Sunday, August 30, 2009
This morning, I left quite early for Hebron. I have never really been there except for passing through on a bus and getting stoned. This was years ago but Hebron still shows lots of tentions. The city is divided between Jews and Arabs. The Jews only possess a quarter of the city and I always had to be careful where to walk and depended on Israeli soldiers showing me the way. Once I didn't feel too save because I was surrounded by Arab kids and teenagers but I remeained calm and just kept on walking.
My main destination was, of course, the Ma'arat HaMachpelah" where our forefathers and Adam and Eve (Chava) are buried. I was shocked because there were old green covers made out of fabric covering the graves of Avraham and Sarah. The covers had a golden inscription in Arabic. I had not expected the Machpelah looking so Arab in its design. As expected, the "Yitzchak Hall" was closed and only accessible for Arabs.
Why Yitzchak ? Why not Avraham ? What do Muslims have to do with Yitzchak ?
I am still on a little vacation but I am going to give lots of details on Hebron this week.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Going to Jerusalem this afternoon. As usual.
I am going to remain there for a few days, as I am having some appointments and jobs to do.
First of all, on Sunday I am going to Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The only time I have ever been to Hebron was in December 1988. Then I was on a bus from Beersheva to Jerusalem passing Hebron and getting stoned by Palestinians. I have never ever been at the "Ma'arat HaMachpelah - Graves of our forefathers". It is a shame but it never worked out. I haven't been to Kever Rachel (Rachel's grave) either.
Now I am going to catch up a little and will travel around a bit on Sunday and Monday. Therefore, I may not be on the Internet and only come back on Tuesday. Next Tuesday , vacation time is over and I will be back blogging just as usual. Including a report about Hebron and the second lecture of Rabbi Tuvia Singer's anti missionary series.
"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to everyone !
It just occurred to me: Israeli Haredim only call the swine flu "Mexican Flu", as any mentioning of pigs is inappropriate. I completely forgot about this fact but I am going to continue using the name "swine flu".
Yesterday (Thursday) three people died of swine flu in Israel. A 66 - year - old woman from abroad suffering from cancer. A 22 - year - old man from Kiryat Arba died at Jerusalem's "Shaarei Zedek Hospital" and a 60 year - old man died at the "Rambam Hospital" in Haifa.
So far, 16 people have died of swine flu in Israel.
The summer vacation is still on in Israel although some religious schools have already started their new year. Most Israeli kids, however, are going to start their new year in school next Tuesday (1 September). September 1, has an important tradition and even the media has been reporting about it for the past week. How the kids buy their new books, their pens or their note books.
Israel is a small country and everything seems to be so incredibly important.
The Israeli school system is not for free and I am not used to that. Where I grew up in Germany, every student receives a FREE education and only later pays a small fee; in case he is going to study at the university.
I have no clue of how religious Israeli parents can afford having all their kids in school. The national religious are probably better off than their haredi counter parts. Usually national religious parents work and have much better jobs (due to their education) than haredi parents. I am referring here to Israelis and not those academic Haredim who made Aliyah from abroad !
I was told that if religious parents get a reduction when they have a few children at the same school. But still, how do haredi parents manage buying all these new books, pens, backpacks or note books ?
September 1 always means a financial disaster for parents and right afterward, ususally Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year) starts and the holiday is another financial chaos. Nevertheless, education is important in any society today. Our ancestors probably understood this very well in their times. Just look at the Rambam or the Vilna Gaon who knew any kind of science including mathematics and astronomy. Today, unfortunately, especially Israeli haredi education has a total lack of those studies and thus qualified people. Just look at the Bagrut (high school degree) of the haredi girl's school Beit Yaakov: Here the girls finish school with a Bagrut but it is a special one and not accepted at Israeli universities. Their national religious counterparts or the secular finish off with a regular Bagrut and are allowed to go to the universities.
What kind of a life has an female Israeli haredi woman ? From the beginning limited in her education ?
Okay, her goal is to have a family but nevertheless, if any of the those girls has the abilities, why not developing her G - d given qualities ?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Israeli tax authorities are preparing for an attack on Rabbis who, for many years, have been receiving donations and other financial gifts from their communities or visitors. In particular "Kabbalists" and Rabbis taking any kind of money blessings; even for weddings or Bar Mitzvahs.
One of the most negative examples of such Rabbis is the Breslover Baal Teshuva Rabbi Eliezer Berland. Whoever wants to meet him, has to pay 1000 Dollar in Cash. If you don't have any money, don't even try meeting him, as you are being turned away. Only money makes the world go around !
Rabbi Berland has never been accepted by the original Breslover movement located in Mea Shearim and thus, founded his own Baal Teshuva institute. His only receiving people paying 1000 Dollar has been causing a big controversy even among his students. I heard that some kind of riots took place and that a private security company is now protecting the Rabbi.
A further cash cow is the Yemenite Baal Teshuva Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak. As a Rabbi, he doesn't necessarily play a role in the Israeli rabbinic world. Some time ago he discovered that there is plenty of money to make abroad. He began traveling and giving his lectures. One of my German speaking readers let me know that after a lecture in her / his country, Amnon Yitzchak would only give out blessings for money. Another famous self – appointed Kabbalist accepting money is Rabbi Yaakov Ifergan from Netivot.
Left: Amnon Yitzchak
Just recently, people from the tax office went to a certain Rabbi and asking him for a blessing but first, the Rabbi wanted 500 Shekels (approx. 120 Dollar) cash. He was quite surprised when those visitors identified themselves as employees from the tax office.
Rabbis are allowed to take money in order to support themselves. However, demanding 1000 Dollar as Rabbi Berland does, is totally out of place. Can you imagine how much money have Rabbis been receiving over the years ? Everything for their own pocket although their followers claim that most of it is for the Mosdot. This may be true but what about those Rabbis driving around in Jaguars or other posh cars ? Flying first class and staying at luxury hotels ?
