Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"And where are the Mizrachnikim ?"

B"H

"And where are the national religious ?"

I read this question in an Israeli haredi forum and must admit that I had already myself found asking this myself. "Where are the national religious when the Haredim are
demonstrating ?

"It is not our style to demonstrate in such a way", may some of the national religious claim.

"Really ? This kind of violence is not your style ?
How about that ?


Photo: Daylife

Some commentators on that forum post sounded like "The national religious are too assimilated into secular Israeli society. One hardly sees the difference anymore". Other stated that the Shabbat doesn't have the same meaning for "them", as for the Haredim.

No, it is not spreading new hatred between the two societies but it is rather reaching the conclusion that these two religious societies are as far apart as they used to be even before the foundation of the State of Israel. Today it has less to do with Zionism but with the fact that Haredim and national religious call each other ignorant. Whatever this means on each side.

I have been to national religious yeshivot and to haredi ones but until today my experience is that the national religious have a much bigger problem with haredi society than vice versa. I cannot even say WHY. The national religious claim that Haredim are fanatics; I, on the other hand, claim that the national religious, including their settler movement, are fanatics. Although I am very much pro - settlements. But it is a certain kind of people the national religious NOAM schools produce. Instead of calling haredi society ignorant and closed, the national religious should look at their own society and where it is drifting apart.

Remains the question where the national religious are while the Haredim demonstrate against the parking lots on Shabbat.

One forum participant gave the best sarcastic answer:

"The are in the shopping malls !

Yaffo (Jaffa)

B"H

YAFFO is an ancient town located right next to Tel Aviv. A tourist hardly leaves Tel Aviv without visiting the Old City of Yaffo. You don't necessarily need a bus to get there but, instead, just walk along the beach promenade.

I found some great pictures of Yaffo on a haredi website. ENJOY !!!






All pictures may be viewed here:

http://bhol.co.il/news_read.asp?id=10454&cat_id=18

Is Achmadinejad getting the Finger ?

B"H

For a few days now, the below left pictures has been making its round through the TWITTER world. Most people understand the gesture with the finger as a joke. Obviously the pictures was photoshopped. The picture on the right side, however, is supposed to be the original.


Further information on PDN !


Photoshopped yes or no, I like the joke !

Monday, June 29, 2009

The GERRER REBBE on FACEBOOK

B"H

A friend of mine has caused me to log into my deactivated Facebook account.
By the way, even when you deactivate your account, your site is still always available in case you are silly enough (like me) to log in again. Well, at least I have an excuse and I need to say that right afterwards, I deactivated my account again.

I just wanted to see with my own eyes that the Gerrer (Gur) Rebbe has a Facebook account. I always thought that he forbade his Chassidim to use the Internet and now I saw his own Facebook site. Tztz ...

And guess who is friend is ?
Yehudah Meshi Zahav from ZAKA.

Strange friendship combinations on Facebook and no wonder why I escaped.

And, before I forget, the Gerrer Rebbe wants my friend (a woman) to be his Facebook friend.

So far my report from the deactivated Facebook world.:-)

"מטר על מטר" - Poetry Festival in Nachlaot

B"H

Tomorrow (Tuesday), the poetry festival "Meter Al Meter מטר על מטר" is starting in Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighbourhood. All events are going to take place there and in the nearby Machane Yehudah Market.


The festival is taking place from 30 June - 2 July 2009.

"One Square Meter" is the festival's slogan and it is organized by the
"Poetry Place". The Poetry Place is a local workshop for creative writing.

Further details in English as well as in Hebrew !

You don't have to be a member in order to participate in the events. Several Israeli authors are going to read from their writings and each event is accompanied by a musical performance and everything will be free of charge.

The event is starting on 30 June 2009

7.30 pm Opening at the Barbur Gallery (Shirizli Street next to Agrippas).

7 pm Refreshments ("Minhal Kehilati Lev Ha' Ir" in the Ohel Moshe Street near Shirizli).

10 pm The first lecture is at Cafe "Avram" (downstairs at "Mercaz Klal" / Corner Yaffo). The authors are, among others, Chaya Esther, Shai Dotan, Anat Zecharia and Dori Manor. Including a musical performance.

10 pm at Cafe "Mizrachi" (in the Machane Yehudah Market). The authors Keren Alkalai - Gut and Yosef Ozer are going to read from their writings. Musical performance: Erez Lev - Ari.

Most lectures are in Hebrew but there are some taking place in English as well.

Haredi Bashing

B"H

I am sick of my own Israeli society. Since the latest Mea Shearim riots of started, many secular and national religious Israelis are awakening and starting again their favourite haredi bashing.

The journalist Yair Borochov (Ynet) brought it to the point !

And by the way, the undercover cops mentioned in the article are here:



Further pictures:

http://www.bhol.co.il/news_read.asp?id=10451&cat_id=1

Arab History in Israel



Cartoon: Arutz 7

Missionaries sneak into Israel

B"H

ARUTZ 7 and "Jewish Israel" on the missionaries Roy and Mary Kendall:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132092

The Day After (the Riots)

B"H

One day after the riots in Mea Shearim last Shabbat, the arrested Haredim were taken to court. Right afterwards, further demonstration took place in Mea Shearim.


Mea Shearim Street yesterday afternoon. I didn't walk along there but I still felt the tension between Jerusalem's cops and some Nana - Breslovers dancing at Zion Square in the evening. Only when the police left, the atmosphere became more relaxed.


Arrested Haredim are taken to a hearing at Jerusalem's court yesterday afternoon.


The garbage in the trash containers was burned during the riots. The smoke is still around.


All pictures can be viewed here:

http://www.bhol.co.il/news_read.asp?id=10444&cat_id=1

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Photos from last night's Demonstration in Mea Shearim

B"H

Today's headlines in Israel:




View all pictures here:

http://bhol.co.il/forum/topic.asp?cat_id=4&topic_id=2648105&forum_id=771

Yassamnik as a messianic "Jew"

B"H

When I saw pictures of the police unit "Yassam" fighting the haredi demonstration last night, I remembered an article I read on the Israeli anti - missionary site "
Jewish Israel". There, Ellen Horowitz reported about one of those Yassam cops converting to Christianity.
In case this particular cop may have been involved in the fights last night: Are messianic "Jews" now offcially allowed to harass the haredi population ?

