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Monday, September 07, 2009

The Jerusalem Gap



Well, it had to happen. For better or for worse Jerusalem now boasts her very own GAP store. (And Baby GAP too!) Now the pros and cons of this development can be easily debated and I’m sure they will be (comment away). But there is one thing people should be careful not to say: “Jerusalem now has everything.”

Indeed there is a “gap” between those that believe bringing this large American cooperation is the pinnacle of Zionism and those that pray for a renewed Zionist spirit, which through the same sort of effort used to produce this accomplishment can bring the third Beit Hamikdash to Jerusalem as well.

In the meantime, happy shopping! It’ll be good for the economy.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Temple's Response To Obama








Friday, March 20, 2009

New Full Film: Rabbi Tendler on Temple Mount!








Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Chanukah Day One








Sunday, August 10, 2008

Video Blog From The Kotel on Tisha B'Av 5768








Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Weapon of Choice



It's amazing the beautiful Jews you're guaranteed to observe during late-night trips to the Kotel. A couple of nights ago I was posted up near one of my favorite spots for nights at the Kotel, towards the back right corner (the other being in the tunnel tucked right into the front left corner closest to the Kadosh Kadoshim). There are two main reasons this spot is so great. First of all it's usually the least crowded and if you plan on spending a long amount of quality time with Hashem it affords you the opportunity to have your space and avoid distractions. Secondly it will seat you next to a nightly shiur given by a quite fiery-voiced rav, the passion for Torah of which can really be inspiring. A third reason for any single guys out there is the thought that you never know... your zivug could be davening at that exact moment just a mere several yards away from you on the other side of the mechitza and you don't even know it. Anyway, several evenings ago while I was enjoying a particularly good session of Kotel time, a soldier walked in. He was carrying his weapon strapped over his shoulder and walking hand in hand with his young son. He pulled up a chair and a shtender, sat down, and his son said something inaudible to him. He smiled and gave his weapon to his son at which point he put the barrel up to his mouth. Several moments later he took it and put it up to his own mouth.

You see, this wasn't a normal soldier. His uniform wasn't green with reddish brown boots and a beret. It was a large white kippah, flowing white shirt and pants, and bright orange crocs. And his weapon was an M-16 or the like, though it had a strap attached to it like one. This weapon was his extra large shofar... this man was a soldier of Hashem. It's hard to describe how beautiful the notes sounded coming out of his horn as he blew it proudly. He we all were, at the sight of our two destroyed holy temples, thousands of years without them, and during the nine days leading up to the anniversary of their mutual destruction. Yet even in a time of seeming despair and mourning such as this, this man sounded the shofar's cry of our redemption and, if for just a few seconds, reminded us that we may be mourning now, but that will soon come to an end. The geuala is on it's way, and if you need proof, just take a late-night trip to our holy Kotel and wait for Hashem to give you a sign.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Isaiah's Wail



For the first time since 1967, the Isaiah Scroll (pictured above), is on display at the Israel Museum, in Jerusalem.

The 2,100 year old scroll is the only complete scroll of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the Qumran caves within the Judean desert, in 1947, and represents the oldest biblical manuscript in existence - dating back 1,000 years prior to the next oldest biblical manuscript, the Aleppo Codex.

The reason for the scroll having been kept from the public for so long is the concern over the effects that light and humidity will have on the very delicate scroll.

With Isaiah's Scroll finally seeing the light of day, here is a golden opportunity to, 1) strengthen the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. After all, this is very same Isaiah who was walking around Jerusalem, when the 1st Holy temple stood upon the Temple Mount, defending the unity of Jerusalem against those (Assyrians) who sought to destroy her.

And, 2) to celebrate the vitality of Judaism and the Jewish people. Here we are, in the very same places the Isaiah walked, among the descendants of those very Jews who lived in Israel (Judea) during that time. We are one nation, with one Homeland, keeping the same traditions and Torah, and in many ways, facing the same challenges that the Jewish people faced thousands of years ago, during Isaiah's lifetime.

Instead, what is being focused upon is Isaiah's message of "universal peace," and the scroll's relevance to all people.

However, is this an accurate representation of Isaiah's prophecy?


Those answering in the affirmative will quickly cite the verse that adorns the Isaiah Wall outside of the United Nations, which speaks of the messianic vision of peace:
"They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." (Isaiah 2; 4)
However, before we concede this point to the universalists, let us cite the complete prophecy, of which the above verse represents only a small segment.

