Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Survivors

Inside the Chabad House


It goes without saying that the entire Israeli press is referring to the terror victims in India today. Besides all the new Kassam rocket attacks caused by the Hamas in Gaza where several Israeli soldiers were injured. One of them severely, as he lost a leg.
However, the main subject is "Mumbai".

Last night is was official:

No survivors in the Chabad House.

Right after the announcement of the terror attack in Mumbai, Israel sent a ZAKA delegation to India.ZAKA is an Israel haredi volunteers organization for the halachic identification of Jewish bodies. In other words, ZAKA identifies Jewish bodies and, if necessary, collects all the body parts and ensures a funeral according to Halacha.

ZAKA photos from inside the Chabad House

Among the people murdered is not only the Chabad couple Rivak and Rabbi Gabriel Holzberg but also, among others, a son - in - law of the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe, Rabbi Aryeh Leibusch Teitelbaum (38).

Rabbi Aryeh Leibusch Teitelbaum

Rabbi Teitelbaum was visiting India, as he was checking kosher food.

In an interview given last night, Chabad announced that it will keep its institutions all over the world open to any Jew. No one intends to close down everything due to the killings in Mumbai.

The funeral for the Holzberg family is going to take place in Kfar Chabad (Israel) tomorrow (Monday).

The Holzberg couple

Israel is in shock. Again we became aware of how easy it is to attack Israelis abroad and that Israelis as a whole are a terrorist target. Furthermore it was shown us once again that such a "Mega Attack" could also take place in our own country.

Facebook Group

The Israel Condolence Book for the Terror Victims of India

The only survivor:
The two - year - old Moshe Holzberg, who was saved by his Christian nanny. Chabad intends to fly the nanny over to Israel in order to make sure that she remains alive.




Familie Holzberg

Friday, November 28, 2008

Everything is open ...


Saying "sometimes" would be a lie. Actually "many" times I feel like just escaping. Not escaping from G - d but from His people.

In Tel Aviv I am fine. There is anything but religious pressure around and I can be whoever I am. As soon as I get off the bus in Jerusalem, however, I just hear "This is Lashon HaRah (idle talk)" and "We don't do this or that according to Halacha".
It seems like there is only Halacha around and people are zombies but not people anymore. Additionally, everything is interpreted as Lashon HaRah. Even if you say that you are going to the bathroom.

I am not sure what I am going to do this Shabbat but will be back in Jerusalem. Before I start continuing writing "Lashon HaRah", I am wishing everyone a great Shabbes and Shabbat Shalom.
And don't you dare to speak Lashon HaRah ...

Storming the Chabad House in Mumbai

The "Chabad House" in Mumbai / India


Indian special police forces were storming the "Chabad House" in Mumbai / India. Pakistani terrorists are holding the local Chabad Shaliach, Rabbi Gabriel Holzberg, and his wife Rivka as hostages.

Yesterday, their nanny together with the couple's two - year - old son were allowed to leave. The nanny told the police that the Chabad couple is alive but injured and unconscious.

So far, the fate of the Holzberg's is still unclear.

The public is being asked to pray for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, Aryeh Leibish ben Elta Nechama Maltshi and Ben Tzion ben Elka, as well as "anyone else affected by the tragedy."


Thursday, November 27, 2008

"The Rebbe is Alive" – Psychological Aspects of Chabad Messianism


About 50 people showed up for the lecture in the Feldman Building of Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Institute for Advanced Studies) given by Professor Yoram Bilu (Anthropology and Psychology). The lecture was supposed to explain the psychological aspects of Chabad Messianism.

As Prof. Bilu, I am also making it very clear that not every member of the chassidic group Chabad (Lubavitch) is someone who believes that the seventh and last Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the Meshiach. Those who do are being called "Meshichistim".

Chabad itself is split into different fractions, and the Meshichistim are the most aggressive group of all. Just look at the violent incidents between them and the non – Meshichistim when it comes to the former house of the Rebbe, 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights / Brooklyn. Officially, 770 is run by the non – Meshichistim but the majority rules and the building is totally under Meshichistim control. According to their ideology, Rebbe Schneerson didn't pass away in June 1994, but he became invisible. We are not able to see him because he now lives in a higher spiritual world / dimension. There, the Rebbe still exists and when the time is right, he is going to reveal himself as the Meshiach.
Although the Rebbe is invisible, he still rules over the life of a Meshichist, Chabadnik, us, whatever you like. The Rebbe is always around, even if we don't see him. He is still alive ("Chai veKayam") – according to the Meshichist ideology.

The seventh and last Lubavitsher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson

In his introduction, Professor Bilu emphasized that he is not a Judaic expert but would like to concentrate on the Chabad Meshichistim.
Why do they act this way ? The goal was to examine certain psychological ways of behaviour. And by the way, some Chabadnikim were actually part of the audience. Among them at least one Meshichist, as his "Yechi Adonenu …" Kipa showed.

In the beginning, Bilu tried to explain why people run after different religions and sometimes end up in an extreme. His analysis was that many people with all kinds of problems like to join such groups. Not every religious person has problems but when you look at many newcomers, you can notice a certain trend. Some people think that religion will give them all the answers and solutions they have been looking for. A new life, a meaningful life and sometimes courage and hope for a better future.

As I have already mentioned, according to the Meshichistim, the Rebbe is still alive and is going to reveal himself soon; hence, becoming visible again. There is a tiny group in the US proclaiming the Rebbe not only as the Meshiach but also as "G – d". This, however, is even for most Meshichistim too far off.

In 1951, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the seventh and last Rebbe of Chabad (Lubavitch). Thus, he became a successor of his father – in – law Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was the first one, putting more emphasis on a Messianic ideology. Until then, Chabad had been just a normal chassidic group as everyone else but later ended up in all this Messianic ideas. After his father – in – law had passed away, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson stated that Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak would have the potential of being the Meshiach. Later he claimed that the soul of Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak has entered his body and united with his soul.
Until his death in June 1994, the Rebbe never changed his Messianic group emphasis. He kept on encouraging his Chassidim singing "Yechi Adonenu Morenu veRabbenu Melech HaMeshiach LeOlam vaEd". Even though after his stroke in 1992.

770 Eastern Parkway / Brooklyn: The house of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe.

According to the Meshichistim: In the time of the Third Temple, 770 is going to fly over to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and unite with the new Temple.

Prof. Yoram Bilu said that he had interviewed different Meshichistim from Kfar Chabad (near Rishon LeZion) and from Bat Yam (near Tel Aviv). And, as usual, the comparison between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Elvis Presley was made, as both have followers claiming that their particular idol is still alive and never died.
And, how else could it be, the Christian Meshiach J. was also mentioned.
At this point, Bilu showed that Chabad is in a much easier position today by using the Interet and is thus able to spread its Meshiach ideology within seconds around the globe. And this is exactly what Chabad exploits for itself: today's technology. Posters, gigantic posters of the Rebbe for Meshichistim, the Rebbe's face can be found on souvernirs, e.g. on watches. The Rebbe is always "around". Even the summer camps for the kids are full or posters. The Rebbe is always close and superior and ruling everything. There is just no escape and someone from the audience stated that this rather reminds him of George Orwell's BIG BROTHER. The Rebbe sees and hears everything and is never far away. And all this neverending and being constantly reminded is an important psychological aspect to keep up the Meshichist's ideology. However, the non – Meshichistim are not much better and also know how to use technology and the mass media for their own purposes.
After his death, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the absolute superstar. A brand name selling well and, at the same time, he still draws people closer to Judaism.

Not only the posters guarantee that the Rebbe continues to "live", additionally his letters are available as a 29 – volume – collection and are being called "Iggeret HaKodesh". The "Iggeret HaKodesh" are handed out to everyone'. Whoever has a question, no matter of what kind, can write it down on a piece of paper, put it into the "Iggeret HaKOdesch" and then look at the sentence it stuck onto. This sentence should be the answer and people not understanding the context, are advised to go to a Chabad expert on this matter in order to get an explanation. The "Iggeret HaKodesh" turned into an automatic reply of the "invisible" Rebbe.

Prior to his death, people had to send him their questions by mail and had to wait a long time for the answer to come. Now, everybody can communicate with the Rebbe; in case he puts the small note into the "Iggeret HaKodesh". The non – Meshichistim don't use the "Iggeret HaKodesh Method" not as often as the Meshischim. They do but much less and not like one of Meshichistim consulting his "Iggeret Hakodesh" if the Rebbe allows him to answer the questions of Prof. Bilu.

Furthermore, there are plenty of Chabadnikim (especially Meshichistim) seeing the Rebbe in their dreams. The Rebbe, on his part, is talking to those people. According to Bilu, most people seeing the Rebbe in their dreams are totally sane. Of course, there are always some with a few mental mental problems but not too many in this case. The majority is normal and this is what makes it so hard to understand the phenomenon. One explanation would be the virtual world; the Rebbe appears on millions of posters and is always around. And, as I said, there is no escape.
In Christianity, mostly women and children have their visions; in Chabad, more men see the Rebbe than women.

When Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson died, many of his Chassidim referred to his death as a catastrophe. It just couldn' t be that the Rebbe is no longer in this world. Was this the reason why many couldn't grasp the idea of the Rebbe being dead. Were they afraid of being left behind or alone ? How should the group continue to exist ? However, Chabad is not the only Chassidut without a Rebbe, as the same happened to Breslov. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov died in 1810, and since, the group has been without a real leadership. Nevertheless, Breslov survived.
But Chabad is different because while the Rebbe was still alive, many Chassidim had already believed that he is the Meshiach or at least that he has the potential of being the Meshiach. And then he passes away and a dead person cannot be the Meshiach.

The conflict between the Meshichistim and their counterparts can be quite violent. Until today, the Meshichistim in 770 keep up the Rebbe's daily life. Three times a day, he used to come down and go to pray. The Meshichistim still open the doors so that the Rebbe "can pass through". Additionally he is being called up to the Torah. Sometimes a table is set up with Dollar bills on it and someone is handing them out just like the Rebbe did. Don't forget the claim of the Meshichistim that the Rebbe still lives in 770. They even published a video where we witness the Rebbe's call to the Torah. His Chassidim step aside and suddenly we see this white shadow appearing looking similar to the Rebbe. It goes without saying that this is a computer animation (photoshop ?) and the Rebbe here is no real at all. The Chabad ideology of the "Yesh" and "Ayin" allows the thesis the Rebbe moves around between our material and y=th upper spiritual words. For us, this idea of the Rebbe only disappearing and that he now moves through invisible dimensions just seems so ridiculous. Someone from the audience asked why still so many people seem to join and go fot this idea. Prof. Bilu's explanation was that the born Chabadnikim are born into society anyway and know everything from childhood on. Additionally, today's Baalei Teshuva (born Jews becoming religious later on in their lifes) are extremely vulnerable to those ideas. Prof. Bilu admitted that there is no perfect answer and he himself just presented a brief overview.

The event was quite successful although I knew most aspects beforehand. However, the topic should also make us think of how and if further chassidic groups use the Internet and all kinds of mass media for their own purposes ?

No more Messianics in BIRTHRIGHT (Taglit)


Taglit (Birthright) is trying to prevent Messianic Jews from infiltrating into their program:

It is high time that those actions were taken !

Terrorists kidnapped Chabad Rabbi in Mumbai

Chabad Shaliach, Rabbi Gabriel Holzberg, his wife Rivka and his little son.


Everyone has alrady heard about the terror attacks in the Indian town of Mumbai. One fact, however, may be not known to everyone is that the terrorists are holding the local Chabad Shaliach and his wife as hostages.

The nanny and the little son of the Rabbi were allowed to leave the house. Later on, the nanny informed the police that the Rabbi and his wife are still alive but unconscious.

The present fate of the Chabad couple is unknown.


Chabad Website

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Satmarer Rebbe met Machnovke Rebbe


Here a Video, showing the Satmarer Rebben Aharon Teitelbaum, visiting the Machnovke Rebbe, Rabbi Joshua Rokeach, during his recent visit in Bnei Brak.
In the video, the Satmarer Rebbe appears on the far right !

Chassidut Machnovka (Yiddisch: Machnovke) has its headquarter in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv. Officially, Machnovke is allowed to call itself "Belz - Machnovke", although Chassidut Belz considers them as their greatest enemies.

Links to the Belz - Machnovke War:

Belz versus Machnovke

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe on the Road


After Shabbat, the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn started his trip to the US.
As usual.

Further details can be found here:

The OBAMA Family on the Way to the White House


Great piece of Israeli humour:

The Obama Family is moving into the White House

Published in a haredi forum

Just click on the picture to enlarge it !

Lecture about the "Messianic Site of Chabad"


Jerusalem's Hebrew University is offering a lecture on Chabad's Messianic ideas. The lecture will be given according to a sociological and psychological point of view by Professor Yoram Bilu.

The Givat Ram Campus in Jerusalem.
1st floor / Room 130 in the Feldman Building (Institute of Advanced Studies).

16.30 / 4.30pm today (Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008)

Usually I am anything but accepting an academic approach to religious subjects. Sometimes I do so but only from people who really have a certain kind of knowledge like Yitzchak Alfassi, Rachel Elior, Gedaliah Nigal, David Assaf etc.

Many times it is just horrible what university professors or students write about chassidic groups or haredi society in a whole. I have an university degree myself but writing about haredi society without having ever being part of it is just impossible. Such academics think they know something but have never really experienced this kind of society. For them, everything is theory but doesn't have much to do with reality and the daily haredi life.

However, I am curious and going to participate in the lecture. Hopefully something interesting is coming out and not only stereotype opinions. And I wish that some Chabadnikim would be there as well !!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Shluchim are Coming


This Wednesday, thousands of Chabad Shluchim (Shlichim, שליחים) from all over the world are arriving for a huge congress at the 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights / New York.

In the background: The house of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe who passed away in June 1994. In Chabad slang the house is only referred to as 770.

Praying at the Rebbe's grave.

The Congress in New York.

All pictures can be seen here:

Flyers against GUR


Last Shabbat, two different kinds of Pakshivilim (flyers) were laying in the streets of Ge'ulah and Mea Shearim. Both actually had the same context: Letting everyone know how bad and what kind of an intriguer Chassidut Gur (Yiddish: Ger) is.
No one will forget that easily how they treated Me'ir Porush, the haredi candidate for Jerusalem's mayor position. By ordering his Chassidim to vote for the secular candidate Nir Barkat and thus causing his success, the Gerrer Rebbe Yaakov Aryeh Alter, drew lots of criticism upon himself. Not only from the secular but especially from haredi society. Other chassidic groups such as the Slonim (Jerusalem). One Slonimer Chassid even stated that he would rather marry off his daughter to a secular Jew than to a Gerrer Chassid. Additionally many Gerrer Chassidim are simply being avoided and sometimes don't even get a ride anymore. One Chassid stopped his car because he saw another Chassid looking for a ride. As soon as he realized that the person was a Gerrer Chassid, he closed his door and told the Gerrer to look for another ride.

Those cases were all mentioned ten days ago in the weekend edition of Israel's secular daily MAARIV. And it was the whole MAARIV article someone copied and turned into a flyer being thrown into the streets of Jerusalem's ultra - orthodox neighbourhoods.

The second flyer accused the second Gerrer Chassid after the Rebbe, Knesset member Yaakov Litzman, to have sent out Yeshiva students to attack political opponents and thus desecrate Judaism. All of them brought impurity to Jerusalem. The Gerrer Chassidim do everything for their Rebbe, even if it is against Jewish law and any ethics.

As a revenge, every subscriber should cancel his "HaModiah" subscription. The "HaModiah" is one of the biggest haredi newspapers in Israel and mostly ruled by Chassidut Gur. However, papers, like the "HaModiah" or the litvishe "Yated Ne'eman" as well as "HaMishpacha" have been banned by the Edah HaCharedit for a long time. But for different purposes.
"HaModiah" is facing severe difficulties at the moment, as actually many Haredim do cancel their subscription.

The criticism and anger is still going on and no one will forget that easily what the Gerrer Chassidim did to others during the election campaign in Jerusalem.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tie your "Tichel"


Any married religious woman interested in covering her hair with a Tichel - take a look and a brief lesson here:

In my eyes, this is not a Tichel but a "Shmattes". Personally, I rather identify a Tichel as a small white cloth which chassidic women (Dushinsky, Satmar, etc.) wear on their wig (Sheitel) on Shabbat.

You Asses - אתם חמורים !!!


He has been famous for his sometimes crazy opinions and sayings. Attacking Jews and especially Israel's political leaders. Now, the spiritual leader of the Sephardi - haredi SHASS party, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, attacked the secular school systems and its teachers.

"They know nothing and they are asses
(חמורים) !"
the Rabbi claimed.

Rabbi Yosef accuses the secular teachers / education system as not doing anything to teach Torah and a Jewish identity.

"The students have to be brought closer to Torah and Mitzwot".

However, even Israel Haredim (probably Ashkenazim) have been gossiping in their forums:

"How about the Sephardi or SHASS education ? Where is their education system ?"

If there is any at all ...

Although Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef does have a point, he should not generalize too much and look at his own system !



"HaModiah" in Shenkin


First I was planning to go to the Belzer Tish in Jerusalem, as I haven't been there for many months. Then a nice Chabad woman caught me in the secular Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.
I had just finished breakfast and was looking for a nice cup of coffeee, as she suddenly stood in front of me. Smiling and handing me some Shabbat candles.
"You want a paper as well ?" she asked.
"Why not ...", I replied and she gave me the litvishe daily "HaModiah".

Litvishe paper ? What does that mean ?
Doesn't Chassidut Gur mostly rule over the "HaModiah" ?
And how many other Chassidim are still more than upset about what Chassidut Gur did to Me'ir Porush ?
And haven't countless subscribers canceled their subscription so far ? At the moment, the haredi daily "HaModiah" in Israel seems to be in big trouble.

However, the paper mentioned an interesting subject on its front page making me changing my Tish mind. Rabbi Gedaliah Moshe of Zhvil was having his Yahrzeit (anniversary of the day he passed away) and Chassidut Zhvil would give a Tish on Erev Shabbat.

I came to Jerusalem and after the Shabbat meal again changed my mind. Too tired and finally I got some sleep.
No Zhvil no nothing but I am planning to write a few things about Rebbe Gedaliah Moshe of Zhvil.