Of course, there was violence on both sites. However, if Yassam employs a messianic "Jew" fighting real Jews, this gives us a whole different picture and the wider public should know about it.

Here is the article:

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz


Yideotube


B"H

Great "kosher" Videos on

YIDEOTUBE

Michael Jackson passed away

B"H

Michael Jackson has never been my cup of tea. Some of his songs didn't sound bad but he always remained strange to me. His movements, his weird lifestyle. In an interview he once viewed himself as "Peter Pan" and I was asking myself why no psychologist has ever tried to help Michael. The abused one suffering from severe identity problems.

So far to the suffering and sad part of Michael Jackson's life. However, we shouldn't forget that he also had his evil part: Being a sexual pervert playing around with young boys.

Hopefully Michael Jackson is eventually finding his peace; a peace without identity problems, Yetzer HaRah (evil incarnation) and without too many worries about his ruined face.

Pakshivilim for the Holiness of the Shabbat in Jerusalem

B"H

Haredi news poster (Pashkevilim) asking everybody to join a special prayer service in Bar Ilan Street / Jerusalem last Erev Shabbat (Friday night).

Reason: Mayor Nir Barkat opened a parking lot of the municipality for the tourist traffic last Shabbat.


The Edah HaCharedit

A poster signed by the Rabbis Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Reuven Elbaz, Yochanan Sofer, Yitzchak Scheiner and others.




The Edah HaCharedit

Riot Video



B"H

The video shows tonight's demonstrations organized by the Edah HaCharedit. Jerusalem's municipality opened the Karta parking lot at 7am on Shabbat and thus caused the haredi protests.

The video shows the Haredim demonstrating (Shivtei Israel / HaNevi'im Street junction) as well as the left - wing protesters for a "Free Jerusalem".

The people in the car interviewed by a camera team are Russians and they say that it is great finding a free parking space so easily. A little ridiculous to interview Russians, as the majority of Russian immigrants (80 - 90 %) in Israel are considered as halachically NOT JEWISH.
Or in other words - "What else do you expect them to say ? That Shabbat is holy and should be kept ?"

The latest report is that a 20 - year - old Haredi fell from a fence while he was watching the demonstration. Jerusalem's police denied to have anything to do with the cause of the serious injury.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Riots continue

Tonight's demonstrations
Photo: Walla

B"H

Jerusalem's mayor Nir Barkat opened the Karta parking lot on Shabbat. Three weeks ago, the mayor's decision opening the municipality parking lot Safra on Shabbat caused the first riots of the members of the Edah HaCharedit. Although Barkat stated that the parking lot will be without charge on Shabbat, Haredim see a desecration of Shabbat. Especially because a municipality is participating in breaking Shabbat.

Nir Barkat who just got into office because the Gerrer (Gur) Rebbe rejected Barkat's competitor Me'ir Porush, now causes the Haredim to go wild. It doesn't come as a surprise, as Barkat is secular and many Haredim say that if the Haredi Porush had won the mayor's elections, the whole mess taking place now would have never occured.

In order to solve Jerusalem's parking problem on Shabbat, Nir Barkat decided to open the Safra parking lot. Three weeks ago, the Edah HaCharedit called for a big demonstration and Haredim threw stones at the police. For the past two weeks it was quiet because the mayor canceled the opening of the parking lot. Last week, the mayor decided not to open Safra but the Karta parking lot instead. Until Friday, there were different versions about which parking lot will be opened. Eventually Karta, next to Jaffa Gate, opened its gates.

On Erev Shabbat, the Edah had called for a common prayer in Bar Ilan Street and thousands of Haredim took part in the event. Later on, they tried to block the entrance into Sderot Herzl (near the entrance to Jerusalem). On Mozzaei Shabbat, a new demonstration took place at the HaNevi'im / Shivtei Israel junction in Mea Shearim. The Haredim tried to reach Safra which is just a few meters far away in order to demonstrate in front of the municipality building. However, the police used water canons and thus kept the protesters at the junction. According to the "Chadrei HaCharedim" website, 21 Haredim got arrested, two police officers and a six - year - old child were wounded. Haredim were throwing stones, fruits and bottles. The police, on the other hand, acted with extreme violence and even beat those Haredim who just acted as bystanders. Many Haredim were complaining about the brutality of the police officers.

I wasn't there but once I witnessed a haredi demonstration and saw those dressed in black (Yassam) police guys driving their motorbikes right into the haredi crowd. Just like madmen and nazilike. This happened in the middle of Jerusalem's Agrippas Street and secular as well as other witnesses jumped onto the Yassam unit. Their brutal behaviour caused all bystanders to be on the haredi site.

I can imagine that there a high tension in Mea Shearim and the Haredim are probably running around with the feeling that the police are going to hunt their population all over the place. This has taken place in the past and on Thursday, the Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef as well as Rabbi Eliyashiv threatened to drop the coalition with Nir Barkat. A haredi withdraw could cause the mayor's fall.

The demonstrations are to be continued.
Admorim (chassidic Rebbes) seen at the prayer sevice on Erev Shabbat:
The Toldot Aharon Rebbe, the Dushinsky Rebbe and the Rebbe of Karlin - Pinsk.


At the same time when the Haredim demonstrated, a second demonstration took place. Israel's left - wing Meretz against the haredi demands of closing the parking lots.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Red blossoming trees inTel Aviv
Photo: Tel Aviv Pictures

B"H

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all readers !
I am following my Friday routine meaning I am going to Jerusalem this afternoon. Not because of this reason because I was planning to go anyway: New demonstrations are taking place in Mea Shearim towards the end of Shabbat. Mayor Nir Barkat is opening three parking lots (Safra, Karta and Mamilla) this Shabbat and the Edah HaCharedit is going bananas.


