Monday, November 30, 2009

Secular and National Religious want Hurva - Synagogue for Tourism



B"H

In 1948, the Jordanians blew it up, in our days, Arab workers have been rebuilding it: The HURVA Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

Now the secular together with some national religious fight over leadership. Who should run the Synagogue ?
If the Haredim take over, women and tourists would be not welcomed, so the national religious together with their secular friends.

Who says WOMEN are not welcomed ?
Women would be but not the non - Jewish tourists. We have enough of them creeping around in Jerusalem's Great Synagogue.

It is the first time I have ever heard that even the national religious Jews want a Synagogue for tourism. Automatically the question comes up, how much money parts of the national religious movement has received from Christian missionary organizations in order to keep the doors open for fanatic Christians.

So, if you want to have the Hurva as a tourist attraction, keep it this way. But WITHOUT an ARON HAKODESH !

Links: 

Kikar.Net (Hebrew)

Haaretz (English)

Do we really know the graves of the Zaddikim ?


B"H

Are we totally sure that the graves of certain Zaddikim (righteous) are really their graves ? I mean how can we tell for sure that today's Rachel's grave is really Rachel's grave ? Maybe it is the grave of someone else and Rachel's grave is located somewhere next to it. A bit more far away but in the area.

How do we know that Yosef's grave is at exactly the same location where we find it today ? Or where we believe it is. Maybe it is somewhere else ?
The same with Aharon's grave or the sons of Yaakov (see small picture on top with Ruven's grave).

I believe that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) has his grave where it is today or Rabbi Akiva. But I am not sure about the sons of Yaakov or Kever Rachel. From where do we know the exact location ? From tradition ?

The most controversial discussion has been taking place about the grave of King David on Mount Zion (Jerusalem). Wasn't it the Catholic church deciding where the grave is ? And why do we believe the church ?

Sometimes I keep on telling myself that either the grave are at the right location or that many Jews only want to believe so in order to pray or have something to hold on / touch.

Breslover Trip to Kever Yosef


B"H

The fight about the grave of Yosef (son of Yaakov) in Shechem (Nablus) has been going on for quite a few years now. Just remember October 2000, when radical Palestinians attacked Kever Yosef and the soldiers protecting it. Eventually the Israeli army gave up the Kever and violent Palestinians took over the compound desecrating Yosef's grave: http://www.nahalat-hevron.org/joseph.htm

Especially the Breslover Chassidim are famous fro their campaigns of reaching the Kever in order to pray there. Sometimes they just walk towards Shechem, their trips are illegal or legal.
This time, however, the trip was legal.

Yosef's grave and the trip of some Breslover to Shechem escorted by the Israeli army














All pictures may be viewed here:


Link:

Yosef HaZaddik 

Engagement in Nikolsburg



Engagement of the Rebbe's son

For more pictures: Click HERE !

The Nikolsburger website: http://www.nikolsburg.org/

The Nikolsburger Rebbe can also be found Facebook.:-)
Is the group only located in New York or do they have branches in Israel as well ?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Haredi Dictatorship

B"H

Most of my time after making Aliyah in June 2000, I have been spending in Jerusalem. Even some years before I used to live in Israel's capital. But have I ever felt suppressed by the Haredim ? My answer is NO.

As soon as I live in a non - haredi area, no one is telling me what to do, what to eat, what to wear or how to behave. Not even in a mainly national religious neighbourhood such as Kiryat Moshe. In 1997, I was living in the haredi part of Ramot (Aleph) for a bit more than half a year. Even there, some of our neighbours were secular. I admit that the majority of the neighbours were Haredim but some people in the neighbourhood were not. We all lived together and no one demonstrated, screamed or said a word.

If you live in secular Rehavia, French Hill, Talpiot, Arnona or whatever, religious and non - religious Jews do get along. However, if I as a Haredi decide living in a mostly secular neighbourhood I do have to be prepared to suffer from loud radio music or TV noise on Shabbat. As soon as I go as a non - Haredi into one of the stricter haredi neighbourhoods I do have to behave. Not that anyone is standing behind me with a baseball bat; actually some secular do walk around immodest or whatever while passing haredi areas.
Usually such a person does not suffer from any bad remarks. It can happen but most of the time it does not.

So, why did a group of secular left - wing Israelis demonstrate against the Haredim last night ? The demonstration was obviously organized by Israel's weirdo left - wing party MERETZ and the participant claimed that the Haredim want to take over Jerusalem. Maybe turn it into Teheran.