"The prophecy that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw, concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

It will happen in the end of days, that the mountain of the Temple of Hashem will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills; and all nations will stream to it. And many nations will go and say: 'Come, and let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the G-d of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For from Zion will the Torah come forth, and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem. And He will judge among the nations, and will settle the arguments of many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2; 1-4)
When looking at this particular prophecy of Isaiah in its complete context, it is very clear that the Messianic vision of universal peace is preceded by a few things:
  1. The Jewish people will have complete sovereignty over Israel, in general, and over Jerusalem, in particular.
  2. At the center of Jerusalem will stand, on the Temple Mount, the Holy Temple.
  3. The nations of the world will recognize the truth and righteousness of the teachings of the G-d of Israel, and will stream to Jerusalem to learn and live by them.
  4. The nations of the world will stand before G-d in judgment for their actions, and justice will be meted out.
And, only then, after all of the above have taken place, will the vision for universal peace transpire.

With Israel finally bringing the Isaiah Scroll to light, perhaps it's time that we do the same for Isaiah's teachings, and in doing so, merit witnessing their fulfillment.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Pig-Out



The photo above was taken on the mountainside below my house. Some people hate pigs. I don't hate them, I just don't eat them or let them run around the sanctuary. These wild boars don't harm people, and are said to be dangerous only when cornered. I have had no problems with them. In fact, I love to see G-d's amazing creatures. I do think though that the Torah's repeated warnings against eating swine is due to the fact the hogs are common in Israel and the Lord wanted to give us a stern warning not to partake of pig flesh. However, as you can see in the Forward article below not everyone has heard His call for an embargo on the pork:

On Israel’s Only Jewish-Run Pig Farm, It’s The Swine That Bring Home the Bacon

I stood beside the road with a traveling backpack and a yarmulke, my arm extended, hitchhiking to the junction from Ramat Raziel to catch a bus home. I was singing “Lev Tahor,” a verse from Psalm 51 meaning “pure heart” that I’d been singing all Sabbath long. A car stopped, and a bearded man in a knit yarmulke picked me up. As I entered his car, he turned to me: “I’m Oren… So where you going?” Damn. I’d begun to hate this question, especially when asked by religious people. “Kibbutz Lahav,” I answered, expecting a gasp. Unfazed, he further inquired, “And what do you do there?” Again, I hesitated, this time with dread. “Uh, well… I work on their pig farm.”

And just like that, I managed to overwhelm and confuse Oren, as well as myself, while simultaneously expressing the contradiction that pig farming in Israel played in my life for the two months I spent working at Kibbutz Lahav. Luckily, Oren was an open-minded man whose parting words to me were: “God put you on the pork farm for a reason.”

The kibbutz and its pigs sit comfortably in the northern Negev, just 30 minutes north of Beersheba, surrounded by the Lahav forest, Israel’s largest manmade woodlands. Pine trees, scattered acorns and orderly planted “wild” grasses and flowers seem somewhat out of place in the desert hills. The iconoclastic kibbutz similarly appears incongruous in a Jewish part of a Jewish country, next door to religious Kibbutz Shomeriya. As I learned over the course of two months, though, the kibbutz, just like the forest, fits into the complex web of Israeli and Jewish identity in more ways than one.

Toward the end of January, I moved onto Kibbutz Lahav in an effort to understand the phenomenon of pigs in Israel. While there are a number of similar farms in Israel, Kibbutz Lahav is unique because, as its slogan suggests, it is “the meat from the Kibbutz.” All the other pig breeders operate in a zone in the North dominated by Christian Arabs, the only place where raising pork is legal, according to a 1962 law. Kibbutz Lahav, a Jewish-run farm, proudly operates outside the legal zone.

Lahav’s pig breeding gained widespread notoriety because of its legal loophole, almost talmudic in its ingenuity, in which the kibbutz is exempt from the law and can rightfully raise pigs for research as a part of its Animal Research Institute. Thus, the kibbutz raises pigs for science and eats the excess, developing over the years a rather staggering excess. For many years the institute was no more than an ad hoc veterinarian research institute, which, on the scientific side, boasted little more than the successful splicing of an ibex with a goat.

“Israelis weren’t ready to pay more money for it,” said Dodik, a kibbutz elder whose last name I never learned, as was the case with most people on the kibbutz.

Today, as a result of the recent biotech boom, the institute is the center of Israel’s most spectacular medical advancements, where religious Jewish scientists are among the hundreds of researchers who use the pigs for innovative experimentation.