I support the initiative of the tax authorities because the whole donation issue is getting out of control. By the way, what is it today anyway ? Donations or even bribery (in some cases) ? Can a person from the outside buy the Rabbi and influence the entire movement (chassidic group or community) ?
Every tax office in the world should do the same, as Rabbis from everywhere receive money without making an official claim ! Also those ones living in Israel but lecturing abroad.
Now, before Rosh HaShana, usually people have their Mezuzot as well as their Tefillin checked by a Sofer Stam (scribe). Nobody wants to start the New Year with an unkosher Mezuza or pair of Tefillin where a letter is missing or half erased.
According to Halacha, all letters have to be in perfect condition and, in case the ink disappears, the letter has to be rewritten (fixed). Only then, Mezuza or the Tefillin are kosher.
How to put on Tefilin
How to hand up a Mezuza
A few days ago, a truck coming from Ramallah and transporting 1600 kg meat to Jerusalem was caught by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture. The Palestinian driver was known to the police and already has a criminal record. The meat on the truck neither had any valid date of expiry nor a Hechsher (kosher certificate). It was supposed to be sold in Jerusalem where the customers would think that it is fresh kosher meat.
Especially now before the high holidays (Rosh HaShana this years starts on the evening of the 18th September), food prices just jump. The prices on the Machane Yehudah Market in Jerusalem are ridiculously high and, at the moment, the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv is still affordable. Some colleagues from the bakery that the best and cheapest place for buying food in Jerusalem is the "Ramy Levy" chain in the Talpiot neighbourhood. "Ramy Levy" would be so cheap and not a cheat like Machane Yehudah.
Prices for fish, pomegranates, honey, meat, fruit and vegetables are expected to rise even more a week before Rosh HaShana, and I would recommend that you should start your shopping for the Chag (holiday) soon.
Authorities, however, gave out the warning that the inhabitants of Jerusalem should only buy your meat at places you know. Otherwise they may end up with old rotten non - kosher meat from Palestinians.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Lubavitch (Lyubavichi) is the name of a village near Smolensk in Belarus. Here the Chassidut Chabad was actually founded.
The second Lubavitcher Rebbe Dov Ber moved to Lubavitch in 1813. Years later, in 1879, the "Tomhei Temimim" Yeshiva opened. With the end of the Russian Revolution, the Lubavitch history in the Lubavitch village came to an end but the name has remained famous until today.
In March 1940, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Yitzchak Schneersohn, moved to New York and founded the Lubavitch headquarter in Crown Heights / Brooklyn. A year later, his son – in – law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, arrived in Crown Heights. Rabbi Menachem Mendel became the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe after the death of Rabbi Joseph Yitzchak in 1950, and he turned the Lubavitch movement into the empire we know today. Actually the very first Lubavitcher in New York, Rabbi Israel Jacobson, had already arrived in 1925. He immigrated from Russia to the United States.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (died in June 1994)
Today we know Lubavitch through all it's Chabad branches, the famous "Chabad Houses", all over the world. Maybe even on the moon, as someone once sarcastically claimed. The Lubavitcher annual budget is more than 100 Million Dollar. The movement has about 100,000 followers and only the Chassidut Satmar is bigger than Chabad. Satmar is the biggest chassidic group in the world.
Chabad (Lubavitch) stresses the teaching that the Shechinah (G – d's presence) is everywhere on earth, and that there is a communication between the Creator and His Creation. The concept is based on the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov who saw G – d everywhere and in anything. Lubavitch is a system oft philosophical structure that teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator through wisdom (Chochmah), understanding (Bina), and knowledge (Da'at). The Hebrew initials of those three attributes make up the word "Chabad".
The movement is extremely busy doing outreach. Assimilated Jews should be brought back to their Jewish heritage, meaning the Jewish tradition. Isolated communities all over the world are provided with books, kosher food or Pessach Mazzot. Especially during the high holidays, Chabad is very active in almost any country you can imagine.
One of the main Chabad goals is to enable every single Jew doing at least one Mitzvah, as this, according to the last Luvabitcher Rebbe, would get him a place in the World to Come (Olam HaBah). This is why Chabad is concentrating so much on putting on Tefillin or handing out Shabbat candles to women. When secular Jews get to know about more about their Jewish identity and tradition, they may not intermarry. In countries like the US or England, unfortunately, intermarriage is a big issue and many Jews have been lost. Once a Jewish guy marries a Christian girl, this is it. His lineage is dead, as his children will be Gentiles and not Jewish anymore. A terrible disaster in today's Jewish world.
Left: Rabbi Joseph Yitzchak Schneersohn. Standing: His son - in - law Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Photo: Shira Bat Devorah
The Lubavitcher editing company "Kehot Publication Society" is one of the largest Jewish editing companies. Let alone the Website CHABAD.ORG attracting many readers all over the world.
The house of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe contains one of the greatest libraries. The Rebbe was collecting rare books but, unfortunately, not everyone is allowed to go in today. The Meshichistim (those believing the last Rebbe is the Meshiach) rule over the house at 770 Eastern Parkway / Crown Heights and it is them deciding who can come in and who has to stay outside.
The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe Joseph Yitzchak Schneersohn had no son but "only" two daughters:
Chaya Moushka married the seventh Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. They had no children !
The older daughter Chana married Rabbi Shemarya Gourary. The two had one son: Rabbi Shalom Ber Gourary called Barry.
There were always at least some people in the movement who saw Barry Gourary as the true heir of Rebbe Joseph Yitzchak but Barry was obviously more busy with his studies in physics.