Nevertheless, Shabbat doesn't entirely consist of demonstrations but also of spirituality and time to relax. Hopefully we all will be able getting enough of that !

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boiling Heat


B"H

Why talk about the weather ? Sounds just like some English guys are standing together and start their usual subject.
These days, however, our lives are (again) influenced by weather. As soon as we step outside, we start sweating and loose any kind of energy we had before. Instead, we only sweat and think about taking another shower.

Yesterday and today, Jerusalem suffered from a heat wave of 38 degrees Celsius. I have no idea how much this is in Fahrenheit but it should be at least about 90 F. Tel Aviv was basically the same but, additionally, suffers from a high percentage of humidity. Walking in the streets feels like walking into a green house.

Today I have had the privilege of "enjoying" both cities. In the late afternoon I was teaching some children in Jerusalem and then went back to Tel Aviv. The trip back went fast, as the highway was almost empty.

Israeli license plate

The forecast says that temperature is going down in the course of the day tomorrow. I just wonder how people in biblical times dealt with that kind of heat without any air condition or a fridge.

The CHAZON ISH on the HOLOCAUST


B"H

The
Chazon Ish z"l:

The reason why so many Zaddikim (righteous) and Chassidim were killed during the Holocaust ? - Because people didn't protest against the sinners.

I haven't really dealt with the Chazon Ish so far and, therefore, my question is:

Who are those sinners ?

1. The Secular

2. The Zionists

or

3. Both.

Whatever the answer may be, I have to say that I do not agree with someone claiming that the Holocaust happened because of such and such. Or religious Jews got killed because of this or that reason.

In many haredi Shiurim (litvish + chassidic) I have heard the opinion that the Holocaust happened because Western European Jewry became more and more assimilated and thus secular. Let alone Reform.

In my eyes this claim is a kind of a Chutzpah because we are not G - d. Meaning WE DON'T KNOW. We don't know why the Holocaust happened !
There may be many among us who are disturbed by the fact that something terrible happened. Millions of Jews got killed without any explanation from G - d's side. It seems so unfair and our mind is unable to grasp it. Gas chambers, torture - how can a human mind deal with it ? Didn't G - d promise us Meshiach and His Shechinah (presense) ?

Where was HE during the Shoah ?

We are allowed to ask all the questions but we haven't received a G - dly answer yet.
In order to satisfy our longing for logic, we shouldn't accuse the secular world or the Zionists for causing a Holocaust. If G - d ever confirms this kind of statement, I will accept it but until then, it is just unfair making such a claim !

"Yachad, Yachad"

B"H

"Lets get together and strengthen modesty (Zniut) !"

The Edah HaCharedit against today's Gay Parade taking place in Jerusalem.


Picture of the Day

Settler Kids: Connecting Torah and Hightech


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim: "Special Prayer on Leil Shabbat !"

B"H

The spokesman of the anti - Zionist umbrella organization Edah HaCharedit, Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim, stated that this coming Leil Shabbat (Friday night), further special prayers are taking place in Jerusalem's Bar Ilan Street. The demonstrations themselves are going to take place on Shabbat.

As I wrote before, Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat wants to open the parking lot of the municipality in order to provide enough parking space for all the visitors of Jerusalem on Shabbat. For the past two weeks, it was quiet, as the Mayor had delayed his decision. This Shabbat, however, the parking lot will be opened up again and the Edah HaCharedit is going wild.

According to them, the Mayor should keep a municipality parking lot closed because otherwise it would be a desecration of Shabbat and the Holy City.
Three weeks ago, an Edah demonstration took place (see photo below) and demonstrators as well as policemen got hurt.


This Shabbat, the same may take place again.

In addition to that, the Jerusalem Gay Parade is going to take place tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. Don't ask me what the plans of the Haredim are ! I have no idea and just avoid the entire city center. Not because of the Haredim but because I don't want to face gay guys wearing boxer shorts and bras, as it was the case at the beach at Tel Aviv's Gay Parade almost two weeks ago.

Concerning Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim:
I think that he is a Toldot Aharon Chassid.
Does his family originally come from Germany ?
I once met a Toldot Aharon woman whose name was Pappenheim (at the TA Synagogue). She was extremely friendly and hopefully I will talk to her again one day !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Picture of the Day

TWITTER's Triumph over Achmadinejad



Cartoon: Gateway Pundit

Tensions

B"H

The Israeli Online Magazine YNET reports that, again, certain Haredim are threatening Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3735669,00.html



Barkat said last Sunday that he would prefer a Zionist rabbi as the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem; appointed by the municipal rabbinate. Now ultra - orthodox leaders are threatening to cut off their ties with this rabbinate.

Regarding this, I am having a few remarks:

First of all, I didn't know that there is something like a "municipal rabbinate" in Jerusalem, I only know the Chief Rabbinate. Secondly, the threats are coming from Agudat Israel (e.g. Yahadut HaTorah) members and the anti - Zionist umbrella organization "Edah HaCharedit" is not included. The Edah has never accepted any Chief Rabbi but only appointed their own. The first examples were the Zionist Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook and the first Edah Chief Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (in 1921). Since, the Edah has never accepted anything from the Rabbanut. No Hechsher (Kashrut certificate), no nothing. The two organizations, Rabbanut and Edah, only work together when it comes to birth certificates and marriages.
Like exchanging documents.

The threats towards Barkat were stated by members of the Yahadut HaTorah (haredi Knesset party).

Why do those Haredim demand a haredi Rabbi of Jerusalem ?
Because the national religious are considered as too moderate. They wouldn't keep the Mitzwot as strict as the Haredim.

I don't really think that Jerusalem needs its own Chief Rabbi.
Well, that's right, Tel Aviv has got one (Rabbi Israel Me'ir Lau) but what does it help ? Does every town in Israel have to have its own Chief Rabbi ? Obviously YES.
So, YES but who actually recognizes their halachic decisions ?
Any chassidic groups, as they only follow their Rebbes.
The Edah ? Definitely NO.

Who would follow a Jerusalem Chief Rabbi anyway ?