Are those demonstrators right ?

First of all, I assume that half of the gay parade participated in the demonstration. Let alone other seculars who just hate Haredim but, at the same time, have no clue about haredi society.
On the one hand, those demonstrators are right. The demonstrations against INTEL are unnecessary, as plenty of other companies work on Shabbat. Why only INTEL ?
I do see the haredi point but they will not get a good press or make any positive impression by screaming "Schabbes, Schabbes !"

Nevertheless, someone making claims such as "haredi dictatorship" etc. should first of all learn about haredi society. A basic fact is that secular Jews and their generations are fading away. You want to live a liberal assimilated life ? Do so but take a look into your future.
Look at your grandchildren maybe marrying one of those kids from Israel's foreign workers. Jews marrying Gentiles and thus loosing any identity, history and religion. Is this the modern way of life today ? Do I have to give up my entire Jewish being in order to fulfill my strive for freedom ?

How does my freedom look ? First I am happy and released but after a while especially those beloved Gentiles point at me and call me "Jew". Do I then know what "Jew" means ?

On the other hand, the haredi population of Jerusalem can not stipulate the rules in the city. So far, all of us have been living together. Everyone in his neighbourhood without too much intruding. Of course, there are demands for kosher busses etc. However, Jerusalem consists of many different Jews and one society has no right to tell the other how to behave. Neither the Secular nor the Haredim. The whole situation definitely shows us the lack of understanding each other. The Haredim identify the Secular with gay parade, pork, immodesty and drugs.
The Secular see only fanatism in the Haredim. They do not join the army, drive us mad, demonstrate and live somewhere in the Middle Ages.

I have no solution to offer. Those hating Haredim will continue doing so and those Haredim calling the secular life "empty" will continue doing so. A solution always working in Jerusalem is getting to know each other on a daily basis. A secular guy is helping a haredi mother and her baby carriage onto a bus, for instance. Suddenly the haredi woman sees the Secular as a Jew but not as an ignorant junkie.

Jerusalem is not as bad as its "intolerant" reputation. What always made us Jews stick together, no matter what, were wars and other catastrophes. I am not saying that we always need a disaster happening in order to get along. However, sometimes it does look so. What we do need on both sides it more respect for each other. I am not crying out for the Haredim respecting the gays, for instance. But despite the gay behaviour, those people are still Jews and Jews are responsible for each other.

Link in Hebrew:

Rabbi Menachem Porush against the secular demonstartions in Jerusalem

Asael Lubotzky: Min HaMidbar veHaLevanon


B"H


The book I am reading at the moment was written by the IDF - officer Asael Lubotzky from Efrat (a national religious settlement near Jerusalem). The book was published in Hebrew and I do not know if there is any English translation.


Lubotzky participated in a military campaign in Gaza before being sent to Lebanon (all in July 2006).


In his book, Asael Lubotzky tells us about how his soldiers were trained, about entering Gaza and Lebanon in an Achzarit and about his severe injury and the life after.


It is an amazing book about a soldier's life in the IDF. About the fears and the excitement to fight for his country but also about the death and suffering of his companions.
















Chassidic Parashot

B"H

Here are the latest chassidic Torah Parashot from last Shabbat (Vayetze):

http://ladaat.net/gilionot.php

Among others from the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak, Parasha Partner (in English), Munkatch, Neturei Karta, Shomrei Emunim or Toldot Aharon.

Picture of the Day

How far should Photoshop influence our Lives ?



Latest Pashkevilim



If certain haredi groups go out to fight the Gentile wig (Sheitel), they should do so in a holy Torah way and not hand out videos. Videos do destroy a holy Jewish family !




Above and below: Against INTEL working on Shabbat









Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv against the wig / Gentile wig (Sheitel).

The main claim of the wig opponents is that a Sheitel is making a haredi woman look like a prostitute !

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shabbat Shalom



B"H

The main topic most people look at at this week's Parasha is "Sulam Yaakov - Jacob's Ladder". There are countless of commentaries available. However, the most important interpretation is that everything was a prophecy. One opinion says that G - d showed Yaakov that him and the Jewish people won't be under the supervision of the angels but directly under G - d's influence.

What we learn from Parashat Vayetze is also that despite all difficulties and evil Lavan, Yaakov stuck to his morality and to G - d. He did not give in to all viciousness and remained on his path.
We should take him as an example because as soon as many Israelis go abroad or Jews living in the Diaspora, they just become like the nations in many ways. Unfortunately we forget our uniqueness too easily. But not only in the Diaspora ! Just look at Israel and the secular world. It is so easy to get lost and sometimes I am experiencing this myself.

