Thursday, April 30, 2009
This morning, a colleague of mine walked in and announced that he shaved his beard due to the Israeli Independence Day. The colleague is national religious and I was just wondering if this is a kind of a custom ?
As we know, men don't shave during the "Counting of the Omer - Sefirat HaOmer" as a sign of mourning. I cannot imagine that it is allowed to shave due to the Israeli Independence Day.
This has nothing to do with anti - Zionism but isn't the fact that someone religious obviously shaved quite strange ?
I didn't get involved when he was telling some other colleagues about his act. However, they seem to be rather pleased.
According to the haredi Site LADAAT, the anti Zionist Neturei Karta as well as some Satmarer Chassidim burnt the Israeli flag on yesterday's Independence Day.
Location: Beit Shemesh (Israel).
The flag burning is taking place every year and according to my opinion the whole procedure is in order to get attention. Public Relation rather than pure ideology. Otherwise the media wouldn't be there all the time. Why inform the press if I really feel like burning a flag ?
Some Haredim are dressed in sackclothes as a sign of mourning. Additionally some ashes are being put on the forehead.
All photos can be viewed here:
Inhabitants of Bnei Brak standing and reading Tehillim (Pslams) during the siren on Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for the Fallen Israeli Soldiers and Terror Victims this Tuesday.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In Israel, the Swine flu is officially called "Swine Flu - Shapat HaChazirim". Haredi society, however, refuses pronouncing the word SWINE or PIG, as it is seen as treife (not kosher, impure).
As soon as you turn on an Israeli haredi radio channel (e.g. Radio Kol Chai from Chassidut Breslov), you hear them reporting about the "Mexican Flu". Simply changing words and transforming the name of the infection into something kosher.
As if the world doesn't have more serious problems than thinking of a kosher name for a disease. Personally, I am considering this name changing as totally crazy and unnecessary.
Since last night, Israel is celebrating its 61th birthday (Independence - Yom HaAtzma'ut). The haredi population doesn't always acknowledge this day as a holiday and just goes on with business as usual. The national religious as well as the secular, however, celebrate without end.
The Mizrachistim had two big events in Jerusalem last night. There were great synagogue services at Mercaz HaRav and at the Great Synagogue. The secular usually have big parties together with pop music concerts.
I went for a Shiur (class) at my Rabbi's home and he celebrated as well. Emphazising what a great accomplishment the State of Israel is even if Meshiach has not yet arrived. However, Rabbi Mordechai Machlis sees the present State of Israel as a corridor to the times of Meshiach.
If anyone is in Jerusalem: The Israel Museum will be for free today. I am going later on and who am I going to meet there ? Mea Shearim.
Usually a visit at the museum is very expensive and haredi families cannot really afford it due to all their children. On Yom HaAtzma'ut, when the visit is free of charge, all of them are storming in. But only looking at the religious section and not at "immodest" paintings.
"Chag Sameach" to all those celebrating Yom HaAtzma'ut !
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The latest haredi cartoon on the gender separation on public buses; especially in the Jerusalem area.
It says on the poster that separate seating at weddings is accepted but separate seating on buses is rejected. The snake on top of the bus is called the "Satanic Orchestra". The bus is representing the no. 2 bus in Jerusalem (from Har Nof to the Western Wall).
As soon as the secular Israeli press as well as the national religious press report about the Haredim and their demand for "kosher" public transportation where men and women sit separate, the public is just jumping. One commentator on the Arutz 7 site wrote that he thought to have entered the "Kabul News" when reading about the separation.
It may be a big issue but, nevertheless, the secular as well as the national religious shouldn't always come up with their stereotype ideas about Haredim. I am not saying that I am in favour of a separation but everyone should deal a little more with haredi society and then proclaim his opinion.
Besides the bus issue, who actually knows anything about haredi society and who is trying to learn ?
Do the national religious have a right doing that after what the Mizrachi movement did to the Chassidim during the Holocaust ?
Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel
The latest Pakshivilim (news posters) from Mea Shearim and other haredi neighbourhoods. All of these three posters deal with the Israeli Independence Day (Yom HaAtzma'ut) starting tonight.
In general, anti - Zionist groups consider the Yom HaAtzma'ut as a day of mourning !
Monday, April 27, 2009
Pictures from the ultra - orthodox neighbourhood of Ge'ulah (near Mea Shearim).
Source "Chadrei HaCharedim"
Exactly one week after "Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Memorial Day", Israel is commemorating its fallen soldiers and terror victims. "Yom HaZikaron" is starting with a two minute siren tonight at 8pm.
Shops and any entertainment (cinemas, cafes, etc.) are closing down early this evening. At around 6pm. Make sure you are doing your shopping before !
At 8pm, a two - minute siren sound will be heard all over the country and people stand still. Afterwards countless memorial services are going to take place. The most famous one is the memorial event at the Kotel (Western Wall) where usually the president, the chief - of - staff, Knesset members and parents of fallen soldiers come together.
Anyone can join this event but make sure to arrive early, as security will be on high alert and space is limited.
Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 11am, another two - minute siren sound will be heard. Schools are offering seminaries and the kids are taken to war museums such as Givat HaTachmoshet in Jerusalem, (Museum of the Six - Day - War, 1967). Furter memorial services are taking place on cemeteries including the one at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
The worst part of the day belongs to the parents of the fallen soldiers and I don't want to know about the private drama going on in each of the families. Yom HaZikaron is always a depressive day because most Israelis knew at least one of the fallen soldiers or terror victims. At the same time we are pretty much aware of the fact that it could be any of us suffering from war or terror.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his own mourning because he lost his brother Jonathan (Yoni) in Entebbe.
Website of the Israeli army IDF (Israel Defense Force)
Army Volunteer Programs
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Vishnitzer Chassidim in Bnei Brak
Almost subject number one in Israeli haredi forums is the Chatzer of Rabbi Israel Hager in Bnei Brak. True or not, there are claims that more and more Vishnitzer Chassidim run over to Rabbi Israel's brother and competitor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager. People state that, so far, approx. 30 Bnei Braker Chassidim changed sides and this seems to be more interesting than the Botte last Erev Shabbat.
At about 11pm, I went to the Tish of the Vishnitzer Rebbe Israel Hager and thought that I would be too late. Too late always means no more space at the Ezrat Nashim (wome's side) or, for sure, no view at the men's section. Already in the surroundding streets near Malchei Israel in Ge'ulah (Jerusalem), plenty of Chassidim were on the move. Almost entirely men and I already had my doubts if there would be a women's section at all.
The Tish (Botte) took place right across the Ruzhin - Boyan Synagogue and I saw a gate where countless Chassidim with their Streimels entered. A woman showed me the sign with an arrow leading to the Ezrat Nashim on the other side of the building. It turned out that the men were outside underneath a blue tent roof whereas the women were standing inside behind the windows watching the Chassidim.
The Ezrat Nashim was a narrow alleyway and most places at the windows were, of course, taken. Right at the beginning I stood on some steps leading down the alleyway and from there I had an amazing view. Hundreds of Chassidim, mostly wearing black coats and white sox, were standing downstairs on their metal benches. A large table (Tish) was placed in the middle were the elderly rabbis sat. Behind were two groups of white plastic chairs and all the rest tried to climb up the metal benches. This wasn't that easy anymore, as it was packed and every time, a Chassid tried to squeeze in, the whole row was moving back and forth.
Some youngsters shipped in a table in order to stand on it and see something. As soon as they put down the table, other Chassidim had jumped up already. A boy brought in a chair, placed it on the table and stood on it. A elderly Chassid stood on the middle table and yelled at everyone to move.
A rock star concert is nothing compared to a Tish of a chassidic rebbe of a large chassidic group. I don't know the Hagers but last Friday night, Rebbe Israel seemed to be the superstar. He, on the other hand, walked in late; at about 11.20pm. In the meantime, another Vishnitzer woman was seriously trying to steal my great place. First, she was squeezing her daughters Gitty and Liby into our row and then she crawled in herself. Another woman behind me just leaned onto my back and I had to bend down even more. I am tall and the windows were low. Gitty was standing on my foot and her mother's wig (Sheitel) was right in my face. When the Rebbe walked in, Gitty's mother got really excited and I saw nothing but a wig.
Rebbe Israel took his seat right below us. He banged his left hand on the table and the Chassidim started their Niggunim (songs).
Many times People had told me about the great Vishnitzer songs but what I heard that night didn't push me off the ground. How could that happen anyway with Gitty standing on my foot ?
I only stayed for the first 30 minutes and then left. I desperately needed to stretch my bones because more and more women leaned against me or pushed. The guys downstairs were even more squeezed in and outside I saw more and more Chassidim just arriving.
However, I have to say that seeing all this hundreds of Chassidim from upstairs was an unbelievable feeling. Overwhelming ! No one can say that there is no spirituality. Besides the pushing and my flat foot.
I promised myself to rather see the Vishnitzer Rebbes in Bnei Brak. I heard that especially Rebbe Israel has a huge Synagogue with two floors of Ezrat Nashim. Hopefully there will be more space and no Sheitel in my face.
Sitting: Rebbe Moshe Yehoshua Hager and his son Rabbi Israel (standing left).
This coming Wednesday (including Tuesday night), Israel is celebrating its 61 Independence Day. Then most Israelis go out into parks or to the beach and celebrate the day with barbecues. Most Israelis, but not all.
Every year we hear the same discussions why many Haredim in the ultra - orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim and other neighbourhoods of Jerusalem ignore the Independence Day. For those Haredim it is just another ordinary week day. Especially Chabad, Satmar and the Neturei Karta see the day as "The Day of the Bones" and as a day of mourning. The name "Day of the Bones" (Yom HaAzamot) is a play on the Hebrew words "Yom HaAzma'ut (Independence Day).
Mea Shearim has two groups not recognizing the present State of Israel: The Neturei Karta as well as the Edah HaCharedit. The Edah is an organization consisting of the chassidic groups Satmar, Toldot Aharon, Dushinsky, Spinka, parts of Breslov, students of the Vilna Gaon, Toldot Avraham Yitzchak and the Mishkenot HaRoim. The Neturei Karta branch in Mea Shearim only consists of a few families living in and close to Beit Hungarin backyard right at Mea Shearim Street. Their most famous activities took place in the fifties and sixties when their two charismatic Rabbis Amram Blau (Bloi) and Aharon Katzenellenbogen were in charge. Today, as in the past, they are not an official member of the Edah HaCharedit but are being represented through the Satmarer chassidim.
