem there is a group responsible enough to make sure Jews are inter-marrying themselves into extinction like they are in America. Baruch Hashem I recently got married here and I can attest that as inconveniant as it may be having about 20 run-ins with the Rabbinut before getting your ketuba, at least they are making certain people are Jewish before letting them marry each other. Now what pray tell do we need civil marriage for in this country if not to allow inter-marriage and gays marrying each other? I asked a campaign worker for Yisrael Beiteinu the other day about this issue. He claimed it is one of the many issues being spun out of control to harm their image and that in truth Lieberman just supports some small concession to allow for tax breaks. This man wore a kippah as does Lieberman, so I ask them, do they believe in the Torah like their clothing suggests or not!?! If G-d explicitly forbids these types of marriages then why do we need to make even small concessions? Every concession one makes in his beliefs highlights a lack of faith in the Torah. And as far as Lieberman trying to advertise himself as the guy to get the arabs out of Israel? Doubtful. Not even Rav Kahane could do that after immeasurable blood sweat and tears, and this guys is no Rav Kahane.

What about Feiglin? I heard him speak at Tuesday Night Live this week and I must say he is about as much of a stand up guy as you'll find. The problem is he is number 36 on the list. In order to get him in you first need to get in 35 shall we say, "not so stand up" people first. He claims this is the only way to change Likud from the inside out. But changes like he is trying to accomplish take time, and in the mean time can we afford to put our hope in a 1 to 35 voting ratio while the future of the country hangs in the balance?

Then there is the Dati Leumi parties. Their hearts are in the right place but it appears as if they can't get their act together long enough to get along with themselves never mind lead the rest of the country. Plus there is the laws of probability that heavily weigh against them gaining enough seats to have serious influence in the government. One could counter that Shas doesn't have a chance of winning the prime ministership either yet that isn't important. Why? It doesn't really matter who is in charge, for we know that on Rosh Hashanah Hashem plans out of that whole following year who will go to war with who, which side will be victorious, and how much money every person and country will have as well as who will live and who will die. Therefore we could vote in the best party and prime minister in the world and if Hashem doesn't help us then we won't have a chance. Likewise we could have the most inept losers at the helm and if Hashem wills it then we'll be successful. Shas isn't going to be the biggest party, that's a given. But what is also almost guaranteed is that they will be big enough that whichever party does lead will have to take them in as a coalition partner. Therefore the stronger they are, the more muscle they have to get what they want- i.e. money to support Torah (something ever so vital now that much of the American philanthropy to Israel is getting hit hard from the world financial crisis). So if Hashem decides who successful we're going to be at war and diplomacy and the like who does it matter who "appears" to be in charge? What we should worry about is how we can affect thigns we do have control over like how many Jews are going to learn Torah or do Teshuva and have a support network to ease them into the religious world when they do.

Now at the end of the day I don't know how much my opinion counts because I am not yet able to vote here anyway. But I will say this, if you look around at all the political posters it's all attacks from this one on that one and counter-attacks the other way. Then you see the egged bus come by with a big picture of Rav Ovadia and it has a blessing to Am Yisrael or a quote from the Tanach, and always something optimistic. If nothing else, let's go with the "glass half full" people!

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Appearently the "New Rules" like to Buck the Rules of Nature!

When I was in college a few years ago I partook in a joint AIPAC/Hillel student leadership trip that took us all around Jerusalem for a jam-packed week of meeting with Israeli officials, diplomats (both Israeli to America and American to Israel) and other people who explained their roles and the Israeli government's goals and how they are achieving them and planning to further them in the future. This was a very interesting time because it was the "in between phase" - several months after the Gaza pullout from the Gush Katif communities but before Hamas won a landslide election, the government reneged on all it's promises to the evicted residents, the rocket fire increased and it became blatantly clear to everyone what a complete and utter failure it all was. Since all these horrible after effects hadn't yet fully manifested themselves, all these officials (read: airheads) still felt they had the right to boast about what a success for peace and the safety of our country the pullout was and how things would be much different and so much better now. Not that they had any solid evidence of that (and as just mentioned the facts on the ground once they became clear pointed heavily to the contrary) but at least you could give them some lee-way as they hadn't been proven wrong yet at that moment in time. That taught me a big lesson in how much you can trust the Israeli government, American diplomats and AIPAC, but let's not get into that right now.

What really has me boiling is that, unlike those morons who were hoping against hope their idiocy wouldn't be proven idiotic, now we are being subjected to idiocy that doesn't even need the test of time to prove itself. I just chanced upon an opinion article in YNET entitled New Rules of Play, in which the author brags about what a dazzling success this recent war was and how we have established "New Rules" vis-a-vis our enemies by which we will now have the upper-hand and achieve safety and security... gee haven't I heard this somewhere before? He claims that not only has the Israeli army reclaimed it's famed "Deterrence" but that Hamas has "unconditionally" stopped it's rocket fire. Please excuse me while I vent...

Deterrence has been restored!?!? What deterrence? Hamas has boasted they are already working on rearming themselves as well as Iran saying they are going to start supplying them with upgraded rockets. Plus about 95% of their combat personnel are still alive and well. The majority of Hamas killed were just traffic cops and the like, not the ones actually shooting the rockets and making the bombs.

What is this lie of rocket attacks stopping unconditionally? Within hours of Israel announcing the ceasefire they launched more rockets at us and ON THE FRONT PAGE OF YNET TODAY IT SAYS 3 MORE ROCKETS WERE JUST LAUNCHED FROM GAZA!!!

Let's review... this war: DIDN'T cripple or destroy Hamas or take out it's top leadership; DIDN'T stop rocket fire or rocket firing capabilities; and DIDN'T get back Gilad Shalit! What DID it do? It DID get several fine young boys of ours killed, it DID get a new round of world condemnation laid on us, it DID score political points for politicians who let the Jews of the south rot for 8 years under rocket fire without doing anything to help them, and now suddenly pretend to care when an election is right around the corner and they are all losing points to the more right wing parties (and these scum were willing to sacrifice Jewish soldiers' lives to achieve these political gains mind you -REMEMBER THIS AT THE VOTING BOOTH!!!)

So I don't really understand these "New Rules" this fellow at YNET is speaking of. Appearently they include blatantly denying the obvious facts, as even reported on your own website. I prefer the rules of nature and common sense myself- if it's stupid and doesn't work then don't do it, if it makes sense and does work then do that instead. What doesn't work, nor has for quite a while, is believing these ego maniacal short-sighted morons in the government and the you-know-what kissing media that loves them. What does work? Trusting in Hashem, trying to be good Jews and put a little more Torah and prayer into our lives. Look through Sefer Shoftim (The Book of Judges) and you will see the message plain and clear. Time and time the Jewish people while residing in the land of Israel are invaded and oppressed by our neighbors. Time and time again we succumb to them, sometimes even making treaties with them or falling under their rule and what saves us every time? Not our failed leaders trying to use brute force and military might, but the nation of Israel doing t'shuva and returning to G-d. Read on and you see that once we did that, every single time Hashem sent us a worthy leader who led us to victory against the enemy NOT with superior numbers, weaponry, or tactics (in fact we represented quite inferior fighting power), but purely with miracles of Hashem. Half the time Hashem made our own enemies do most of the work killing themselves for us and all we had to do was clean up the leftovers!

Time to wake up everyone, the strength isn't in our hands, never was and never will be. The strength is in the hands of G-d and if you don't want to wise up to that then I advise you to go stick your head in the sand next to Mr. Delusional op-ed writer.

Strategic importance of Gaza operation much greater than we assume

Isaac Ben-Israel

Operation Cast Lead was not a war pitting equal forces against each other and was not beyond the scope of many past Israeli operations. However, I believe that its strategic importance is much greater than we assume, and that this is a milestone that would be etched in the historic memory of the Middle East for many years. This is not necessarily because of the narrow military aspect, even though the military achievements are clear.

First, the IDF restored its deterrence vis-à-vis Hamas. This holds great significance to the deterrence vis-à-vis other Mideastern players, mostly Hizbullah in the north and the Iran-Syria axis. Even the Second Lebanon War, which was managed in a flawed manner, looks different today in light of the capabilities showcased by the IDF in the latest operation. As opposed to common perceptions, the IDF showed that it possesses the means, combat doctrine, and required determination for fighting in a crowded urban area while ensuring minimal casualties among our forces.

Secondly, Hamas’ rocket fire ended unconditionally. It is of course possible that Hamas leaders, who are only now digesting the disaster they brought upon themselves and their people, will recover eventually and go back to their old ways. Yet then they will have to take into account the fact that the IDF could again strike at them whenever it wishes to do so, and it is doubtful whether the Gaza population would allow them to prompt another similar blow against it.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the asymmetrical rules of the game that Israel appeared to accept in recent years had been broken. Previously, it appeared as though the weak side (Hamas, Hizbullah) could attack Israeli citizens uninterruptedly, while Israel hesitates in utilizing its substantial military power (airplanes, tanks, and guided missiles) for fear of hurting civilians on the other side. Yet the recent operation showed that even mosques used by terror groups are no longer an obstacle in the face of Israel using its military power.

The attack on the Kissufim Road earlier this week is also related to the new rules of play. Hamas was forced to stop the rocket fire and attacks on civilians, yet it is trying to show that attacking soldiers is allowed. We must not agree to this, of course, and we have the power to enforce the rules of play that are desired by us, which shall also include a ban on Hamas activity in the Strip within a few hundred meters of the border fence.

Path of resistance has failed

Meanwhile, the operation’s diplomatic achievements are significant and no less important than the military ones.

The first diplomatic achievement is the destabilization of Iran’s position in the Mideast in the wake of the blow sustained by its protégé in Gaza. Moreover, most of the Arab world crossed the lines and stood by Egypt vis-à-vis Hamas. This closer step to Israel and the recognition of the common interest against Iran and its emissaries holds immense strategic importance.

The second achievement is the unequivocal support offered by Western leaders to the Israeli position regarding the prevention of Hamas’ military buildup in Gaza. Understandings and agreements on curbing the smuggling have been signed and secured vis-à-vis the US and most western European states.

The third achievement is ending the war without Israel recognizing Hamas – not even indirectly.

All of the above puts Hamas’ leadership at a crossroads. It discovered that it cannot simultaneously raise the banners of sovereignty and resistance. It is for good reason that there is no precedent for this anywhere in the world. It will have to decide what is more important: Being the sovereign in an Islamic state, or enjoying the benefits of being a terror movement.

For the time being, it appears that the path of resistance has failed, big time.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hot Air

The Jews have been through a lot this month. Those who haven't welcomed their sons, husbands, and friends home from a dangerous war which came to an untimely and even more dangerous end, are losing the shirts off their backs on the American stock market or are getting held up in their driveways in South Africa, rioted against in Paris or - well, any number of things that are happening today in our crazy world.