There are people who need to run on Shabbat. Hurry from one event to the next in order not to miss anything or fight their own loneliness. However, to me Shabbat means to relax from the busy week. I am glad when I can sit, relax, sleep or read a good book. I am not into running from one event to the next. I don't need all this invitations. Honestly, I find this rather strange anyway because from a certain age you should make your own Shabbat and not hang around with a strange crowd.

It is supposed to rain but in case it won't, I am definitely going out into nature. Just like the Breslovers but maybe not into such a quiet Hitbodedut, as there may be too many people around. If there is some sun in the winter, people just stream into the forests and parks.

All my life, I have been into books. For the past years, mainly into "Sifrei Koidesh - holy books" but, nevertheless, I do read worldly literature as well. History, Israeli and Arab politics (in Hebrew, written by Israeli army generals or other experts). I just bought a great book about the civil war in Lebanon. Despite all religion, we should not get lost into a total spiritual world but deal with the present as well. This is why G - d placed us here. To do Tikunim (rectifications) and to live our present. Take the Torah as a tool and try living it today.

Too many people spend their lives in their own ghettos and I am asking how they are able to do any Tikunim. Only with themselves ?
Separation is never too positive and even Yaakov went out living in an entirely different environment. This way we do Tikunim and not by locking us up.

Nevertheless, there are days when a lock is necessary in order to think and relax.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all readers !

A Jewish Past: Lublin


B"H

A new documentary about the former Jewish life in LUBLIN / Poland.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

How many Rabbis are there in Chassidut BELZ ?

B"H

How many Rabbis are there in Chassidut BELZ ?

This is the question I asked a Belzer Chassid a few weeks ago. His answer sounded surprising to me:

"There are only about sixty Rabbis in our group. In order to become a Rabbi you have to be a real serious Talmid Chacham and not just "anybody". And those educated Rabbis in Belz are mostly Dayanim (judges) or such kind. But not only us, almost every other chassidic groups only has a few Rabbis. Anybody else is a student or anything but not a Rabbi. Even the teachers in our schools are not called Rabbi".


My question:


Can a Baal Teshuva become a Rabbi in your group ? If not a Rabbi, so maybe 
a teacher ?

The Belzer:

A Baal Teshuva  could not become a Rabbi in Belz. Not because he is a Baal Teshuva but because he is lacking all the knowledge. People cannot catch up and are never on the same level as a frum Jew from birth. Furthermore, a Baal Teshuva entering our group will never be a real 100 per cent Chassid. If he is good he can become 90 percent but never be perfect.
People entering from the outside think that, once they join, they are IN, but they are not. There is nothing like being born into a Chassidut. However, a Baal Teshuva could become a teacher. There is none like that in our group but he could".

My question:

Why don't you tell this to the Baalei Teshuva who are willing to join Belz ? Or do you tell them what you just mentioned to me ?

 The Belzer response:

"If we told them that, no one would become a Baal Teshuva".

While saying this he smiled.
Well, what can I say ? It is not only the Belzer saying this. I  have spoken to quite a few born chassidic Jews and all of them told me the same. No matter if Belz, Gur, Boyan or Toldot Aharon.

If I was one of those Baalei Teshuva yearning to join any chassidic group, I would be satisfied with keeping their customs and going to their Synagogues but I would not sign anything official in order to become a member.

Why not ?

Because I am just not the type trying to squeeze myself into a society where I don't belong. It would just make me feel too uncomfortable.

Prime Minister Benjamin Obama



B"H

Unfortunately, our prime minister does not think this way (see above picture) and prefers to give in to Obama. But did we expect anything else ?
As soon as Netanyahu sees Obama, he forgets about all Zionist ideologies and even about his country. The question is for how long is he willing to resist the "Jerusalem" issue.

Despite all Israeli efforts, the Palestinian authority has already announced that without including Jerusalem, there will not be a real progress in the peace process.
So, why stop building new housing in settlements at all ?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Men

B"H

Not that I do understand men but still, it has always been interesting to observe how they deal with intelligent women. Never mind if in religious or secular society. As soon as a self - confident educated woman appears, men either run or try their best to influence her.

Sephardi men are mostly Machos and try to be the boss as well as the protector. Even worse in frum circles, as they absolutely cannot tolerate a woman studying Talmud or other higher Jewish studies. This is just beyong their understanding.