According to the two groups, Israel can only exist when the time of the Meshiach has come. Anything else, as the present State today, is a Chilul HaShem (blasphemy). Israel could never be ruled by worldly law but only by Torah and Halachot. As long as Meshiach hasn't arrived, they mostly use the Yiddish language and not the Holy Tongue (Hebrew).
Neturei Karta, Toldot Aharon or Satmar and others do not use state - owned public transportation. They founded their own medical care systems and they refuse to receive any social benefit from the Israeli government. Instead rich Chassidim from abroad, especially New York, support them financially.
Whoever walks through the streets of Mea Shearim on Independence Day will not find any Israeli flags hanging on buildings. There is absolutely no sign of a holiday. Life goes on as normal. 200 meters far away in Yaffa Road, people celebrate, but not so in the chassidic hood. Kids go to school and shops are open.
For many years, I used to celebrate the Israeli Independence Day. I even went to the usual great event, including the Hallel prayer, at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue. Usually their choir is singing and the present Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi speaking. I still celebrate the Independence Day in a way but not as much as I used to.
The change came when more and more people started questioning if this is really the state we want. A state for religious Jews ? The national religious didn't celebrate the day right after many settlers were kicked out of Gush Katif by the Sharon government. Then Olmert came and, again, we didn't have a reason to be proud of our country. Left – wingers and corruption. Now we have Bibi Netanyahu and I admit that he is a better solution than Zipi Livni would have been. However, My celebrations usually include the free visit to the Israel Museum and some hiking. That' s it.
I am not a great Israeli patriot but I am glad that we Jews do have our own country. Especially nowadays with rising anti – Semitism and the outcry for the destruction of the Jews. In particular by Arab countries.
Yesterday, I went through the ultra – orthodox neighbourhood Ge'ulah in Jerusalem and I saw one of the latest Pakshivil (news posters). It really caught my attention and after reading it, I must admit that I couldn't agree more with what it says:
Again, the Zionists are going to celebrate their Independence Day.
Why are they so proud ?
Of men and women dancing together ?
Of a corrupt government giving more and more rights and land to Christian missionaries ?
Of Jews traveling abroad and marrying Goim ?
What kind of a Jewish country is this ?
This Fakshivili is totally right. Especially the new Netanyahu government is accepting millions of donation Dollar form fanatic Christians such as the Evangelists. And the purpose of the Evangelists is the destruction of the Jewish people ! Bringing them to Israel, converting them to Christianity and thus, causing the second coming of their false Meshiach J.
Most of our latest governments didn't stand up against the Christians as once Menachem Begin did. Next month the pope is coming which is even worse. A German pope who used to serve in the Hitler youth and in the German army. And what do important rabbis from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate (Rabbanut) do ? They couldn't stop themselves from meeting the pope. Instead each of the rabbis wants to be in the front row.
Thousands of young Israelis love to travel to the Far East or South American. Many times they come back with a Gentile wife they married on the way. Germans, Indians, South Americans, Philippinas, Chinese, Russians, … Today you can see anything in Israel and those Gentile spouses demand more and more rights. Do they belong here ?
Why are all these Jews ready to marry Gentiles and start looking for other religions ? Instead of checking out they should start checking into Judaism.
What we also have in Israel today is thousands of non – Jewish children where the father is Jewish but the mother is not. Children from mixed couples where the children serve in the army. And those children celebrate Independence Day.
In what kind of a country do we living ?
Is this what G – d wants us to do ?
Although famous rabbis as the Ramban consider it a Mitzwah living in the Land of Israel, bringing in all the Goyim is definitely not one of those Mitzwot but the way to destruction.
In this respect, we cannot be proud of our country and I am not willing to hold a flag with a child from a mixed marriage standing right next to me.
The Talmudic Anti - Zionism
The National Religious accepting Christian money
Friday, April 24, 2009
Time goes by fast and slowly, slowly, each of us starts realizing that no one is getting younger. This feeling I had this morning when I watched the Tel Aviv Marathon. People of all ages participated and in order to satisfy my conscience, I am going to the gym later on.
May next year I will be participating as well and hopefully not be fainting after 100 meters.
Weather in Tel Aviv is getting hot again and summer seems to be right ahead. Far too early, as we desperately need rain.
This afternoon, I am going to Jerusalem because of the Vishnitzer Tish tonight. One of the three present Vishnitzer Rebbes of Bnei Brak is coming to Jerusalem. I guess the reason may be Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the new month of Iyar).
Rebbe Israel Hager is giving his Tish at a Belzer shul behind Boyan (Malchei Israel). I have never been to a Vishnitz Tish but only two a the wedding of a son of Rabbi Ernster two months ago (taking place in Bnei Brak).
"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all of you and also have a great and healthy new month ! Chodesh Tov !
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Parashat Tazria is telling us how we can get (biblical) leprosy and the following Parasha, Parashat Metzora explains us how to get rid of it.