I don't know about you, but I have become much more involved in prayer recently. I once had a dream (a nighttime dream, not a grand MLK-style vision) that a huge projector played movies of natural disasters and wars in the air above my house in Texas. This movie, which was played around the world (in my dream) as an immediate precursor to the arrival of the Messiah, was meant to finally illustrate to the people of the world that G-d had orchestrated each and every war and natural disaster as a warning and as an opportunity for us to return to Him in prayer and loyalty. I woke up very moved.

Of course, as is the nature of G-d's less perfect people (and as you can note occurs to the Jews in basically every book of the Bible), this acute understanding eventually faded from my mind, and was replaced by the much more mundane feelings and impulses which we all deal with daily.

With the recent return of chaos and uncertainty to our lives, as I felt the welfare of the Nation of Israel coming into peril as my brothers went into battle against our evil enemy, I myself returned - to my better self, my nobler priorities, and my wiser understandings - or at least tried. Even now, as the world seems no less shaky, I try to drag and scrape my way up the ladder toward G-d, hoping to be part of the solution, and not the vast, shameful problem.

When I heard the news that a major natural gas reserve was discovered off the coast of Haifa, I thanked G-d for the blessing he bestowed on the Jewish People, perhaps a token of love and support as we trudged home from a war from whose battlefields we were dragged prematurely, by powers who know no G-d.

"How great is our L-rd!" I thought. "Who knows from what direction blessings can come? Nothing is too big for Hashem!"

I read articles, in which the drillers breathlessly predicted 15 years of Israeli energy independence thanks to the new find. "Baruch Hashem!" I thought. "Things are finally going in the right direction. Score!"

But Yitzhak Tshuva, the owner of many of the companies involved in the joint drilling effort, burst my gas-filled bubble with his statement on the issue. Thinking the nation was in a different place after the unity of war cast a new light on our country, thinking recent anti-Israel UN resolutions might put our place in this world in perspective, I was shocked when I read Tshuva's enthusiastic comments to Army Radio: "My golden touch hasn't disappeared," Tshuva said.

Oh man! How sad. And angering. What a fool, what a missed opportunity, what an embarrassment! What did you touch exactly, Mr. Tshuva, and how did you become so "golden"? And how do you know that it won't disappear? Did you create your drills, or the gas you found, or even your talent for locating it? How could you be so self-centered - and so wrong? How could you think that you are responsible for all this good?

It's sad how easy it is to fall backward. The Jewish People, as they struggle forward, are constantly victim to this particular kind of disaster. "I made all these things," we think to ourselves. We don't realize the amazing kindness with which Hashem treats us everyday, the mercy. Instead, we think we are big - until Hashem is forced to show us that we're small.

I pray that the Jewish People break this vicious cycle soon, for everyone's sake. I don't want to watch G-d's disaster movie play out here in the Holy Land anymore.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Tagging" Ain't Just for Facebook!

To my displeasure, the walls of Jerusalem (and much of the rest of Israel) are covered in graffiti. My reaction is often to not pay attention at all or sigh over the misuse of a beautiful white wall of Jerusalem-stone. But I've noticed if you look a little deeper you will see many reoccurring patterns within the teenage (I pray they're only teenagers) markings. The most common one of course is the "Na Nach Nachma Nachman M'uman" tag of the dope-smoking hippies that fancy themselves some sort of modern breakaway group of Breslov Chassidim.

A new one that has been popping up all over the place in the last two weeks or so though is "Style Wars 2." At first I didn't think much of it, but as I saw it over and over again I started to get more curious. Could it have to do something with Star Wars? I understand every other group of people seems to lay some sort of claim to the holy city but now Star Wars nerds too!? I did an internet search on it and it turns out that Style Wars was the name of a PBS documentary done on urban culture and specifically spray paint graffiti. Now why they have started to spray Style Wars 2 everywhere is beyond me, unless it is some sort of grassroots promotion for a sequel. Also popping up is an interesting one that says something to the effect of "Joker love 42" or something like that. It always seems to feature arrows coming out the the ends of the letters which seems kind of neat I guess.

A more classic one I've seen for over a year now is "Homo = Ill" or some slight variant of it. The funny thing is that wherever somebody has written it, 90% of the time somebody has come around later, crossed out the word "Homo" and replaced it with word "bigot." My mind's eye pictures some rainbow flag bearing spray paint can toting hippie following closely behind some angry right wing punk, each tip-toeing so as to not arouse the attention of police-calling neighbors.

Another common one is the "Am Yisrael Chai" (the nation of Israel lives on) which always includes a Magen David, and every now and then you'll even see a "Mavet l'aravim" (Death to the arabs) painted on a stairwell or alleyway wall. But if you really want a treat I recommend going on Yaffo Street across from the Shuk and checking out the building that has beautiful calligraphy of Jerusalem in both Hebrew and English written across an entire wall. Whether you like it or not, the graffiti seems to pop up everywhere in Jerusalem, but at least you can't complain that they don't keep it interesting.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Dogfood Parable

The other day, I strapped my daughter into her stroller and went for a walk with the family dog, Pilpel.

Pilpel, being a fairly obedient dog (bli ayin hara!), is generally allowed to wander around without a leash on, as we live in a sparsely populated area just next to an expanse of hiking ground which includes the region commonly accepted to be the site of Jacob's biblical dream of angels going up and down a ladder (for more, see the Torah).

After our jaunt, I let Pilpel, who is an outside dog, come into the house for a leisurely sniff around. She did the requisite investigating, then plopped down on the living room floor while the baby slept in her stroller just outside the front door. After some time, I decided it was time for Pilpel to go back out, and for me to get along with my day.

"Pilpel, boi!", I called. Nothing. Okay - that's normal. My obedient dog isn't a total idiot - though she loves being outside and shuns being shut up in the house, a few extra minutes to beg for tummy scratching isn't beyond her. I let her stay for 5 more minutes. Then again, I called her out - again, she just sat there panting and grinning. I knew I would have to appeal to more than her sense of obligation.

So I pulled out a can of Simba, a pretty delish looking canned dog food that my neighbor scored for us while doing some electrical work (I believe at the home of former pet owners). I popped the top, and let her savor the aroma of beef and lamb chunks. A glint flashed in her eye, and she snapped to my side like a veteran of the NYPD canine unit. I poured her food in her bowl, she looked at me with awe and reverence, I tied her up, and she enjoyed her prize. "Sucker," I thought.

Which made me think more.

This was not the first time Pilpel had pulled the "what, I don't hear you, what? You want me to come outside to do what now? Yeah um - hey, what's that over there?" stunt. Sometimes she lollygags on the living room floor, I take some dry dog food (you know, the kind that comes in a big bag), pour it into her bowl outside, and then come back in, only to find that she has not been sufficiently enticed. I usually have to grab her collar and heave, at which point she lets me drag her a few feet by the head before succumbing to the pressure to go out.

But Simba - she cannot resist it. After all, she's just a dog, and her stomach can overpower her.

As I surveyed my beautiful mountaintop, which is embroiled in a Peace Now-invented court case which threatens to divide a significant portion of the mountain from the Jewish People, I started to think about how much people can be coarse and animalistic like dogs. In this world in which good and evil, right and wrong are always waging war, some of us are content to maintain our choice, our freedom, and eat simply when we decide we're hungry. Others of us are willing to be chained up at the first display of the good life, and to devour it all as quickly as possible.

I started to think about Israel, in which there are those who live so simply, even poorly, but do so with dignity and self-possession, committed to a lifestyle and values which are more to them than the provisions of this world. Then there are others who will leap to attention and enslave themselves to forces which seek to control and domineer them, bowing and scraping to achieve wealth or honor above that which is "ordinary fare".

Likewise, there are powerful entities which are able and eager to wave carrots (or in our case, cans of Simba), promising a sumptuous, decadent life - and all you have to do is surrender this small bit of self in order to enjoy it.

I know a man who reports any and all Jewish development in Samaria to the government, so it can thwart Jewish expansion in lands it hopes to one day form into another Arab state in the Middle East. When asked how he can bear to spend his day snitching, making lists of dog houses, tool sheds, and spare rooms built to shelter the latest addition to the family, he says "it's my job, it's how I make a living."

He is not proud to be a part of this despicable project. But he is also not ashamed. He has no feeling about it at all, because his feelings have been purchased away. He drives a nice car and lives in a nice home. He smiles when I speak to him, as if he is my friend. He doesn't mind tightening a noose around my neck because he already wears a choke collar around his.

I'm not sure this parable comes with any solutions. Perhaps a dog is always a dog and a person always a person. But I think that those of us who would live unchained to the whims of others might have to be content to always be just a little hungry (or to be sustained by that which is very nourishing but very simple). Not to say that the occasional Simba won't float our way as well, of course. But in the pursuit of a lifestyle, we all make choices - who and what will we care about or follow? What do we want from this life? Will we follow our stomachs or our hearts?

"Pnei hador k'pnai hakelev" - In the time of the coming of the Messiah, the face of the generation will be like the face of the dog. All dogs have a master - which one will we follow?

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Holy Locker Room

I used to do a few sports back in my high school days and that meant spending a lot of time before and after practice/meets in a beautiful little hangout known as the men's locker room. Now for those of you who are wondering, a men's locker room in a Minnesota public high school isn't exactly the most holy place on earth. In fact in the kedusha rankings it probably sits square between an outhouse and Tijuana. Through the time I've spent there I've probably racked up hours of being exposed to (and unfortunately participating in) conversations that were at best mundane small talk and at worst vulgar as vulgar can be.

I'm personally a huge fan of going to the mikvah. Now don't get me wrong, being surrounded by big fat hairy naked chassidic men doesn't top out the list of things I'd like to be doing with my time, nor getting all clean in the shower just so I can step into a pool of murky water you can't see to the bottom of- which I know happened to be crystal clear just a few hours ago before a hundred people passed through it. But few things can compare to the feeling of walking up out of the water feeling spiritually cleansed.

I dream that someday I'll be able to be on the level of the tzaddikim that immerse themselves every morning before they start their day, but for now I just try and manage to go every Friday afternoon in honor of Shabbat. Due to the jam packed schedule of holidays we're currently going through I've been able visit the mikvah a lot more times that usual and it's been making me feel really great but aside from the normal spiritual enjoyment of it I couldn't really figure out why. Recently I was able to put my finger on it. It was erev Yom Kippur and a friend of mine from Yeshiva was taking me to dip in the natural spring in Lifta (which for the record is a beautiful area and a quick walk from the Central Bus Station) for the first time. There were many men coming in and out but probably at least 20 or 30 people were hanging around at any given time and many were conversing and shooting the breeze with each other before and after immersing. Finally it hit me, most standard indoor men's mikvahs have a locker room and shower area just like a gym or high school. I realized that on the surface they may appear very similar but fundamentally they are worlds apart. While people go to the locker room in order to work out and improve upon their physical bodies, those at the mivah are improving on themselves in a wholly spiritual manner. Plus any conversating that tends to happen in the mikvah, unlike the locker room, centers around Torah, Israel, and the Jewish people. Even if not, I can guarantee you people aren't chuckling with each other over dirty jokes.