The Third Tammuz (Gimmel Be'Tammuz) in Chabad


B"H

Today we are celebrating Rosh Chodes Tammuz (the beginning of the Jewish month Tammuz).

For Chabad (Lubavitcher) Chassidim, Tammuz 3 (this upcoming Thursday) is an extremely important date because …

Some time ago, I spoke with a Chabad – Meshichist about this date.
Meshichists are those within the Chabad group who believe that the seventh and last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is the Meshiach.

Actually Tammuz 3 is the Yahrzeit of Rebbe Schneerson, as he died in June 1994.
In Judaism, anniversaries (Yahrzeits) of someone's death are celebrated with a memorial service, a meal, many guests and speeches about the deceased. Thus, his soul is rising to a higher level.


The last Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

As soon as I mentioned the word "Yahrzeit" to the Meshichist, he almost fainted. Chabad – Meshichists believe that the Rebbe has no Yahrzeit and never died. Instead Tammuz 3 is the day when Rebbe Schneerson became invisible. He is still around but just in another dimension where we cannot see him.

I found the reaction of the Meshichist quite amusing but I also asked myself how people can really believe such claims. How far do people go in order to believe something ? Do they just react this way because they want to believe it ? Maybe in order to escape the crucial reality where Rebbe Schneerson died in June 1994 and since, Chabad has been without leadership.

Link:

"The Rebbe is alive" - Psychological Aspects of Chabad Messianism

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baldness in chassidic Groups

B"H

To be honest: I am not the type of person lifting up a woman's wig / headcover and look if she is bald or has hair.

In case she has hair: How much does she have ?

This is a rather symbolically statement and to put it in other words:

I wouldn't ask a chassidic women if she shaved her hair.
First of all, I would be to ashamed doing so; ashamed of also ashaming her, as this is her private matter. Secondly, because I am not interested. I am not running after the subject and, according to my own experience, I conclude somehow, that guys are more into the subject than women. Maybe to guys it means a certain attraction.

However, I was surprised to hear that many chassidic women still shave their hair. This really got me and not how they may look or how they cover their bald head. Does it sound naive when I say that I honestly thought that the younger female generation would change and not shave anymore ? Except for the Toldot Aharon maybe where the Takanot (internal laws) demand the baldness of a married woman.

But lets take Belz or Boyan.
I would have expected that the younger generation doesn't shave anymore. Put on a wig (Shaitel) and that's it. Now some Chassidim let me know that even their younger generation still shaves and no changes towards "modernity" are at sight. That's it ! No further "becoming more modern" discussions.

I expected the shaving of the Yerushalmim, as they are still extremely conservative, but Belz ? Now I learned something different.
I am surprised, a little shocked but I can live with it.
You are probably expecting me to ask why those women shave their hair and why they don't start a feminist rebellion ? What does a woman feel when her hair is being shaved ?
Yes, I am interested in answers but accept people's privacy. It is none of my business and if I was one of those chassidic women, I would treat it as a very private matter. I don't even think that I would share it with my husband.

And, yes, I do find it unfair to those women. But what do I know, as I didn't grow up chassidic. What do I know about things the girls have been taught ? Teachings they apparently accept.
Nevertheless, if such a woman was publishing a book about her feelings, upbringing, how she keeps her self - esteem, I would be extremely interested in reading it.

Rosh Chodesh TAMMUZ

Photo: Shiratdevorah

B"H

Today (Monday) and tomorrow, the Jewish world is celebrating a new month (Rosh Chodesh): the month of Tammuz.

I like the idea that the beginning of a new Jewish month also represents the beginning of something new in life. Not that we particularly have to wait for Rosh Chodesh to appear and then start something new. We can change our lives at any time but Rosh Chodesh may be a special time accompanied by special strength.

The Jewish month of Tammuz has never been a real positive time period for the Jews. Chabad (Lubavitch), however, considers this month as the forerunner of the Ge'ulah (Redemption). The group never leaves out an opportunity to remember or celebrate. For instance, was their sixth Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn released from Russian jail in Tammuz 1927. And Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak was the father - in - law of the last Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson who passed away on 3 Tammuz 1994 (Gimmel Be'Tammuz).

Basically, Tammuz stands for two tragedies throughout Jewish history: On 17 Tammuz, Moshe came down from Mount Sinai and when he saw the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf, he smashed the Luchot (tablets). Many years later, on the same date, the Babylonians succeeded in destroying the outer wall of the First Temple and the final Temple destruction was only a matter of time.

"Sefer Yetzirah - the kabbalistic Book of Creation" tells us that each Jewish month stands for a special letter, tribe, sense, organ and horoscope.
The letter of Tammuz is the Chet ח, the horoscope is cancer, the organ is the right hand, the tribe is Reuven and the sense is seeing.

Already Adam (HaRishon) and Eve (Chava) used their eyesight for negative purposes. They looked at the apple, felt a desire and ate it. Thus, Tammuz is the month where we can rectify the negative use of one's eyesight by turning it into something positive.
Remark: I am not going into the Talmudic / Kabbalistic opinion of if the apple was an apple or rather something else !

Chodesh Tov – a great, healthy and successful Tammuz to all readers !!!

Rabbis versus Gay Parade

B"H

This Thursday, the annual "Gay Parade" is taking place in downtown Jerusalem. Israel's leading haredi Rabbis totally oppose the parade !

From the right: Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch from the Edah HaCharedit.

On the left side (framed in black), two famous Edah Rabbis who already passed away are mentioned: Rabbi Moshe Halberstam as well as Rabbi Me'ir Brandsdorfer.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picture of the Day

Moshe's guide into the Promised Land

Photo: Cracked

Guest Posting: Kiryat Yoel and the Tish

B"H

A couple of weeks ago I took my forth trip to the Satmar village of Kiryas Yoel in upstate New York. I’m not sure why I keep torturing myself by going back. I think it has something to do with the Rabbi I stay with. This is a man, who when he’s not teaching in the yeshiva, is up and down the state of New York doing the type of chesed and kiruv work that almost no one would do. I don’t want to say what he does exactly and give away his identity, but let’s just say that he loves every Jew regardless of upbringing or background. When I say “torture myself” what I mean is that I’ve encountered something in Kiryas Yoel that I haven’t encountered in any other Chassidic community to this extent. The people stare, and boy do they stare. I guess I look yeshivish. Brim down on the hat, short beard, no peyos, and a tie. But it is obvious that there really aren’t many visitors to Kiryas Yoel, because it is not uncommon for a man, little boy, little girl on the street to turn his or her head a full 180 degrees as you pass them by. Guess they just can’t believe the site of it.