An important reason for this kind of leprosy is "Lashon Harah - slander, gossip".
Usually people understand Lashon HaRah in a way that we shouldn't talk about other people.
That's right but there is also an Issur (prohibition) that we shouldn't talk Lashon HaRah about ourselves !
Putting oneself down is destructive and doesn't lead you anywhere but into a greater depression. In the end, you may give up and just run away. Instead we should all concentrate on our positive abilities, character traits and actions. Concentrate on what you have and not what you may be lacking.
During and shortly after the Holocaust, the Catholic Church stole thousands of Jewish children including their Jewish identity. The Church's task was to transform them into "good Christians". Thus, Jewish children were baptized without even being aware of it. The head of Israel's anti - missionary organization "Yad Le'Achim" Dov Lipshitz says that the Holocaust is still going on until today.
A few weeks before his visit to Israel, Yad Le'Achim demands from Pope Benedict the identification of those children. It is just a disgrace for the Vatican that since the Holocaust, no pope has neither taken responsibility nor published the name of the stolen Jewish children.
On 20 November 1946, Pope Pius XII. sent a letter to Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli (the later Pope John XXIII.) asking him to baptize all Jewish children whose parents hadn't come back to the churches in order to pick up their children.
Especially in Eastern Europe (e.g. Poland) as well as in Belgium, Holland or France, thousands of Jewish parents took their children to facilities belonging to the church in order to save them from the death camps. In many cases the parents were killed and no one ever came to demand the children back. The church right away used the opportunity to missionize and baptize those orphans.
After the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Chief Rabbinate demanded the names and the children. The Vatican, however, kept silent and refused any information on the whereabouts of the Jewish children. On the contrary, according to the weird church mind, the children had to be turned into Christians in order to bring about the second coming of their false Meshiach J.
How absurd because J. himself was a Jew.
All this sounds like a nightmare from the life during the Middle Ages. Inquisition, pogroms, Talmud burnings. The last Pope John Paul II., however, stated that he did not baptize a Jewish child. The same claim was made by Roncalli (Pope John XXIII.). Nevertheless, both of them participated in Pius' plot, as they continued refusing the release of those names.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Henny Machlis is the wife of Rabbi Mordechai Machlis and both are known for the incredible Shabbat hospitality.
Last night, Henny was teaching a small group, as her husband had to participate in a Levayeh (funeral).
The Gemara in the Talmud Tractate Bava Metziah 58b teaches that it is forbidden to call another person by a nickname. As, many times, nicknames are negative, we could ashame the other person. The Marahal of Prague (Rabbi Yehudah Loew ben Bezalel, 1525 - 1609) taught that people giving other people nicknames don't recognize the G – dliness in another person.
All of us were created in G – d's image (Zelem E – lo – him) and no human being has the right criticizing G – d's creation. Furthermore, a person doesn't only consist of his outer appearance but everyone should rather look at the soul (Neshama).
The Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 - 1204) explained in his book "The Guide of the Perplexed – Moreh Nevuchim" the expressions "image - zelem" and "likeness - demuth". When it says in the Torah that we were created in the image of G – d, does G – d then have a body or form ?
G – d does neither consist of any kind of form nor matter but is a being we cannot even comprehend let alone understand. ONE G – d without a beginning and without an end. Creating humans in His image means that we have an intellect. We know the difference between Good and Evil. We are able to communicate with G – d and raise ourselves up to higher levels and thus, get closer to our creator.
Every human being in this world is unique. Why he was created and what his purpose in life is ? This is not our task to question.
Henny's second teaching was regarding the tenth Commandment "Lo Tachmod – Do not desire …".
In Judaism we believe in the Divine Providence. Everything and anything happening to us, in our lives, to the world, is arranged by G – d.
But just a second !
What about our famous Free Will ? Don't we make choices in life ?
As a matter of fact, G – d gives us certain abilities or character traits. Even before we are born He decides if we are going to be rich or poor, intelligent or less bright.
Lets say that we have the choice between two jobs or two professions. One of them will lead us to tremendous wealth but we don't know about it. Only G – d is stipulating it. Suddenly we have the choice and if we choose the other way, all the money is gone. The good thing is that we don't have a clue about it.
As soon as someone desires his neighbours property, wife, money, car, job, etc, he shows that he is not satisfied with the portion in life G – d gave him. Or in other words, he is criticizing G – d.
G – d, on the other hand, provides every human with what he needs and gives him the problems he is able to solve. Why then has my neighbour a nicer car and I am driving around with a wreck ?
Only G – d knows the answer, as He has arranged it this way. However, if we start looking behind the scenes carefully, we may find a reason.
New Pakshivilim are hanging out in Mea Shearim and in the nearby Ge'ulah neighbourhood in Jerusalem.
Every time Bachurei Yeshiva (Yeshiva Students) go on a holiday (e.g. Chol HaMoed Pessach or Sukkot and Purim), some of them are using the opportunity to travel to places like Tiberias. And Tiberias has, as we know, a beach.
Rashe'i Yeshivot (heads of the Yeshivot) are afraid that those students tend to act immodestly. Bathing and maybe alcohol and drugs. The poster is a call for more modesty !