For anyone who like me has spent a fair amount of time in a locker room setting and is not so proud of the company they kept in such a place I highly recommend doing a tikkun on it and going to check out your local mikvah this Friday afternoon. Start doing locker room time right!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

What's the point?

While surfing the headlines recently I came across an article that left me scratching my head. It's about a dwindling Jewish community somewhere deep in the south that is taking drastic measures to ensure their numerical survival. Apparently they view their situation as dire enough that they are willing to fork over fifty G's to any Jewish family that agrees to move into town.

The question I'd like to ask is with that kind of money to burn why are they choosing to invest it in their community that has relatively (as far as the Jewish people are concerned) no Jewish past and from the current state of affairs also no Jewish future? Instead of trying to build up Jewish life in Dothan Alabama why not build up Jewish life in the land of Israel? Why not help feed the some of the hungry children of Jerusalem? If they'd like to keep the money closer to home, why not invest in some sort of Torah learning institution in the states? Heck, they could even give it to me! I wouldn't mind having pre-paid yeshiva tuition for the next half decade or so! Now it's not really my place to tell them what to do with their own money. You know how I know this? Because Hashem decided to put it in their wallet and not mine! That being said, it still doesn't sit quite well with me that amounts of cash that could help klal Yisrael so greatly seem to be being directed towards things that at best don't accomplish much of anything at all.

Being Elul and all I think the most important thing is not to get too depressed or frustrated over news such as this. Perhaps it's just Hashem's way of reminding us that while we may be finding fault in these things, we should really looking harder at the faults from within. But still! (sigh)...

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Larry Blumberg is looking for a few good Jews to move to his corner of the Bible Belt.

Blumberg is chairman of the Blumberg Family Relocation Fund, which is offering Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate to Dothan, an overwhelmingly Christian town of 58,000 that calls itself the Peanut Capital of the World. Get involved at Temple Emanu-El and stay at least five years, the group's leaders say, and the money doesn't have to be repaid.

More Jews are living in the South than ever—about 386,00 at last count in 2001, according to Stuart Rockoff, historian at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss. But young Jews are leaving small places like Dothan in favor of cities like Atlanta and Birmingham, Rockoff said, and dozens of small-town synagogues have closed.

"A lot of the older people have died, and not many of the younger ones have stayed," said Thelma Nomberg, a member of the Dothan temple who grew up in nearby Ozark, where she was the only Jewish student in public school in the 1940s. "We are dying."

Being outside the Christian majority was never a problem, Nomberg said, even six decades ago: She won the Miss Ozark beauty pageant at 14 and sometimes attended church with friends after sleep-overs.

Now a widow, Nomberg has watched two of her four adult children leave for Florida as Temple Emanu-El lost nearly half its membership, down to about 50 families. She can only hope the recruitment plan works for her synagogue.

Launched in June, the Blumberg program has put advertisements in Jewish newspapers in Boston, Miami, Providence, R.I., and Washington, and it plans to expand the campaign.

"I think it's important that we try to find young people that we could use in our religious school, our Sunday school and help in the way of trying to create more of a family-type atmosphere in our temple," Blumberg said.

Groups offered financial aid for Jews to return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Jewish organizations around the country offer moving assistance for relocating families. A congregation has loans and other benefits for Jewish families moving into an area near Boston.

"Our program is distinctive because it's Dothan, but it's also distinctive because of the type of financial assistance," said Rob Goldsmith, executive director of Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services, which will screen applicants and administer the grant program.

Trying to lure Jewish families to a quiet Southern town in a state with a reputation for hard-right politics and racial intolerance might be difficult. About 20 Jewish families have sought information about Dothan, though none has made the move.

Rockoff credits Blumberg and the rest of the congregation with fighting to remain in Dothan, where the synagogue has a full-time rabbi and the temple, which is aligned with the reform movement, hasn't missed having a Friday night service in decades.

"It is a small community, but they have some deep pockets to be able to do this," said Rockoff. "As a historian it is fascinating to see them trying to buck this trend."

Dothan lies at the heart of the South's peanut region, in Alabama's southeastern corner just minutes from Florida and Georgia. It's dotted with big fiberglass peanuts painted to resemble characters and people—there's even an Elvis peanut.

Little things are big here: The city boasts what it calls the world's smallest city block, a triangular traffic island near the civic center.

But the Blumberg foundation is selling prospective Jewish residents on Dothan's quality of life—its low cost of living, the heritage of its synagogue and its proximity to Florida beaches, about 80 miles away.

The city is the site of the down-home National Peanut Festival each fall, and it has a full schedule of community cultural events. It has two hospitals, a branch of Troy University and is just a short drive from Fort Rucker, the Army's main helicopter training base.

Downtown is filled with quaint red-brick buildings and colorful murals, and traffic never gets too bad on Ross Clark Circle, the perimeter road.

"We have Friday afternoon rush minute, and that's about it," said manufacturing executive Ed Marbletree, 69, who grew up Jewish in Texas but married a Dothan girl and has lived in the town since 1961.

Valerie Barnes grew up in Panama and moved several times before settling 20 years ago in Dothan and becoming active at the synagogue. She's never experienced any anti-Semitism and can't imagine living anywhere else.

"The biggest thing Dothan has to offer is that it's just a very family-oriented community," said Barnes, who directs a hospital foundation. "Our congregation is very vibrant, and we have a lot of things that we get involved in."

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith didn't know quite what to expect when she moved to Dothan a year ago to lead the congregation at Temple Emanu-El, which was founded in 1929. She came with her husband, who directs the Jewish community services group.

A Connecticut native, the rabbi halfway expected the Alabama of old with wide-open racism and dirt roads.

"The Northeast has a really warped perception of what the South is all about, and I found out it was all wrong," she said. "The South is a wonderful place to be. The people are warm and friendly. There's very little traffic. And best of all, there's no snow."

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Update from chutz-la'artetz: It's enough to make a lazy man cry

I'm a lazy person. Well, I like to call myself relaxed but my mother, she says it's laziness. I'm not all that into things like working out, I think one of the best things about dressing in black in white is that I never have to pick out what I'm going to wear, and I recently switched dorm rooms in the yeshiva citing having to go walk a shorter distance to the beit midrash for davening in the morning as one of the key points of the move. About a week ago I stepped off a plane from Tel Aviv to Newark and I got hit by a really emotional moment. It was the first time in months I walked through a doorway without a mezuzah on it and I almost started to cry. But... now after about a week in chutz-la'aretz with my emotions having calmed down, it's now become else entirely that almost has me in tears- all the extra hustle and bustle my poor lazy rear-end has to go through.

In Israel, especially in cities like Jerusalem there is a shul on every corner. To find a minyan you literally don't have to walk more than ten minutes. Heck, if your really gutsy you can try and just grab ten guys off the street and daven on the corner of King George and Ben Yehuda, which several friends of mine and I have done so don't think I'm exaggerating! Now I find myself lost in a strange land where I sometimes have to sit in traffic for 40 minutes do daven with a minyan. Before I had to decide between which of eight kosher pizza places to eat at. Now I'm faced with choices lie getting pizza or not eating because there's only one kosher restaurant in town and that's all they serve.

Now perhaps if you live in Monsey, Boro Park, or LA then you don't feel my pain. For the rest of you “out of towners” there might be those who cite the fact that in the old days we had to deal with pogroms and inquisitions and feel we should be overjoyed these are the biggest problems one should have to face as a Jew in America today. But I know in my heart of hearts that there are those out there who are like me, those who dream of something better. There are those who strive for a more happy and carefree life of not having to worry where your next kosher steak is going to come from. To you, my brothers and sisters, I say no more! We're the few, the proud, the lazy, and we deserve to live in a country where you don't have to sit next to a non-Jew on the the bus happily chowing down on some fresh McDonalds while you look on with longing eyes! Pack your bags now, come home, and take comfort in the fact that if you want a chalav-yisroel candy bar all you need do is get off your chair and walk to the corner store!

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Declaring Independence - On Israel's 60th Birthday

On this, the holy occasion of the 60th birthday of the Modern State of Israel, I want to share with you how truly happpy I am, with all my heart, to be living in the State of Israel today. So many good Jews have fallen prey to the cynicism and dysphoria sown by lost souls and destroyers, causing them to reject and slander the State of the Jews, decrying its birth and publicly deploring it.

I reject this attitude and practice, now and forever. I declare that the Ehud Olmerts, Dorit Beinisches, and Yisroel Dovid Weisses of this world will NOT steal this state from me, nor will they rape me of my love, joy, and hope for the future of this incredible, flourishing project. I'll be damned if I will budge one inch in ceding my country or my spirit to them, or to those who join them in their practice of shaming, violating, and quashing the Jewish people on their soil.

I declare Independence, on behalf of all the good, sweet, hard-working Jews of Israel, from the mind-control of repression, injustice, and lies perpetrated by a small group of oligarchs, and vow that I will make it my life's mission to establish the Jewish people, proudly, eternally, as a "free nation in our Land". Free to embrace our identity, to love one another, to work together, to seek justice, to serve G-d without shame or inhibition. This is MY country, and if I have to fight my own small War of Independence everyday for the rest of my life, that is what I will do.

At this time, 60 years ago, after a global attempt to annhilate them utterly, the Jewish people struggled with the last breath left in their body to wrest life from the clutches of a cruel world. Some of those whose lives were built on hardship and dreams for the future survived the camps to die on the battlefield. They did not give in to the mighty evil which had battled them for so long, in so many permutations, but rather declared their independence from fear and faced their destiny boldly and simply, fighting for the establishment of a small, precious Jewish State.

Because of these, and so many who have lived and died for the nation of Israel in the last 60 years, as well as the last 600 and before, we are here on our holy soil today. Let us not give any more power to the forces of gloom and doubt, but rather take up the torch of our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers who carried Hashem's promise to the Jewish people deep in their hearts. Damn those who place obstacles in our path, cloud our minds, and darken our hearts. Declare your Independence today, and let's pray that together, we will live to celebrate the destruction of our enemies and the defeat of evil forces within and without. Let's pray that together, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Modern State of Israel on the Holy Land of Israel, the glory of the world, the rightful inheritance of our people.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monopoly Isn't Just A Game Anymore

In a recent post, I complained about a Facebook application removing Judea and Samaria from the map of Israel, thereby prohibiting me from illustrating where I live on my profile page. I was angry that global politics had to affect something so pop-light as my Facebook profile, home to things like Zombies, Pokes, and Hatching Eggs.