This week, the Toldot Aharon Rebbe is coming back to Jerusalem.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What is happening with Kiryat Yoel in Jerusalem ?


In August 2007, one of the two present Satmarer Rebbes, Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum, came to Jerusalem in order to lay the cornerstone for the new Kiryat Yoel in Jerusalem's Raoul Wallenberg Street.

The location is still a construction site. Since, a gigantic hole has been digged and now nothing is happening anymore. No workers, no cranes, no nothing. Last Tuesday I passed the completely abandoned site.

Anyone has an idea why the knew Kiryat Yoel and its 10 - floor apartment building have stopped coming into existence.

Haredim should go to Work !


Bank of Israel President Stanley Fisher announced that he will continue his policy decreasing the interest rates. Furthermore, he made some economical remarks regarding haredi society. Poverty should be decreased by increasing the workforce. Or in other words, instead of adding more and more poverty, the Haredim themselves should look for a job. So far, only 25 % of them are integrated in the job market.

It cannot be that the majority of married haredi men just joins the KOLLEL where they stay for the rest of their life. If haredi society was concentrating more on how they can contribute something to the Israeli workforce, poverty would go down and thus, the families don't depend on either welfare or the Kollel money anymore.

Stanley Fisher

It is not as easy as Fisher may think. Only because him and others say so, it doesn't mean the Haredim are listening and now start changing their whole society system. A society with rules which cannot just be changed within a week or so. Instead Fisher should consider the following:

1. The Israeli job market has been already very tense for many years. Not too many people are able to find jobs, as there aren't enough anyway.

2. Generally, haredi education in Israel is very different from the one abroad. Here, they don't learn too many secular studies and due to their lacking education, aren't fit for different fields in the job market.

3. Many Haredim have already been working and earning their own income.

4. Extreme groups such as the Toldot Aharon Chassidim work within their own community and thus earn money. Anti - Zionist groups don't accept money from the government anyway and rather live off their private donations from the US.

5. Joining the workforce could mean disadvantages within the own haredi society. For instance, there are many chassidic girls who are still only prepared to marry a Baal Torah and not a job slave.

6. Many male married Haredim earn their income from their KOLLEL.
The Kollel is a Yeshiva for married men paying them a monthly salary for their studies.

Those who are screaming out for an increase in the workforce should, first of all, create more jobs, as, at the moment, there simply aren't enough !

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Watch Out: Christian Missionaries in the Galilee


Again, Christian missionaries are cruising around in Israel and this time, they arrived with a 30 Million Shekel (approx. 6.800.000 US $) budget.

Especially Jews in the northern towns of Tiberias, Tiberias, Carmiel, Nahariya, Maalot, Kiryat Shemonah, Akko, Hazor, Safed as well as Nazareth have been flooded with idol - worship prospectuses.

So far, the missionaries have been calling 2405 private households in order to spread their wicked ideas about the "false" Meshiach J. On the phone, Jews were asked to get further information on J.
In order to enhance their success, Christian missionaries promised the Jews presents when they come for a class. The present mostly turned out to be a New Testament.
Furthermore, the missionaries hung up posters in Tiberias and Carmiel in order to spread their evil message. The Israeli anti - missionary organization "Yad Le'Achim" informed the mayors of those towns and thus, the posters had to be taken off.

And now let's get to the worst:
56,000 prospectuses have been handed out showing the grave of the Talmudic Rabbi, Rabbi Me'ir Baal HaNes (Beruriah's husband). On the front page, the Christians are calling the Rabbi "Rabbi Yeshua (J.) Me'ir Baal HaNes".

Now "Yad Le'Achim" has called for some action against the missionaries and Yeshiva students as well as other volunteers are being sent out to warn and inform the Jews in the area.

The grave of Rabbi Me'ir is located near Tiberias and he would surely turn around in his grave if he knew how the missionaries are using his name for idol - worship purposes.

Choices to Make


Since I intensely started studying about Judaism (which has now been for about 13 years), I have been using the chances to look into many different directions within Orthodoxy. And because I got to know various directions, I could not make up my mind which one to join. I am definitely not Chabad or Breslov although I studied with both groups. I am definitely not national religious although I studied with the movement for quite a while.

Chassidut as well as Kabbalah teach us about soul roots. I have to find my soul root in order to connect to Judaism and especially to know where exactly to connect. Jews who were not born religious have to find an approach to religious life if they decide to keep Mitzwot. What kind of ideas bring me closer to my religion ? What do I like studying and what does apply to me ? Is it Torah, prayer, Mussar (ethics), Halachot, history, philosophy, Talmud or whatever.Today, many newcomers also start with kabbalistic or spiritual approaches. The first steps are very important because it is the very beginning leading you somewhere. Not always true, as people may start off as litvish and, later on become chassidic etc. However, the first steps can form your inner being and approach. You find out about your personal strength. For instance, what you like to learn and how. On what kind of topic you should concentrate. Basic Jewish studies should take place with a Rabbi in a program or in Yeshiva. Don't try the "Do - it - yourself" - method and just buy some books and start reading. First your mindset has to get organized and later on you can still go on studying by yourself.

Especially in Jerusalem you have plenty of choices where to go to. Hundreds of different synagogues, chassidic, national religious, litvish, programs, whatever you dream of. What I personally like very much is talking to all those people. At the National Library in Jerusalem I have been meeting many Haredim. Mostly Chassidim who, at such a place, open up and even talk to women. Most of the people I have been meeting are busy writing books on Judaism like one Chassid writing a book on how Greek philosophy influenced Judaism. It is from those kind of people I learn most, as they usually have a vast knowledge and, additionally they talk to women; at least at the library. And it is those guys also sometimes questioning and criticizing their own society.

I found out for myself what I actually like to study and with what kind of people I like o deal with. All those holy books and commentaries are tremendously important but you should still remain a thinking person and not get carried away too far. One Chassid told me that he does everything his Rebbe says. Once, so he told me, he found the perfect Shidduch and intended to marry that woman. He went to his Rebbe who advised him not to marry her. Thus, he ended up not marrying her which he regrets until today. I asked him why he didn't just marry this particular woman. The Rebbe can say whatever he likes but there are issues which should remain private personal. "You see, the Chassid said, this is why you are not a member of a chassidic group. You cannot listen to any Rebbe".

There are so many different directions and choices and after all those year I realized that I don't fit in anywhere. Sometimes I am here and tomorrow I am there. Without running after acceptance or wanting to be a firm part of any group. First I thought that there must be something wrong with me. Everyone else seemed to have a place within society and I was just wandering around. After a certain time I just got used to it and now I feel very comfortable with being independent. Not free from G - d but free from society, pressure and expectations. Furthermore, I am able to write whatever I want and don't have to think of consequences from my personal direction.

Not everyone is made to fit in and there are plenty of people who are religious, study but still remain critical and independent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blocked from Ulpan Etzion


Usually the Israeli national religious Site "Arutz 7" publishes some interesting news and I like reading the site although I don't agree with everything they claim.

Just now I found this article about Rabbi David Sterne from the "Jerusalem Connection" which actually seems too far off to me.

On Arutz 7, Rabbi Sterne claims that he was blocked from entering the Jerusalem Ulpan Etzion in order to invite new young immigrants to his Shabbatot. This is right and someone told me the same. However, Arutz 7 doesn't mention two points playing an important role in the dispute between the Rabbi and the Ulpan.

First of all, Arutz 7 doesn't say one word about Rabbi Sterne being a Chabad Rabbi. The Rabbi is a Chabadnik doing outreach in Jerusalem and his center is in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The second point is, and I don't want to go into any further details, that there is a certain suspicion and someone may have complained about different behaviours going on.

Sometimes it is not always too objective just looking at specific religious views and accusing Ulpan Etzion of blocking Judaism. But, sometimes, there is a bit more behind the story than just a claim and one should consider the other side as well.

Did he or did he not ?


Two years ago, the son of Israel Wallas was taken to hospital, as he suffered from severe injuries. After a few days, the baby boy died. The police questioned Wallas, as the suspicion arouse that he had caused the death of his little son. The father, on the other hand, claimed that he had dropped the baby by accident. The result was that Israel Wallas got arrested.

It was around Pessach and I still remember the wild demonstrations in Mea Shearim / Ge'ulah. Garbage cans were burning and certain Chassidim demanded that the "Zionist" police has no right to arrest Wallas. Then, the case became rather famous in Israel because Israel Wallas is a member of the Toldot Aharon.

Four months ago, Judge Channah ben Ami accused Wallas of causing the death of his son. In the meantime, Rabbis and other public figures appeared in court in order to testify in favour of the accused. Among them were the former Belzer Knesset Member Israel Eichler and the present Knesset Member Me'ir Porush. Both representatives from the "Agudat Israel" received harsh criticism, as they were seen as someone protecting a child molester.

Israel Wallas in court.

In the meantime, Israel Wallas and his wife had another child and the prosecution demanded to take the child away from the young family. However, the courts decision was that the newborn child can stay with its parents, as they are not considered a danger to the newborn.

Today the court announced its verdict:
Six years in jail plus two years on probation for Israel Wallas !!!
It is expected that Wallas will now appeal to the Supreme Court in order to cancel the verdict.