Tomorrow (Thursday) at 4.30pm (time according to daylight changing), another modesty demonstration is taking place. Not really to much demonstrating but rather prayer. More modesty on public buses !
Location: At the square in front of Olam Zhvil (Zhvil Hall).
The poster is signed by:
Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg,
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach,
Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer,
Rabbi Yitzchak Sheiner and others.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Chassidut Vishnitz in Bnei Brak
One of the two Vishnitzer Rebben of Bnei Brak, Rebbe Israel Hager, is coming to Jerusalem this Shabbat (24 - 25 April / Rosh Chodesh Iyar).
The Rebbe will be giving a Tish (in Vishnitz called "Botte") this Friday night.
Location: Behind the Great Synagogue of Ruzhin - Boyan.
Haredi forums react within seconds and someone already reported minutes after the Holocaust Day siren about the secular press running to Ge'ulah (ultra orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem) and taking pictures of Haredim not standing.
The same discussion every years: Why do some Haredim not stand attention to the two - minute - siren sound on Israel's Yom HaShoah ? Everyone else (except Arabs) stand but many Haredim just continue with their business as usual. Because we all live in the State of Israel does it automatically mean that I have to obey any rules connected to it ?
Years ago I was mad when I read in the paper that certain Haredim seem to ignore the sirens but later on I learned to understand why. I just wish that the wider public would learn more about the subject as well instead of getting satisfaction by reading the secular press.
Not everyone is necessarily anti - Zionist or Neturei Karta but in some circles, the date for the Holocaust Day stipulated by the Israeli government is non - acceptable for Haredim. They rather remember the victims of the Holocaust on 10 Tevet or on Tisha Be'Av.
Actually there was a discussion in Israel not too long ago if 9 Av wouldn't be more proper anyway, as especially this day, stands for Jewish suffering.
It may sound naive but my compromise concerning Israel's present Holocaust Day would be that Haredim walking outside their particular neighbourhoods should stand when the sirens go off. It shouldn't be that someone walking around downtown Jerusalem ignores the siren and others stand.
Whereas in Bnei Brak, Beitar or Mea Shearim people can do whatever they like.
Once a haredi woman from the Chatam Sofer group told me that if she hears the sirens, she doesn't stand but sits down and reads Tehillim (Psalms).
"And what do all those people do while standing ?" she asked.
The Talmud Tractate Rosh Hashana 11a teaches us that Adam and Eve (Chava) were created at the age of twenty.
The figure "20" is not necessarily to be taken literally, as the Talmud often gives us figures but actually does it in order to describe something. Twenty could also symbolically mean that the two were created as adults and not as children or teenagers.
There is no time whatsoever for G – d. He always existed and will do so eternally. Time was only created by Him when the world and humans came into existence. After Noach's Flood, the human DNA was changed again. Done as a punishment and from then on, humans had a much shorter life expectancy.
Our Sages explain that ONE day for G – d consists of 1000 human years.
A g – dly year consists of 365.25 g – dly days.
When a g – dly day consists of 1000 human years, then 365.250 human years make up one g – dly year.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Children are in the center of this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day
Until today, there are 280.000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. Israel's daily newspapers report that among those survivors are 60.000 living below the poverty line, and even call upon every Israeli to do some "Cheshbon Nefesh – Thinking about one's mistakes".
This evening (Monday), the opening memorial service for the victims of the Holocaust is going to take place at the Jerusalem Holocaust Museum "Yad Vashem". Six survivors are going to light the candles:
1. Leah Paz, survivor from Poland, born in 1930, survived because her mother pushed her out of the train while going to one of the death camps. Today she is a widow, has two children and six grandchildren.
2. Miriam Schuster, survivor from Serbia, born in 1935, married, three children and eight grandchildren.
3. Solomon Feigerson, survivor from Lithuania, born in 1930, survived KZ Stutthof, married, one son.
4. Esther Devorah Reiz - Mossel, survivor from Holland, born in 1938, was imprisoned in Bergen - Belsen, a widow, three daughters and five grandchildren.
5. The twins Yehudit Barnea and Lia Huber, survivors from Transylvania, born in 1937, were abused in Auschwitz by Dr. Joseph Mengele for medical experiments. Today both are married, have children and grandchildren.
6. Shimon Grinhoiz, survivor from Belarus, born in 1932, married, four children and three grandchildren.
All of them live in Israel.
Schedule for tomorrow's official events (Tuesday 21 April 2009 / 27 Nissan 5769)
10:00 am – All over the country, the sirens will be heard for two minutes. Usually people stand attention and remember the victims of the Holocaust.
10:02 am – Memorial service at the Jerusalem Yad VaShem in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the General – Chief – of - Staff Gabriel "Gabi" Ashkenazi as well as President Shimon Peres.
8:30 am – 3:30 pm – Schools are organizing seminaries and lectures
11 am - "Le Kol Ish Yesh Shem - "Every human has a name". Names of victims will be read in the Knesset.
3 pm – Memorial service for the Hungarian Jewry at Yad VaShem
4 pm – Memorial service for the French victims at Yad VaShem
5:30 pm – Memorial service organized by the Israeli youth and Israel's Minister of Education (Yad VaShem)
6:30 pm - Exchanging thoughts and dialogs in Tel Aviv
8:30 pm – The Jerusalem Theatre is showing the movie "Leharog et Kasztner – Killing Kasztner".