Well, it appears that the global jihad just can't keep its grubby hands out of my life, and has even invaded childhood games - to that, I say "Do not pass go, do not collect $200."

I wish there were a way to display the disgusted head shaking and heavy sigh that were elicited from me when I heard about the utterly lame Monopoly scandal. If you're just making your way back from a 6 week vacation in the Tibetan country side, I'll fill you in: Hasbro, makers of the well-known Monopoly board game, decided to make an international edition, allowing people from around the world to vote for cities which would appear as squares or "properties" on the board.

In the grand tradition of the Olympics and Eurovision, patriots and loyalists around the world took to their keyboards, voting for their various cities. And then came Islam.

As per the paradoxical usual, in which Arabs are swift, organized, resourceful and ambitious in screwing up someone else's good day (and altogether incapable of any other productive endeavor), they made a big ruckus over how Jerusalem REALLY belongs to the Palestinians, blah, blah, blah, and Hasbro removed the name of Israel from alongside Jerusalem - so while Marrakesh would should up as Marrakesh, Morocco, and Sydney would show up as Sydney, Australia, Jerusalem just showed up as Jerusalem. Kind of like what will happen on my daugter's US passport now that we've registered here as having been born in the Holy City.

Of course, Jews around the world protested this rude deletion, to which Hasbro responded by removing all country names from voting. Sydney is just Sydney, and Marrakesh is just Marrakesh. And Jersualem is just Jerusalem.

Is it just me, or can this type of struggle against niche anti-Zionism become really lame and boring? So many good people spend so much time fighting over minute issues of Jewish rights and recognition in little local papers, university seminars, and Monopoly votes. Is it worth our time?

I am conflicted on the issue. On the one hand, I can't tell you how much I want to escape from these fights, which I find to be kind of pathetic and useless. So much of the world is converted to Islamophilia (or maybe it's just Islamophobia), that I doubt another letter to the editor in some small town paper is going to change much. On the other hand, how can we stand silently in ANY forum when lies are being disseminated and Jewish rights are threatened? Is it important to vote for Jerusalem in Monopoly, to have our city represented in some stupid game, or is it now important NOT to vote for Jerusalem, because it is being touted as some kind of international no-man's-land?

What do you think?

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

15 Seconds With The President

There's a lot of hubbub surrounding the visit of US President George W. Bush.

The Post-Zionist Left, face it, is wetting itself with anticipation over the prospect of Bush backing Israel into a corner and, as the uberscuzzy editor of Haaretz so Haaretzly put it, raping our country of any last vestiges of meaning or dignity. They're hoping Bush will pizzazz the land right out from under us, hacking away at the most biblical of our biblical lands, and ultimately bringing down the Zionists, who are like so many pesky cockroaches revealing themselves after a bug bomb.

This morning, as our mountaintop was covered with a welcome low-hanging cloud after some much needed nighttime rainfall, we heard a familiar sound - the approach of a Blackhawk.
Because of our proximity to both Ramallah and Baal Hatzor, as well as our possession of a nice, uninhabited flat space, we are frequented by practicing pilots, who land and take off, land and take off.

As we were listening to the buzzing and swooshes, my husband commented to me that perhaps they are practicing bringing in Bush - after all, Bush's entourage is rumored to be planning a Ramallah visit, making a helicopter landing and drive through Beit El somewhat likely. Olmert's government is going to be doing everything in its power to keep Bush away from any real people or places during his visit (we wouldn't want the endearing qualities of the Jewish people to get in the way of our cold, heartless peace plans, now would we?), so it's quite possible that he will be whisked above the annoying realities, and come to Ramallah via helicopter.

So I asked my husband: "What if he does land here, and we have the chance to speak to him for 15 seconds? What would you say?" That got us thinking.

By the by, you never know. I recommend that you all prepare 15 seconds worth of material - who knows if G-d will make you the shaliach for His message to this King of America.

What would you say? "Free Jonathan Pollard!" "Go back to Texas!" "Please, don't divide Jerusalem - you don't want that kind of Wrath, trust me."

So I leave it to you: What would YOU say to President George W. Bush if you ran into him in Israel?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NOT Wishing You a Shana Tova

My inbox is filling up with a lot of spam, and it's really annoying.

The subject is invariably the same: Shana Tova.

I've been hearing from acquaintances with whom I haven't spoken for years who probably hit "send" to everyone in their contact list; PR companies for whom it'll be a good year if they get some press out of the people on their mailing list; random people whose names I don't recognize. My particular favorites are those from old flames who take advantage of the Jewish New Year to reconnect with me. (Many singles out there use the holiday as an excuse to flirt - you know who you are...) It's a Rosh HaShana spam fest, and it's doubly annoying when they include files or pictures over 1 MB. Stop cramming my computer!

These Shana Tova greetings are impersonal and disingenuous. I know the majority of these Jewish spammers don't really mean to wish me a good year. They're being polite, getting over a formality, and kissing tails (and not the heads). But it's not polite. It's actually very rude. If you want to wish me a happy new year, personalize the greeting so that I know you mean it, send it to ME only, or else end up in my junk folder.

So this Rosh HaShanah I'm not wishing anyone a fake "good year", but I will wish everyone who reads this an original, thoughtful new year's greeting inspired by Britney Spears. There's been a lot of media buzz over her allegedly failed performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). I agree the performance lacked her usual power and verve, even though the ex-pop goddess always holds a special place in my heart.

And so, to all my readers and friends, may you be like the head: like Britney's performance at the 2000 VMA’s: full of passion, strength, beauty, certainty, power, focus, concentration, successful and lots of fun.
[Editor's note: Be forewarned. Britney is not wearing much at all in either video.]
Click here to view

And may you not be like the tail: like Britney's failed performance at the 2007 VMA’s: unfocused, uncertain, inauthentic, stumbling, floppy, and lazy.
Click here to view

I wish Britney Spears and the Jewish people a year of healing, self-knowledge, personal growth, inner strength and some sanity (including yours truly).

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The Boring Galut "Controversies"

I trust you have all read the Noah Feldman controversy. Its basically the story of a successful graduate of Maimonides high school who went on to Harvard law, the CFR, and the New York Times. Recently he wrote a well written, but utterly self-serving article about how since his intermarriage, he has been ostracized from the Orthodox community and that his picture has been airbrushed away from the Alumni newsletter. Throughout the article Noah throws in some jabs at Modern-Orthodoxy to which he has a love/hate relationships. The article was in the NY Times and has since elicited responses (some very good ones) from rabbis, columnists and many many bloggers. I shall not repeat what has been already hashed out.

I would like to point out one thing though: this essay and its resulting hubbub is yet another of the Galut community's obsession with "issues" that don't matter so much. Remember the Brit Milla issue that had the American Jewish world storming? Remember the not-so-kosher-chicken fiasco of Monsey? And now the case of the whining intermarried Harvard-grad! They all seem like big issues when you are in Galut, but when you are in Israel, all these things seem like a joke. Why? Because here we deal with Jewish war and Jewish nation building, we deal with Jewish education, care for Holocaust survivors, Jewish land and the Jewish future. The giant "controversies" of America are nothing more than entertaining spats to be intellectually debated in the ever-shrinking circles of the Galut.

Do us a favor and wake up. We have bigger fish to fry in the greatest Jewish project of all time - the building of Israel. Let the Noah Feldman's whine about Modern-Orthodox mistreatment - but don't give them a bigger platform than they deserve. They are really boring as compared with the very big, very real, and very exciting issues we face here daily.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Time to Stop Playing with Our Balls and Strikes

This debate about baseball in Israel has gone just about far enough. Perhaps we have become so insensed by the current state of affairs in Israel, or have been so numbed by a corrupt system that remains in power, that we have decided to turn our attention to an easier target: recreation and entertainment.

Recreation is good. Professional entertainment bad. Fine. Case and point. I like baseball, and just may see a game before this summer is out, because I still retain many habits from a former life in the United States, like surfing the internet past my bedtime.

But here at Kumah, we are supposed to be shining Israel in a positive light wherever possible, pointing out areas critical for the growth of this nation, and pushing American aliyah.

I am quite worried that this hit and run on America's pasttime now in Israel, runs counter to the goals of our organization.

American Jews love American sports. This phenomenon is a little difficult to understand, even for myself who to this day thinks of the ballpark anytime I smell a freshly cut lawn.

Moving to Israel is hard. Real hard. Don't let these Aliyah junkies tell you otherwise. Most American olim consciously and unconsciously look far and wide to seek out the comforts of the old country here in our new habitat. Whether it is Hellman's mayonaise or a trip to Ikea, these creature comforts help us feel at home in our elevated environs.

I am quite afraid that this battery on baseball--a familiar face to many olim who feel as if they have left many wonderful things behind to begin a better life--might make future olim uncomfortable.

I worry that potential olim, and others reading this blog may begin to think that we have struck out swinging. We don't need to attack anything and everything that runs counter to the religious ideal. We need religious and non-religious Jews who like baseball to come make Aliyah, and help strengthen our nation.

There are a lot of problems in Israel and within American Jewry. Baseball, for better or for worse, is not one of them.

Look at the coaches signs, there is a lot of work to do here. I think we should step up to the plate, and try to hit a home run on some serious issues in this country, before our society gets picked off trying to steal a base.

And I also think that for those of us who don't like professional sports--in a land where soccer goons riot, and a basketball team routinely wins the European championship--paying any additional mind to this baseball league is simply giving more attention to another business started in Israel with private American investment.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Olah Olot Strike Back at Der Forvard ('The Forward' - so this will be Googlable)

A new immigrant resident of Neve Daniel figured, hey, this nice girl from Der Forvard wants to come do a story on Aliyah - let me welcome her into my home. Foward's Orly Hapern, bothered by the specter of settlers taking a little bit of Teaneck with them, writes this article (a fun read - possibly even recruiting some olim from Teaneck - but not very nice to her host family and an obvious case of creative quote-bending).

Olah Lara Kwalbrun strikes back:
Dear editors and writers of The Forward,

My name is Lara Kwalbrun and I am a resident of Neve Daniel who was interviewed by Orly Halpern for her June 6th article. I am writing to say that I am both insulted and disgusted by Ms. Halpern's opportunistic use of my hospitality as a means to misquote me and misrepresent the lifestyle my family and I live in Yesha.