When the baby died and Wallas got arrested, the haredi world had a lot to say about the case. Many people consider Wallas guilty, as he obviously wanted to rest and the crying baby bothered him.
The young mother was taken aside and never appeared in public.

Nobody can say what really happend and the verdict is probably based on evidence. However, I always wondered why thousands of people speculated about the Wallas family and how the Toldot Aharon are reacting.

But who has ever thought about the baby that died ?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toldos Aharon Rebbe's Shabbos in Boro Park, Brooklyn


The Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn gave a huge Tish in Boro Park / NY last Shabbat.

Here is a Tish report written by one of the Shearim readers who chose to remain unanymous.


Sitting to the far right: The Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn.

With great excitement and anticipation, the North American Hasidim and other admirers of the Toldos Aharon Rebbe from Jerusalem welcomed the Rebbe to New York this week for a short visit. The Rebbe comes to America during this season every year. The purpose is two-fold: to conduct Shabbos gatherings for his followers in the large Hasidic Jewish communities in the New York area, and to preside over the yearly American fundraising dinner for his Toldos Aharon institutions in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. The Rebbe also visits the homes of many wealthy supporters of Toldos Aharon in order to solicit donations. The visit is usually a month long. Last year the Rebbe spent one Shabbos each in Monsey, Williamsburg, Montreal, and South Fallsburg in upstate New York.

This year the Rebbe's visit is shorter, because he will be returning to New York in a few months for the wedding of a grandchild. He will then conduct his yearly "Shabbos in Williamsburg," the Brooklyn neighborhood in which most of his North American-based followers and supporters live. The Rebbe's present visit, however, is only two weeks long, and he planned one Shabbos in Boro Park (Brooklyn's largest Hasidic neighborhood) and in Monsey, where the Rebbe lived for many years before returning to Jerusalem to assume his father's leadership position as Toldos Aharon Rebbe.

The Rebbe arrived in America last Sunday in Newark Airport and spent the week in Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood visiting supporters and attending a variety of Hasidic functions. He also attended an important wedding in the Satmar community in Boro Park. The video of the Rebbe dancing can be found at:

I have been connected with the Toldos Aharon Hasidim for about 8-9 years and have many friends among the Hasidim both in America and in Israel, and when I visit Jerusalem I always spend Shabbos in that community and attend the Toldos Aharon Rebbe's Tish. I am not Hasidic, but I have great respect for the Hasidic community, and I have been warmly received by many Hasidim, especially in Toldos Aharon. Toldos Aharon is very close to my heart because of its purity, its zealotry, and its staunch preservation of tradition, especially those associated with the city of Jerusalem. Every year, I spend at least one Shabbos with the Rebbe when he comes to America.

I made arrangements for meals and a place to sleep with a family in Boro Park that I've known for many years. They have an entire floor of their home for guests, so spending Shabbos there is very comfortable. I went with a friend of mine who is learning in yeshiva (I am currently working) who has also had contact with Toldos Aharon and is an admirer of the Rebbe.

Friday evening, the Hasidim of Toldos Aharon rented out a hall for the Rebbe to conduct the Shabbos tefillos (prayers). Mincha and Kabolas Shabbos were held in Menorah Hall on 14th Avenue. Since Mincha was not scheduled until 45 minutes after candle lighting time (very late), my friend and I prayed instead with our host family's synagogue and decided to see the Toldos Aharon Rebbe later that night at the Tish. The Tish was scheduled to begin at 9pm, but anyone who has ever been to a Hasidic Tish before knows that the time is very approximate. We got to the Tish early (around 9:15) so we could secure a good place to stand on the "parenches" (the bleachers set up on either side of the long table down the center of the room, at the head of which is the dais where the Rebbe and other dignitaries sit). The Tish took place in the auditorium of a Hasidic girls school, the Beis Esther hall of the Sanz-Kloisenberger Hasidim. The hall is not very large, and I do not know why the Rebbe's Hasidim did not pick a more substantial venue. However, the small size of the room does lend itself to a warmer atmosphere where everyone is somewhat close to the Rebbe and can clearly hear and see him.

The Rebbe arrived to the Tish around 9:45pm. He was wearing a tallis and his silvery-white stripped Jerusalem-style "bekitshe." With his white beard, sleek black shtreimel, and shiny bekitshe, the Rebbe had a very regal appearance. He immediately began to recite the prayers for the Friday night Shabbos meal, singing "Ribon Kol HaOlomim." The prayers before Kiddush were very lengthy and accompanied by the stirring, and very distinctive, melodies of the Toldos Aharon community. The Rebbe made the blessing over a fragrant item using myrtle branches, as is a common Hasidic custom on Friday night, and then in a loud voice, recited Kiddush. The wine for Kiddush was poured from an ornate silver decanter. Someone then brought a bowl over which the Rebbe ceremonially washed his hands in preparation for "Motzi" over the challahs. As is typical, very large loafs of challah had been prepared for the Rebbe. After the Rebbe made the blessing over the bread, the challah was cut into smaller pieces and then distributed to the Hasidim in the room, all of whom were clamoring for some of the Rebbe's "shirayim" (bits of the food over which the Rebbe has made a blessing).

Meanwhile the small Beis Esther hall was packed to the gills with people. The long table down the center of the room was reserved for respected members of the community – Toldos Aharon Hasidim (who had traveled from far and wide to be with the Rebbe, more than handful accompanying the Rebbe from Israel and others coming from Canada and Monsey) as well as other Hasidim and many "Litvishe" (non-Hasidic) individuals who financially support the Toldos Aharon institutions. On the bleachers set up on either side were younger Hasidim as well as visitors. Non-Hasidim came into the tish throughout the night, distinguished by the Borsalino hats marking them as "Litvishe," ultra-Orthodox Jews associated more with the yeshiva world than with the Hasidic world, although the distinction is sometimes somewhat blurred. In the back of the room, part of the hall had been reserved for a section for ladies. Two layers of sheets were hung from the ceiling as a "mechitzah" (separation), and I'm not sure how easily the women could see through this barrier. They could definitely hear the Rebbe, however, and I think there were small openings in the sheets through which they may have been able to see.

The Tish attracted a very large crowd, and there were simply not enough bleachers to hold everyone. My friend and I were crammed in from every direction. The heat was unbearable. I don't think there was any fan or air conditioning, and all the bodies crammed together made for a very uncomfortable situation. Thankfully, every so often a bottle of seltzer water would make the rounds, and we were able to refresh ourselves. Moving around was very difficult, however, and when we went to visit a friend that we noticed on the other side of the room, it took a long time for us to be able to push through the crowd.

After the Rebbe began his meal, he was brought out the successive courses that are traditionally served during the Sabbath meal: soup, two types of fish, meat, carrots (tsimmes), and farfel. After the Rebbe tasted each of these dishes, the remaining food was divided up into small portions and sent around the room on smaller plates so that Hasidim could take from the Rebbe's "shirayim." There was also singing between courses, and the Rebbe spoke in Yiddish about the weekly Torah portion (this week was Vayeiro) and also spoke about the importance of singing to God (repeatedly discussing the verse "Tov L'Hodos Lashem, ulezamer l'shimchoh elyon"). The highlights of the evening were the heart-piercing singing of the Shabbos songs "Koh Echsoif" and "Koh Ribon Olam," during both of which the assembled crowd sang with special emotion. Watching the Rebbe during the singing of the zmiros (Shabbos songs) was a special privilege. He and his son sitting next to him (who lives in Monsey, New York and is the rabbi of Toldos Aharon there) both seemed to be in a different place, almost in an unearthly realm, seeming to achieve a state of dveykus (clinging to God), their ecstasy and holiness so palpable.

After bentching (the blessing after the meal), there was a "Peiros Tish" with a beautiful platter of fruit before the Rebbe. Fruit was then distributed to all present. My friend and I had to leave at some point during the Peiros Tish since we were exhausted and the heat of all the bodies pressed together was too much for us to handle for too long.

The next morning, the Shabbos prayers were held in Menorah Hall beginning at 9am. Toldos Aharon is known for having extremely long services, and the Hasidim take care to say every word carefully with concentration. The recitation of "Pesukei D'Zimrah" lasts an hour or more, which is very special and unusual. Before Torah reading, a small adhoc Kiddush was held in the kitchen of the catering hall because "chatzos" (the middle of the day) was approaching and since it is forbidden to fast on Shabbos, a person should make Kiddush and eat something before this time so that he does not have the status of someone who is fasting. The Rebbe then "leined" (read from the Torah), and a large crowd assembled around him to hear his reading. After the morning prayers were finished, Hasidim lined up to say "Gut Shabbos" to the Rebbe and perhaps to receive a blessing. Next, a catered lunch was held in the Menorah Hall for all guests, with the Rebbe conducting the meal. My friend and I returned to our hosts for lunch, however.

In the afternoon, almost immediately after lunch because Shabbos is very short during this season, we returned to the Beis Esther Hall for the Mincha service and the Tish for the Third Meal of the Shabbos (Shalosh Seudos Tish). As we were waiting for the Tish to begin, we spoke for a few minutes with the Rebbe's son that lives in Monsey. He is very tall and thin, with the gaunt face of a "kanoi" (zealot). While we spoke to him he was smiling continuously in an expression of pure "simcha" (joy). He has an otherworldly persona, as if he is totally removed from the secular world and all sorts of physicality, only concerned with spirituality. He asked us where we lived and what we did, and tried to encourage us in our Torah learning, saying "Ashrei Mi She'amolo BaTorah" (Happy is the one who toils in learning Torah).