Despite the institute’s success, raising and processing pig meat is the main purpose of the farm, as the 10,000-plus animals suggest. Most workers commute from Beersheba each morning. Jewish immigrants from Argentina and Russian immigrants with little Jewish background make up the largest proportion of the 50-something workers. On any given morning, the workers are spread out among the 15 or so indoor buildings, administering antibiotics, slaughtering and butchering, inseminating sows and moving pigs to the fattening rooms from their weaning rooms.

Eshai, a proud Israeli-born pork eater — and self-proclaimed messiah (he was born on the Ninth of Av, the prophesied birthday of the future messiah) — was my supervisor for most of February. He seethed with a cynicism toward all things Jewish and traditional. I once asked him why nobody collects and sells pigs’ milk. He answered me, grinning: “Pigs’ milk isn’t kosher.”

One day after work, when changing out of my coveralls and knee-high boots, a new immigrant from Brazil, Yehoshua, was discussing his former religiosity with Marcos when he mentioned in passing that he still didn’t eat pork. “Me neither,” I interrupted their conversation, excited to discover I wasn’t alone. “I keep kosher.”

Then Marcos chimed in, in his equally broken Hebrew: “Yeah, neither do I.” And there we sat, three confused Jewish pig farmers, when Imat, the Palestinian Muslim pig farmer, who also didn’t eat pork, entered the room.

How can you spot a kosher pig farmer? We blended in — except for Yehoshua, who always wore facemasks in a last-ditch effort not to inhale or ingest the same air as the pigs, or the floating fecal dust. Early on I also donned a facemask, but unlike Yehoshua, who can hardly understand Hebrew or English, I got the jokes and insults, such as “Jewboy” and “rookie,” from the Sabras, not to mention Eshai’s looks, which implied “pansy.”

It was when I learned from co-workers that our manager doesn’t eat pork, and that his manager and the head of the entire pork operation has a pork-free home, that I first felt at home, comfortable as a kosher Jew on the kibbutz. Through such revelations I saw the pig-breeding center as home to the same neurotic Jewish traditionalism that courses through my veins.

Such contradictions shed light on the beautiful and confusing Jewish identity of Kibbutz Lahav and its pigs. On Friday night in the kibbutz dining room, there is a Sabbath display of candlesticks, a challah cover and a Kiddush cup. Kibbutzniks thus have the Sabbath on their minds as they eat their special meal of braised pork or ham on the ceremonial white Sabbath linens. During our celebratory barbecue just prior to Purim, management handed out mishloach manot, traditional Jewish gift baskets, to all the workers, with a note wishing everyone a “happy Purim.” Most workers ate the hamantaschen as dessert after the grilled pork spare ribs. One Thursday, while I was shopping in the kolbo — the kibbutz grocery store — a panicked woman ran behind me to speak to the cashier, urgently asking if she could leave a ham in the freezer and collect it tomorrow for Friday’s dinner. When she left with permission to do so, I turned to the cashier woman, smiled and asked her if the meat was “for Shabbat.” She nodded, and we both laughed.

According to Dodik, one of the kibbutz founders, Lahav embarked on pork production by chance. In 1952, the year of the kibbutz’s founding and a period of major food shortages in Israel, the struggling Lahav received a gift of one boar and two sows from a neighboring kibbutz. After a number of years, and thanks to the will of a few kibbutzniks, those pigs became the kibbutz’s financial linchpin. As kibbutzim have been failing and Lahav, in particular, has had trouble, the pigs have remained a stable revenue producer, an unlikely friend to a Zionist institution.

And even though most kibbutzniks no longer “work in the pigs,” the porcine influence on the kibbutz is nearly impossible to miss. Ten thousand-plus pigs howl throughout the night, along with the desert jackals. There’s a dreaded western wind here that brings with it the inescapable and potent scent of industrial hog waste that cannot possibly be ignored. In the dining room there is almost always a pork option. The kibbutzniks find no need for the silly euphemisms used by greater Israeli society, like “white meat” and “white steak.” Pork, or at least the right to raise it, serve it and eat it, is no doubt a point of pride at Lahav today, and part of the kibbutz’s national legacy.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Tour of the Temple Mount - Video


Have you ever thought about visiting the Temple Mount, but, for whatever reason, have yet to do so?

Well, here's your chance to take a virtual tour (until you're ready for the real thing, of course).

Below is a video preview (8+ minutes) of a tour of the Temple Mount led by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute. The tour was led in August, 2005.