To start, our home does NOT "boast" a jacuzzi, fireplace, or a manicured lawn. Neither is it "surrounded by Arab villages" but overlooks the city of Beitar Illit on one side and Efrat (with over 8,000 Jewish residents) on the other. Ms. Halpern asked me if this life isn't better than what we left behind in New Jersey and I told her that we had a nicer and easier lifestyle in America but believe strongly in yishuv haaretz.

In addition, what Ms. Halpern pens as a direct quote is nothing short of a fabrication. She writes, "'Before we found Neve Daniel, my husband told me, 'I love you and I want to live in Israel, but I'm very materialistic and if I don't have a nice house, we're not moving.'" Actually we moved to a rental in Alon Shevut in August of 2005 with no plans to buy for a while. We only purchased the house after realizing that there was very little real estate in the area that we had grown to love that was available. Our moving to Israel had absolutely nothing to do with buying a house; rather, when my husband got a job in Israel we felt that we had no good reason to stay in America regardless of the good lifestyle. We left our jobs, home, families, friends, and native country to move to Israel and Yesha where we felt that our presence makes a difference in what is the ancient heartland of Eretz Yisrael; my family and I resent what we consider to be a libelous and fictitious representation of our goals and the words I used to define them. In addition the openness with which we greeted Ms. Halpern was returned with an attempt on her part to trivialize and reduce the American-Jewish struggle to leave what is easy and safe and re-cast themselves as immigrants in a land that is both strange and wonderful.

My family and I expect that The Forward will take some sort of action to rectify the egregious errors and misrepresentations that make up Ms. Halpern's article. At the very least she should apologize to my husband whose decision to move here was out of love and responsibility despite the fact that he speaks no Hebrew and cannot yet practice medicine in this country.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Dr. Lara Kwalbrun

Her neighbor, Laura Ben-David, wrote:

I was excited to read the article "Suburbia Sells Settlers on the West Bank" by Orly Halpern (June 6) as it is about Neve Daniel, the place that I've called home for the past five years. I'm sorry to say that I was utterly disappointed. We, too, moved from a lovely home, ours in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. Your article suggests that we are a bunch of rich snobs looking for a great real estate deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. We left Boca Raton and its green, manicured, country club-like atmosphere for something real. We left what was physical and material for something genuine and spiritual. We left what had merely been our home to create a new life in our homeland. A wonderful, meaningful, and truly enjoyable life. One that is not bound by the trappings of "keeping up with the Joneses"; A burden that we were only too happy to be rid of.

Once we chose to make the big move to Israel, choosing where to live was huge. We made several pre-Aliyah trips, and did a lot of research. In the end we chose Gush Etzion for one main reason - neither materialistic nor political in nature. We chose the Gush for its excellent education. Yes, education. Having brought four kids with us, from 7th grade down to kindergarten, we wanted to make sure to meet their needs. So we chose Gush Etzion. As for Neve Daniel, we chose it for the weather, the amazing people and the truly unbelievable 360 degree views.

Our life is nothing like it was in Boca. Like many of our friends who made Aliyah, we sacrificed lots of things like a second car and a swimming pool. Plus, we need to watch our budget much more carefully than we did in America. Is it worth it? And how! We are no longer in the "rat race". Our lives are so much richer than ever before; our happiness is deeper; I can honestly say that we are content. My "take home message" is that Israel is not about a standard of living - it is about living to a higher standard.

Laura Ben-David
Neve Daniel, Israel

Author of "MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal"

My take? It is a blessing that comfortable communities like Neve Daniel exist. Folks like Ms. Halpern are always looking for different ways to mock or mourn the return of Jews to Judea. The moral of the story (for those who didn't know already): The Forward operates under the same ethical assumptions and directives as Haaretz - it ain't your grand-daddy's yiddish paper no more.

There is a tendency among Israel news readers to sometimes be dismissive of Arutz-7, due to what is seen as its obvious 'bias'. The truth is that there exists no Israeli news site without a bias - the problem is dishonesty and lying about the facts. A news agency's responsibility is to be honest about its underlying assumptions: whether they be that UN resolutions and a leftist interpretation of international law are Divine, or whether the Jewish people's right to the Land of Israel is both historically and Biblically mandated; Arutz-7 operates under the latter assumption. The other news agencies operating in Israel are not honest about their underlying assumptions, but far worse, have no compunctions about playing with facts, quotes and statistics to bolster the editorial line. I am not saying A7 never makes mistakes, but I truly believe it is as close as you can get at this point in time to honest journalism in Israel (this is without even going into the corporate ownership and state-control of Israeli media and the Federation and Big-Leftist-Jewish money bolstering papers like the Forward).

Update: Laura Ben-David's letter is due to be printed in The F, albeit they changed her home country from Israel to the narrow strip of land holding the west side of the puny Jordan River from spilling over (hat tip: NG, who would never miss and opportunity to accost such offenders)

Another letter sent to the Forward (and then to me):
To the Editor,
It is too bad Orly Halperin was so focused on the materialistic aspect of the high standard of living found in Yesha communities in Israel. This fact is not really "news", as all over the world communities outside of major cities are more affordable and more spacious. Suburbs in America are always about a better materialistic standard of living. Although I would not exagerrate to the extent that Ms. Halpern has, making Neve Daniel sound like the "Bel Air" of the settlements, when in most cases families still sacrifice much to come here, such as a second car, or a pool, and lets not forget that "jacuzzi and fireplace" which is not standard equipment in homes even in Neve Daniel; it is still true that it is an easier transition for Jews from U.S. suburbs to move to places like Gush Etzion. However, a much more important story would be to focus on the clear improvement in the more spritual aspects of living in a community. No matter how wonderful the Jewish communities of Cedarhurst, Teaneck or in my case Los Angeles, it is another world here in our "gated communities" more aptly described as "yishuv kehillati", or "Congregational Community". On a yishuv, such as Neve Daniel, or Alon Shvut where I am from, there is a spirit and social cohesion which is impossible to create in an American suburb. This is the true reason many American Jews seem to be coming to the 'burbs here in Israel. This enormous improvement in the spiritual quality of life which is attained by coming to yishuvim is the real story and is worthy of an article in the Forward, and not the trivializing of the true nature of "yishuv ha' aretz" (settling the Land) which Ms Halperin's article so deftly does. I invite Ms. Halpern to come visit Gush Etzion again, for any holiday of her choosing, or Shabbat, as my guest, and I and my family and my community will show her the true appeal of Yesha and Israel.

Donna Zeff
Alon Shvut
Gush Etzion

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Look Mom, I'm on Google!!!

Every now and again I like to Google myself. (Yes, I just used Google as a verb - as well as a noun, in this sentence.)

I know. It sounds terribly egotistical. But, frankly, I have an inquiring mind, and I want to know where I stand in cyberspace.

Depending on how I spell my name (Zev, Zeev, Ze'ev...) I come across thousands of entries.

Here are two of the more entertaining ones.

1) From a comment on Matthew Yglesias's The Atlantic Online blog:
The Michael Rubin policy wonk neocons know full well that they're lucky to have escaped the noose for what they've done to America's place in the world vis a vis the Iraqi debacle and are afraid to go on the record again. Their real agendas can be found in the ravings of louche neocons Michael Freund, Caroline Glick, and Zev Orenstein. In short- they want to drop thermonuclear bombs on Iran, Syria, and Mecca. This is their hot and sticky dream scenario.
To be totally honest, I haven't a clue as to what the guy is talking about. But, I am flattered to be put in the same company as Michael Freund and Caroline Glick. My only guess is that he might be referring to this article of mine.

And, as far as what might constitute my hot and sticky dream scenario... since this is a family oriented blog, something things are better left unsaid.

2) Recently, I was asked to write a d'var Torah for one of the many weekly Parsha sheets that are distributed in shuls throughout Israel.

Lo and behold... While I wasn't paid for doing so, it seems that I was given the title of Rabbi...
Rabbi Ze'ev Orenstein

Written by the rabbi...

Click here for more Shiurim by Rabbi Ze'ev Orenstein
I wonder if this makes me the first louche, neocon Rabbi?


According to, louche means:
  • Dubious; shady; disreputable.
  • Of questionable taste or morality; decadent.
And, neocon means:
"Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the 'American grain.' It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked." [Irving Kristol, "The Neoconservative Persuasion," in "The Weekly Standard," Aug. 25, 2003]

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Israel Day Parade?


So I was going to write this a couple of days ago. But a wise person once told me, to never write when your really angry, instead, chill out a bit, and see if you still feel what you want to say, because words are very powerful, and once spoken, are very hard to retract. So going against my nature, I listened...

This post will not be as sharp as it was going to be, but still voice some harsh criticism. A part of me feels that I am not in the position to say what I am about to, but I waited till the chill took over, and I still don't get it. I know I still live in America, and I know that some people think that, in itself, would nullify any views that I have about Israel and its future, however, I am a Jew, before an American, and for that reason, I feel a connection to a place that is not currently my reality (except when I close my eyes), but is still close to my heart. So for everyone reading this, take this paragraph as a warning, and if you are one of those that feel only people living in Israel should have a view regarding its land, proceed with caution.

That being said, I am proud to admit that I boycotted the Salute to Israel day Parade in NYC this lovely Sunday. Instead, I took my bike up to my nephews and went biking and had a bon fire. I have been going to this yearly salute to Israel parade for a while. Sometimes I march and other times I help activism run freely through the crowds of on lookers. But this year, I refused to be a part of it. The reason is really quite simple, but since I am Jewish, I will try to make it as confusing as possible.

Last week, I felt the Israeli people had the capacity to over throw the most corrupt government that I have ever known. Not only the ever so popular monetary issues, but also moral, and worst of all lack of common sense and direction for their nation. Before the Winograd Commission came out, most people that know how to use any part of their brain could have told you that Olmert and his club members were unqualified and incompetent with running our precious country. But that was all "here say" since no factual "proof" was at hand. Kind of like when my friends wouldn't believe me when I would tell them that leaving Gush Katif would do more harm then heal, nearly two years ago. Today we know this as a fact, and no one will deny this. But before Gilad was kidnapped and havoc ran free in the strip, no one would believe this un documented concoction I was ranting about. Well Israelis, you got your proof. Are you satisfied now? Will you listen next time? Now, after its not only common knowledge that Olmert, Pertz, and Livni have no clue what they were and are doing, but it has been documented and accepted by a "commission" What are you going to do? Ohhh, lets all shudder, as if this knowledge was just unraveled and came to light out of the blue. But okay, I don't live in Israel, so this is me NOT judging until I am in the position. But as humans, when we find something out, that we know is wrong, and it's been proved and explained via hundreds of pages, GET UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeh, a rally of 150,000 people, that's a nice START... but hello, it's a start, not a response. Please tell me that wasn't your response. Look in the mirror, look who you are, and what each of you can do, realize that if one time you got over 100k, then DO IT AGAIN. Stop settling, and accepting the situation that you have allowed yourselves to be placed in (this is me NOT ranting). But for this reason, I did not go to a parade in AMERICA and wave a white and blue flag, that signifies a people that accept a government that allows its soldiers
to be put in clear and present danger and NOT DO ANYTHING.