With Ashkenazi men it depends. According to my experience, religious men are quite helpful. I am not a feminist or so but do think that a woman should be equal. Especially in education.
Some religious guys, however, just freak out when there is a woman who is slightly more intelligent than them. Can you imagine a woman correcting a man in Gemara ? Those cases do exist and some guys are really upset about it.

Whatever environment you choose as a woman: Keep away from men who try to tell you what to do or do their very best to manipulate you.

The "Shalit - Dilemma"



B"H

What does the Torah say about freeing a kidnapped soldier of one's own army ?
The Jewish army.

As far as I remember do we have the obligation to do anything in order to free the soldier from his captivity.

Israel is in a big dilemma, as the Hamas demands the release of hundreds of its terrorists in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Terrorists who killed countless of Jews and whose goal it is to continue doing so. Everyone who has ever been in a terrorist attack or lived in Jerusalem during the year 2002 knows exactly what I am talking about.
When we riding on a local bus in 2002, we were watching every passenger getting on the bus. Did he look Arab ? If yes, could he be a suicide bomber ? What if he carried a big piece of luggage ?

As the whole country, I am torn between the two possibilities: Should Israel release all those terrorists or keep on negotiating ? Is one soldier worth a few hundred terrorist with blood on their hands ? What is happening in the future if those terrorists are free ? Can Shalit be a happy person when he knows that his release caused further terror victims ?

I am glad not to be the prime minister and hopefully everything will work out.
(Just some wishful thinking !)

Tel Aviv Today

B"H

Today, Tel Aviv was six degrees Celsius warmer than Jerusalem. Furthermore, most tourists went back to their countries making it much more enjoyable for us living in the city.

Nevertheless, the rain is right ahead !

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sefer Raziel HaMalach

B"H

It is always fascinating to see how many people are interested in Kabbalah today. Maybe I should rather say "Spirituality", as the vast majority has no clue what Kabbalah really means and people are simply looking for esotheric solutions in their lives instead of bother with long studies. Kabbalah simply means "the secrets of the Torah" and thus the studies are Torah studies. This alone does not sound too exciting and this is why people run to the Kabbalah Center. Fast Food Spirituality for everybody and you can even bring your shopping bags.

The Jews in the Middle Ages were a lot into amulets. Today we know this from certain Sephardi communities. However, amulets were frequently used among Jews in Western Europe.
As soon as people come across those old amulets in our times, their eyes begin to shine and they immediately think of something highly spiritual. Without even understanding the amulet. 

Some years ago I bought the book "Sefer Raziel HaMalach" and found it rather confusing. It contains various amulets. For instance an amulet whose task it is to protect a newborn from Adam HaRishon's first wife L.

I am not into amulets or any other kind of superstition (e.g. the red ribbons protecting against the "Ayin HaRah - Evil Eye). Nevertheless, I stumbled over some of the "Raziel" amulets on the Internet and found it quite interesting how it can confuse people's minds.








For Clarification:

Ofer Gamliel wrote:



Dear Rabbi,


Why is it recommended not to read the book of Raziel the Angel? Thank you.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ofer Gamliel,


I heard the following from known Kabbalists here in Jerusalem. There is an ancient authoritative Kabbalistic work called Raziel HaMalach (Raziel the Angel). This book is cited by the Zohar, but the book itself was lost over a thousand years ago.


What is known today as the book of Raziel HaMalach is actually a distorted version of a genuine Kabbalistic work written by one of the Rishonim (11th - 15th century commentators). One of the Rishonim wrote a Kabbalistic work, not called Raziel Hamalach. Later, probably before the time of the Arizal (16th century), somebody took this work, added his own ideas to it and added pieces from sources inconsistent with traditional Jewish thought. He then published it under the title Raziel HaMalach. This work is not studied in the Kabbalistic schools.

Source: Ohr Sameach

Wedding and Mourning in Karlin - Stolin


B"H

The Karlin - Stoliner Rebbe lost his mother and is now sitting Shiva. However, this upcoming Wednesday, his son is getting married and the Rebbe is due to attend the wedding celebrations.
He can do that based on a very rare Psak Halacha by the halachic expert Rabbi Moshe Feinstein z"l. However, the Rebbe cannot dance at the wedding but has to sit.

Rabbanit Feiga Shochet was nifter last Shabbat.


Details in Hebrew:

Haredim

Bar Mitzva in Toldot Aharon

B"H

Because I am dealing with so many chassidic groups, I sometimes loose track and get confused by all the names and who is who. Although the Toldot Aharon were only founded in the 1920ies and thus do not yet have that many Rebbes or Rebbe family members, it can be hard to differentiate.