Rudolph Kasztner was a more than controversial figure during the time of the Holocaust. Kasztner was Hungarian and, at that time, the head of the Jewish Agency in Budapest. Many people see him as a hero because he made a deal with the Nazis and organized the famous "Kasztner Train" leading more than 1000 Jews out of Hungary. Hundreds of thousands of other remained in died in the gas chambers.
Others see in Kasztner the devil and as collaborator helping the Nazis killing the remaining Jews.
Later on, Kasztner moved to Israel, got a high governmental position, was taken to court and shot in the middle of a street in Tel Aviv.
I have been collecting material about the "Kasztner Case" in order to write a longer article in the near future. In the meantime I founded a "Kasztner Group on Facebook". A member of this group is part of a new movie coming out and he sent me this link:
"Yom HaShoah" is always a depressive day and the press, TV and radio only publish Holocaust survivors or other documentaries connected to the subject.
In case you are in Israel as a tourist:
Tonight, Monday, shops, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, etc. will be closing earlier. At about 6 pm.
Buses will run as usual.
When the first memorial service begins at Yad Vashem, the "Durban II" conference will be opened in Switzerland. I don't need to say anything on this because everyone knows that one of the greatest Holocaust deniers ever is taking part in it.
Israel, on the other hand, does appreciate that countries such as Italy, Germany, the US, Canada, Holland or Australia are boycotting the anti – Semitic event.
Europe still in Fear
Sunday, April 19, 2009
From the Talmud Tractate Arachin 12b.
All dates are given according to the Jewish calendar and found approval by famous rabbis such as the Chazon Ish, (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, 1878 - 1953), the Rambam (Maimonides - Moshe ben Maimon, 1135 - 1204) as well as Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, 1040 - 1105).
Wandering in the desert (Moshe and the Israelites)
Beginning: 15 Nissan 2449
Length: 40 years
Conquest & Distribution of the Land of Israel
Beginning: 10 Nissan 2489
Length: 14 years
Settlement before the Temples
Beginning: Nissan 2503
Length: 426 years
Beginning: Iyar 2929
Length: 410 years
The first Diaspora (Babylon) after the destruction of the Temple
Beginning: 9 Av 3338
Length: 70 years
Beginning: 24 Kislev 3409
Length: 420 years
Last Diaspora after the destruction of the Second Temple
Beginning: 9 Av 3829
Tomorrow night, the Israel's annual "Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day" is starting. At 8pm, the famous event at the Yad VaShem is going to take place. On Tuesday morning at 10am, sirens will be heard nationwide.
There are people in this world who think that after Auschwitz, anti - Semitism doesn't really exists but what does exist is everyone's right to jump on Israel. Even more than 60 years after the Final Solution, the world has learned nothing.
Here is another example of the new / old anti - Semitism. A Hamas cleric claiming that the Jews are destined to extermination:
I love to eat cheese and one of my favourite ones is the moldy blue coloured cheese. Some people may be disgusted by that but I really do love it; especially together with fresh bread.
The Israeli dairy company Tnuva is generally kosher "Le'Mehadrin" and some products are even "Badatz - Beit Din Zedek". However, the moldy cheese I buy from them contains "Chalav Nochri Powder".
I really love the cheese and, in case of emergency, could definitely find something else. Once I heard that, according to kabbalistic sources, any Chalav Nochri damages a Jewish soul (Neshama). So, I guess it will be the same with Chalav Nochri Powder.
Anyone has an idea on that ?
The idea of using Chalav Nochri does bother me but maybe someone is able to come up with a good explanation. Saying that it is fine or just the opposite. Whatever …
"The Mythmaker - Paul's Invention of Christianity"
A great book everyone should read !!!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Israel is going to remember the Holocaust victims next week, and this time, I am also planning to write something in English and not most of the articles in the German language.
Hundreds of thousands of Chassidim died in the Holocaust and especially the Chassidim themselves don't really write about the subject. One famous example suffering through the Holocaust was the Klausenberger Rebbe Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam. The Satmarer Chassidim insist on mentioning their founder Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum although he got out on time on the Kasztner Train. The first wife of his nephew Moshe, however, was killed in Auschwitz.
Another group always referring to their previous Rebbe when it comes to the Holocaust are the Belzer Chassidim. I think it is FELDHEIM publishing a book about Rebbe Aharon Rokeach and his escape from the Gestapo. Nevertheless, hardly any other Rebbe is so full of doubt when it comes to the Shoah. Did the Belzer Rebbe intend saving the lives of his Chassidim and was he really such a great hero ?
I have been collecting some material and perhaps it will bring some light into all kinds of accusations.
This Shabbat I am going to spend in Jerusalem and hopefully I will make it to the Belzer Tish starting at 11pm. I haven't been there for quite a while and this is the reason I am going. The Belzer are extremely organized and the entire Tish is perfectly arranged.
Enjoy your Shabbat wherever you are:
Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes ! And don't forget enjoying all the Chametz which is now allowed.:-)
Thursday, April 16, 2009
President Barak Hussein Obama sent George Mitchell to the Middle East in order to negotiate a solution for the State of Israel and a Palestinian State existing side by side.