For the complete 90 minute tour, visit here.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Words of Encouragement




Zechariyah Chapter 8

1. Then the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying,
2. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.'
3. "Thus says the LORD, `I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.'
4. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age.
5. `And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.'
6. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?' declares the LORD of hosts.
7. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west;
8. and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.'
9. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `Let your hands be strong, you who are listening in these days to these words from the mouth of the prophets, those who spoke in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, to the end that the temple might be built.
10. `For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for animal; and for him who went out or came in there was no peace because of his enemies, and I set all men one against another.
11. `But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,' declares the LORD of hosts.
12. `For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.
13. `It will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. Do not fear; let your hands be strong.'
14. "For thus says the LORD of hosts, `Just as I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,' says the LORD of hosts, `and I have not relented,
15. so I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear!
16. `These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.
17. `Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,' declares the LORD."
18. Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,
19. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah; so love truth and peace.'
20. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities.
21. `The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, "Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go."
22. `So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.'
23. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, `In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.""'

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Picture is Not Always Worth 1,000 Words...



Take a moment to answer the following question:

When you picture Jerusalem, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

(Waiting...)

My guess is that whatever image popped into your mind, it wasn't the Tower of David.

All around Jerusalem, one finds the logo shown in the picture above (courtesy of Jonny Stein), commemorating 40 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, during the Six Day War in 1967.

Now, If someone asked me to suggest possible themes for a logo to commemorate 40 years since the liberation of Jerusalem, the Tower of David wouldn't appear anywhere on my list.

The Tower of David was a fortress built be Herod, and later used by the Romans, Crusaders, Muslims... and the list goes on and on - but as far as symbolizing the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty after 2,000 years of Exile?

Not quite.

My suggestions:

* The Temple (Beit HaMikdash) - Nothing says Jerusalem quite like the Temple.

* The Kotel - If the Beit HaMikdash is too controversial, this could work (although, nothing says Exile quite like the Kotel - but that's for another post.)

* The Hurva Synagouge - particularly, the single remaining arch - Symbolizing the return of the Jewish People to their ancient holy sites...

My sense is that the Tower of David was selected precisely because, unlike any of the above suggestions, it's not overly Jewish - serving as a symbol that the Jews, Muslims and Christians of Jerusalem can all, equally, dislike.

What a wasted opportunity.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

1967: A Year of Jewish Military Campaigns


The friendly folks over at Chabad are happy to point out that more than one important military campaign was launched in 1967.

According to Lubavitch, 2007 marks the 40 year anniversary of the great Rabbi General Menachem Mendel's Tefillin campaign, which also has helped the nation and people of Israel expand their spiritual borders.

Check out this 1 minute video in honor of the anniversary, entitled "The Tefillin Booth"


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerusalem Day 5767: Historic Footage of the Liberation of the Temple Mount



Despite forces within Israel on both the right and to the left, who do everything in their power to distance the Jewish People from connecting to the Temple Mount and yearning for Temple Consciousness - the Jewish People will not be denied.

On that note, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Temple Mount, take a moment to watch the historic video footage that captured the dramatic moment:


After you've watched the video, head on over to Israel National News, where a special site commemorating the 40 years since the liberation of much of the Land of Israel took place. You'll find photos, videos, audio clips, essays and many other exciting and inspiring tidbits all relating to the Six Day War.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Exclusive Photos: Dozens of Leading Rabbis Make Aliyah to the Temple Mount








Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Neo-Zionist Challenge: Shmittah & The Living Torah




Next year is going to a be a Shmittah year - the one year in every seven, where the Land of Israel must be left to lie fallow.

Since the destruction of the 1st Holy Temple in Jerusalem, until present times - over 2,500 years later - Shmittah has been only Rabbinically mandated. However, within the next 25 years, when the majority of the Jewish People will be living in the Land of Israel, Shmittah (along with all of the other Mitzvot HaTeluyot Ba'aretz - Land of Israel dependent commandments) will return to Biblically mandated status.

Below are two article presenting differing perspectives as to how modern Israeli society should be relating to Shmittah - each with their own set of pros and cons:

1) Chief Rabbinate to Reduce Use of Special 7th-Year Dispensation

2) The ground beneath our feet

Equally important as the solution that will ultimately be agreed upon and implemented is the discussion in itself.


For 2,000+ years, this discussion did not take place - could not take place - in a manner that had any practical relevance. With the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel the Torah of Israel has returned to life.

Rabbi Yotav Eliach puts it best:
The Torah sets up a constitutional blueprint for the running of a Jewish society which is anchored in a Jewish state. Parashat Mishpatim, most of Vayikra and Bemidbar, and all of Sefer Devarim, make this point very clear. Judaism is not merely interested in the ritualistic aspects of our lives. It is rather a framework for running a Jewish republic, one complete with a court system, government, army, welfare and tax system. Finally, this constitutional blueprint is not meant for implementation in any piece of territory in which the Jewish nation may happen to be the majority, but primarily in the one country whose boundaries are clearly outlined geographically in the Torah: The Land of Israel.