אמש (יום א') התקיימה שמחת הבר מצוה לנכד כהאדמו''ר מתולדות אהרן, בן לבנו הרה''צ ר' מנחם נחום , חתן הרב משה קאהן - ראש ישיבת תולדות אהרן

The Bar Mitzva took place last Sunday. A grandchild of Rebbe David Kahn was celebrating in the TA - Beit Midrash in Mea Shearim. He is the son of the Rebbe's son Menachem Nachum. However, I could not figure out who Rabbi Moshe Kahn is.





All pictures may be viewed here:

Picture of the Day



Cartoon: Atlas Shrugs

Monday, November 23, 2009

Achmadinejad is buying American Universities

B"H

It is not just a rumour and different English speaking blogs have been publishing the fact for a long time. Finally, finally, after ages of hesitation, the Israeli press has reacted and published an article. See Ynet and today's MAARIV !

Many American universities are being supported by Iran. The result is obvious:
Jewish and Israeli students already feel uncomfortable at Columbia University. But not only there professors and other students are against Israel and Jews. Thanks to the rich Arab countries, America is being bought without even realizing how fast money is trapping it.

A list of American universities receiving donations from IRAN:

1. Havard, 2. Columbia, 3. University of California, 4. Georgia State University, 5. University of Arizona, 6. University of Pennsylvania, 7. Bard, 8. Rutgers, 9. Berkeley and 10. the University of Wisconsin.

Welcome to Iran, dear anti - Semitic students and lecturers ! You are on Achmadinejad's payroll !

Shock in Toldot Aharon

B"H

The Toldot Aharon have been building their great new Synagogue for ages. First there was a lack of money and then finally, last Succot, we were able to go into the new building. The group deperately needs more space, as the amount of their members is drastically growing.
The new building had not been completed yet and lots of construction work is still necessary. However, now the Toldot Aharon have received bad news from Jerusalem's municipality:
The new Synagogue may have to be demolished.
Reason: There was no permit given by the municipality and thus, the building is illegal.

So far, the Toldot Aharon prefer not to publish too many details about the upcoming catastrophy ! I hope that everything works out fine !

The Family of the "Abusive" Mea Shearim Mother



The "abusive" Mother is getting Rights


B"H

The "abusive" Mea Shearim mother has sent three of her children to England and her opponents as well as the prosecution saw this as a break of the law. The judge of Jerusalem's District Court now announced that the mother did not need any permission for sending three of her children abroad. The judge blessed the mother with a "Mazal Tov" before the opening of the new hearing and was even invited to her son's Brit (circumcision).

Details in Hebrew HERE !

Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe is mourning his Son - in - Law

B"H

The Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe is mourning his son - in - law, Rabbi Aryeh Leibush Teitelbaum, who was killed by Pakistanian terrorist inside the Chabad House (Mumbai) a year ago.

http://www.kikar.net/article.php?id=21960


Satmar continues Building

B"H

After a long break, Satmar is now continuing to build it's "Kiryat Yoel" in Jerusalem's Raoul Wallenberg Street.

A year ago I wrote in "Vos iz Neias" about the building stop. According to my sources, Satmar was then suffering from the known financial crisis and had to put the "Kiryat Yoel" project on hold. Many commentators on this article claimed that Jerusalem's municipality did not give a permit to Satmar and thus, the project was delayed. I did not clarify this with the municipality but have to tell you something from experience:

If the mayor (then Uri Lupolianski) had done so, the Satmarer would have been the first causing wild demonstrations against him. Even cutting his tyres. But nothing happened and I still believe that Satmar suffered financially. This is not a shame and, nevertheless, now constructions are continuing.



In November 2008: Jerusalem's Kiryat Yoel on hold.

Photo: TAB

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Photos of the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgorai

B"H

The Belzer Rebbe was mourning his father:






Pulling out the Teshuva Whip

B"H

Last Friday, 1pm, Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, Bus No. 405 to Jerusalem.

I was sitting at the second row behind the bus driver. Right behind me sat an Israeli soldier of French origin. Behind the soldier sat a German tourist called Florian who constantly yelled into his cell phone speaking English with an annoying German accent.
I speak with a German accent too but hopefully I am not that annoying German.

A Sephardi guy with a black kipa is sitting down right across the soldier behind me and is immediately starting a conversation with him. How religious he is and when he started his Teshuva (becoming frum) process.
Oh, no, I thought. Now I have to suffer all the way to Jerusalem from this "Yes, my name is Florian" and the two newly BTs.