I will not associate myself with that. And although that flag signifies other stuff aside for the corrupt government, but in America, the flag represents the country. And right now, I can't. I just can't. Its one thing in America when citizens dislike President Bush and balm him for a war that some say he created. But where is my little "proof." The one thing that no one can bash. Who will admit with a clear conscience that the Israeli government has its citizen's intentions close to heart, or even near its body?

Then there is this parade, of people that wave a flag and prance around NYC all proud of supporting Israel, which I think is great, awesome, sweet, but really. I mean, really. Do you really need this kind of support, when you can't even get a government that doesn't care about you, OUT? What's up with Shas? Will they stay in a coalition that they know helped facilitate a war that was not planed from day one, and knew no victory. Israelis, who do you vote for? Who do you follow? Leaders that go toward money and when push comes to shove, will side with the corrupt rather then step down?

No I will not wave an Israeli flag in a parade down my hood. No I will not side with the corrupt government, nor with people that aren't pressuring their "leaders" to do the right thing. As you can see, you can't rely on them, now it's up to you. Or you can just follow and let our captive brothers stay where they are, and allow another war to ensue, and smile when you read about a bunch of Americans waving an Israelite flag through New York City.

I am really trying NOT to rant, and be chilled about wishing some of you could get some New York attitude in your system, and kick some... So instead, I am going to let you read the lyrics to a song, that when played really LOUD helps. I don't really like the band, but the lyrics are too perfect for what ALL Israelis should be feeling right now

You can listen to it,HERE

Partial lyrics: Dixie Chicks - Not ready to make nice:

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I'm through, with doubt,
There's nothing left for me to figure out,
I've paid a price, and I'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and I kind of like it
Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I think this song is VERY self explanatory toward the topic at hand. However, if you would like me to reiterate the meaning that I find in it, I will be more the happy to comply. But for now, I think this post is long enough, and I hope I didn't upset too many people. But I'm not ready to back down, and you shouldn't either. I am here in NY and I am begging you guys, to WAKE UP, and don't just "get over it and make nice" because it's your life on the line now. No amount of Americans waving blue and white flags will "save" you this time. It's your time to get up and follow a leader, that's worth following, or at least get rid of the leaders that should be ashamed to exist in your precious country.

Nighty night, Dftss, and the omer :-)

~ Shulamit

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tzipi, Save Us!

this is even worse than a picture of a pig, trust me

O Tzipke, now that Olmert is tottering please take over from the good-for-nothing men so that the Female Underground may become the Female Overground and finally bring peace between us and our virile neighbors who simply need a good motherly hug from our women to come to their senses and let us live.

For Tzipke my Tzipke, we know that women can make peace while men are silly neanderthal war machines. May we live to see UNSC Resolution 1325 implemented in the Middle East, and may all those hirsute Israeli men go away and be buried under a mountain of child support payments while the rest of us eat shawarma and knafeh with those husky mustachioed Ayerabs and their great after-shave. Yay!

PS: how do I know nobody is actually going to bother to click that last link and read it and try to understand that the feminist movement is the most potent force for Western appeasement out there? Because I do, I'm smart like that. Who in his right mind is going to bother trying to find out what 'gender mainstreaming' even means? It's much easier to walk to Homesh and say hayo lo tihyeh, which is all the Israeli right is there for I guess.

Yippee! We walked around the Border Police! Messiah is coming for sure.

(Gil Ronen and his silly rants. What did his mother do to him?).

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Phyllis Chesler Gets It Right

Phyllis Chesler thinks if you are a feminist, you are supposed to cheer the West in its fight against the Muslim "gender apartheid" culture. She wrote a book called "The Death of Feminism."

Col. Jack Jacobs is so cool! We need heroes. We need heroes. People in wartime need heroes!

New Jacobs interview.

Old Jacobs interview.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Things That Make Ya' go Kumah

As a news writer, I wade through hundreds of articles, press releases, email forwards and anthrax-laden pieces of snail mail a day. Below, I offer you the most interesting stuff I saw in a 24 hour period sometime last week (or so. It got put aside, but remains riveting):

Birthright B'Aliyah (B'Taoot?)

Flora B'Aliyah

Columbia U Prof On the Teaneck First-step-on-Aliyah-to-Yesha fair (He much prefers Haim Yavin at the JCC)

If the face of Israel to American Jews is the face of settlement beyond the separation barrier deep into the West Bank - not settlement in the Negev or Galilee, which could enjoy across-the-board support - then the prophecy indeed will fulfill itself. Zionism will become the province of only those who define it most stridently and most controversially. Zionism will become tantamount to Eretz Yisrael rather than Medinat Yisrael. And that is a dilemma for America Jewry just as surely as for its Israel brethren.

I guess he prefers expropriating land from Arab Bedouin in the Negev and invading the Galilee (from the perspective of the Arab residents). I can't wait for Haim Yavin's documentary on that. Then these folks will start only donating toward building taller and taller skyscrapers in Tel Aviv. We really may see a day when "pragmatic" voices will suggest that we use modern technology to really allow the Arabs to drive us into the sea, where we can live comfortably on man-made landmasses and cruise-ships. ("It is the only way to allow the Muslim world to save face," they will explain. "They were promised by their leaders that they would drive us into the sea and once we are all there, their hatred will subside and we can totally visit mainland, including Hevron and Jerusalem, until nightfall, when we must return to our dingies.")

Why does The LA Times recognize Israel's 'right to exist'? Excellent question. It is just a matter of consistency and justice.

Benny Morris, the Christ-turned-Anti-Christ of Post-Zionism and the New Historians explains to the Washington Post why transfer is the way it has got to be.

If you will it Dude, it is no dream - Im Tirtzu. A neighbor's project (Hebrew only)

And the grand finale! The Machlises finally have their own web site

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Dell, and being A Jew

So I got a new dell computer, and my luck, with in 24 hours, I had a list of problems. So I called tech support, and even used my "daytime" minutes on my cell, in case they closed early or something, and you know when you get something new, you want it to work perfectly, like immediately.

Dell reps are really sweet, and after 20 min, I was directed to the right place. A lovely lady got on the phone, and I told her all my problems. She notified me that she would have to log into my computer to get a hands on look.

Now, why would I mind if she logged into my computer, I have nothing to hide. So I logged off AIM and let her in.

The first thing she did was open Internet Explorer. Even though I had the computer for less then 24 hours, my home page was already set to And then, the weirdest thing happened, when the site loaded, and I knew that at that moment this lovely dell person knew I was a Jew, I felt embarrassed. I wanted to close the screen, or at least put a different website on. I actually felt bad that she now knew, that I was a Jew, and a political, right wing one; since the main topics were, well... about Livni not kissing up to the EU...

Why should I feel ashamed to be a Jew? To someone I never met, and never will? I wanted her to think i was just an average American, But I'm NOT, I'm a Jew, and should not have to feel bad, when others find out. I couldn't believe that I was getting all uptight and nervous that she wont fix my computer properly, or she will add a virus or something ABSURD like that. Then I thought, well if I felt it, other people do also, but why?

Sometimes I feel like its a secret that we are Jews. Like we are the big green elephant in the corner, that no one talks about, but we all know is there. I don't want to have to hide who I am, to a DELL TECHNICIAN!!! Its my right and my heritage to be proud being a Jew.

So after the 2.5 hour convo, with Fahara, from Asia, I am getting a new Dell shipped over to me, and made myself promise that I will not become embarrassed or ashamed next time someone finds out I am a Jew. In fact, I told her how much I loved Israel, and that one day I will be living there, and then as a good Jew, I invited her over if she ever came to Israel to visit :-)

The funny thing was, I felt so much better after. I felt that she knew I was a proud Jew and even if she was a Muslim, she now knows that there is a Dell customer that Loves Israel so much that within 24 hours, made her home page relate to it.

So all of you out there... go tell someone that might not know your Jewish, that you ARE and your one of those PROUD ones, that doesn't hide, but lets themselves shine, in every aspect!!!

Good night, dftss, ttfn.

~ Shulamit

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Smokers Beware: Torah Still In Effect On Purim (Graphic Photos)

So here's the story. I remember back in tenth grade we were invited to our high school rebbe's house on Purim. And it was loads of fun. One guy even had a pack of cigarettes because after all on Purim you don't have to keep the Torah. A few of my classmates snuck outside to smoke including "A" (we'll leave his full name out.)

That was "A's" first cigarette but not nearly his last. He started smoking regularly and then even became a heavy chain smoker. Later he developed severe respiratory problems. Last August my friend "A" passed away at the ripe old age of 27.

Smoking Kills. The Torah demands one to "heed to yourself and guard your life strongly" (Devarim 4:9). Remember all Torah laws, both positive and negative, remain in effect for both Purim and Shushan Purim. You don't have to break Torah laws to celebrate on Purim!

Have fun! Be jolly! Stay safe!

Now for the graphic photos if you smokers are not convinced. (Warning: if you get queasy easily don't continue viewing the rest of this post...)

This is what a healthy lung looks like:

And this is what smoking does to it:

Let's review. Healthy:

And the smoker's:

Still not convinced:

Here's more:

Think about it!

Chag Samayach!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

David Melech Yisrael Chai Vikayam! --or--
Dudu for President

We all know by now that Israel's government is corrupt and devoid of high moral standing, both in the eyes of Israelis and the world at large. I don't intend to go into all the sordid details now. That we can save for several upcoming posts.

But the situation is in desperate need of repair, and many argue that we need to start at the top of the political ladder and work down to solve our leadership crisis.

The President of Israel is considered Israel's highest public servant. He certainly is the highest paid. The current term of President Moshe Katzav officially ends in June, if he is not tossed out of office beforehand for sexual misconduct, possibly rape.

The Israeli populace agrees that we need to restore dignity to this position with a man or woman of exemplary character, that can well represent what the modern nation of Israel is all about.

I nominate Dudu.

When I think about all the characteristics that are necessary to make a good president in Israel, one man stands out miles above the rest.

David (Dudu) Fisher has been a model Israeli for decades, and may even be a true Jewish hero. Fisher is a performer par excellance, his star quality shines through all his endeavors.

Fisher has embraced Jewish culture. He served as the Cantor of the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv, meaning scores of non-religious "Middle Israelis" have probably heard him belt out Kol Nidrei when they wanted their semi-yearly dose of Judaism. Dudu can sing with the best of them, reawakening the oft hibernating souls of the Jewish people.