One of the striking ways to reinforce these points is by showing that there are four basic areas of mitzvot in the Torah that are dependent upon the Land of Israel in one way or another:

a) All mitzvot connected to the Beit Hamikdash in any shape or form;
b) All mitzvot connected to having a Sanhedrin court system functioning;
c) All mitzvot connected to the soil of Israel;
d) All mitzvot connected to the running of the government, army, and taxes.

Taken together, these four areas make up approximately 50% of the 613 mitzvot. Another graphic way to make the point of Israel's centrality to Jewish life is by looking at the Shas. Two of the six sedarim of Shas, Kodashim and Taharot, are totally dependent upon the Land of Israel, as is Seder Zera'im (with the exception of Masekhet Berakhot).

The fourth, Seder Mo'ed, is also very dependent upon the Land of Israel. All the special sacrifices associated with each holiday are dependent upon the Beit Hamikdash in Israel, as is aliyah la'regel, bikkurim, and the bringing of the omer. The fifth, Seder Nezikin, is also connected, to a large extent, to the concept of a functioning Jewish legal system existing in the land of Israel, headed by the Sanhedrin. Only the sixth seder - Nashim - can be kept almost in its entirety (the exception being Sotah) outside the boundaries of Israel.
Thank G-d for the challenges that go along with living in the Land of Israel!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

From Temple Consciousness to Temple Consensus?



Ever since the liberation of the Temple Mount 40 years ago, those who have been pushing for the Jewish People to assume a greater connection with the Mount, as well as promoting Temple consciousness have been in the minority.

Until now, that is...

Increasing number of rabbis are allowing Jews to enter Temple Mount

An increasing number of religious Zionist rabbis are allowing their followers to enter the Temple Mount, contrary to the religious consensus on the matter.

This weekend, the rabbis Haim Druckman and Avraham Zukerman, of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and Tzafania Drori, chief rabbi of Kiryat Shmona, are set to join this growing group with an ad in the Orthodox media. The rabbis, who are major figures in the religious Zionist movement, will call on Jews wishing to enter the Temple Mount "in purity, to ascend at this time to the to the places permitted for Jews to enter."

The three rabbis are known for their principle support for letting Jews on to the Temple Mount. But they had not yet expressed their stand formally, because of the religious sensitivity of the issue. Now, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Jerusalem's unification, with many right-wing movements placing the Temple Mount on their agenda, the rabbis have decided to call publicly on Jews to go to the Mount.

In publishing the ad, they will be joining dozens of other rabbis of the religious Zionist stream, among them rabbis in West Bank settlements, who in recent years have allowed Jews to go to the Temple Mount within the bounds of Jewish law.
It's taken forty years, but perhaps the relationship of the Jewish People to the Temple Mount is beginning to change for the better.

Additionally, let's not overlook the moral to this story.

For many years, there have been a handful of dedicated individuals and organizations who have devoted themselves to promoting Temple Consciousness. At first they were viewed as radicals or a fringe element, but over time, as can be seen from the above story, their efforts have begun to produce results, and their messages and ideology are slowly but surely working there way into the consensus.

Temple consciousness... Neo-Zionism... The Aliyah Revolution...

It's all just a matter of time.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Kotel is the Place to be Tuesday


Two awesome Rosh Chodesh prayers tomorrow at the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount:

6:45 AM - Nusach Eretz Yisrael minyan with Rabbi Bar Hayim, the man who has revived the original unifying tradition of prayer in Israel.

8:00 AM - Joyous Reb Shlomo/Rebbe Nachman Rosh Chodesh Minyan led by Master of Prayer Rabbi Ezra Amichai (nee Friedland-Wechsler), known for hosting scores of Jews for Shabbat meals and elevating hundreds each time he leads prayers at the Wall.

My hope is that folks turn up for both minyanim - a double-header of holistic indigenous Jewish prayer to ring in Nissan, Redemption Month according to our sages.

As for the Nusach Eretz Yisrael minyan - this is truly a historic event. Though there are weekly Nusach Eretz Yisrael (NEY) prayers in Givat Sha'ul at the Machon Shilo Beit Midrash (and last year, mincha on Purim at Sde Boaz) - this is the first time it is being returned to such close proximity of the Temple Mount.