In Toldos Aharon, the Tish on Shabbos afternoon (into the conclusion of Shabbos) is especially beautiful because almost all the lights are turned out in the hall. In the near darkness, you have hundreds of Hasidim singing with the Rebbe the stirring, holy songs associated with that Tish.

At a certain point during the tish, I noticed that through the sheets separating the women's section, I could see the silhouettes of mens' hats. There were several Hasidic boys playing in the section. Since there were no women there, I decided to try to go through the back entrance to the hall to enter the women's section to see what their visibility would have been like. It turns out, however, that these boys climbed through a crack in the mechitza to get there, and that in fact the door to the women's section was closed. I went outside to find a way in, and spoke to a woman there from Monroe (in upstate New York) whose son I know and is very active in Toldos Aharon, and she was very upset because the ladies had been locked out and were unable to enter the Tish to hear the Rebbe's famous talk given at the Third Meal. I do not know why the door to the ladies' section had been locked, but it does not seem to have been done to exclude the ladies, since the effort had been made to construct a section for them. There was probably a miscommunication with the owners of the hall.

Back inside the hall, the Tish continued, and the Rebbe gave a lengthy discourse in Yiddish. At the end of the evening, the Rebbe made a public Havdalah (ceremony for the conclusion of Shabbos). All in all, an extremely beautiful Shabbos with the Toldos Aharon Rebbe in Boro Park! Many Hasidim were able to spend a Shabbos "b'tzeil rabeini," in the "shadow" of their Rebbe, and many non-Hasidic admirers also came during the various Tishen and Tefillos to be close to the Rebbe and to observe his holy conduct. I am unable to attend the upcoming Shabbos in Monsey, but it promises to be very beautiful as well. A special tent will be erected for the weekend in the courtyard of the Toldos Aharon synagogue there. I am anxiously awaiting the Rebbe's next visit to the United States at the end of January, for a wedding and also for the Shabbos in Williamsburg.

Toldot Aharon Chassidim in Mea Shearim / Jerusalem

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Do you see the Rebbe ?"

The Satmarer Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum


"Do you see the Rebbe ?"

This was the most popular question at the Tish of the Satmarer Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum in Bnei Brak last Erev Shabbat.

But first, a few short details about the history of Chassidut Satmar:

Today, unfortunately, Satmar is divided into two groups. One group follows Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitelbaum and the other half follows his brother, Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum. Rebbe Zalman Leib has his headquarter in Williamsburgh / NY whereas Rebbe Aharon rules in Kiryat Yoel (a Satmar town near New York). The two groups living in New York sometimes face clashes with each other. The Chassidim of the two different Rebbes in Israel, however, get along without fighting each other although in Jerusalem, there are two different Satmarer Synagogues.

More details here:

A View Insights into Chassidut Satmar

Due to a wedding celebration, the Satmarer Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum came to Israel last week. As Satmar is extremely anti – Zionist, Rebbe Aharon has never prayed at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem but only on Mount Scopus facing the Kotel. His reason is that it was the Zionist army freeing the Kotel in 1967 but not G – d.

I am not sure if the news that the Satmarer Rebbe is coming to Bnei Brak was so widely spread. Probably among Haredim but not too much in the secular press. Or even not at all.
As you can surely imagine the Satmarer Rebbes wouldn't meet with Israeli politicians or give interviews to the Zionist press. However, I got the information from two different Chassidim (Vishnitz and Karlin – Stolin).

Some people may ask if I am having a special connection to Satmar. The answer is: "Sometimes definitely".
Years ago, I was close to some Satmarer families in Mea Shearim and this has left a small influence. Not the anti – Zionist ideas but definitely further ideologies. However, when I knew theses families, the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, was still alive and I couldn't imagine Satmar being split.

Those who don't know Israel too well:
Bnei Brak is an almost entirely haredi town near Tel Aviv. In some areas you can still find some secular as well as the national religious; if you walk up the main road Rabbi Akivah and turn into the streets Rashi, Chazon Ish or Kahaneman, you will find an almost entirely chassidic population. Let alone Kiryat Vishnitz, on top of Chazon Ish and then all the way up to the right. I walked all the way from Tel Aviv, passed Ramat Gan and then entered Bnei Brak. As I arrived quite early, I enjoyed my walk through Rashi where the Chabad Synagogue is located. Right next to Rashi Street, you can find the Shomrei Emunim Synagogue. Parallel is the Chazon Ish with Seret – Vishnitz, Dushinsky, Bobov, Ashlag and some further synagogues. When you are in the middle of the Chazon Ish, turn to your left and you will see Kiryat Yoel with its Satmar population. It is easy to find when you know some Satmarer Rebbes and literature. The main road leading into Kiryat Yoel is Yismach Moshe Street.

Because I was early, I decided to rest on a bench or somewhere. Well, just sitting on one of the benches as a woman might give a wrong impression and therefore I went up Chazon Ish where there is a huge playground with benches and some trees. It is nice to sit there where you can find other women as well watching their kids playing. The good thing about Bnei Brak is that you don't see any Christians walking around on Erev Shabbat. The town has enough of Christian missionaries looking evily for victims; even for little children. And thus, Bnei Brak has developed its own laws how to deal with missionaries.

I have to admit that I fell asleep on the bench, but only briefly. Then I decided to make my way to Satmar. Just before I would fall asleep again.

I had no idea in which synagogue the Rebbe would give his Tish and at what time he is supposed to start. I would ask and find out. Nevertheless, when I walked up the Yismach Moshe, I saw a great synagogue (I already knew from before) with shining light on the front wall. There were posters all over Kiryat Yoel welcoming the Rebbe. I have to add that Bnei Brak is full of the followers of Rebbe Aharon whereas his brothers followers are mostly located in Mea Shearim.

About a hundered Chassidim had already gathered in front of the synagogue and some women stood at the side. I went up to the women and asked if there is an Ezrat Nashim (women's section) at the Tish. I think that they were rather surprised when someone like me came and wanted to see their Rebbe. The women were all dressed up and wore their traditional Tichel (hanky) on top of their wigs. Those women I spoke to were extremely friendly and welcoming. They told me to hurry, as the place was already packed.

Satmar women in New York

Generally I got the impression that the Satmarer in Bnei Brak are much more open then in Mea Shearim. Is this a little influence from Tel Aviv ?

That night, all Satmarer women were helpful and very easy to talk to. The Ezrat Nashim was on the back of the building and we climbed up lots of stairs. First, I ended up entering a little tiny dark room (like a storage room) where some women and kids anxiously looked through the wooden Mechitzah. "Do you see him, do you see the Rebbe ?" were all of them asking each other. I inquired if this is he only Ezrat Nashim and was already shocked. "No, no, they said, just go upstairs and you will find more".

Generally, the whole synagogue was not built for a Satmarer Tish and doesn't have any capacities. And when is the Rebbe coming from America at all ? Not too many times.
When you go to Belz or the Toldot Aharon in Jerusalem, there are capacities but Satmar in Bnei Brak was basically overrun.

I entered the second Ezrat Nashim. A big one consisting of two rooms. One room in the back was so crowded that you couldn't even enter it. There was no way in getting in. I stayed in the front room where girls and women had already taken their position behind the wooden Mechitzah. Standing, hanging, whatever you want. If you wanted to look down into the men's section, you had to make a real sportive effort.

To my great surprise, I found a free spot. How could that be ? Luck ? I looked down into the men's section and I cannot describe my impression. The whole synagogue was full of mostly Satmarer Chassidim. There was nothing else to see anymore. Not even one piece of floor.
It was like a full sea consisting of Streimels and Bekishe (shiny black chassidic coat for Shabbat and festivals). The view was impressing and I have never seen such a thing before although I have been to many Tishes. But this was just unbelievable.

The negative point was that from my position, I couldn't see the stage which was set up for the Rebbe. Everyone was standing on the benches and even on the top layer of the bench; there where people lay their books while sitting on the bench.
I moved to the side and stood on a bench behind two women and some teenage girls. The stage was directly underneath but we couldn't really see it. We were all moving to the right and the left but only saw the huge room full of Chassidim which was already incredible. The men couldn't move either. If someone dared to, the whole group around him had to move with him. They all seemed to hang together like clusters. I just wondered what would happen if someone had to go to the bathroom.

Everyone was anxiously waiting for the Rebbe to enter and, from time to time, the Chassidim made a loud "Sssshhhh" in order to get some silence into the room. The women were climbing on top of each other and whoever entered after 9pm, didn't have a chance. As far as I saw, I was one of the only real outsiders. The men's section was full of Satmarer and some other Chassidim. There was no sign of national religious or anyone else. The same at the Ezrat Nashim. Only haredi women and girls.