Out of four trips, despite the usual stares, this is the first time that I had a really bad experience. For starters, I was glad that Miriam posted a video of “the other side of Breslov” a couple of months ago on Shearim. The Rabbi I stay by was also hosting five Breslovers, four of whom were from Beit Shemesh. If you think the opposite of everything you know about Breslov, this was these people. Instigators, provocateurs, insolent, and downright rude to their host. Nothing in Kiryas Yoel seemed to live up to their standards. They questioned the local hechsher, which resulted in a heated argument. One guy went on the tirade about the mikvah in the main shul, because it’s not open 24 hours a day. “In Beit Shemesh you would never see such a thing!” he said, as he waved his arm in the air. Was he planning on going in the middle of the night to the mikvah? Probably not. He did, however, have controversy written all over his face from the second he walked in the door. In Beit Shemesh, he said, all mikvaos are open 24/7. Nothing really seemed to live up to his Beit Shemesh standards.


One of the Breslovers brought along his wilfe, and I was disgusted by the way he treated her. There were about 20 people present for each meal, and women sat at the other end of the room. I kept looking over at his wife. She obviously didn’t hit it off with the Satmar women, and sat for most of the five hours or so of meals with her head in her hands. The couple must have just been married, as they looked very young. But it didn’t occur even once over all of these hours for this man to check on his wife; to go over, and say hi; to give her a little wave. He was too wrapped up in starting trouble. All I could say is that I was happy that four out of five Breslovers davened at the Breslover shul. Kiryas Yoel does in fact have a Breslover shul, and a Neturai Karta shul, as well. In fact, there are 66 shuls and shtieblach there in all.

Just a quick story: a Lubavitcher cousin of mine used to go regularly to the village to visit a friend for shabbos. The last time they had a bumper sticker on their car in support of the people of Gush Katif. This was a number of years ago. They happened to be staying next door to the Neturai Karta shul. Friday night when they walked out the house, the car was surrounded by children. They were daring each other to touch the bumper sticker. By the end of shabbos the car was completely covered by table clothes, and the kids were still standing around the car inventing games. Who would lift the table cloth in the back of the car to look at the bumper sticker. Who was actually daring enough to touch the bumper sticker. Back to the Breslovers for a minute, there was one from Tzfas, who was quite easy-going and friendly, unlike the others.

There is no real Friday night tisch by Reb Aharon. The Rebbe talks informally with a couple of hundred bachurim. There isn’t much singing. The Rebbe mainly talks Torah. The shalous sheudos tisch is a different story. I’ve been to five or six of the big tischen around New York and in Eretz Yisroel, but never before have I seen so much disrespect for the idea of a tisch and for the Rebbe as in Kiryas Yoel. The singing is rushed and disorganized. There are special forenches (bleachers) set up for the ketanim, as in 5 or 6 years old, and by the time the sound from the other end of the large shul reaches them, and they are there trying to keep up with the niggun, the people at the other end of the big shul are already on the next phrase. The result is a big mish-mosh of sound. I know at least two of the niggunim that they sing weekly at the tisch, and I wasn’t even able to make them out. In addition, many people talk, and some even scream to be heard over the noise of the singing. But the big shock comes in the middle. When the Rebbe starts to speak, people start clearing out. Almost 75% of the people walk out, noisily.

At this tisch the Rebbe talks in very, very lofty tones. Friday night he speaks very informally, but at the shalous sheudos tisch it is an experience just to listen to him. His voice starts off very high at the beginning of each phrase, as if it’s about to crack, and with each few words his voice gets lower. I don’t understand much Yiddish, but I was taken enough with his lofty style of speaking that I decided to stay, unlike many. But that’s when the trouble started.


The shalous sheudos tisch in Satmar is in the dark, as in many other places, but never before have I seen what I later learned was the Vaad HaZnius patrolling the tisch with flashlights. Two men walk around, and shine the lights in random peoples’ faces. But not for a second or two. Sometimes they will keep the light in someone’s face for about 10 seconds or so, when the person is only trying to listen to the Rebbe. I asked my host, of course, later what this was all about, and he said that this was very, very important. It’s to make sure that nothing illegal goes on at the tisch in the dark.
Have they had problems in the past? What was going on? Drug use? Bochurim touching each other under the forenches? Obviously they’ve had problems in the past. When the flashlight came to my face something strange happened. It didn’t move! They guy with the flashlight didn’t move the flashlight out of my face. Did I look like a trouble maker? I couldn’t believe it. Just because I looked a little different? I had no choice but to climb over the bench, and leave the tisch. Very upsetting at the least.

Despite some bad incidents I will go back, but maybe not for about a year. What I like most about Satmar is the davening. I haven’t found any other Chassidic group that davens with such enthusiasm as Satmar. You could argue Stolin, but for some it’s a bit much, and could leave you with a headache if you’re not used to their style. Satmar for me is the most passionate davening, and as a ba’al teshuvah, it provides me with a good dose of chizuk each time I go.


The first Satmar Rebbe said that Kiryas Yoel has the same kedusha as Yerushalayim. I don’t know about that, but a feeling of kedusha is evident.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who is using your FACEBOOK face ?

B"H

Those of you who are active FACEBOOK users may be interested in this new invention:


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131962

Who is using your face on FACEBOOK ?

FACE.COM

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

B"H

I have just been to the Carmel Market downtown buying some food for Shabbat and now I am dripping. I feel like I am standing under a shower. Unfortunately, only a shower of sweat.
It is unbelievable hot in Tel Aviv and, at least at the moment, I am even jealous of those chassidic women shaving off their hair.
Give me razor and I am shaving off my wet hair !