The balck kipa Sephardi announced that he had lived with a Schickse (Gentile woman) for the past six years. All bus passengers turned around and stared at him. He kept on shouting that this sinful relationship was over now and he is in the middle of his Teshuva thing. He said this to all of us just like apologizing for his Yetzer with the Schickse. Then he went on and on that he now keeps all Mitzvot. Within a minute he started but is still suffering from all his old sins. Probably including the particular relationship. In order to do real Teshuva, he needs to have 49 fasts.

I think I heard this concept once and it is the Arizal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) stating. It seems like a serious Tikun (soul rectification) but to me it just sounds like medieval torture. I have not been always following the Torah way and I still struggle but why should I fast 49 times ?

Yes, I know that this may sound lazy and selfish. However, I think that a serious Teshuva and intention is enough and G - d does not want to see us whipping ourselves. Start a new religious life and try to make everything better.

Whoever runs into Teshuva with this crazy mindset "now or never" will hardly remain religious. One day you are going to be so fed up that you just run over to the next cheeseburger stand and say "Le'Azalzel" with all that punishing myself. Instead, people should be patient and do Teshuva the right way. Slowly, slowly and not immediately beating themselves into one fast after the other.

What is more important: Work or Prayer ?

B"H

We have a new baker at the bakery. He has only started to work a few days ago but a new problem is already coming up:

The  new worker is national religious and is supposed to start at 6am. He claims that he can only start later, as he wants to say his Shacharit (morning prayer) together with a Minyan (10 Jewish men) in a Synagogue.

My question is: What is more important ?
Going to work on time and keeping the job or prayer ?
The bakery does have a solution for him: First of all, he has time for Shacharit until 10am or so. Secondly, there is a Synagogue (of Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi) right behind our building and he could quickly jump over to pray. There is no point in showing up for work too late when the goods have to be baked on time.

Anyone has the right halachic advice (incl. source) ?

Between the Western Wall and King David Hotel

B"H
Jerusalem

Photos from the last days of Succot in October 2009


At the Western Wall (Kotel)



In front of Jaffa Gate: The entrance to the Old City



The Cardo in the Jewish Quarter. Once the Cardo used to be an ancient Roman shopping street leading from today's Damascus Gate (Arab Quarter) into today's Jewish Quarter.



The new Mamilla Shopping Mall in front of Jaffa Gate. Those of you who have money can feel like in Beverly Hills and shop expensive clothes and jewellery. 


In front of the Western Wall (Kotel)



In front of the Old City: The famous "King David Hotel".



Between Jaffa Gate and King David Hotel


A new Toy: The BURKA BARBIE

The new Burka Barbie








The end of Barbie's emancipation ?

Pamela Geller discovered the new Burka Barbie and commentates.
I must admit that I have not played with dolls because I found this rather stupid. The new Burka Barbie, however, looks like a toy from the days in the Middle Ages but obviously people agree to bring those days back. Even the wildest feminists shut up.

Chassidic Parashat Toldot

B"H

Yesterday, a few hundred Haredim were demonstrating outside INTEL in Jerusalem. The chip manufacturer decided to work on Shabbat and the Edah HaCharedit is making another fuss.
After all those demonstrations during this summer, I am a kind of sick of the subject and I am not going to report any further about yesterday. Its always the same anyway.
Thus, I prefer concentrating on the positive site which is the Parasha from last Shabbat.

Parashat Toldot in Boyan, in Vishnitz, in Strikov and many more !

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marriage Import from Cyprus

B"H

There are no official weddings between Jews and non - Jews in Israel. If such a "couple" wants to get married they usually go abroad. Mostly to Cyprus.
Years ago, those mixed couples went to the embassy of Paraguay to Tel Aviv and just received a formal marriage certificate. However, the State of Israel did not accept such certificates after a while. Now couples who cannot have a halachic wedding in Israel (also a Cohen and a divorcee, Gentile or convert) go to Cyprus.

It is the Torah forbidding Jews to marry a Gentile !
The Torah and not particularly the State of Israel. Especially not only the "bad" Orthodox Jews.
Israel's secular press loves to jump onto the intermarriage subject and blame all religious Jews. More than that, the foreign press loves to take the topic as an example for showing how religious Jews are still walking around in their stone age. They are conservative, do not know what is going on in the world and they are rassists. The German press as well as other countries.