Dudu won't buckle under pressure. He has performed on the world's biggest stage. I personally saw him play Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway. That's the biggest stage I can think of. You can be certain he won't lose his composure standing before the evil glare of the Israeli media's cameras.

And did I mention that Dudu is religious. He never performs on Friday nights or Saturdays. I can't offhand think of any other Valjean's or prominent Israeli politicians with that to their credit.

Dudu is one of Israel's top diplomats meeting with world leaders across the globe.

Fisher understands the diaspora quite well. In addition to his broadway stint, Fisher served as High Holidays Cantor at Kutshers Hotel in the Catskills for over 20 years. It doesn't get any more galut than that. Really.

And let's face it. There is no name that screams, "I'm an Israeli and proud of it," more than "Dudu."

But most of all, Dudu cares about the future of Israel. This is why he has devoted so much of his time and energy to educating our youth with his powerful and funloving DVD series that is a staple in just about every Israeli household.

Dudu has the respect of practically every child in the country. There are Israeli children who will utter the word "Dudu" before they learn to say Abba and Ima. Ask an Israeli youth who Ben Gurion was. I'm not sure they'll know. Ask about Dudu, now that's simple. Dudu is an institution, a revolutionary, a teacher and a leader.

Corrupt? I don't think so. I think all Israelis will agree. Dudu Fisher is an exemplary individual who knows how to represent Israel and Judaism throughout the entire world.

I hereby nominate David (Dudu) Fisher for President of Israel--and for that matter, Prime Minister, or Monarch.

David Melech Yisrael Chai Vikayam!!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Audio: Road Rage, Newark, and Chaim Dovid

On this week's audio selection:

On a recent drive in the Land of Israel I picked up a hitchhiker who told me that Ariel Sharon committed the worst sin that a Jew can commit - that is, ripping Jews from their burial place in the Land of Israel. In return, continued the old man, the Land has rejected the body of Ariel Sharon, and that is why he is in state of limbo. This revelation led me to think about the return of the Galut Jew, and the fight and witch hunt against bravery and brave Jews like Shai Dromi. This monologue is 23 minutes long:

Click Here To Listen
Click Here To Download

Rabbi Judah Mischel is stuck at Newark Liberty Airport, with security incessantly having its way with him. And while in LA, he yearns for Israel, while LA Jews yearn for NY. While in Exile he comments on why the foreign nations just don't fit in Israel.

Click Here To Listen
Click Here to Download

Ben Bresky, music show host on INR, recently had some face to face time with famous musician Chaim Dovid. (Ezra wrote an article about this) Now, if you want to hear a real yiddishe soul, with yiddishe soul music, this interview is for you.

Click Here To Listen
Click Here to Download

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Where has the Israeli gone?

You know when I was younger I remember hearing all these amazing stories about the Israeli people. You know the ones that lived in Israel and worked to get the land what it is today. They were the ones I would look up to.

Always so smart and cunning. Figuring out ways to conveniently get around the problems that they were faced with. Being the best at everything and anything just because they could. I saw them as the smartest and most efficient Jews. They had the smallest army but were able to infiltrate anything and anyone that would come in their way. They had pride, they knew they were small and that enhanced their desire to be the best and do it with style. They would do such amazing covert operations that those Israelis would train the US Seals.
Where are those people? Does anyone else remember them?

I remember my parents telling me that when my brothers were younger they would try to sniff out the "secret" army personal on the El Al flights and go over to them and let them know that their disguise was crashed. I mean, this was the Israelis personality and mentality. They were the most creative and the best at getting what they wanted done with the least amount of effort and casualties.

Where are those people? Does anyone else remember them?

When I was in Israel during the Gush Katif "situation" I asked one of my friends who was in Hebrew University, how can the Israelis live with the fact that they are letting themselves lose? His response, as if computer generated was "don't worry, we don't know the half of it, I am sure Sharon has something up his sleeve, I mean look at what he has done in the past."

I feel like the Israelis are forgetting who they are and what they are capable of doing. When I read what Olmert and the Israeli "leader (wanna bes)" are up to, I think that those Israeli mentalities that I was raised looking up to were just a dream.

Did they really exist?
Were we that cunning to do all those successful operations?
Was it all luck?

I keep thinking to myself, that the IDF is planning an operation right now to go into Gaza and get back Gilad. I mean they practically know where all the "terrorist heads" live. I am sure they have internal secret information regarding our captive brothers whereabouts. I know they are just waiting for the opportune time and they will get him back. Right?

Am I right?

Is the IDF figuring out this operation? Or are they figuring out how to handle the protests that will be coming when they try to evacuate more settlements?
Where are our leaders that would listen to their commanders, most of the time and not all the time?
Where are the Israelis that know they can take anyone down... with one hand behind their backs... blindfolded... with nothing but a rubber band?

This is the Israeli I was raised hearing about. The fearless and invincible IDF, the Lion of Israel. Has the Lion turned into a little kitten? Because that's what it looks like when I read the news.

I feel like now that we have "made it" into the upscale world, now that huge companies like Google and Intel have voted Israel as a viable asset, we no longer feel small or the need to work to be something. Is this the price we pay for "making it" into the big world by losing our real world? By losing our reputation as being invincible and indivisible? Is it worth it? Can we go back? Can we become who we were/are? The Israeli that as a child I wanted to be like. My sister has her little children watch the "Victory of Entebbe", and I see it in their eyes, that same awe and admiration for those Israelis. Should I tell them that they don't exist anymore? Or do they?

Well I think they do, and they just need a little WAKE UP CALL. Remind them what they have been and still are capable of. Have them read the Exodus. Watch some old movies that will refresh their memories, or just look in the mirror.

If we believe, you know we can overcome.

We are Jews and have overcome everything thrown in our paths. We have faith in a promise that goes back thousands of generations and we hold the key to its fulfillment. The land is ours, now we have to keep it that way, and know that we have the ability to make it stay that way forever.

According, to reality we Jews realistically should have disappeared ages ago, but there is something reality doesn't know... it's that we are not held down by their reality. We believe in the Real G-d and that's all the reality for us. We don't abide by the rules of this material world. Some Israelis think that if the UN and even the US say something then that is REAL. Well, if we just take some time to think and remind ourselves how our existence in the Holy land of Israel is not according to their reality, then we will remember what is-real to us, and stop being held back by the real "fake" world, and take back our place in our nations mind as the invincible, cunning, creative, and awesome Israelis that we are. This way I can tell my little nephews that they can grow up to be like those Israelis they watch in the movies, and with G-d's help, they WILL.

That was a long one, but I had to, we really need to wake up!!! But its late here in NY so I'm off to bed,
TTFN ~ DFTSS ~ Shulamit

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dating Laws (or Who Would Rav Kook Date?)

These are the laws that you must set before [the Israelites] (Exodus 21:1)

This week's parsha contains many laws which Hashem gives Moshe on Sinai. As is well known some of these laws are better kept by our generation than others. Included among these well kept laws are the Halachot of dating.

Oh, where to begin! For the sake of sanity I will focus on one small law bearing in mind it is just a teaspoon in an ocean's worth of lunacy.

Did you know it is forbidden for a woman to date a guy that has a different kind of kippa from the kippa community she was born into? The reason for this is explained in a famous medrash.

G-d tells Moshe:
Moshe, I am not giving the Torah to one Jewish nation, but to many, many, small nations of different kinds of Jewish people - and under no circumstances are any two Jews from different "factions" ever to date one another or heaven forefend to marry each other - this is strictly forbidden!

At this point Moshe speaks up:
But Master of The World, surely there are some other factors that people could use when dating is concerned, like common interests, commitment to Torah, goals in life, that sort of thing?

Moshe, Moshe, answer me this: What will their friends think if they marry someone who is a different kind of Jew?

They will think that all of the Jewish people are part of the same nation!
was Moshe's reply.

Indeed! So now do you understand why we can't allow that to happen?

So baroch Hashem I find myself relieved and inspired in my quest for my bashert. Relieved that our generation has not faltered in keeping the kippa communities divided and inspired by the many examples I have personally witnessed time after time.

Now blogging about my past dates is not something I (nor I imagine any guy would) look forward to doing. But I'll swallow this bitter pill if it helps address this issue even a tiny bit.

So there we are sitting in the Coffee Shop on Emek. This was a young lady that had only dated in hotel lobbies as per another important dating halacha. The only reason she agreed to come to Emek Rafaim is because she never heard of it. See, first I suggested meeting in a cafe in the center of town but she declined since that would violate another dating halacha: she might be seen on the date! Perhaps it was do to my cynical attitude toward this halacha, but I then suggested if the center of town was too busy how about Emek Refaim? To my surprise she had never heard of it and graciously accepted.

Still I find it truly ironic (if that's the word to use, perhaps pathetic is better suited) that a religious Jew in New York City will eagerly go into a Starbucks and pick up a grande latte because, after all, "all coffees are kosher" but not order coffee in the Hillel Cafe or Coffee Shop because... well, the hashgacha is only rabbanut! What will people think?

So no, she didn't order the coffee. She ordered a Coke and looked upset when they brought her a glass with a lemon in it. She promptly removed the lemon. It was at this point that I realized she was probably not delighted about me failing to show up in a suit, tie and black hat. My blue shirt labeled me an outcast to her community.

Ahh, worried about trumos and masser? I asked. That's why you took out the lemon?

She nodded.

The date itself actually went incredibly well but after asking her out again via the shaddchin, (I couldn't ask her directly as that would violate another dating halacha!) the reply was (and I've heard this before) "she needs someone more Israeli-Charadi." In other words someone that would wear only white shirts and only date in hotel lobbies and only for an hour at a time. I broke too many rules. What would her friends think?

Then there was another fine woman I had the privilege to date. I was thoroughly impressed the moment I met her. She was enthusiastic about Israel and Aliyah like myself. She was passionate about Rav Kook. It was at this point that I realized perhaps I sinned by showing up in a suit and hat? And perhaps I sinned even greater by taking her to a hotel lobby? Regardless the date went remarkably well. The discussions were very intense. We enjoyed loads of common interests, and shared views on everything we discussed from the most mundane topics to the section of gemarah she was learning.

Rav Kook ZT"L came up several times. I shared a story I read online. I quote it here already in progress:
...Suddenly a small group of hotheaded [Jewish] extremists fell up the rabbi, showering him with waste water. The Chief Rabbi was completely drenched by the filthy water. Emotions soared and tempers flared.

By the time Rav Kook had arrived home, news of the attack had spread throughout the city. Prominent citizens arrived to express their repugnance at the shameful incident. One of the visitors was the legal counsel of British Mandate. He advised Rav Kook to press charges against the hooligans, and promised that they would be promptly deported from the country.