Maybe people from Florida can understand our humidity.

I am staying in the heat of Tel Aviv this Shabbat and, as I am a little sick of mostly going to Chabad here, I will try out another Synagogue from a totally different chassidic group.
Once Tel Aviv used to be the Israeli "capital" of chassidic groups and there are actually still some remains here although most Rebbes and groups moved over to Bnei Brak.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all readers !

Besides Synagogue, food, some beach and sweating around, I am planning to learn my new Hebrew - Yiddish dictionary almost by heart.

Christian Missionaries are using my Blog Name

B"H

One of my readers spelled the name of my blog wrong and this mistake led him to a Christian missionary site. Also called "Shearim" - as if missionaries had anything to do with Shearim ("Gates" in kabbalistic literature).

The only "Shearim" they have something with are the "Gates of Impurity" !

The missionaries use almost my complete URL but turned around two letters. So, watch out not to make any spelling mistakes !!!
Otherwise you are being flooded with idol - worship.:-)

Ignore the Gay Parade !

B"H

The Gavad of the Edah HaCharedit, Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, made the right decision by telling the Edah members not to demonstrate against the Jerusalem gay parade. The parade is due to take place on Thursday next week and it usually differs a lot from the event in Tel Aviv.
In Tel Aviv thousands of non - gays participate because they see the parade as a huge party for everyone. In Jerusalem, however, the parade is much smaller and space limited. The vast majority of Jerusalemites doesnt' want such a parade in the Holy City. No matter if Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

It seems like the gays have a severe psychological problem in terms of accepting themselves. In order to improve their own self - confidence, they got the idea of running a parade. The more non - gays participate, the better, as this is giving the gays the feeling that they are accepted.


The truth is that they are NOT ! And the best way of making this clear is by ignoring them.

Tish and Shevat Berachot in Boyan

B"H

Tonight (Erev Shabbat) and tomorrow (Se'udat Shlishit - third Shabbat meal), Chassidut Boyan is celebrating. First of all, it is the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh (beginning of a new Jewish month) and the Boyaner Rebbe always has a Tish on that particular Shabbat (Shabbat Mevarchin).

This week, the Rebbe's brother got married and thus, Boyan is also celebrating Sheva Berachot (traditional blessings after a wedding).


I was told that the Tish tonight is probably not taking place at the great Boyaner Synagogue in Malchei Israel Street (Jerusalem) but rather right across at the Belzer place. For female visitors this means to be squeezed in.
I already had this experience when I went to the Tish of the Vishnitzer Rebbe Israel Hager a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I cannot participate, as I am staying in Tel Aviv this Shabbat. If I was in Jerusalem, however, I would definitely go; even if I was squeezed in like a sardine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Tichel


B"H

The picture above shows some Satmarer women in New York. The TICHEL (headscarf) they wear on their wig (Shaitel) is mainly worn on Shabbat or holidays.

But isn't the Shaitel alone not enough ? Why should a chassidic woman additionally put a Tichel on her wig ?

I spoke to one chassidic woman in Mea Shearim and she told me her reason:

"Many times, a wig just looks like natural hair. Men from far behind may
think that you are an unmarried women and stare. If I put a Tichel on my
Shaitel, I am making sure that I do look 100 % like a married woman. Even from
very far away !"



Chassidic women covering their wigs with a Tichel:
For instance: Belz, Vishnitz, Dushinsky or Satmar.

How to cover one's hair with a Tichel:

http://www.coveryourhair.com/HowToTieTiechels.html

... what about Gilad ?

B"H

The whole world is talking about Obama, Netanyahu or Achmadinejad.

Hamas, Hizbollah, Fatach, Israeli settlements.

But what about Gilad Shalit ? Any improvements or forgotten ?




More than a 1000 days, Gilad Shalit has been sitting in the Hamas dungeon.
Picture below: His father Noam at a demonstration.


Photo: Daylife

"Blue Festival - לילה כחול" in Jaffa


B"H

Tel Aviv is celebrating its 100 birthday !
Here is a list with all events taking place throughout the year:

100 Jahre Tel Aviv



Tonight, Thursday 18 June 2009, the "Blue Festival" is starting at 6pm.
Just walk along the beach from Tel Aviv to Jaffa and into Old Jaffa where you will find all kinds of blue art, events in blue, etc.
Don't get confused with the Hebrew slang word "blue - kachol" meaning "pornographic" ! The "Blue Festival" is a CLEAN / PURE art event.
At least I hope so.:-)

The Vatican and the stolen Jewish Children

B"H

Thousands of Jewish parents took their children to monastries and other church institutions during the time of the Holocaust. Most parents didn't survive and thus never returned to pick up their children. If this was the case, many
Jewish children were baptized by the Catholic church and disappeared into the Christian world; mostly without knowing about their Jewish identity.

The Pope was visiting Israel a few weeks ago, and the Israeli anti - missionary organization "
Yad Le'Achim" protested. The church should publish the names of the stolen Jewish children but the Pope remained silent.

Now Yad Le'Achim got a reaction from the Vatican.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131923

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jews in Iran



B"H

Approximately 25.000 Jews still live in Iran. The vast majority of them doesn't want to leave, let alone make Aliyah to Israel. Iranian Jews keep quiet and go on with their dialy business lives. Many of them are successful and know that, as soon as they came to Israel, they would be on the dole. Therefore they prefer staying in Iran.

The Toldot Aharon Rebbe

The present Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn

Someone sent me this picture today. I do like it because I have never seen the Rebbe that close. Even though it is "just" a picture.

Pakshivilim versus (F)akshivilim

B"H

Somone who obvioulsy knows better Yiddish than I do told me that the correct Yiddish version for the haredi news posters is

PAKSHIVILIM and NOT (F)akshivilim !

I corrected the mistake at most places and look forward to improve my Yiddish. :-)

Worldwide Protests against Achmadinejad

B"H

Worldwide protests against the apparently faked results of the Iranian elections are taking place. Here is a site with further details:

"Where is my Vote
?"