In 1984, Barry Gourary stormed the library in 770, took out some valuable books and sold them. Later on, a court verdict said that he has to stop this and return the books.
Barry Gourary died on 3 March 2005. He didn't have his own children but two adopted ones. During his life time, Barry Gourary already had left Chabad. There are some of his publications in physics you can find on the Internet today. About Chabad he said that today the movement consists of charisma, blessings and dollars. Especially dollars.
It wasn't only Barry Gourary leaving Chabad. At the time of Rebbe Joseph Yitzchak, a whole split took place and a new small chassidic group cam into existence: the MALACHIM. However, I am going to write a separate article on the "Chabad rebel" Rabbi Chaim Avraham Dov Ber HaCohen Levine and his Malachim.
The Malachim exist until today and are located in Williamsburgh / Brooklyn. The group is not very famous though. Several times, Chabad had tried to missionize the rebels but without too much success. Some Malachim are still independent and others have joined the Chassidut Satmar.
"The Encyclopedia of Hasidism"
By Tzvi M. Rabinovicz
By Jerome R. Mintz
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Together with a friend, I traveled to Sderot a week ago. Although the small Negev town is famous all over the world, hardly any tourists or visitors go there. Maybe more journalists as soon as there are more Kassam rocket attacks. The last Kassam alarm (Zewa Adom - Colour Red) took place about four weeks ago. Since it has been relatively quiet but you never know. The whole situation can change within minutes when the Hamas in Gaza is freaking out again.
Sderot is the only place in Israel where the alarm "Zewa Adom" is given. During the past Gaza War, cities like Ashdod, Beersheva, Ashkelon or Netivot had sirens going off as soon as more rockets and missiles were flying in from Gaza. In Sderot, however, a female voice is just saying repeatedly "Zewa Adom, Zewa Adom …". Then the inhabitants run into the bomb shelters (Miklatim), ignore the alarm or lean against a wall protecting their faces with their arms. Nevertheless, after more than eight years of Kassam terror, the people in Sderot seem to have got used to the alarm.
We left Tel Aviv early in the morning and were surprised finding a direct bus going down to Sderot from the Central Bus Station. The bus is not run by Egged but by the private bus company "Metropolin" and a ticket to Sderot only costs 16 Shekels (approx. 3 Dollar). The bus ride usually goes through towns like Yavne (south of Rehovot), Sderot, Netivot until the final stop Beersheva.
The bus left Tel Aviv half empty but, after a while, more and more people got on. Especially in Yavne where many Ethiopians live and wanted to travel to the next market. Some soldiers were among the passengers. I heard one of them saying that he is stationed in Kfar Aza (Gaza Village near the border to Gaza). The landscape we saw was also surprising. It may sound naive but I had expected sand and desert just like around Beersheva. I was wrong and, instead, everything was green. We passed fields and lots of green. It was a hot sunny day with a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius. Maybe something like above 90 Fahrenheit.
The Negev town Sderot is not as small as many people think. It includes many new neighbourhoods with nice houses surrounding the city center. Many palm trees and lots of green right next to countless bomb shelters.
Bomb shelter in Sderot
Before we got to Sderot I had thought about what would happen if there was a Kassam rocket alarm. Would we know where to go to ? As soon as you get to Sderot, you know exactly what to do and where to go, and you don't need to ask. The bomb shelters are just everywhere. Even the bus stops are bomb shelters. In case an alarm is taking place, you just go inside the bus stop consisting out of concrete.
We were told that some of those bunkers were financed by American Christians. Those calling themselves "Friends of Israel" who are as fanatic as the Evangelists and whose only goal is to proselytize Jews. It is a shame that Sderot is accepting their money and should rather refuse it, as fundamental Christians always have a vicious goal in mind.
As you can imagine, there is not much to do in Sderot. They have a small shopping center but my favourite "Aroma Cafe" was not at sight. Instead we walking into an Aroma imitation called "Coffee to Go". We called our friend David who has been living in Sderot for quite a while now. David is an American writer who had made Aliyah some time ago and sometimes published in the "Jerusalem Post". He also wrote a book about Dutch and Russian prostitutes.
Actually my friend and me had hoped that Sderot was much cheaper than Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Beforehand, we had considered some shopping but prices turned out to be almost the same as everywhere else in the country.
David arrived at the "Coffee to Go" and told us about the daily life in Sderot: Since the Kassam terror has started more than eight years ago, eight people were killed by the rockets. Being directly hit by a rocket is very unlikely; especially when your drive in a car. However, once it happened and a car got a direct hit. The driver was killed on the spot. Otherwise people are more afraid of shrapnel's flying all over the place after a Kassam is exploding. As soon as Zewa Adom is given, you have 12 - 15 seconds finding shelter. Sometimes less and sometimes more. The children of Sderot are suffering most from the rocket terror. Bedwetting is not an unusual sign of having a trauma.
The three of us went to the local market and along the streets near the police station. We passed the Hesder Yeshiva and David explained us where Kassam rockets his houses.
If you just come to Sderot in order to see damages caused by rocket hits, you are at the wrong place. Damaged buildings are repaired immediately but then the inhabitants are facing another obstacle called bureaucracy. Until the State of Israel is finally paying for the damage, it will take a while.
The city center has quite a few snack bars, restaurants and mini markets. Later on, we went sat down to have a Falafel. Afterwards we were passing a park where David showed us another spot where a rocket had hit. The hole is now full of concrete but we could still see the signs of the shrapnel's. The most favourite site for foreign visitors to Sderot (especially journalists) is the local police station. They have a huge collection of Kassam rockets but what we didn't know is that you have to book a visit in advance. As a result we didn't get to see the collection but pictures are on the Internet anyway.