Then the Rebbe walked in and the men seated near the large table in the middle stood up. The Chassidim immediately began to sing. The women's Mechitzot (separation walls to the men's side) were moving all over the place and ours fell apart. Everyone was just climbing all over the place in order to see the Rebbe.
Me and another girl lifted up the Mechitzah piece which hadn't totally fallen down but was severly out of its place now. No problem, no one seemed to care. The men only stared at the Rebbe and no one noticed any broken Mechitzot. I was almost squeezed over the bench and had to hold on to the Mechitzah which didn't really exist anymore. One girl next to me put her head over the entire Mechitzah and saw everything.

When some women kept on stepping on my feet, I decided to do it just like the girl. Stand on the wooden board on top of the bench. Don't worry, I didn't step on any books !

The door swung open and many Satmarer women turned around. Wow, some Toldot Aharon women, mostly dressed in their traditional white aprons, marched in. They looked like an army and immediately stormed to the Mechitzah in order to take a look at the Satmarer Rebbe. I knew one of the Toldot Aharon women and she spotted me out right away.
"Your Rebbe is in Boro Park", I said.
"Oh, you are really into all this", she replied with a smile.
She climbed up beside me but couldn't see anything. Then she disappeared and hopefull I will see her at the next Toldot Aharon Tish where we can discuss our Satmarer experience.

The Rebbe started his Kiddush (blessing over the wine).
I saw his hand holding the cup.
Well, this was something.
"Do you see the Rebbe from your position ?" Some of the women asked.
I was stupid to say YES because at the same moment, all of them jumped into my position on the very top of the bench and I was squeezed in again.
However, I finally saw the Rebbe washing his hands and eating his Challah. Some Challah was divided among the Chassidim.
Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum really takes his time and while he was eating his Challah, the Chassidim were silent and watching him.

I could see the Rebbe who was only a few meters below. He wore a white coat and a Streimel. I cannot help it but he made a real royal impression on me. Not that I am too much into the zaddik ideology, however, there was something in his way of sitting there.

Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum in his white coat (caftan).

He somehow reflected royalty and Kavod (honour).
It was extremely hard for me to stand on top of the bench and leaning over. I was right on the edge.
Some Russian Gentiles working at the synagogue walked into the Ezrat Nashim and brought in some boxes of mineral water. A welcomed gesture, as we were all thirsty and dried out.

I couldn't manage anymore and decided to leave. I had seen the Rebbe but it was just too crowded for me. Usually I don't mind being squeezed in but this was just too much. If I had stayed longer I should have either cut off half of my feet or learned how to fly. I climbed down and the girl next to me said that I just cannot leave now. I told her that I would and she couldn't believe it. I would have really loved to stay until the end. Afterwards I regretted my decision.
I had a few drinks and went to the Nadvorna Tish up Chazon Ish Street.
Outside the Satmar Synagogue was chaos. Some Toldot Aharon Chassidim had arrived and others stood in front of the synagogue but there was no entrance anymore. The only solution is that the Satmarer Rebbes have to come to Israel more often.

I arrived at Nadvorna and there it was crowded but, as the Ezrat Nashim is as almost as huge as in Belz, there was enough place to get a good place behind the Mechitzah. Still under the impression of the amazing view and seeing Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum, I wasn't able to concentrate on the Nadvorna Tish anymore. Suddenly someone from Satmar walked in. It may have been Rebbe Aharon's son or someone else. In Nadvorna, the Chassidim were happy to see him. The Rebbe shook the guys hand and offered him a seat at the top of the Tish.

Also here, I didn't stay until the end and walked back to Tel Aviv. Quite a walk and I was totally finished that on the next day, I only woke up at 10am.

Nevertheless, it was a great experience !

Tish Reports


Today or / and tomorrow, I am going to publish two Tish reports.

One written by me about the Satmarer Rebbe's Tish in Bnei Brak last Shabbat (Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum).

The second report will be about the Toldot Aharon Tish in Boro Park last Shabbat.

Shavua Tov - A gid Woch - Have a great week !

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and his Christian Fellowship


It has been becoming a real disgrace for us Jews and even for our own country how leading politicians like Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) or Rabbis are receiving money from Christian organizations. Our present Kadima - Government doesn't see anything negative in accepting money from, for instance, the radical Christian missionary group, the Evangelists.

Furthermore, the Aliyah organizations "Nefesh be'Nefesh" and the "Jewish Agency for Israel" are being financially supported by Christian organizations. And the Christians don't even hide their evil purposes such as bringing back the Jews to Israel, convert them to Christianity and then their false Meshiach J. would show up.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the present national religious Chief Rabbi of Efrat, has been more than active in the Christian - Jewish business. For years, he has brought Indians claiming their Jewishness to Israel. Now he is offering a hotel in the religious settlement of Efrat, near Jerusalem, to Christian organizations helping them to fulfill "their self - made up task".

An example of how the national religious Rabbi Riskin embraces the Evangelists:

I Stand with Pastor John Hagee
Contact: David Birnbaum, Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation, 212-935-8672
OPINION, June 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor John Hagee is a towering leader in the Evangelical Church who has dedicated a great part of his enormously successful ministry to reaching out in love and loving-kindness to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He has admirably defended our right to our historic homeland even when our enemies have attempted to disgorge us from our homes and drive us into the sea; he has praised the Lord for having imbued us, the "post-Holocaust dry bones of Ezekiel," with renewed life and vigor even when our arch-enemy and the arch-enemy of the free world has called us a "stinking corpse." He has organized Christian lobby groups for the only true democracy in the Middle East across the length and breadth of the United States even when a former American President and professors from Harvard and Chicago Universities have denounced our own lobbying efforts as un-American and anti-Democratic.

Pastor Hagee has expressed his profound affection for us even when it has been most unpopular to do so. Can we, the recipients of his heart and goodwill, dare be silent now, when the political frenzy of primary elections hysterically seeks to defame and discredit one of the greatest voices on behalf of Christian-Jewish healing and cooperation? No, for the sake of Jerusalem and for the sake of the God of love and peace we must raise our voices in support of and friendship for the very individual who has never faltered in his support and friendship for us!

Does this mean that I must necessarily agree with all of the theological positions taken by Pastor Hagee? Not at all! True friendship means that I continue to love and even partner with my friend, despite disagreeing with him on even fundamental positions of theology and ideology – as long as his views do not threaten the life or limb of innocent human beings. And in fact in subsequent articles I hope to express my own theological position about God and the existence of evil, Jewish history and the place of Hitler (may his very name be blotted out). But if I can only love those with whom I agree completely, then I cannot even love myself – because I may very well come to disagree tomorrow with whatever I may have thought and said today! As Pastor Hagee himself has remarked, if I am completely in accord with whatever you think and say, then one of us becomes superfluous.

We are living in a world divided between those who believe in a God of love and peace, and those who believe in a Satan of Jihad and suicide bombers. Any attempt to marginalize and slander leaders of the camp of the former will only serve to strengthen the camp of the latter, with the future existence of the free world perilously hanging in the balance. And so I continue to proudly shout from the rooftops that this rabbi in Israel stands firmly alongside -his beloved friend, a true friend of Israel and the free world, Pastor John Hagee.

Shlomo Riskin
Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel
Founder: Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation


Friday, November 14, 2008

Satmar Tish in Bnei Brak


Actually I wanted to go to Jerusalem this Shabbat. Seeing some friends and going to some chassidic Tishes in Mea Shearim. Last night, however, I got the information that one of my favourite groups won't have a Tish this Shabbat. A Tish yes, but in Boro Park and not in Jerusalem.

The Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn is in New York and having a big event in Boro Park tonight. Next Shabbat, he will be in Monsey.
So, New Yorkers, go to his Tish and enjoy.

I must admit that this information upset me, as I had been looking forward to the Toldot Aharon Tish. "Well, I thought, maybe I should still go to Jerusalem, see friends and go to Avraham Yitzchak. I also haven't been to Kretchnif for quite a while. Or how about Belz ?

Okay, still plenty of possibilities where to go.
On the other hand, I didn't feel very comfortable with all of this. And this morning, I rather spontaneously made up my mind.
Although I would love to see some friends, I am staying home in Tel Aviv. No Mea Shearim or Belz but I am going to Bnei Brak where the Satmarer Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum is giving a great Tish tonight.

It doesn't happen too often that one of the Satmarer Rebbes is visiting Israel and, now I am taking another chance. More than a year ago, Rebbe Aharon was in Jerusalem in order to lay the cornerstone for his new Kiryat Yoel. He gave a Tish at "Supnik" (Kikar Shabbat in Ge'ulah / Mea Shearim). Right in front of the offices of the Edah HaCharedit and the Dushinsky school. I went and luckily, the huge tent set up had an Ezrat Nashim (women's section). Unfortunately, it was so packed that no one succeeded in seeing anything. The guys walked in and straight out. No space.
The women climed up the walls in order to take a glimpse over the Mechitzah. I have no idea if any of them finally succeeded. Rebbe Aharon was the Superstar that night. Thousands of different Chassidim, Litvishe, National religious and other came to see him.

Tonight, I am having another try in Bnei Brak. I suppose that the place will be packed again but whatever, the atmosphere alone is incredible. And if it is too crowded, I can still move over to Lelov, Bohush or Nadvorna.

Anyway I am happy with my decision but next Shabbat, I am definitely going to spend in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom - Gut Shabbes to everyone !!!