The majority of secular Jewry as well as the Gentile world have no clue about what it means to be Orthodox. They see something on TV and this seems to be enough for building up a negative opinion. Most journalists are not into deep research nowadays but just google a few issues together. Some media people from Germany told me that the information I am handing over does not need to be too precise, as their readers do not know anything about Judaism anyway. So, what does it matter then when something is stated wrong ?

Again, the secular Ynet jumps on the intermarriage subject and once more, I am explaining the reason why those marriages are forbidden:

G - d created Jews and Gentiles with a special purpose in this world.
Jews and Gentiles were created with different kinds of souls (Neshamot). Connecting these two different souls is impossible even if the marriage (intermarriage) seems to be a happy one.

What I have noticed over and over again is that the Jewish part of a mixed marriage is always trying to justify himself. Not in front of his non - Jewish partner but in front of other Jews. If anyone is asking him about his wife, he always answers with a hesitation and the "Yes, but …" sentence.

How can anyone congratulate to such a marriage when the children will not be Jews anymore ? Another lost generation going down the drain !
People accuse the State of Israel or religious Jews but why is no one accusing G - d ?
G - d made this law and He definitely had His reasons for doing so !


Link:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shabbat Shalom




B"H

"Dead Tired" - this is my feeling today. The weather change, not enough sleep, whatever. November is always a boring month. A least the Jewish month of Kislev has started. This already provides us a taste of Chanukkah, success and spirituality. At least, when I am awake.

What do we learn from this week's Parashat Toldot ?
Our foremothers were all barren but after all those years of long prayers, they finally became pregnant.
Do not take it too literally, as I am not talking about fertility but about the fact that we should never give up hope. "Hope" is also the keyword for Chanukkah. The Talmud tells us that even when we have the sword on our throat, we should still hope for the best.

Especially in our times, people look for something positive called hope. For the light at the end of the tunnel but unfortunately, many look into the wrong directions. I do not want to sound like a preacher but maybe we should concentrate on the source. The being which created us and everything around. His name: "G - d".

In bad times, we always remember Him. Admit. Even if you are the most secular person, as soon as you are in trouble you call out for G - d.
In good times, we mostly forget about Him. Why pray and for what ?
However, the Talmud also tells us that we should thank G - d for the good as well as for the bad happening to us.


Just imagine yourself as this tiny little point in the universe still being part of a whole entire world. You are a world within yourself. So, do not make yourself smaller than you are but start asking G - d for help. What do you have to loose ?


"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to everyone !

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mike Oldfield: "In the Beginning"

B"H

I am a great fan of the spiritual Irish pop singer ENYA as well as of the English musician Mike Oldfield. "Man in the Rain" or "Moonlight Shadow" are my absolute favourite songs by Mike O.


Here a brilliant song by Mike Oldfield song to the creation of the world.

GILO belongs to WESTjerusalem

B"H

Who has ever been to Gilo ?

Taking a local bus, passing the Rehavia neighbourhood, going down Gaza Street, reaching the "Malcha" Mall and the Jerusalem Train Station; then going up the hill to Gilo.
Gilo is located on a hill and the bus ride seems to take ages. We find the Arab village Beit Zafafa right before the entrance to Gilo. The main road is splitting the village in half. Many Arab traders set up their stands and sell all kinds of products to the bypassing Israelis. A good bargain for Beit Zafafa.

About 40,000 people live in Gilo. Relatively cheap housing have made the neighbourhood quite attractive. Furthermore, Gilo has built up its own social services including a shopping mall. The only disadvantage is the great distance to Jerusalem's city center.

Gilo has been part of Westjerusalem for more than 30 years. A fact, B. Hussein Obama and Syria fan Putin love to ignore. Some years back, the Gilo inhabitants were contantly attacked by Palestinian terrorists from the Arab village of Beit Jalla. The world did not give a "damn" about the attacks on Jews. Only when the Israeli army decided to strike back, the world went mad. In favour of the Palestinian terrorist, of course.

Again, Gilo is under attack once more. It looks like Israel has to ask Obama for permission on anything. Are we allowed to build one more house or does the Muslim president considers it as an act of terrorizing the Palestinians ?

Within a few years, Israel is going to face an even worse enemy:
The world's Islamization is spreading fast and those who speak out against it, will become less and less.

Greetings from Marienbad


Rebbe Israel Hager (Ahavat Israel) in Karlsbad






The Vishnitzer Rebbe Israel Hager (Ahavat Israel), 1860 - 1936, in Karlsbad.
Karlsbad seemed to have been quite anti - Semitic because when the Jews bought their first houses in 1850, the inhabitants complained. It looks like that there was less (none ?) anti - Semitism in Marienbad.