Israeli secret service officials, however, don't see Achmadinejad's government overthrown. Eventually, so the secret guys, the Iranian demonstrations will calm down.

I think so too but I still hope that the Iranians are gaining back their democracy.

Unemployment rate up

B"H

The unemployment rate in Israel is up again: 7.8 %.

In April, another 6000 workers were laid off. The latest statistic says that Israel has 234.000 people looking for a new job at the moment.

The latest Pakshivilim

B"H


Sunday, 29 Sivan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: Special prayer at the Kotel (Western Wall). Outcry to G - d in order to help us and not let any government succeed in forbidding us to build in our own country.



The former Sephardi Chief Rabbi and spiritual leader of the SHASS - Party, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef: "The Internet is impure !"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Koogle

B"H

Orthodox Jewry launched its own KOSHER Google called KOOGLE:

http://www.koogle.co.il/English/

If you are becoming a Koogle user, no more "dirty" sites show up on your screen. Tell this to Chassidut Gur and others, as they are not (yet) allowed to use the Internet.

Aruch HaShulchan and not Shulchan Aruch

B"H

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I have been writing quite a lot about Baalei Teshuva (Jews becoming religious later on in their lives). As soon as I mentioned that Baalei Teshuva as well as converts to Judaism are not always too accepted within the Jewish frum society, I got a few upset comments. Most of them (or even all of them) were from Baalei Teshuva claiming that it doesn't concern them. I would be so wrong and Baalei Teshuva were totally accepted; even in Satmar and Toldot Aharon.

I can say about myself that I have been dealing with the subjects Baalei Teshuva, Haredim and the whole society Shtick for quite some years. At least in Israel I have seen a lot ! Plenty of born Chassidim told me that, in their group, newcomers are accepted but it wouldn't be the same when there is someone like that (new). One Toldot Aharon woman even let me know that someone really chassidic has to be born chassidic.

I heard many opinions and why I am again referring to the subject is my Shabbat experience I had last week. I was invited in Mea Shearim and the Baalei Teshuva subject came up again. I am planning to write some further details but for today I just want to stress that, according to my opinion, it also depends very much on the convert or Baalei Teshuva. How does he / she deal with the environment ? Does he remain calm or is he one of those who keep the Mitzvot in a fanatic manner ?
Once I was invited at a litvishe Baalei Teshuva couple and they tried to keep every single little detail. Everything had to be perfect. The whole Shabbat had to be so unbelievable perfect that it was too much. No enjoyment due to perfection. Or in other words, they drove their guests nuts.
Such fanatics are one of the worst kind.

The Jerusalem Rabbi Mordechai Machlis once told us that many Jewish American secular parents call him up and want to know what happened to their child while studying in one of the overseas programmes. Suddenly the kid became frum and after his return to the States, he is driving his secular or reform environment crazy. Telling everyone what to do and asking the parents to keep a kosher kitchen.

A few months ago, I read a book called "Freaking Out" describing certain ways of Baalei Teshuva behaviour. Unfortunately, the book was only referring to US - Baalei Teshuva and included too many dry statistics. This was, at least, my personal impression.

Rabbi Machlis, however, told the following story:
Once a new Baal Teshuva who had formerly studied in a Yeshiva in Jerusalem, went back to his parents in the States. As soon as he got home, he demanded from his family to keep Mitzvot. Furthermore, he told the local Rabbi what to do, as it says this and that in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). The Rabbi just looked up and said that in his community they don't follow the Shulchan Aruch but the Aruch HaShulchan. The Baal Teshuva became very quiet, as he didn't know what that is.

There are some newly religious (guys and young girls) who study in a Yeshiva or seminary and after a few weeks or months they think that they know everything. I experienced this plenty of times that a newly Yeshiva guy / seminary girl came up to me and told me what and how to do something.

I can understand that there is an excitement and I once experienced the same. Being proud to learn something and having the desire to share it with others. However, it very much depends on HOW you share it. Going on people's nerves or being patient.

A Baal Teshuva should always be accompanied by an experienced Rabbi advising the Baal Teshuva how to undergo the whole process step by step, and not to freak out and end up being problem for himself and his surrounding.

Dining like in Avraham's Tent

B"H

Last Shabbat I spent two Shabbat meals in Mea Shearim. I am purposely not mentioning from which chassidic group the Mea Shearim family is, as they don't want to appear on the Internet. However, usually male and female sit in two separate rooms. Not all the time but as soon as the family has guests in the house.

Our host told us that she wants everybody eating in her house saying "Bircat HaMazon - The Grace after the Meal" after they finish eating. "Without benching, no one is leaving my house", so our host. Just as Avraham Avinu asked his guests in his tent to thank G - d after a meal, I want my guests thanking G - d as well".


Then she told us that once a girl came for Shabbat and refused to bench after the meal. Instead she said that she wants to thank the host, as she had cooked all the food. The host said that G - d provided the food and then the two started an argument. Eventually the host said: "Listen, if you don't want to bench, you have to pay me for the meal after Shabbat !" She didn't let the girl leave and was prepared to give her a bed in her house until Mozzaei Shabbat. In the end, the girl said Bircat HaMazon" and thus was able to leave.

A few months later, guess what happened.
The girl came back to this particular family and announced that she was now studying at the women's seminary Neve Yerushalaim.

I am not sure if this is such a good story but I know one thing:
I will always bench in that house in order not to find myself kidnapped in Mea Shearim !

Monday, June 15, 2009

Golda Holterman

B"H

Israeli art students seem to have found a new field of interest. A few weeks ago, I heard about it in Tel Aviv and thought "Wow, something new. Sounds interesting".

Since last Friday, however, I am got the message that apparently many artists have discovered a new object: the local prostitutes.
Among those artists is also a young woman with the name Golda Holterman. What is so special about her and why is such a topic coming up on a religious blog ?