Collection of Kassam rockets at the police station
After more than three hours of walking around in the sun, we left for Netivot. My friend and I stood at one of those bomb shelter bus stops and took a Sherut to the 11km far away town Netivot. The place where the famous Moroccan Rabbi Israel Abuchazera (the Baba Sali) is buried.
We got off the Sherut far too early and had to walk down all the way to the grave (Kever). Of course, we got lost on the way but what we found was our bus stop for the way back to Tel Aviv. Never forget, there is a reason for everything; there is even a purpose for you getting lost.
We asked some people and finally got on the right track.
The grave is inside a building complex. There is a bigger yard in the middle, surrounded by the building complex. Some Sephardic families were holding their barbecues and we sat also sat down. Totally sweaty and exhausted having some water. A French Sephardic family sitting next to us invited us for a cold coke, water melon and even for a whole meal. Sephardic Jews are very into food and offer it to anyone. We took the coke and the water melon and moved on to the Kever. I was in pants but had brought a skirt. Just in case ! However, the Sepharadim are different and, in some cases, more open than Ashkenazim. I saw quite a few women running around in pants and thus, I didn't change my clothes.
Left: The Baba Sali, Rabbi Israel Abuchazera.
We took the women's entrance and walked along a long alleyway to the room with the huge tombstone. Chairs were set up and several women sat and said Tehillim (Psalms). We started doing the same, as suddenly a woman came up to us and offered more food. Nuts, raisins and I don't remember what else. Cold drinks were passed and as we didn't take enough food, the woman squeezed more raisins into our hands.
Next to the Baba Sali grave, in a separate room, was the grave of Miriam Abuchazera, the Rabbi's second wife. On our way out, we passed a Rabbi sitting in a small office - like room who gave out blessings. My friend got excited and asked for one. The sign outside said that the Rabbi was a grandson of the Baba Sali.I translated the blessing for he, as she doesn't know Hebrew and the Rabbi didn't know any English. Suddenly he ran after her and said that he can see something hidden in her. A problem ? He would make a special Tikun (soul rectification).
The building complex of the Baba Sali grave
My friend got totally carried away and had one of these mystical experiences. I am not really into those blessings or easy to impress. So, I made a joke about it but she claimed that something took place and the Rabbi really got her.
Outside was a small souvenir shop and people had warned me before the trip that the Baba Sali's weird son, the Baba Baruch, was in charge of the grave and it's surroundings. He would sell water which would be a fraud. Nevertheless, we bought some of the "blessed olive oil" in a little plastic bottle. It was only 6 Shekels ( a little more than a Dollar). Not for eating but for health purposes.
The women's site
I immediately started putting some blessed oil on my face, as I was burnt from the sun. And guess what !
It helped ! I am not saying it was holy but rather refreshing on the skin.
By the way, water was not sold but only oil, Arak and tiny Tehillim books.
Afterwards we went back to Tel Aviv having the blessed olive oil in our pockets. In the end, we were glad that we went and the trip was great. A great experience (spiritual for my friend) and a lot to see.
What else do you want ?
Sderot Media Center
This Sunday, Rabbi Tuvia Singer started his new lecture series at the "Israel Center (OU) in Jerusalem. Tuvia Singer is famous for bringing Jews who had converted to Christianity back to their Jewish roots and for discovering the lies of the church within the Christian New Testament.
The hall where he gave the first of a four – part lecture series was full and some people interested even stood outside in the hallway. Christians were also there and it was clear that some of them really wanted to hear what the original Jewish sources say.
Rabbi Tuvia Singer began with the American politician Pat Robertson who is a fundamental Evangelist who ran for presidency a few years ago. Tuvia Singer stressed that "fundamental" in this context stands for "sticking to one's religious roots and traditions".
Pat Robertson was once interviewed by a Jewish journalist who asked him if Jews not believing in J. would all go to hell. Robertson answered with a snag which the journalist didn't notice.
"If the Jews keep all 613 Mitzvot and don't sin, they will be saved because the keep the Mosaic law".
I admit that I am having serious difficulties understanding Christian ideology and expressions. Not only me but someone from the audience asked what this means "to be saved". Saved from what ?
"From the fire in hell", replied Tuvia Singer. It says in Christian sources that someone not believing would go to hell. He gave the exact sources but I must admit that I didn't write them down, as I am not interested in such crazy ideas and terminology. I just don't get such schizophrenic concepts which have absolutely nothing do to with Judaism but are only based on a Jew – hating Hellenist called the Apostle Paul.
Tuvia Singer said that Christianity doesn't believe that there could be any human being on this planet keeping the 613 Mitzvot. Only J. could do so and this is why people need him and thus will be saved. Christians are not bound to Mitzvot and just have to believe.
An easy lazy concept, isn't it ? Sounds great to me. I have nothing to do but only believe in a freaky hippie.
According to Judaism, Gentiles only have to keep the Seven Noachide Laws and not any Mitzvot given to the Jews. Furthermore, hardly any Jew is bound to the entire 613 Mitzvot because many of those laws concern the Temple services of the Cohanim (Priests). Other Mitzvot only apply to men and women are freed from them.
The false Meshiach J. was not a Cohen and thus didn't keep the entire 613 Mitzvot ! He was a human being and humans tend to sin. According to Jewish theology, every human being is able to do Teshuva (to repent). Without any J. as a medium, without any blood and all this stuff the church claims. The only condition you have to fulfill is regretting your deeds in a serious manner and try doing it better in the future.
After all this, the logical question is coming up, why G – d gave the Mitzvot if no human is able to keep them ?
The church developed a convincing idea which sounds stupid at the same time:
The Jews should look at all the Mitzvot and realize themselves that keeping all this impossible !
Why are particularly Jews vulnerable and convert to Christianity ?