The legal counsel, however, was astounded by Rav Kook's response. "I have no interest in court cases. Despite what they did to me, I love them. I am ready to kiss them, so great is my love! I burn with love for every Jew."

Such was Rav Kook's attitude, shortly after the humiliating act.

And so when the time came and I asked her out again (in this case without going via the Shaddchin since I knew she wasn't machmir with that halacha) she said that she thought about it a lot "and was really impressed, and really enjoyed our discussions, but you are just not the way I pictured my husband."

Oh, I understand. You pictured your husband wearing a kippa sruga, possible sporting a beard, wearing an untucked button down shirt, jeans, and sandals. In other words, someone from your 'clan.' I understand.

I understand. What would your friends think if you married a guy who honored Shabbos (yes, not 'Shabbat') by wearing a black hat? They would think you went off the deep end! I understand.

I understand. What would Rav Kook think?

Rav Kook would be proud.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

A Tale of Fiestas and Drunken Widows

Hello Jews, pro-Judeans, and undecided lookers-on!

I think there is something about my karmatological map this week that says - "you will come on new stages in the most embarrassing ways possible". One such coming-on-new-stages incident involved me and my beloved Fiesta (I forgive you, Henry Ford, you antisemitic lout! On second thought, I don't forgive you!), which smashed into someone's Mitsubishi Lancer on a rainy, slippery Sunday early afternoon, as I was hurrying to make it to Beit El on time for a work shift (The new job and Beit El are the "new stage" for this part of the metablogophor. Please ignore the fact that they are not really "stages" per se. I mean, the world is but a stage, isn't it?).

[Important note: Israel is the only place in the world where Mitsubishi markets a model called the SuperLancer. The SuperLancer is the importer's idea. He bought some tin, made a lot of "Super"s out of it, connected the "Super"s to the "Lancer" on the back of the Lancers, probably added some cheap extras to the car and whammo - there was a new Mitsubishi model, all ready for the marketing. There is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe Tzipi Livni can use it to market Israel? "Visit SuperIsrael!" Hmmm...]

So anyhow, mayhem ensued. My Fiesta - my only property, my shiny steed - is all smashed up. I have had to ride the bus - can you imagine the humiliation!? Me, on a bus?? - for several days, and I am not sure where I'll get the cash to fix my silvery love. However, I hear being a beggar at the Kotel is good business. Someone told me he overheard one Kotel beggar woman saying to another "I only did 400 this morning". That's 400 NIS of course.

Luckily nobody died, including me. I wish this dreary weather would stop already. Ugh! However (get ready, I'm going to go all Jew-loving and optimistic on you), there is nothing like a car crash to tell you where you are living. I found out that if you close your eyes (I hope the traffic court judge isn't a reader of Kumah) and randomly crash your vehicle into another vehicle in Israel, the chances are 100% that you will run into a very good hearted, hard working Russian immigrant, who will not gyp you at all even if you are uninsured and whose diabetic father is being jerked around by National Insurance and whom you can perhaps help by using your connections!

Also, the Arab guy who towed me was very nice, but I am not sure now if that niceness was not simply his very clever way of getting me to pay more than I should have for his services. I must say though, the price he charged, while 50% more than the maximum I should have paid, is not bad for combined 100 km. towing and emergency psychological counseling. The guy could have gotten the same money by being a jerk and making me feel worse than I already did. Instead, he made me feel great, painlessly eased me into the denial phase, forcefully and convincingly insisted I could accomplish my goals (sentences like these are far more convincing coming from a life-living, wild-eyed Arab who isn't just repeating a stock cultural phrase he heard on TV a million times along with a billion other people, and isn't talking to you about "life", but about you and your life) told me I think too much and at the same time told me about his own life - his sister died when he was young because of a dentist's mistake, he and his brother took knives and set out to kill the dentist, their father followed them and told them if they didn't put the knives down he would finish with them, that their sister was gone, that was what G-d wanted, that people make mistakes, and they could only make things worse now... since then he has gone to the dentist to have his teeth treated and the dentist cries whenever he sees him - and this is the end of this sentence and paragraph.

The second embarrassing stage incident involves this interview on Galia Albin's show. Albin is the widow of very rich guy called Micky, who famously committed suicide while in police custody, being interrogated about some fraud/corruption charge, sometime in the 1980s (I believe Albin's suicide is the reason police Tegart forts have metal netting over the courtyards since then. So interrogees don't die if they jump from the third story onto the courtyard).

She was dressed like a working girl and had had something to drink before the show, but she was very sympathetic to me and A., the silhouetted guy who spoke before me, who has not seen his daughters for five years, since they were 10 months old, because of the vicious anti-male slant of this country's divorce laws, welfare establishment and general culture. We had to do a retake midway through the interview but nobody cued me that the tape was rolling again so I was talking to her in the thought that we were doing between-take banter. So when she asks me what help would I like to get for the Familists' legal service for divorcing men, instead of addressing the world and her audience, I am actually seen on TV telling her maybe we can meet after the show and talk about it... oy, the vey. The upside: I was very relaxed.

My lesson from both incidents is clear. However I will not share it with you because the enemy is listening!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Capitalism: Good for the Jews

Yes, like Yechiel and Alex I too watched the Superbowl. And I must say during it, E-Trade aired an absolutely brilliant ad about Bank Leumi. Okay, they didn't say it was Bank Leumi but we all know that's where the thirty second spot took place - or perhaps it was at some other bank in Israel.

"On one leg," the gist of the ad (which you could view here or above) is people get robbed by their own bank in broad daylight. And that's exactly what has been going on in Israel for too long! It's like this: you could either put your money in a checking account and watch it melt, or put it in a savings account and watch it freeze.

Put it in a checking account and watch all the creative fees the banks come up with, essentially excuses not to give you your hard earned money back! Whoever heard of having to pay a bank for the privilege of withdrawing money from the ATM of the very bank and even of the very branch your account is held in?

And if you put it in a savings account, as any Israeli banker will tell you, "to offset the fees," you can kiss that money goodbye for at least 18 months, and if you are lucky with the minimal interest you earn you might just actually offset those checking account fees - maybe... Hey, it could happen.

Ahh yes, Neo-Zionism. It's not just ranting about what's wrong with the country but proposing real working solutions for improving the future of our Jewish State.

Probably the single greatest accomplishment of Bibi Netanyahu was appointing Stanley Fischer as head of the Bank of Israel. Last week the Bank Governor made headlines yet again: "Bank of Israel looks to decrease fees" declared the Jerusalem Post. "Association of Banks director: The fees issue does not justify legislative intervention," elaborated Globes.

Short term thinking has dominated, nay, plagued this State for way too long. Arutz-7 reported that several weeks ago "major banks announced they would raise fees up to 100 percent in a move that would net them additional profits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars." But this bank-get-rich-quick-scheme ultimately would harm our economy. Not only that but according to Fischer the current fees are already harming the socialist inclined country.

"In Western countries that exhibit high levels of banking competition, a simple fee system is the norm - one that doesn't entail excessive numbers of charges and often allows clients to avoid charges on ordinary checking accounts," the Bank of Israel said.

The former Citigroup International President knows that while the Socialist model of "give me more money today" might work well to jump start a nation, one that has matured and desires long term growth needs healthy western capitalistic thinking that encourages free market competition and customer service while we're at it.

If Fischer gets his way, and it looks like he just might, you can expect your bank to finally start treating you like a mensch. And you know what? If my bank starts showing me some respect I might just show them respect back and lend them more of my money. And maybe - just maybe - they will actually get more customers and ultimately make more money this way. Everyone will have more money to spend and the economy will flourish. It's called long term thinking.

Am Yisrael Chai! Capitalism Chai!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Marbim B'Simcha -- Olmert Style

Tu B'Shevat is now behind us which means just one thing: Adar is right around the corner. In just a few weeks time we'll be drinking until we don't know the difference between the righteous Haman and the wicked Mordechai (ah wait, reverse that -- perhaps I started drinking too soon.

But perhaps I am not the only Jew that is confusing righteousness and wickedness ahead of the great Purim festival.

If you haven't noticed, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to be one component of a very unholy triumverate, similar to the three sided hat Haman bedecked over 2000 years ago.

Olmert will take part in a 3 way summit with co-conspirators Condoleeza Rice and Mahmoud Abbas. This summit will attempt to bring the parties towards "final status negotiations" on the borders of a permanent Palestinian State -- within the current, though disputed, borders of Israel.

And the date for their summit: February 19th, or more correctly the first day of Adar -- a day of great joy on the Hebrew calendar.

Olmert and company will attempt to take all the joy out of this month of Adar, by meeting on how best, and when, to remove Jews from their homes in Israel's holiest cities, to create a state for the self-sworn enemy of the Jewish State.

Expect Olmert to continue in his predecessor Ariel Sharon's path of desiring to make far-reaching concessions. Such concessions will likely include the release of over 1000 terrorists from Israeli jails, and timed committments on how to move forward with bi-[read uni-]lateral withdrawals from the biblical provinces of Judea and Samaria.

Be sure that chief conspirator Condoleeza Rice has learned well from Bill Clinton's mistakes, and will not come away from this summit empty-handed. And since Mahmoud Abbas has nothing to give Israel, the only way to achieve any diplomacy at all, is if Israel gives something to the PA.

Now I know that it is customary to give 2 items of food to our brethren on Purim, but those in the upper echelons of the PA, be they Fatah or Hamas, are by no means are brethren. They are not even righteous gentiles.

We can only hope that the magical month of Adar remains true to form, and we will have reason to celebrate, despite the machinations of this unholy triumverate, just as we have an annual reason to celebrate the failed annihilation attempts of evil's predecessor Haman.

We should not be fooled for one moment this Adar, of who is righteous and who is evil. There is no single righteous virtue in any summit between Olmert, Abbas, and Rice -- three individuals that in can in no way stand next to the holy likes of Jewish heroes Mordechai and Esther.

And while I may get confused in a drunken stuper on Purim day itself, I pray for continued clarity for the Jewish people on this matter, on all days before and after.

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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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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yeah, I'll Move to Israel - When Moshiach Comes!!

As an Aliyah activist, I have been frustrated to the point of lava-hot rage by those who promise to make aliyah when the Messiah, the redeemer of Israel, comes and brings every single last Jew home to the Land of Israel.

If I were the Messiah, I'd be mighty insulted by the idea that my non-presence is used as an excuse to continue life-as-usual in the Exile.

I think I've had some success in talking to Jews about this issue. But I've NEVER heard a better remonstration than that of Aaron Fox on today's Yishai and Malkah Show at Israel National Radio.

Press "Play" below to listen to IsraelNationalRadio's "A View From Haifa"

Send it to all those "Zionists" back in the States.

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