Until a few years ago, Golda Holterman studied in a litvishe seminary in Mea Shearim. During her third and last year of those studies, she signed up at the Israeli Bezalel Art University. She left religion and found her life in the world of photography.

Already a while ago, she started taking pictures of prostitutes in Tel Aviv.

Due to modesty reasons I am not putting any of those pictures into the blog. But last Friday, I read an interview with her in an Israeli newspaper where Golda Holterman claimed that she also took pictures of male Haredim from Mea Shearim. First I thought that this cannot be true. Now I found some of those pictures on the Internet and I am putting one picture into the blog.

Maybe you have an opinion on that !


I am just asking myself how any Haredim could possibly agree. What about the "Mishmeret HaZniut - Modesty Police", parents, etc. ?
Golda Holterman became quite famous and is running some national and international exhibitions.

"Shavua HaSefer" at Kikar Rabin

B"H

Until June 20, the Hebrew Book Week (Shavua HaSefer) is taking place in Israel. Today I went to the event in Tel Aviv (Kikar Rabin - Rabin Square). I was ready to buy some interesting books but do you know this feeling that when you are looking for a good book, you don't exactly find what you want. This happened to me today.
The fair was full of relationship novels, books for children, history (especially the Holocaust) and, of course, the Kabbalah Center was there and made some more propaganda for itself. The majority of the books was in Hebrew and I saw maybe 10 books in English.
People who only know English and live in Tel Aviv should rather go to some local book stores instead visiting the fair at Kikar Rabin.

I was looking for something chassidic and, in the end, found reports written by secular Israeli academics on the chassidic world; mostly on chassidic history. I only bought one book and I am very happy with it.

As I understand Yiddish but my Yiddish speech is a disaster, I bought a very helpful Yiddish - Hebrew dictionary. Otherwise I was rather disappointed from the fair due to the high prices. Only 30% discount on most of the books. The book stores in the neighbourhood are offering discounts up to 50%.

Hopefully my way to talk in Yiddish is improving soon but I am optimistic, as I know German. My only problem is the Hungarian Yiddish which is sometimes hard to follow. However, it does make a difference when you speak to the Chassidim in Yiddish and not "only" in Hebrew, as I used to do so far.

Gay Parade in Jerusalem

B"H

My original plan was acting the same way, as I did with the gay parade in Tel Aviv. Keep quiet and not giving the participants a platform of feeling important.

However, as the Edah HaCharedit is probably quite happy that the Jerusalem Municipality also won't open the parking lot this Shabbat, further preparations for demonstrations are taking place. Not against opening the municipality parking lot on Shabbat but rather against the Jerusalem gay parade which is scheduled for 3 Tammuz (next week on Thursday).

When I read an anti - gay parade poster from the Edah last Shabbat, I found it quite funny that the date is actually on 3 Tammuz because this is the Yahrzeit of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe (died in 1994). Some Chabadnikim don't call it a Yahrzeit but "the day the Rebbe became invisible". Meaning that the Rebbe is still among us but we are not on the level to see him.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe has nothing to do with the parade but it just entered my mind when I saw the poster.

A colleague of mine was upset because I haven't written anything about some members of Jerusalem's secular population demonstrating against the haredi demonstrations. The reason why I haven't mentioned the secular demonstrations is because I think that their reason is foolish. It wasn't a demonstration for secular rights but a demonstration against THE HAREDIM.

How can anyone demonstrate against a population he doesn't know at all ?

With or without demonstrations, the Jerusalem gay parade is probably taking place. In a very different way than in Tel Aviv though where half of the city center is closed down. Usually the parade in Jerusalem only leads to a few side streets and not through the main roads. Everything is limited, even the time. The whole atmosphere for the gays is different and it doesn't take much to feel that they simply don't belong into the Holy City.

Summer in Tel Aviv

B"H

Sometimes I don't understand how Tel Aviv inhabitants are able to work in this heat. In this humidity crawling onto your body as soon as you get off the bus. Jerusalem has a dry heat; you sweat but your skin is not as sticky as glue. Arriving at the coastal city always knocks me out for a little while.

Taking showers doesn't help much and the only thing you yearn for is an air condition. However, I love this city and rather suffer through humidity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chassidut Toltchav ?

B"H

Does anyone have any details about Chassidut Toltchav in Jerusalem ?


I found the following in an encyclopedia by Yitzchak Alfassi:

Rabbi Moshe David Ashkenazi of Toltchva (maybe Toltchav in Yiddish ?). He lived from 1774 - 1856.
First he was the Rabbi of Toltchva and later, he moved to Israel and got close to the community in Safed.

The book "Shemen HaRosh" was written by his grandson.
Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Teitelbaum was his son - in - law.
Rabbi Moshe David's sons were: Rabbi Shlomo of Bashvitz, Rabbi Mordechai of Fistein, Rabbi Yoel of Zultchov and Rabbi Rabbi Avraham.

Picture of the Day


At the Kotel (Western Wall)

Clashes in Iran

B"H

Iranian is convinced that it was not President Achmadinejad winning the latest elections and is demonstrating:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3730786,00.html


Demonstration against Achmadinejad in Teheran



I tried to get into some English spreaking blogs from Iran but didn't succeed. It says the the Iranian government is blocking any political blogs originating in Iran.

However, I did succeed in getting into the blog of Achmadinejad:

http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/

Light in Jerusalem

B"H

Until the June 16, the "Jerusalem Light Festival" is taking place in the Old City.

The events begin at 7.30pm and are free of charge !

Further Details:

http://www.tourism.gov.il/Tourism_Euk/Tourist+Information/Press+Releases/Jerusalem+Light+Festival.htm
Jerusalem in Light (in HEBREW ONLY)

ARUTZ 7


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The "Puah Institute"

B"H

Childless Israeli couples can receive professional help regarding fertilisation etc. "Machon Puah - the Puah Institute" in Jerusalem is famous for its halachic advice in such matters.


PUAH INSTITUTE

The national religious paper "BeSheva" reported after the recent death of the Edah HaCharedit Rabbi Me'ir Brandsdorfer, that PUAH also received rabbinic advice from him.