From Wikipedia:


Yisroel Hager was born on August 20, 1860. He was the firstborn son of Rabbi Boruch Hager. He married the daughter of Rabbi Meir Horowitz of Dzikov. In 1875 he moved to his father-in-laws house and studied at great length with his brother-in-law Rabbi Yehoshua of Dzikov. 3 years later he returned to Vyzhnytsia and became very close to his grandfather, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager. In 1893 he was appointed as rebbe in Vyzhnytsia. The young rebbe invigorated new life into the chassidus and it attracted many more followers from the surrounding provinces. He established many Talmud Torahs and also a yeshiva to which he appointed his son Rabbi Menachem Mendel as rosh yeshiva. When the First World War broke out he was forced to move to Grosswardein. He lived there until his death in Oradea on 2 June 1936[1]. In 1949, his remains were transferred to Israel and re-interred in Zichron Meir. His sons were Reb Menachem Mendel of Visheve, Reb Chaim Meir, who inherited his fathers position in Grosswardein; Reb Eliezer of Vyzhnytsia; Reb Boruch of Siret and Reb Shmuel Abba who died young. He also had six daughters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Soldiers from "Shimshon" and "Nachshon" refuse

B"H

Bibi Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak as well as left - wing journalists have nothing better to do but scream out against the national religious movement. Although especially those soldiers from the "Hesder" programmes serve as excellent soldiers in the Israeli army, they still refuse participationg in the expulsion of Jewish settlements. Compared to them, Netanyahu would never dare doing so but is rather creeping around Hussein O.
After the refusal of "Nachshon" and "Shimshon" soldiers, Netanyahu wants to see all Refuseniks behind bars.

Israel is the only country in the world where Jews are expelled from their homes as well as their land and where a prime minister is only worried about what the world thinks of him.



 "Nachshon" soldiers refuse to participate in the expulsion of Jewish settlers. 

The religious World and the Israeli Army

B"H

Back in Tel Aviv, I went to do some shopping at Dizengoff Center. The center is, besides the Azrieli Towers, one of Tel Aviv's famous malls. Afterwards I wanted to check out one of the cinemas in order to watch the movie "2012". I like catastrophe movies although, according to the Jewish point of view, the world is not going to be destroyed on 21 December 2012. Instead, Meshiach is coming first and then we will see what is happening. There is a discussion in the Gemara of Talmud Sanhedrin if the world after Meshiach is going to be destroyed. If not, how many years is our human existence going to continue ?
In the end, G - d may destroy the entire universe and everything goes back to the state how it used to be before Bereshit (Genesis). Then, only G - d continues to exist because only He is eternal.

But back to Dizengoff Center:
When I walked out, I saw a new "Steimatzky" book store right on the side. "Steimatzky" is a very famous book store chain in Israel and the special thing about the branch I passed was that all books are being sold for 20 Shekels (approx. 5 Dollar) only.
As soon as I see books, I can hardly resist and so I walked right in. What I found were two great books about religious Israelis and going to the army (IDF - Israel Defense Force). The first books describes the first years of the "Nachal HaHaredi - Haredi unit in the IDF". The first soldiers there were actually Haredim but today, unfortunately, it has changed a lot, as the national religious have widely taken over.

The book by David Zoltan talks about the problems the first Haredim joining the army used to have. About the Shidduchim situation afterwards and a 28 - year - old Haredi who, until then, could not find a Shidduch. Going to the army is / was considered as leaving haredi society. Furthermore, the book introduces Shmulik Greenfeld, a Toldot Aharon Chassid who decided to go to the army and what happened to him in the future. Two photos of him as a Mea Shearim Chassid are shown and underneath is a picture of him in the army. I have to say that he looks much better as a soldier than as a soldier of G - d from the Toldot Aharon Chatzer (yard).


It says on the cover of the book that every Israeli should read this book and I agree. The English title is "The Yarmulke and the Helmet - The Story of the First Ultra - Orthodox Army Unit". The author is David Zoltan. I do not know if there is a translation bbecause I bought the book in Hebrew. The same as the second book called "From the Wilderness and Lebanon" written by Asael Lubotzky.
Lubotzky is a national religious "Hesder" student who participated in the last Lebanon war. In his book he describes his personal impressions and what happened to him and his comrades.

The two books are so interesting and made me decide not to go to the movie but rather start reading.