August 1997 / 5768: The Satmarer Rebbe in Jerusalem


Chassidut Satmar

Thursday, November 13, 2008

American Arrogance / Ignorance


About the American arrogance of making Aliyah to Israel and not learning sufficient Hebrew.

Let me tell you, in Israel you need to know Hebrew in order to get accepted and be part of society.

Israel is not America !!! Don't forget that.

Well, Yiddish might be enough in some parts as well.:-)

Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum in Bnei Brak

One of the two present Satmarer Rebbes: Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum


An important event has taken place in Bnei Brak this week. A daughter of one of the two present Vishnitzer Rebbes, Rabbi Israel Hager, got married to a celebrity in Satmar. Especially for the wedding, one of the two present Satmarer Rebbes, Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum, came for a brief visit to Bnei Brak.

As far as I heard, the Rebbe will be staying over Shabbat and then return to the US. If this information is true, he will be giving a Tish in Bnei Brak this Erev Shabbat.

However, I cannot guarantee that the Rebbe is staying over Shabbat and, therefore, people should check out if a Tish is really going to take place. If so, it will be held in Kiryat Yoel near Chazon Ish Street.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



The first opinion is coming from Abu Mazen who announced that Israel will only willing to make more concessions to the Palestinians if Israeli politicians are being forced. Forced by Djahidim, by suicide bombers.

This is what Abu Mazen stated yesterway while he was participating in a memorial service for his terrorist friend Yassir Arafat.
Our politicians obviously tried to overhear the statement, as negotiations with the Fatah (Abu Mazen's party) are going on.

But coming to an Israeli opinion:
Yesterday (Tuesday), 159 cities and small towns in Israel elected a new (old) mayor. Ron Chulda'i, the former mayor of Tel Aviv - Yaffo, is also the new one. He is a left - winger and considered to be a guy for the rich and trying to ruin anybody else.

Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive places in the whole world and especially in the Middle East. A one - room apartment cave costs at least 400 Dollar rent per month. Even a room full of mould isn't available much cheaper. And whoever decides running to the extremely expensive AM:PM is still doing a better bargain than shopping at the MEGA (Mega is considering itself to be cheap) in Ibn Gavirol Street. A social disgrace and Chulda'i has to go immediately.

His opponent Dov Chenin is another left - winger but is trying to be more social. And it was him Chulda'i was afraid of. According to Chenin, Tel Aviv has to be a place for everybody and not only for the wealthy. We need more kindergarden places, more social justice and anything social we can get.

A homeless guy called Aharon has been living on a matress for the past eight years. His matress can be found at the entrance to Sheinkin Street, right across the Carmel Market.
The weekly Tel Aviv magazine "Ha'Ir" asked Aharon for whom he would vote. However, before Aharon answered, he asked for a 20 Shekel fee.

Well, nothing is for free anymore. Not even an interview with a homeless guy.

Next, Aharon asked for a Schwarma (23 Shekels).
He ate the Schwarma and then he was willing to answer the question.
"Well, I don't care and don't vote for anyone. I have no trust and no one intends to get me off my matress anyway. So, leave me alone everybody unless you really want to help".

Many young people in Tel Aviv voted for Dov Chenin. His party has the name "Ir LeKulanu - City for Everyone". Chulda'i was afraid to loose his position as the mayor but eventually made it.

The secular Nir Barkat won in Jerusalem and thus, he is going to be the new mayor. His competitor, the Haredi Me'ir Porush, lost by 9 %.

If, yes, if Chassidut Gur would have voted for Porush ... But due to internal quarrels, the Gerrer Rebbe ordered his Chassidim to vote for Barkat.

No one can tell me anymore that the Haredi world is the most perfect world !

Could a haredi mayor have been so bad for Jerusalem ?
Unfortunately, the secular are far too afraid of the religious and fear that they may be pushed into a religious ghetto. On the other hand, for the past four years, we already had the haredi mayor Uri Lupolianski and did he do anything against the secular ? No, and everyone is still alive.

At least, Me'ir Porush would have brough some Yiddishkeit and Jewish identity to Jerusalem. Not that we don't have any Yiddishkeit but having a little more wouldn't be bad. Especially not when there are plenty of Christian missionaries around.

Nir Barkat or Me'ir Porush ? Who cares at all ?
Barkat is a Kadima member and if Zipi Livni tells him to divide Jerusalem, Jerusalem will be divided.
Porush wouldn't have just kept quiet and given in. Not even if the Gerrer Rebbe had told him so.

But let's see who is going to win the Knesset elections next February. The mayors have not much to say but the Knesset does. And this is one of the reasons why hardly anyone paricipated in the community elections yesterday.

It's Tea Time


Just recently, someone told me the "secrets" about how especially chassidic Rebbes raise money in the UK, Canada or the US. Maybe not only chassidic Rebbes but other Rabbis as well. But let's stick to Chassidut, as particularly here, I find it very interesting.

Let's say that a chassidic Rebbe is coming to New York in order to raise funds for his group. What do his followers or donors usually do ? And does the Rebbe just walk from one rich person to the next in order to wait for a check ?

It is very common to arrange an event called "Tea Party".
The tea party is taking place in a private house and tickets for the event are being sold for, let's say, 10.000 Dollar each.
Of course, those tea parties abroad are much more open and relaxed than in Israel. The Rebbe might (I emphazise: "might") even talk to the women or one woman. Well, probably if she turns out to be a wealthy donor.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if I am ever going to participate in such a tea party, as my budget won't allow me a cup of tea for 10.000 Dollar.

Are there maybe any special offer tickets available ?

Events according to the Stars


It is quite common in our times, to interpret certain events according to horoscopes or further different locations of stars etc. Which planet is influencing what and how ?

This is nothing new in history and even Judaism has a lot to say about this subject. There are actually many books dealing with the stars and how they influence G – d's creation (see for instance "Sefer HaBrit" or "Raziel HaMal'ach").
Already Adam HaRishon, Noach or Avraham new the influences of specific stars and their effects.

But doesn't the Talmud let us know that Jews don't depend on horoscopes, stars or anything else but entirely on G - d ?
Just look at Avraham himself. After his name was changed, he had a different Mazal. Jews only depend on G – d even if their horoscope says something completely else. Through Teshuva (repentance) and different ways of behaviour, we are always able to change our Mazal to the better. G – d changed Sarah's and Avraham's Mazal and suddenly they were able to have a child.

Yesterday I discovered a relatively new book ("Sefer Chochmat Israel") on the subject. The author, Rabbi Israel of Rilus, analyzes different worldly events according to the Mazalot. On page 83, we read for instance, that during the "Night of the Broken Glass – Cristal Night), the planet Neptune reached the Mazal Virgin. And Neptune in Virgin usually means something bad is going to happen.

For astrology experts:
Neptune reached Virgin 22º 40'.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Peyes are stuck in the Door !


"Peyes (the side curls of Chassidim) always bother", I heard a young Israeli soldier saying to his friend. The two were sitting on the same bus with me and I overheard their rather funny sounding conversation. Although the two were soldiers in the Israeli army, both came originally for the US.

"Why is that ?" the second soldier asked his friend.
"Well, because long Peyes can get stuck everywhere. Just imagine you shut the door and uuurrgghhh. They are stuck behind you".

Personally, I have never met anyone whose Peyes got stuck in a door, in a car, in machines etc. Maybe there are such incidents, who knows.

Generally, Chassidim always get the first looks due to their different clothing style. Wearing a Streimel (traditional fur hat) or long coat (caftan) during the hot summer heat cannot be too pleasant and outsiders are wondering about that. "Who can suffer such clothes ?" they then ask.

However, nowhere in the world is tradition as important as in the chassidic world. Many Chassidim say that tradition which proved to be right 50 years ago, 100 years ago or 300 years ago, cannot be wrong today. And many Chassidim go according to the "Chatam Sofer" (Rabbi Moshe Sofer, 1762 - 1839, born in Frankfurt / Germany and died in Bratislava). In particular, the Chassidut Dushinsky is following him in detail. The Chatam Sofer fought enthusiastically against the new reform movement. "The Torah doesn't allow us any changes", Rabbi Moshe Sofer stated. However, his followers extended this ideology also into many issues concerning the private life.

Once, I was invited by a Dushinsky family where the host told me that she learned all her traditions from her mother. Not only regarding her modest clothing style but also the behaviour towards the children as well as the hairstyle of a chassidic woman.
"Of course, my children theoretically could have left the old ways and set up some changes. Anyway, I raised them this way that they wouldn't", she let me know.

Don't such views and opinions show fear of anything new in life ? And if there was anything new, would this automatically lead to changes within the whole chassidic society ? Would then society fall apart ?

I don't think so because the roots are too deep. Maybe Hundreds of rebels would have to show up in order to cause a few slow changes. But who wants to cause great changes when the old ways have mostly proven right ? And even if there were some rebels, who would endanger his own place in chassidic society ? Who would endanger good schools for his children and suitable Shidduchim ? Whoever wants changes, has to face society consequences.

Despite all the traditions, I have never heard a Chassid complaining about his Peyes being stuck in a door !!!

Cleaning Up


Lately, some people keep on telling me that all the information about chassidic groups are sometimes hard to find or access. Although I labeled most of the articles, the flow of information is, in some cases, far too much.