In the days of Paul, many Jews living in Rome converted to Christianity and when Paul addresses his letters (Romans) then he is talking to those Jews who converted.
Rabbi Tuvia Singer made the claim that Jews with a low self – esteem are more vulnerable than others. J. was rejected by his own people and even by his family. If a Jew today is feeling rejected or in a crisis, he may look at J. and take him as an example.
My claim, however, is that many Jews have a total lack of Jewish education and identity. They want to be just as everyone else, intermarry and if the wife is a Christian, a whole future generation is gone. The children are not Jewish anymore.
Secular as well as reform Jews have no clue about Judaism and are widely not interested. The biggest mistakes those people make is thinking that any Orthodox Jews has to be haredi and live in Boro Park, Golders Green or Mea Shearim.
In order to get rid of intermarriage and Jews running away from their roots, those people should first try getting some Jewish education and then decide.
Tuvia Singer quoted Romans 3:20, where Paul says that those keeping the law are actually sinning. Nobody can get salvation only through himself but needs J. and the belief in him – according to the church. Here the church totally ignored the sentences in Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:12 – 14.
Already in 30:11, G – d says that the law is understandable. In Devarim 29:28 it says that the Torah is eternal. Furthermore it says that all hidden things are for G – d. Meaning that only G – d knows the future and to us, this is hidden. No matter where Jews live, they are bound to the Mitzvot and to the Land of Israel (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in his Torah commentary).
The Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 43b teaches that every Jew carries the responsibility to keep the Torah. The Torah has to become reality within Judaism.
To be honest, Tuvia Singer's church quotes irritated me. Someone who knows the subject and is aware of various falsifications of the church may have it much easier but to me all this sounded just totally ridiculous. How can people believe this at all ?
In his days, Paul just changed the Torah content, put everything into his own words according to his fantasy and imagination.
I am not going into details but just giving a further brief example:
In Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 31:30 – 32, it speaks about a "new union". The church interpreted this as J. is coming and making a "new Brit". Wrong !
The truth is that this verse is talking about the future. It speaks about a union between the House of Israel and the House of Yehudah (Judah). This particular event hasn't occurred yet and will only happen in the messianic future when the TRUE Jewish Meshiach is coming.
Many Christians may feel offended while reading this. However, just check out everything yourself by taking an Artscroll Torah (Chumash) and comparing it to your Christian translation. Then you will notice all the mistranslations of Paul and the church. Mistranslations taking place on purpose because otherwise there would be too many obvious contradictions and Christians would get suspicious.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Someone I met at a Shabbatot once recommended the trip to me. I should just take Egged bus no. 148 from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem and go to Ariel. Not that the small town would be so interesting; let alone exciting. However, the trip would be an amazing. An incredible landscape and passing Shilo where once the Mishkan (Tabernacle) stood.
I must say that all this is very true and more people should do it. My only warning is that there is really nothing to do in the settlement town Ariel. Hardly any restaurant but a big MEGA Supermarket. At least bring or buy some food and sit in the park further down in Sheshet HaYamim Street.
In order to catch the bus back to Jerusalem, go back to the Mega where you find the bus stop right across. Don't wait in Sheshet HaYamim even if the sign at the bus stop tells you "Jerusalem". And don't listen to the Russian immigrants living in Ariel when you have a question. Ask the Israelis and then you get the right directions !!! The positive thing I can say about Ariel is that it has an unbelievable view over the Samarian mountains. Although it is surrounded by Arab villages.
Going from Ariel to Tel Aviv or Petach Tikvah is much easier than traveling to Jerusalem. And I think that this is exactly what most inhabitants do. Go to work in Tel Aviv and only return to Ariel in the evening. The town reminded me of a Kibbutz or a place to retire. If you are looking for a quiet clean place, Ariel may be good for you.
Before we got to Ariel, we had to undergo a 1,5 hour lasting bus ride. The ticket only costs 12.50 Shekels (approx. 2.5 Dollar). The Egged bus no. 148 is bullet - proofed making it hard to look outside. I sat right next to the driver and thus could look through the front window.
We left Jerusalem via French Hill in the north and to my surprise I saw all the new trains of the new tram standing near the road. I didn't know those French trains were already here.
Left: A Checkpoint
We passed Pisgat Ze'ev and then entered the "Kav HaTefer" by going through a checkpoint. "Machsom - Checkpoint" this may be a negative word for Palestinians but not for Israelis. Although Palestinians are complaining about Israeli checkpoints as soon as the come from the territories and enter Israel, the Machsomim make it saver for Israelis. How many terrorist have been caught this way ?
We entered different settlements (Yishuvim) on our way to Ariel. Our first stop was "Shaarei Binyamina", an industrial center outside the checkpoint, right behind the outskirt Pisgat Ze'ev. The next stop was in Psagot / Migron, then in Ofrah, Shilo, at Tapuach (Kfar Tapuach) Junction, in Eli and then we arrived in Ariel. The landscape is just unbelievable. Samarian mountains full of olive trees.
Many Arab villages or small towns but they all looked, more or less, new to me. Usually Arabs claim that they have been settling there for the past 500 years or so but even Mark Twain, while traveling through Israel more than a hundred years ago, didn't notice any Arab villages in Samaria. The Palestinians came much later and now claim the land for themselves. I could go to London, live there for five years and then claim it as mine. At least I can do so at Speaker's Corner.
The settlements are always surrounded by a wire fence and are well guarded. The main entrance has usually an iron gate with guards and machine guns. We entered Ofrah and at the bus stop I saw an interesting graffiti: "We trust in G - d (HaShem) and not in Obama !"
Living in one of the settlements is not for me although it has been suggested to me many times. But I am rather a city person and already after a few hours of being in a small place, I am freaking out. It is better anyway that you are married and have a family while living in a settlement. Otherwise you may be lonely; especially on Shabbat.