For Rav Bar Hayim's (the spiritual leader and inspiration of the not-militant-enough Kitniyot Liberation Front)main mission statement in essay form click here. I recommend his essays on Mordechai's reception by the 'gedoilim' of his time, lulav on shabbat, shofar on shabbat and especially his examination of the blue Techeilet as representative of the deep-seated problem that affects many in our people's God-fearing rabbinate.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

On Being an Extremist: Revisited



About a year-and-a-half ago, in response to feedback I had received to a number of articles I had written, I decided to layout many of my core beliefs as they related to Israel and the Jewish People, under the heading: On Being an Extremist, leaving it up to my readers to decide, if my beliefs, were, in fact, extreme.

Well, Bradley Burston of Ha'aretz, whose lone claim to fame is his now defunct "Talkback Policy" of forbidding the use of the phrase: "There are no Palestinians," has decided to pen a list of his own, which he entitles: Far-right and wrong, or how to ruin Judaism.

Burston lists 13 principles, to my 10, of which, 5 +/- made Burston's list. I am ashamed to note that #'s 12 & 13 on Burston's list, which relate to the Jewish People's yearning for the Temple Mount and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, do not appear on my list, as I have only begun to fully appreciate the notion of "Temple Consciousness" over the last year+, and which I would include on my list today, in one variation or another.

Lastly, before re-revealing my list of beliefs, I found it rather ironic that when it comes to opposing Jews ascending to the Temple Mount (#12), Burston becomes an ardent follower of Rav Kook - who, in regards to many of the other points listed, would likely be viewed as an extremist by Burston and his ilk.

Without further ado...

The Top 10 Reasons... as to why people believe I am an extremist: (Nov. 30, 2005)
1) I believe that the borders of the Jewish State of Israel should encompass the entire area west of the Jordan River (I am not relinquishing the right of the Jewish People to other parts of its Homeland, namely: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon & the Sinai - I just do not believe that we should press our claim to them right now - so long as our neighbors behave).

2) I am against the creation of a "Palestinian State" anywhere west of the Jordan River, as I do not believe that anyone aside from the Jewish People has any right to sovereignty in the Land of Israel.

3) I am opposed to the "Peace Process" (as it is understood today - although I am very much in favor of peace), as I recognize that peace will not come through releasing terrorists from prison, arming these very terrorists, and making other "goodwill gestures" that all lead to the murder of innocent Jews.

4) I believe that Israel must come to the (painful) recognition that she is at war with the Arab world, and she must be committed to taking the required steps necessary to win that war (and not to suffice with defensive half-measures like the security fence and shelling open fields).

5) I believe that all Jews should live in the Land of Israel , as this is the only place that the Jew, both on an individual and national level, can live a complete Jewish life and it is the only place where the destiny and mission of the Jewish People can be actualized.

6) I believe that the State of Israel should be a Jewish State and not a State of the Jews (simply having a Jewish majority). I believe that the State of Israel should not strive to "fit-in" with the nations of the world and be a nation like all others, but should act to create a society that will be strongly rooted in Jewish tradition, history, identity and culture.

7) I believe that every Jewish child in Israel (and in the world) should receive a intensive Jewish education that will instill within them a sense of pride in their knowing what it means to be a Jew, where they have come from and where they are going, the reason for having a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, and a commitment to taking an active role in helping to fulfill the collective destiny of the Jewish People.

8) I believe that the ultimate values in the Jewish State of Israel should not be liberalism, pluralism and democracy (although each may have it's place within the Jewish State, under certain situations / conditions), rather values that are consistent with authentic Jewish tradition and beliefs should be given primacy above all others.

9) I believe that the Jewish State of Israel can create an exemplary society, one that is moral and just in all areas of private and public life, all while staying true to Jewish teachings and tradition, and not selling our birthright for a bowl of western, secular values.

10) I believe that if the Jewish State of Israel does all of the above, then Israel and her neighbors will be blessed with true and lasting peace, and the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel will earn the respect and admiration of the nations of the world, by serving as a true "Light unto the Nations" and on that day the world will recognize the Oneness of the G-d of Israel and His dominion over all.
So, you tell me... Does all that make me an extremist?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Adam Sandler does the Temple Mount...



One finds the motivation behind Adam Sandler's classic hit, The Hanukkah Song, (aside from $$$), in the opening lyrics of the song:
When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, here's a list of people who are Jewish, just like you and me...
Well, after reading this article in the Jerusalem Post, one might get the feeling that there exists unanimous opposition amongst Rabbinic sages towards Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.

So, following in the footsteps of Adam Sandler...
When you feel like the only Jew in town who believes it's o.k. to ascend the (Temple) Mount, here's a list of Torah sages who agree with you, none of whom should anyone discount...