Here we are again. Now Obama is bothering us and claiming to know everything better. Especially someone called Barak "Hussein"; as a Muslim, Obama is believed to show much more sympathy for his Muslim brothers than to the Jews. Usually Pajama Media has great articles about Obama the vast majority of Americans don't really notice because they stick to the idea that Obama is the greatest superstar.
Almost each country in this world is demanding from Israel to make more concessions but forget that especially the former prime ministers Barak and Olmert were ready to give away half of our country. However, Arafat and now Abu Mazen refuse because their goal is to get the entire territory and throw the Jews out.
Israel has to make concessions but Fatah - terrorists try making attacks in Tel Aviv. The same Abu Mazen you talk to is sending out terrorists to kill Israelis. Abu Mazen wants the settlements to disappear but, at the same time, Israeli police should tolerate illegal Arab houses in East Jerusalem.
As soon as Jews want to pray on the Temple Mount (Har HaBait), the Arabs make another fuss. Today, lots of Chabadnikim wanted to pray on the Temple Mount which was then closed off by the Israeli police due to Muslim threats.
Or to say it in other words: Obama is looking for Achmadinejad's brotherhood, wants a Palestinian state which wouldn't recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abu Mazen can send terrorists and Jews have to keep away from the Temple Mount.
Why doesn't Obama move to Teheran ?
The most famous incident of Parashat Shemini is the tragic death of the two sons of Aharon HaCohen, Nadav and Avihu.
The two bring a "strange fire" into the Mishkan and the Talmud states that, as they died, their souls just left their bodies. However, there are so many different commentaries on why Nadav and Avihu had to die. Some claim that they were drunk, others say that the two wanted to take over leadership from Moshe and Aharon; it was a punishment for them for not getting married and becoming to arrogant. Another reason is that they simply were so terribly overwhelmed that they wanted to get closer to G - d and didn't think about the consequences.
The Apter Rav, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (1748 - 1825), actually said that each of us should get closer to G - d in stages. Uplift our souls (Neshamot) step by step and not just running into everything.
Through Torah Mitzwot you may raise higher and higher but do it slowly and at your pace. No rush but "mi madrega le'madrega - one step after the other". Only this way you succeed and even if there are many Mitzwot today, you don't understand, reject or simply think that they are unnecessary, don't give up hope that one day you may fulfill and understand them. If you are not on the level now, don't just forget about the main goal - maybe getting to a higher level and understanding the this particular law you once rejected.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Enjoy the last day of Pessach (at least the last day in Israel) .
To be honest, I am quite sick of checking all kinds of food for Kitniyiot. The worst is that most items do contain them; even my favourite Israeli "Milky" (chocolate pudding). Milky contains corn and don't ask me why.
Tomorrow night, we will be done with Pessach. Tonight, however, it is going to be spiritual, as there are plenty of chassidic Tishes in Mea Shearim. The most famous one is the one at the Toldot Aharon where the Rebbe is dancing in front of his Chassidim. A very special event only taking place once a year.
"Chag Sameach - Gut Yom Tev" to all of you !
Monday, April 13, 2009
Handing out missionary pamphlets, brochures or the New Testament in Israel is forbidden according to the law. However, fanatic Christian missionaries don't care about any laws or rules. They only see themselves and their vicious "righteousness".
Not for the first time, I found a New Testament (in Hebrew) and two further missionary books (written by a messianic Jew) laying around in a public place in Tel Aviv. And for me, it is also not the first time dumping all of this creepy material into the depths of a trash can. I remember doing this and enjoying myself after finding at least twenty New Testaments at the "Laundry Place" in Jerusalem's Shammai Street.
Some Christians may hate me for doing so and wishing me to hell. Nevertheless, we Jews have a Halacha commanding us to destroy any idol - worship missionary literature meant for Jews. Destroying either by burning or throwing everything into the garbage. See here !
Next time I find something, hopefully the trash can won't be standing too far away !
The famous Laniado Hospital in Netanya was founded by the even more famous Klausenburger (Klausenberger) Rebbe Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam. The Rebbe was a Holocaust survivor and lost all of his children as well as his wife in the gas chambers. After the war, he married again and thus, founded a new family.
Later on in his life, he also moved to Israel where he founded the haredi neighbourhood of KIRYAT ZANZ in Netanya.
These days I am going to write a longer article about the Klausenburger Rebbe.
Here a video describing the "Laniado Hospital":
Chassidim and the Holocaust
Sunday, April 12, 2009
A big difference between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is the "garbage". This sounds like a ridiculous statement but those who live or have been to Jerusalem know what I mean. As soon as you go downtown or to the Machane Yehudah Market (Nachlaot area), the streets are screaming out: Garbage and rats.
Unfortunately, the municipality doesn't have much money to keep the city clean and tidy. Hardly anything green unless you go to certain neighbourhoods for the upper middle class.
Tel Aviv is basically kept clean and there are plenty of trees, flowers, nice parks; all this raising the quality of life in the city. Obviously there is some money and the municipality is trying to make everyone feel more comfortable. The same is happening in most of the coastal places north of Tel Aviv. Look at Herzliya or look at Netanya.