A second thing bothering me about living in a settlement would be the the fact of being fenced in. Passing a gate, being careful all the time and Shilo, for instance, is also, more or less, surrounded by Arab villages. This would bother me enormously because I don't won't all those enemies as my neighbours. This means that you always have to watch out. Especially while driving back home in the dark. Arabs just shoot right from a mountain into your car. This has happen so many times in the past and things still haven't changed.
I do admire those people living there and who are able to deal with the situation. But many of them I know say that, first of all, it is much cheaper living in a settlement, and secondly, the landscape and the friendly atmosphere inside the settlements is worth anything.
We need to show our that Jews settle everywhere and that this is OUR country ! - So the settler's ideology.
Further pictures of settlements:
Does it still really matter if there is another incident of old / new anti - Semitism ? At the moment, the Iran has moved to Sweden. A Swedish newspaper is accusing Israeli soldiers of having killed Palestinians in 1992, in order to steal their organs and sell them. This accusation sounds as ridiculous as "Jews would spread Aids over the entire world" or "Jews would use the blood of Christian children in order to bake Mazzot or Hamantaschen".
The Jewish community of Stockholm, however, accuses Israel of making such a fuss about the article. No one had even noticed him before the Israeli government freaked out. In fact, the new incident of anti - Semitism is making up all local Israeli headlines. The Swedish government refuses to block the newspaper and claims the freedom of press for it's country.
The behaviour of the Jewish community of Stockholm is more than typical for a Diaspora community. In order to keep the damage low, Jewish communities prefer to keep quiet. Just like the German Jewish community during Hitler. Many Diaspora Jews still haven't internalized that there is a State of Israel today and that anyone can say his opinion. Especially when there is new anti - Semitism and lies being told about Israel. The only thing they are worried about is loosing their convenient Diaspora life.
For some time, we have hardly heard any news from the Toldot Aharon mother being accused of child abuse. Now she is back in the news.
The prosecution is claiming that the mother not only starved her three - year old son half to death but, additionally, abused two of her other children. One further victim was her two - year - old son and her six - year - old daughter.
The mother seems to be really fed up listening to all those accusations and claimed that no other woman in this country is going through what is suffering from. Two and a half days, she didn't receive any food while she was questioned. "The police put chains around my legs and all this only because I am a haredi woman. It was like being with the Inquisition".
The judge still hasn't decided if the mother can spend her house arrest in her own home together with her children or if, once again, she has to move out and go somewhere else.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sorry, for all the delays this week but I am traveling a bit. For instance, I just came back from a whole tour through some settlements in Samaria (Shomron). I went from Jerusalem to Ariel. Ariel is a town full of national religious Jews and Russians. Not much to do but the bus ride (Egged no. 148) was an experience.
The bus passed all the famous settlements such as Ofrah, Shilo, Kfar Tapuach at a junction and Eli. I have a lot to write about that trip as well as about the trip to Sderot and Netivot last week. Tonight I am going to Rabbi Tuvia Singer's lecture against Christian missionaries and tomorrow I will be back in Tel Aviv writing, writing, writing.
If you ever have the chance and the time: Go on the bus ride to Ariel !!! It is totally inexpensive and worth seeing the great landscape.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Next week I will be blogging a little less, as I am taking a brief vacation. On Sunday, for instance, I am going to travel around some national religious settlements north of Jerusalem and see how the people there live. Of course, I am going to put a longer article about the trip to Sderot and Netivot (to the grave of the Baba Sali) in the blog as well as the report about the settlements.
I have hardly been to any kind of settlement and it will an experience. Generally I am a city person and cannot stand living in small places. Sderot for one day was fine but otherwise I need a city or I am going nuts. This is why the small Mea Shearim world is nothing for me. I need to get out at least once a week and do something completely different. Sitting and talking to the women of a chassidic group is nice but after a while I get the feeling to meet other people as well. Only the backyard life would make me freak out after two weeks or so.
The high temperatures are really finishing me. Especially in Tel Aviv where I sometimes cannot move without any air condition around. Not only due to work I am always tired but also because of the weather which is making you dizzy. Thus I am looking forward to cooler weather starting in September.
Tel Aviv is totally flooded with tourists and, in case you are planning to stay in one of the hostels, you should definitely book in advance. The best places are probably the Sky Hostel, Momo's and the HaYarkon Hostel. I've heard that the worst is the Mugrabi Hostel which already from the outside looks like a shabby hut.
I am not a religious beach person and the religious beach in Tel Aviv looks rather like a prison. High concrete walls are surrounding it and nothing romantic is at sight. When I am saying "romantic" I mean watching a colourful sunset, for example. I simple cannot imagine any kind of spiritual world creation feeling while staring at concrete walls. And besides, seeing only women is boring. The regular beach, on the other hand, is crowded, some romantic feeling is showing up but too many people walk around immodest. Why do have all these elderly (fat) people squeeze themselves into either bikinis or tight bathing suits. It just doesn't fit anymore and they look ridiculous.
Lashon HaRah, Lashon HaRah (slander), yes, yes.
And this in the month of Elul. Nevertheless, this is the subject women are interested in: Elderly and bigger people wanting to show off with their bodies.
Just look at Madonna ! I haven't met her at the Tel Aviv beach yet (she is giving a concert in Tel Aviv at the beginning of September). But look at all her wrinkles. She cannot hide her age anymore.
Although I am not that old, the grey hair is coming and maybe soon some wrinkles.
I just wonder if chassidishe Frauen (women) like Satmar, Belz or the Toldot Aharon have the same subjects to talk about. Well, maybe not the beach and Madonna but diets and things. I am sure that the Toldot Aharon do, as they always show each other the new rings they have got. Let alone their new watches, chains and skirts.