I have been aware of the problem for quite a while and thus, have been trying to think of a solution.
For people only interested in plain details about chassidic groups, I am planning a separate blog only with such information. A blog only listing the basic information about the groups.

I hope that this way it will be a little easier.
In case you have any better ideas, please let me know !

Monday, November 10, 2008

Porush versus Barkat


Tomorrow, Tuesday, is election day in several places such as Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem it is going to be extremely interesting, as the secular Kadima candidate Nir Barkat is running to become the new mayor. His competitor is the haredi Knesset member Me'ir Porush.

Now people may think that all the Haredim are running to vote for Me'ir Porush, as he is one of them. But people thinking this way are very much mistaken.

In haredi society many different directions are arguing with each other and therefore, Porush is having a tremendous hard time.
The Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, doesn't want Porush at all and ordered his Chassidim to vote for the secular Nir Barkat.
Order from the Gerrer Rebbe:
His Chassidim in Jerusalem have to participate in the municipality elections and vote for Barkat.

I am not sure where Rabbi Eliyashiv and his Litvaks are standing. The latest news was also against Porush, but who knows.

The Belzer Rebbe, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, obviously confirmed Porush his assistance. No one knows if the Belzer Chassidim are really going to vote for Porush or if just everything is another big show (as a Chassid from a different chassidic group gossiped me).

Here we have a chance to get another religious mayor (after Uri Lupolianski) in Jerusalem but due to all the personal quarrels, the secular candidate Nir Barkat might win.

Maybe I am too stupid but I am unable to understand this !

Chaseneh in Vishnitz / Satmar


A great Chaseneh (wedding) is going to take place in Bnei Brak tomorrow (Tuesday).

The daughter of the Vishnitzer Rebbe Israel Hager is getting married to someone from Satmar. The wedding itself is apparently taking place in the Satmarer neighbourhood near Chazon Ish Street.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

חוזרים לכיכר

Last night: Kikar Rabin shortly before the event started.


Thirteen years ago, on a Saturday night in November 1995, the former Israelis Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was shot in front of the stairs of the Tel Aviv Municipality (at the backside of the building). His murderer Yigal Amir then was a law student at Bar Ilan University.

Every year, different organizations hold a memorial service for the assassinated Prime Minister. Usually on the Mozzaei Shabbat after the 4th November. Location: Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv.
The huge square in front of the municipality building where everything happened 13 years.

The Hebrew date is going to be tomorrow (Monday) and Rabin's family is having a private memorial service, including Kaddish, at the Rabin grave on Har Herzl in Jerusalem.

When Rabin was killed in 1995, it was also a Mozzaei Shabbat and I was in Israel at that time. No one not having been here and facing the murder cannot imagine what was going on in our country during the time after. It was a terrible disaster and an awful feeling. A feeling of "What now ? Such things happen in Dallas / Texas but not in downtown Tel Aviv.
Or do they ?
Things got even worse when the police announce shortly after that the killer had been a Jew and not an Arab. Even a religious Jew from Herzliya.

Someone told me yesterday afternoon that all kinds of people will be there at night. I had made the remark that it is probably only the Leftists going but who knows. I went, more or less, on time. The event was due to start at 7.30pm and when I arrived, all my worst expectations came true. The left – wing youth organization "Noar Lomed ve'Oved" was all over the place. A "Meretz" stand (extreme left – wing party) and even "Chadash" (the Arab Knesset party) had opened up a stand. When I passed, I overheard the word "Kivush – Occupation" and everyone can surely imagine how excited I was. Okay, Tel Aviv's municipality is in the middle of an election campaign but letting the Arabs making propaganda at a memorial event ?

Furthermore, the "Shalom Achshaf – Peace Now" movement was there. Nevertheless, many many "normal" participants were there as well, and in the end, we were about 70.000 – 100.000 people.
"Meretz" and "Peace Now" can make as much propaganda in Tel Aviv as they like, in Jerusalem their stands would get stoned after a few minutes. Almost everyone in Jerusalem has either been a victim in a terror attack, witnessed one (as I did) or knows people who were involved. No chance for dreamers and the illusionary left - wingers.

The square was already filled up when I arrived. Thousands of people were there. Mostly the younger ones and young couples or families. The weather was perfect and warm.
I made my round and overheard a few conversations. "Peace Now" handed out stickers, T – shirts and huge signs / posters. There, you could get anything against the settler movement. As if the settlers had killed Rabin.
I found a great spot to stand near the stage; right in front of the VIP entrance. This time, no one took a chance and everyone getting near the stage was checked just like at the airport. We visitors outside just underwent a brief security check.
A screen showed the last speech Rabin made before he was shot. At the same location where we were standing now. Then the Israeli "Superstar – A Star is born" Harel Skadd sang the first song.

It was a nice mixture – Someone made a speech and right afterwards there was music from different Israeli singers and artists. Ran Danker sang and later on, we had to suffer through a song presented by Efrat Gosh. She must have been doped or something, as she was completely in Lala – Land.

The speakers were President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Tel Aviv's mayor Ron Chulda'i and Foreign Minister Zipi Livni. Further screens were set up for the spectators standing far away from the stage. However, I stood very close and I was able to see everyone without the help of a screen.

Shimon Peres claimed that he and all of us miss Rabin. (During his life time, Rabin was Peres' greatest competitor).
And it was only Ehud Barak who got to the point. Reality is that today, we are more far away from peace than ever before. Iran and the Hizbollah want to destroy us and the Hamas has similar plans. Not to forget Gilad Shalit who is still a hostage in Gaza.
Someone standing behind me yelled at Barak: "So, why don't you get him out !"
No response but Barak continued gossiping and cursing the settler movement.
As soon as the name Gilad Shalit was heard, people gave a big applause. In fact, not anyone neither mentioned the real present security situation nor Gilad Shalit at all. Ehud Barak was the only one although he continued with a hateful speech about the religious movements.

Fact is, that Rabin and his Oslo Agreement totally failed. Shimon Peres had left that out of his speech.
The Arab terrorist shooting the students at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem last March, used a weapon handed over from the Israelis to the Palestinian Authority. Thanks to Rabin's agreements.

Who really believes in a mutual peace in Israel ? Haven't we already given up hope a long time ago ? How can you make peace with Palestinians whose only goal it is to get rid of the Jews and occupy all the land by themselves.
Get rid of the Jews, no matter how.

And what would Rabin say if he saw an Ehud Olmert or a Zipi Livni today ? He would turn around in his grave in anger how people misused his peace ideas. Rabin never spoke about dividing Jerusalem or returning the Golan Heights to Syria. He was obsessed with security and as a soldier, he knew what would happen.
And what about Sderot ? Did anyone talk about Kassam rockets at the Kikar last night ?
No, of course not because they were too busy yelling against the Jewish settlers.

Lot's of criticism was spread because the religious population entirely stayed away from the event. Hardly anyone has ever shown up before and won't do so next year. The reason is not that all religious love or identify with the killer Yigal Amir. The reason is that there will never be a peace. Nor the Hamas or Abu Mazen, nor the Hizbollah or anyone else wants peace with Israel. The only thing they want is to destroy us and if we think that we can get a peace through handing them over more and more land, then we are mistaken, stupid and unrealistic. Silly dreamers who will loose everything in the end. Only Meretz & Co. may follow their crazy ideologies and will find themselves without a country one day.

Zipi Livni started her speech with an apology.
She apologized for not having attended the events earlier. When Rabin was killed, she was still a member of the Likud and in those days, the head of the Likud was Benjamin Netanyahu. And it is Netanyahu being accused by the Rabin daughter, Daliah Rabin Pelosoff, of having killed her father.
It was Netanyahu who let his followers swing the posters where Rabin was shown as Hitler or a Nazi.
A crazy accusation but Daliah as well as her mother Leah, stuck to their opinion.

Furthermore, Livni announced that she wants a free democratic country just as everyone else in the world. No religious influence and any rabbis telling the people what to do.
Well, well, she must have completely forgotten that just a few days ago, she went to see the spiritual leader of the Sephardic haredi SHASS party, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. And at the meeting, Zipi covered her hair with a kind of curtain. Just according to the Halacha.
She can announce whatever she likes; fact is that she needs SHASS in her coalition.

None of the leading politicians making a speech referred to today's tense security situation. It was as if everyone lived in the past, 13 years ago.

The worst was a representative from Barak Hussein Obama.
"Who the hell invited this idiot ?"
He told us in his southern American accent that Obama would be Rabin's best friend.
Well, Mister Obama representative, you have no idea what your are claiming. Especially Rabin would never make an Iran deal without any conditions, accept money from the Hamas or divide Jerusalem.
Why was this guy invited at all ? To get some Obama feeling ? The guy just made a fool of himself.

And this was the moment, when many people started going home. Me too, by the way.

About two weeks ago, Yigal Amir gave interviews to the Israeli TV channels Arutz 10 and the Second Israel Channel. The interviews were never broadcasted and now it came out why.
In his interviews, Amir claimed to have shot Rabin only once. The second bullet came from a totally different direction.
The famous conspiracy theory would have reawaken if the interview was shown on TV. According to many people, Rabin wasn't shot by Yigal Amir but only injured. The final shot happened inside his car on the way to Ichilov Hospital. The killer: A Shabak (secret service) agent.