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Propaganda - My Fave




First of all, how incredibly cool is this new blog? I love the smell of Neo-Zionism in the morning. Smells like victory.

Amidst numerous calls we'll be making for a better Israel on this blog, we'll be adamantly calling for real Jewish control over the Temple Mount and the ultimate rebuilding of the Third Temple (hey - it's good for everybody).

Just in case you weren't aware, this is actually what this "second Intifada" is about - control of the Temple Mount (which is code for spiritual control over the Holy Land).

I am no fancy political analyst, but I predict major violence throughout Israel in the next 2 weeks, and onward, because of (or rather, on the pretext of) construction by Israel at the Mugrabi gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some of you may recall a certain destructive earthquake 3 years ago which destroyed this path to the Temple Mount, revealing an ancient arch, and significantly reducing the size of the women's section at the Western Wall. Israel built a rather ugly wooden ramp on to the Mount as a temporary fix, but is now embarking on an 8 month project to revitalize the ramp and extend it (foreboding good times of massive Jewish ascent to that area, I hope).

In response, the local Arabs are swinging from the trees. Both Fatah and Hamas have issued raging, testosterony vows of havoc and terror if Israel touches any of their mosques (remember: this is about rebuilding a bridge outside the Temple Mount, in the Jewish Quarter), creating a rare moment of Jew-hate-inspired unity between warring Arab factions.

Israel National News, JPost, Haaretz, Ynet, and all the others have articles up on this story. However, I found the real gem at a website that we Jews don't often visit: Hamas'.

I dare say that such boldly delicious propaganda is rarely found in languages you or I could read, so I invite you to the capital of Flavor Country:

Israel starts demolishing parts of Aqsa Mosque amidst world silence
Feb 6, 2007, 11:25

Occupied Jerusalem - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) started on Tuesday destroying two rooms and a bridge leading to the Maghareba gate, one of the entrances to the Aqsa Mosque.

Two Israeli bulldozers were involved in destroying the Muslim landmarks in the early hours of Tuesday morning amidst reports revealing that Israeli settlers were actively involved in the demolition...

Israel alleged that it was constructing a permanent pathway connecting the Western Wall adjacent to the Aqsa Mosque in place of an old way, which was destroyed by snowfall.

Palestinians, for their part, belied the Israeli allegations, and accused the Israeli occupation government of conspiring to finally destroy the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim shrine world-wide, and to install the alleged Third Temple on its ruins.

They also refuted Israeli claims that the old pathway was destroyed by snowfall, affirming that the road’s foundations were weakened by the persistent IOA excavations under it over the past years.

Palestinian Chief Justice Tayseer Al-Tamimi affirmed that the IOF troops sealed off all roads leading to the occupied city of Jerusalem and beefed up security measures in an attempt to prevent angry Palestinian masses from blocking the IOA plans.

He also noted that the Israeli occupation government exploited the recent unfortunate inter-Palestinian fighting in Gaza Strip and the West Bank to execute their plans.

"The Aqsa Mosque is in real danger and needs Muslim support to defend and spare it the rancorous Israeli conspiracies", Tamimi asserted as he urged Palestinian masses to organize massive demonstrations against the IOA procedures.

... The PA Awkaf (endowment) ministry hailed efforts of the Islamic Movement in unveiling Israeli connivances against the Mosque, adding that the Movement was the only party blocking the IOA atrocities against the Aqsa Mosque amidst unexplainable silence on the part of Arab and Muslim leaders and peoples.

... In the past, Israeli fanatic groups, which are secretly sanctioned by the IOA, attempted to storm and demolish the Aqsa Mosque, including the 1969 attempt to burn it at the hands of a Jewish settler of Australian origin, and the desecration attempt that former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon carried out in the Mosque in the year 2000, which triggered the Aqsa intifada, among other attempts.


That was cute.

Now, I want to share with you some related information, about excavations in the City of David, and the incredible finds (and the incredible lies of our enemies). Listen to this great interview with Doron Spielman, Director of Development at Ir David.

Press "Play" below to listen the interview with Doron Spielman





He speaks about the recent discovery of an ancient stairway from the Shiloach pool all the way to the Temple.

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Raising the Banner of "Temple Consciousness"



One of the things that is unique about Neo-Zionism, in general, and the Kumah - Mega Blog, in particular, is the emphasis placed on promoting "Temple Consciousness," which, in a nut shell, refers to raising awareness of the role that the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) plays in the ultimate mission and destiny of the Jewish People, and what we can be doing today to prepare the Jewish People and State for its rebuilding.

Unfortunately, there are many forces (both Jewish and non-Jewish), who spare no effort in their efforts to crush any notion of "Temple Consciousness" from taking root, whether in a physical or spiritual sense.

In the post below, I provide some of the historical context for the struggle over the Temple Mount (from an article I wrote in Sept. 2005), and in future posts, I will focus on the present-day battle over the Temple Mount, as well as how to raise "Temple Consciousness" amongst the Jewish People and within the Jewish State.

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On June 7th, 1967 / the 28th of the month of Iyar, 5727, Motta Gur uttered 3 words that shook the very foundations of the world and served as the culmination of 2,000 years of Jewish hopes, dreams and prayers: Har HaBayit BeYadeinu!!! (The Temple Mount is in our hands).

Sadly, just under 40 years later, that is no longer the case.

Today, I had the distinct privilege of ascending to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount), and visiting the holiest site of the Jewish People. (Before any Jew visits Har HaBayit he should consult with a Halachic authority well versed in the laws concerning such a visit). Har HaBayit is the site where the 1st two Batei HaMikdash (Holy Temples) stood, and upon which the 3rd will be built - speedily, in our time. It is on this very place where the presence of G-d rests, and many central events in Jewish history occurred on this very spot (such as Akeidat Yitzchak - the binding of Isaac).

While I am thankful for the opportunity to visit the holiest of sites of the Jewish People (an act, which throughout our long Exile, so few Jews merited - and I dare not proclaim to be of greater spiritual worth, and as such more derserving), and in reality, the holiest site in the entire world, there is a sense of shame that accompanies me. When a Jew visits Har HaBayit today - specifically religious Jews - he does so as a visitor, as a guest, and not as sovereign.

After the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem was liberated from Jordanian occupation, the Jewish People had once again returned to Har HaBayit, the focal point of all of our prayers. Sadly, Moshe Dayan, then Minister of Defense, ordered the Israeli Flag lowered from the Mount, and gave the Muslim Waqf day to day control over Har HaBayit, and this remains the status quo until this very day.

As such, today, when a Jew visits Har HaBayit, he must play according to rules set by the Muslim Waqf. He is only allowed to visit during limited hours. Religious Jews are given "special" treatment, where they are instructed that if they do any act of prayer while visiting Har HaBayit, they will be forcibly removed and charges will be brought against him (this speech is given by a Jewish, Israeli police officer). These restrictions include uttering prayers, bowing, tearing clothing, singing, dancing... The powers that be ensure compliance on this matter by ensuring that all religious Jews visiting Har HaBayit are escorted by Israeli police, as well as Muslim Waqf officials. (This treatment is only given for religious Jews, tourists are able to move freely on Har Habayit without escort).

To make matters worse, Har HaBayit today is not given the respect and reverence that is befitting a place of such holiness. Arab children can be seen riding bikes and playing ball. Garbage is strewn all over the Mount. Illegal excavations continue round the clock in order to erase any physical evidence of a Jewish connection to the site. When the Arabs come to pray at the mosques found on the Temple Mount, they hear sermons filled with hatred and vitriol against the Jewish People and State, comparing Jews to monkeys and pigs, alongside calls forthe destruction of Israel.

To see pictures of Har HaBayit today, click here.

The poet, Uri Tzvi Greenberg Z"L, understood the centrality of the Temple Mount to the conflict that the Jewish People are faced with in the Land of Israel:
He who rules the Mount rules the Land.
Today, it is clear from the actions (or inaction) or successive Jewish governments since 1967, that the Jewish People do not rule the Mount, and as such, our hold on Eretz Yisrael today is tenuous.

Consider this: If the State of Israel is unwilling to stand up and enforce the right of the Jewish People to Har HaBayit, out holiest site, then for what are we willing to stand and fight for? For Gush Katif? For Hebron? For eastern Jerusalem?

The Arabs are not a stupid people. They see that we are unwilling to stand up for what is ours - in this case, our holiest site - and they understand that if that is the case, we will not truly stand up to them anywhere else in the Land of Israel either.

The time has come for the Jewish People to reconnect with our holiest site. To raise an outcry over the injustices taking place on Har HaBayit. To demand, at the very least, that Jews should have equal rights with the Muslims, and be able to pray on Har HaBayit, in accordance with Halacha. How can it be that in the Jewish State of Israel (which also claims to be a democracy) that freedom of religious worship is not extended to Jews at their holiest of sites?

Here's a better question:

How can it be that this desecration of G-d's name and sanctuary bothers so few Jews, both in Israel and the world?

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