What's up on Schabbes ?
This afternoon I am going to Jerusalem and I have no further plans whatsoever.
"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all readers and enjoy the beach. Wherever you are.
On 16th August (26th Av), thousands of Satmarer Chassidim gathered in order to commemorate the 30th Yahrzeit of the great former leader Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum. After he died, the community fell a kind of apart. Just look at the war between his successor Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum and Rebbe Yoelish's widow Feiga. Today the two sons of Reb Moshe are fighting about leadership and recognition.
Starting this coming Sunday, Egged is changing some local bus routes.
For the past approximately 30 years, the state - owned bus company Egged hasn't changed it's Jerusalem bus lines. Except for the bus fares, of course.
However, in the meantime, plenty of new neighbourhoods came into existence and, furthermore, Haredim spread all over. Just look at hoods like Ramat Eshkol, Givat Mordechai and Kiryat Yovel. I admit that I lost track a long time ago and today I don't even know where new neighbourhoods like Givat HaMassua or Chomat Shmuel are.
There is a rumour coming from the Israeli Ministry of Transportation saying that soon or next year, the new tram is going to run a trial period. It could be that Egged is now changing some bus lines due to the tram. Or simply because it can be complicated getting from one neighbourhood to the next. One of the big changes will be the bus connecting Ramot and Gilo (no. 71 + 72). Further busses like no. 2, 16, 30, 34, 40 and 56 may undergo changes as well and you should definitely check with Egged.
Two interesting summer events are taking place in Jerusalem this August:
24 August + 7 September 2009, 5pm - 8pm Uhr at the Machane Yehudah Market:
Theater performances in the streets
No Charge !
Israeli GOLDSTAR beer. The taste is awful but what can you do when you are desperate ?
26 - 27 August 2009, 6pm - midnight: The BEER FESTIVAL in "Gan Ha"Atzma'ut - Independence Park".
For those who would like to try out more than 100 different beer products.
The Band "Dag Nachash" is providing the music.
It doesn't mention anywhere if there will be an entrance fee but I do suppose so.
I need a very quick response from someone:
I am sitting here at this Internet Cafe in Tel Aviv because my wireless crashed. Almost next to me is a haredi guy, litvish and in his forties, sitting and watching pornography. Looking at pictures and things.
What should I do ? Should I do anything at all ?
Maybe scream "pervert" or "pig" ?
Or start saying the SHEMA in the middle of the Internet Cafe ?
What would you do ????
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Are some haredi business men too much into business instead of keeping their business kosher ?
The owner of "Sander's Huten (hats)" is handing over a new hat to the Tosher Rebbe. As a present but right into the cameras. I am calling this "modern haredi product placement" !
The poor Rebbe who is just used for public relation matters.
Great details about the right Jewish Meshiach and the fake Christian one called J.:
Was he the Meshiach ?
Was he the Meshiach ?Another fake !
You can find the true answer here:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
For almost three months I haven't been to the Machlis family. There are several reasons for that and, for the time being, I simply prefer more serious (haredi) Shabbatot in Mea Shearim and similar neighbourhoods.
Here is a video of Rabbi Mordechai Machlis / Jerusalem on the new month of ELUL 5769:
It is still vacation time:
The Rebbe of Chassidut Karlin - Pinsk and the Lelover Rebbe went on a trip to Safed (northern Israel) and had a meeting:
All pictures can be viewed here:
The Vishnitzer Rebbe from Monsey was hospitalized and Chassidut Vishnitz in Monsey is extremely worried. All group members started praying for the life of Rebbe Mordechai Hager.
Tonight as well as Thursday and Friday, Jews all over the world are celebrating Rosh Chodesh Elul (אלול), the beginning of the month of Elul.
The Jewish month of Elul is one of the most important months of the year, as it marks the beginning of the Teshuva (repentance) process taking place before the Jewish New Year "Rosh HaShana". Thus, Elul is the month of repentance and Rachamim (Mercy).
On Rosh Chodesh Elul, Moshe went up to Har Sinai for the third time, as G - d had commanded him. When Moshe went up for the first time, he received the Luchot with the Ten Commandments (Aseret HaDibrot) which he smashed when he climbed down on 17th Tammuz. On Rosh Chodesh Elul, Moshe again went up to Har Sinai in order to receive the nsecond pair of Luchot. 40 days later, on Yom Kippur, he returned into the camp of the Israelites. G - d forgave the Jews the sin of the Golden Calf (Egel HaZahav).
Hardly any Jewish direction is putting so much emphazise on the phrase from Shir HaShirim 6:3: "HaMelech BaSadeh – The King is in the Field", as Chassidut.
According to the Baal Shem Tov, G - d is extremely easy to approach during the month of Elul. It goes without saying that we are able to do Teshuva throughout the entire year, however, the Baal Shem Tov saw in Elul a stronger opportunity of getting closer and reaching G - d. Especially regarding the next Jewish holiday "Rosh HaShana" where the whole world and humankind is being judged. The final judgment for Jews, however, is going to take place on Yom Kippur.
Whereas Rosh HaShana is a judgment day for the entire world; also the Gentiles, Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday and other religions / nations have nothing to do with it.
A Minhag (custom) of the Baal Shem Tov is to pray Psalm 27 during Elul. Every day seven times, as far as I remember. According to Chabad (Shaarei HaMoadim) one should say three chapters of Tehillim (Pslams) every day and intensify Torah study in order to awaken G - d's mercy.
Elul is the time of "Hitbodedut", meaning one should set aside one hour in order to talk to G - d. Just speak to G - d in a personal manner wherever you are. If you don't have an hour, choose 5 minutes, 15 minutes, any time as you have available. It is said that Elul has the power to cancel all sins of the ongoing year under the condition that we regret what we did and do honest Teshuva (the Sefat Emet from Chassidut Gur). A further method for doing Teshuva before Rosh HaShana is the giving of Zedakah (donations).