Today was my first trip to Netanya after some years. Pessach is the time for trips and I chose seeing Netanya with its great beach and its famous chassidic neighbourhood: Kiryat Zanz.
If you want to go to the famous city about 50 km north of Tel Aviv, you should take the bus from Tel Aviv's Central Bus Station (in case you are coming from Tel Aviv). Someone recommended the train to me but this would have cost me too much time and too many efforts.
What I didn't know was that the state - owned bus company EGGED only has one line to Netanya: No. 641 via Petach Tikwah. Everything else is taken over by a private bus company called "Nativ".
I took the Nativ bus no. 605 and was surprised about the cheap bus fare. Only 9 Shekels (less than 2 $). However, the ride to Netanya took us quite some time due to all the traffic jams.
In former years I had got the impression that Netanya is almost entirely English speaking. However, today the French seem to have taken over. Even or especially the local real estate market.
Compared to Tel Aviv, Netanya has a religious touch which was pleasant. At least all the restaurants and cafes were "kosher for Pessach". I couldn't believe it. It was just a great feeling. When I returned to Tel Aviv some time later, I first had to get used to checking out all the food once again.
Netanya is easy to manage by foot. The Central Bus Station is in the city center and from there, just walk around Weizman or up Herzl and you will find cafes and shopping malls. Up Herzl is also the direction to the beach surrounded by a great park.
The beach is basically clean but pay attention to the water. The further you walk up north, the cleaner the water gets.
Kiryat Zanz is up Weizman and in the heat, I didn't really get that far. So, I missed a closer look at Chassidut Zanz - Klausenburg but will do so some time later.
Besides Chassidut Zanz I found something else: Right near the Central Bus Station was a place called: Beit Meshiach 770 -
and guess to whom this belonged to !!!
There isn't too much to do but Netanya is worth a trip. Even for a few hours. In case you want a nicer beach or simply escape the hectic life of Tel Aviv, just take the bus to Netanya. Either from the Central Bus Station of from the Azrieli Towers.
Netanya: Between beach and mall
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Tel Aviv Film Festival is taking place from April 11 - April 30, 2009. One of the main subjects are Austrian movies and one really good documentary seems to be the one about the "House of Sigmund Freud" (Vienna, Berggasse 19). Kurt Mayer succeeded in interviewing many of the former neighbours of Freud; as well as talking to the new inhabitants of the building.
In Sigmund Freud's days, about 80 Jews used to live in the building of whom the majority was deported and killed in concentration camps. The Israeli daily MAARIV interviewed Kurt Mayer and he claimed that the vast majority of Austrians in those days knew exactly that the Jews were being killed.
Freud’s Lost Neighbors (Austria 2006)
Dir: Kurt Mayer
The film traces the history of Sigmund Freud’s neighbors from 1938 to today. While Freud and his closest relatives managed to leave Vienna in time, more than 80 of his immediate Jewish neighbors were deported to extermination camps between 1939 and 1942. Before they were deported, they stopped off at several locations in Vienna. This very special film about Vienna starts off at Berggasse 19 and heads for these places, thereby tracing the routes which were used in the course of “Aryanization” right under the eyes of the Viennese people. Therefore the house in Berggasse 19 – a fixed point in any visitor’s program of Jewish Vienna – is not only the “birthplace of psychoanalysis”. It also is a cinematic point of reference for an additional identity-creating culture of remembrance which tries to overcome the post-war consensus of “repression”, a concept first described by Freud himself. The Director will be present at the screening.
(90 min., Ger., Eng.& Heb. Sub)
The Tel Aviv grocery chain AM:PM has been boycotted by the Edah HaCharedit as well as by the Chassidut Gur.
AM:PM belongs to the Israeli Dor Alon - Group which also owns the haredi grocery chain SHEFA SHUK. Boycotting AM:PM is useless for the Haredim, as hardly anyone of them is buying there but boycotting the SHEFA SHUK is much more efficient. If Dor Alon isn't closing its AM:PM on Shabbat, SHEFA SHUK won't be on the haredi shopping list anymore.
After an endless war, AM:PM did something surprising this Pessach, and all Israeli Haredim should listen to this: All AM:PM branches are "kasher le'Pessach" !
They only sell "kasher le'Pessach" products (Kidniyiot and no - Kidniyiot) but no Chametz.
I spoke to one of the staff members and she told me that actually I am the first one in their branch noticing that they are kosher for Pessach.
Although the AM:PM is still open on Shabbat, it should be appreciated that they keep kosher on Pessach, as many other places in Tel Aviv don't !
Friday, April 10, 2009
This Shabbat in Tel Aviv !
Who says that one cannot celebrate a religious Shabbat in the "Holy City"of Tel Aviv when there is Chabad ?
Just joking !
Anyway, it is possible to keep Pessach and Shabbat in the "City that never Sleeps" although it is harder than in Jerusalem. But if you look for spirituality you can also find it here.
Israelis love to travel and so they do on Pessach. Parks, beach and any other sites are packed.
Have a great holiday and a great Shabbat.
"Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameach - Gut Shabbes & Yom Tev" !