Sephardic Jewry is starting it's Selichot prayers on Rosh Chodesh Elul. Especially when you go to the Kotel these days, you will hear the Shofar (ram's horn) blowing by Sephardic Jews.
It says in Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) that the Hebrew letter of the month of Elul is the YUD יThe Yud י basically has a shape of a small point and represents G - d's creation of the world with wisdom. Kabbalistic sources see the Yud י as Chochmah (wisdom). G – d created the world as a point, called the Even HaShetiah, the foundation stone under the altar of the First, Second and hopefully soon rebuild Third Temple. This tiny point began to spread and thus formed the whole world.
The tribe of Elul is Gad, the horoscope is the virgin, the organ is the left hand and the human sense is "to act". Acting because we have to make Teshuva. Acting, meaning here to regret and ask for forgiveness.
Judaism doesn't translate the Hebrew word "Chet" as sin but as "missing the goal". Our understanding of sinning is a very different one from Christians, for instance. Although we can miss the gaol, we are always able to do Teshuva and receiving G - d's mercy and foregiveness.
The Teshuva process consists of three parts:
1. Coming to the conclusion that we missed the goal.
2. Honest regret.
3. Try not to repeat the same mistake in the future.
An extremely important day is 18th Elul, when we celebrate the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov.
I wish you all a great and successful preparation for Rosh HaShana and a great month of Elul. Hopefully we are all succeeding in getting closer to our creator.
Chodesh Tov - חודש טוב !
Tomorrow morning, the morning of Rosh Chodesh Elul (beginning of the Jewish month of Elul), Sephardic Jewry is going to start it's Selichot prayers before Rosh HaShana (the Jewish New Year). Ashkenazic Jews only begin those prayers on Mozzaei Shabbat before Rosh HaShana.
Here a few interesting photos from the Sephardic Selichot prayers taking place last year. Not every Ashkenazi Jew is used to listen to the Sephardic Selichots, as they are mostly sung together with oriental melodies.
All pictures may be viewed here:
After almost two days of being away from a computer, I am back on the Net. I need to admit that I didn't really miss the Internet and enjoyed having some time off.
I saw that I've received plenty of e - mails and it will take me some time to respond.
The trip to Sderot and Netivot was a great experience and in Netivot, while visiting the grave of the Baba Sali, my friend and I spoke to one of the grandchildren of the fanous Rabbi.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I am taking a short Internet vacation and will only be back on Wednesday !
Tomorrow I will be in Sderot and hopefully, I am going to make it to the grave of the famous Moroccan Rabbi, the Baba Sali, to Netivot.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), I am going to Sderot. Together with a friend of mine.
In Sderot, a mutual friend who is originally from the States and has been living there for quite a while is going to pick us up.
The small Negev town Sderot is not, what you would call, a popular tourist attraction. However, I think that, at least, every Israeli should spend a few hours there, talk to the inhabitants and see what is going on. And why not more tourists visitors ?
People from abroad should experience what it means living near the Gaza Strip and being constantly threatened by the terror group Hamas.
Many tourists, however, complain that the Israeli army won't let them into Gaza where their (the toruists's) beloved Palestinians live. Hardly anyone of them is interested in Israeli civilians suffering from terror. This, BBC or CNN doesn't want to see. A crying Palestinian child, even those who were beaten up by there mothers, make a better suffering impression than anything Israeli.
The trip to Sderot is not that easy. We will start our trip from Tel Aviv by going down south to Aschkelon:
Ashkelon at the Mediterranean Sea
And from Ashkelon we are taking another bus to Sderot:
Collection of Kassam rockets flying on Sderot
A map showing how far a rocket from Gaza can attack Israel. Usually there are only seconds for Israeli civilians in order to find shelter. The new / old plan of Hamas (as well as Fatah and Hizbollah) is launching rockets reaching Tel Aviv.
Source: Elder of Ziyon
Rabbi Tuvia Singer is back with a new lecture series at Jerusalem's Israel Center (Orthodox Union).
Beginning next Sunday, 23 August 2009.
Israel Center, Keren Hayesod 22, Jerusalem
Time: 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Free of Charge !!!
The following three lectures are going to take place on Sundays:
30 August, 6 September and 13 September.
I am really looking forward to these events, as Tuvia Singer is brilliant in showing Christians where they went wrong and how the church has been manipulating them and the Torah over the past 2000 years.
In his lecture series, Tuvia Singer is concentrating on how the church did tamper with the Book of Daniel and Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu). Why did missionaries alter the words of the Prophet Isaiah (Yeshayahu) and why Christianity rejects the Oral Law.
Personally I find Tuvia Singer talking far too friendly about the Evangelist Hagee and other leading missionizing Christians. However, Singer delivers fascinating insights on how the church has been lying throughout its existence.
The Tuviah Singer Show
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Someone asked me how old the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe is and I don't find the comment anymore.
So, I am giving the answer separately:
Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn from the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak
Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn, the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe, is about two years older than his brother Rebbe David Kahn from the Toldot Aharon.
Rebbe David Kahn from the Toldot Aharon
Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov should be about 67 years old and his brother 65 years old.
Actually Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov looks older but he is not that old. The same with his brother Rebbe David. When I look at pictures of him showing him very close, he does look older than he really is. However, he moves fast. Full of enthusiasm when he enters his Tish.
Last week, the famous Klezmer Festival took place in the mystical town of Safed in northern Israel. The event is taking place every year and thousands of people go there in order to just stand in the streets and listen to different Klezmer groups at every corner.
Unfortunately, I have never made it to the festival.
All pictures may be viewed here: