Wednesday, September 28, 2011


 Photo: Miriam Woelke

“A great, sweet, healthy, successful and peaceful New Year 5772 to all my blog readers !" When the Chag (Yom Tov) ends, we immediately start celebrating Shabbat. 

As this time, the Shabbat is following Rosh Hashana, I will be back on the blog on Mozzaei Shabbat (Saturday day after Shabbat ends).

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis (Jerusalem) on Rosh Hashana

The Shofar is not only for Rosh Hashana

The latest Daniel Ambash Update


Tonight, Daniel Ambash was on the TV news on the second Israeli channel. He apparently had called the press and told them that him and his families were beaten by the police during the investigation. He claimed that he personally heard his wives screaming next door. 

On the phone, a reporter asked him whether he thinks it is okay to have six wives and if this is a good example for the kids. Daniel Ambash said that no family member minds his six wives and everyone accepts it open – minded. Furthermore he denied that any rape or abuse had taken place in the family and that all accusations are nothing but lies. 

The TV broadcasted the phone conversation with Ambash but still neither mentioned the name of the family nor showed the true faces in the short documentary. The police denied any beatings of the Ambash family and stated that a regular investigation is taking place.


Dutch TV Report about secular Yoni staying with the Ambash family

Chaim Adler: "Avinu Malkeinu & Unetane Tokef"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gentiles, Noachides and Rosh Hashana


From tomorrow (Wednesday) night until Friday night, the Jewish world is going to celebrate its Rosh Hashana (New Year according to the Jewish calendar). The days of Rosh Hashana won't be celebrated with fireworks but are actually days of repentance (Teshuva). G - d is "sitting on His thrown" in order to judge the world for the new year 5772. Although Rosh Hashana is supposed to be a joyful holiday, we still have repentance (Teshuva) in our mind. Repentance and maybe a few promises trying to bring a positive change into our lives in order to cause G - d having mercy upon us and thus judging us favourably. 

However, Rosh Hashana is not only a Jewish holiday but a holiday for the whole world. Jews and Gentiles alike. On Rosh Hashana itself, G - d is judging the future of our entire universe for another year. Until the next Rosh Hashana. He is also judging the Gentile world and this is why non - Jews should think about repentance as well. Jews may have the advantage that G - d is going to seal His verdict only on Yom Kippur or the end of Sukkot. Gentiles, however, are only being judged on Rosh Hashana. 

How can a Gentile be judged favourably when he is worshipping idols ? A Buddhist, Hare Krishna, a Voodoo follower or a Christian. According to Judaism, Muslims are not idol - worshippers ! 

Gentiles do have the opportunity of becoming a Noachide (Ben Noach); meaning, keeping the Seven Noachide Laws. If they do so, they don't worship idols and thus is going to judge them favourably on Rosh Hashana. What a Ben Noach not does is still believing in the false Meshiach J. In case you do so and, at the same time, consider yourself as being a Noachide, you are wrong and make a false claim. You may cheat your environment and yourself but you won't cheat G - d.   

It is extremely improtant for the upcoming Rosh Hashana that Gentiles know about the Noachide Laws and think about keeping them. There are huge movements in the US but it may be hard finding an honest Bnei Noach movement. Unfortunately many of those movements have become a place for Christian missionaries or are even run by Christian organizations in order to bring their sheep back to worship the dead Jew J. 

Instead of wasting your time with a false belief and waiting for a dead Jew who died on a cross to come back, you should become aware of the ONE G - d and creator of every existence. If you do so, you will get judged favourably.


Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburgh on Noachides

Picture of the Day

Glimpse into the museum of the Israeli Army in Tel Aviv.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dutch TV Report about secular Yoni staying with the Ambash Family

Five Jewish young people, without first knowing where they end up, at five different special and exotic Jewish communities sent. Examples are Israel and America. On site, they will rotate in a family with very different cultural and religious customs in the Netherlands than they used to. They must thereby adapt to the local lifestyle. That is not always easy, is to follow. The Amsterdam based Yoni residing in Tiberias. He is staying with a family whose members are followers of Rabbi Nachman's eccentric. Yoni is not religious but does depend on the traditions of the Jewish people. How does he deal with the ultra-orthodox, but in communal living nomadic Nachman family connection? 

Yoni is being send to the Ambash family (then staying in a house in Tiberias near the Kever of Rabbi Me'ir Ba'al HaNes). Usually the family lives in Jerusalem. 
The report was filmed before parts of the family got arrested and the wives and kids taken into social institutions. 

The report is partly in the Dutch language but has many parts in English as well !

You can tell me whatever you want but from the six wives Daniel Ambash has, his first wife Ilana is definitely the boss of all the wives. At least, this is the impression I am getting. 


Manuel Trachtenberg and his social justice solutions


Professor Manuel Trachtenberg and his committee have now published their first proposals in order to solve the present severe social problems in Israel. 

Not enough affordable places to live, education (whether schools and universities) is too expensive, let alone the extreme prices for groceries. Two months ago, the social uproar in Israel began. First, a Haredi from Bnei Brak started a Facebook group. On the social network he protested against the exaggerated cottage cheese prices. Within less than a year, prices for dairy products have been just exploding. 

Based on the Haredi's success, Israel’s extreme left got the idea to even start a bigger protest. Left – wing organizations saw their political chance to overthrow the government by focusing on social matters. Thus, the first tent demonstration at Rothschild Boulevard / Tel Aviv came into existence. 

Although most protestors of the hundreds of thousands were not leftists at all, social issues concern all of us. Netanyahu reacted a bit despite the fact that he is not interested in ordinary citizens and their problems. He appointed the Argentinian born economy professor Manuel Trachtenberg as the head of a committee researching social matters and how to solve them. Whether Netanyahu agrees or doesn’t do anything in the end, is up to him. Trachtenberg only does his job by suggesting certain chances. Parts of the committee's plan were published today and, as expected, the extreme left announces that all of Trachtenberg’s points are not acceptable. 

For instance, he suggested that 250,000 apartments will be build within the next five years. Owners of empty and abandoned houses have to pay a higher tax on their property. Special parts of education should be for free. 

Who would be paying for all of this ? The tax payer, of course. Furthermore, a three billion budget cut in the Ministry of Defence. The lobbyists have already started their jobs and the army claims that the Iron Dome around Beersheva or Ashkelon could not work with a severe budget cut. However, one issue is very clear: The last tents at Rothschild Boulevard will be evicted next Sunday (after Rosh Hashana). 

This morning I went to Rothschild Boulevard and these may be the last photos of the remaining tent demonstration:

The tent protest is over, the fight begins.

Half of Rothschild Boulevard has already been cleaned up

Photos 26 September 2011: Miriam Woelke

Women and the Shofar


According to the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), women are allowed to blow the Shofar.

How to blow the SHOFAR

Rabbi Dov Lifshitz passed away


Last Friday morning, the head of Israel’s anti – missionary organization YAD LE’ACHIM, Rabbi Dov Lifshitz, passed away at the age of 84. 

I have never met Rabbi Lifshitz in person but heard him speaking many times on the radio. Always determined in his fight against missionaries prostelyzing Jews. However, I do know a few Yad Le’Achim people. In Jerusalem as well as in Bnei Brak and I am sure that the organization will continue its important way. 

Rabbi Lifshitz has been fighting against missionaries for the past 61 years. He was born in Russia but immigrated to former Palestine as a child.

The SHOMREI EMUNIM Synagogue in Bnei Brak

 The Synagogue of Chassidut Shomrei Emunim in Bnei Brak

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Traveling before Rosh Hashana


I have been traveling a bit lately. Enjoying the last days before Rosh Hashana and enjoying G - d's creation. Just being on my own for a change is great. Not depending on anyone and just walking alone. No, it is not a kind of Hitbodedut, as Breslov would suggest but it is simply a way of putting some personal thoughts into order without being bothered by anyone else. For me, traveling on my own is extremely enjoyable and I will continue doing so.

Who says Tel Aviv has no great parts ? Those who do have no idea about the city. Today, for instance, I went to the famous former train station called HATACHANAH. Wait until you see the photos and hear the interesting background story about the Tachanah (Station). 

Not the Tachanah but the shore across. 

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is Benjamin Netanyahu a SHOMER SHABBAT ?


One blog reader asked whether Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a SHOMER SHABBAT.

The answer is that Netanyahu is NOT a Shomer Shabbat but travels and does anything as on a normal weekday. Furthermore, he doesn't eat kosher and was caught in a non - kosher Jerusalem restaurant a few years back.

Rosh Hashana and Love

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chassidic SELICHOT Guide


Chassidut Gur is starting to pray Selichot at 12.30pm tonight. 
Where ? In Yirmeyahu Street  / Jerusalem. 

The Belzer in Jerusalem start their Selichot service tomorrow morning (Sunday morning) at 5am. 
Where? At their Beit Midrash in Kiryat Belze. 

Vishnitz in Bnei Brak: Rabbi Israel Hager is starting his Selichot service tonight at 12.30pm. His brother and competitor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel (Mendele) Hager is starting at 12.00am. 

The Boyaner in Jerusalem are starting at 12.30am tonight. 

Nadvorna in Bnei Brak is starting tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 5.00am. 

Seret – Vishnitz in Haifa is starting at 1am tonight. 

Chassidut Chernobyl in Bnei Brak is starting at 12.30am tonight. 

Chassidut Ungvar in Ramot / Jerusalem: Tomorrow morning, 4.30am, beginning of the Selichot. 

The Shomrei Emunim are, as usual, late. The Selichot service in Mea Shearim is starting at 1.30am tonight. 

Dushinsky Jerusalem is starting at 5am tomorrow morning. 

Sadigura Bnei Brak is starting at 11pm tonight. 

The Kaliver Rebbe in Jerusalem is starting at midnight. Pinsk – Karlin: 11pm tonight.

Kretchnif in Jerusalem: 4.45am tomorrow morning. 

Shatz – Vishnitz in Haifa: 11pm tonight.

The Raining Season has arrived


Who would have thought ? According to the calendar, we are still in the dry period and rain is only expected in October. However, this time, the raining season has already begun yesterday (Friday) afternoon. It is unbelievable how much rain we have had in Tel Aviv yesterday. Streets were flooded after a few minutes and the air was suddenly cleaned up. Nevertheless, it is still warm and not yet cooling down too much.

Today (Shabbat) it was still raining from time to time but, from tomorrow on, the sun will be back. Temperature in Tel Aviv: 28 degrees Celsius during the day. 

A New Year and more than 400,000 Hits


The Jewish year 5771 is facing its end and I think it is the time to say THANK YOU to all the people reading this blog. Whether once, twice, ten times or on a regular basis. 

Tonight, Ashkenazi Jewry is starting its SELICHOT prayers before Rosh Hashana. The holiday itself is starting this Wednesday night. There is so much to write about, many events (even in Tel Aviv :-)) and the following high holidays are already right ahead of us. 

I hope I will find time to write about all the subjects. Especially putting in some book content of the literature I recently bought in Mea Shearim. :-) Furthermore, I am going to continue with the Aliyah series although I have to say that it is very hard to describe Israeli bureaucracy behaviour, as each new immigrant has his own approach and way to deal with red tape. One already knows some Hebrew (making it much easier dealing with Israeli governmental and municipality clerks) whereas others may be frustrated and only compare everything to their former home country. 

The Jewish religion never has a lack of content and thus I am going to write about many new subjects. Hopefully I am finally getting to the Seer (Chozeh of Lublin), more Takanot of the Toldot Aharon, Rabbi Daniel Frish's extreme modesty book, the GORAL HAGRA, the GRA himself, more about the GRA himself and a huge subject I am really curious about: BRISK.

I am not done yet until Rosh Hashana begins but I am already wishing you 

SHANA TOVA, a great new year 5772 to everyone !!! A healthy, successful, happy and sweet New Year. And, don't forget: Rosh Hashana is a holiday for the entire world and not only for Jews. G - d is judging all of us including the fate of our universe.

Happy Birthday, World !

The Big Bang

Today (Shabbat, Saturday) is the 25th Elul; the day when G - d started His creation process. As most of us know, Rosh HaShana represents the creation of the first two humans - Adam and Eve (Chava).

Don't only think about Teshuva, perfection or prayer but start appreciating G - d's creation as well !


To be precise: Shabbat is already over and thus Sunday has began. However, today / yesterday was the 25th Elul, the creation of the world. Happy Birthday, World !!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Maccabeats: "Book of Good Life"

SFORNO on Parashat Nitzavim

 Gesehen in Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke


The ideal repentance is motivated by the desire to return to G – d, not because one seeks to rid oneself of suffering, and benefit from Divine blessings.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The month of ELUL in the Torah Codes

By Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson 

The Dushinsky Synagogue in Bnei Brak

Photo: Miriam Woelke

What Abu Mazen doesn't want ...

... recognizing Israel as a Jewish State

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Aliyah as a Single, Part 1


First of all I should make it clear that I am a happy single and not one of those depressed ones, constantly looking for someone to marry or being bored, calling other people and going on their nerves. I am a happy single and this may sound selfish. All my life I have enjoyed doing things alone. Of course it is great to have company from time to time but I don’t panic when I am alone. Just the opposite. 

One reader wrote in a comment that many American Jews reconsider making Aliyah to Israel, as long as they are unmarried. Simply because it is easier immigrating with a family because then you won’t feel lonely in the new country. Well, making Aliyah with a family has its pros and cons but let me tell you first, that I have met plenty of American singles making Aliyah. 

My first time in Israel began in September 1987 as a Kibbutz volunteer. A secular Kibbutz called GEZER near Tel Aviv and Ramle. Many of you probably know Gezer for its high percentage of Anglos living there as well as its baseball team. In fact, when I came, most Kibbutz members came from all over the United States and English was the main language. Most Anglo members knew some Hebrew but felt more comfortable talking in English. Gezer then was celebrating Israel’s Independence Day and July 4, with Hot Dogs. Little America next to the Sephardi town of Ramle. 

Various Anglo Kibbutz members were singles, as they came in a group from the US. Some immediately stuck together because no one wants to be alone. But, in the end, they somehow were. Moving into a Kibbutz when you are single is a mistake. Even if you find friends, there are moments when you simply feel lonely. Well, you can turn on the TV or read a book but, after a while, you are getting bored. 

After some years in the Kibbutz, those singles who were about to turn 30 started leaving. Back to the US because they were looking for a marriage partner. You always face the same people in a Kibbutz and many new immigrants have problems dealing with the Israeli mentality. They prefer a marriage partner from their own familiar background and not a “noisy rude” Israeli. 

While living in Jerusalem I came in contact with plenty of Anglos who came to Israel because of religious reasons. They were here for a year, studied in Yeshivot or seminaries for women and maybe decided to stay and make Aliyah. After a while they found their Shidduch. However, most of those newly married couples didn’t make it for too long and went back to the US, England, South Africa, Canada or Australia. Why ? Because a Yeshiva education is not sufficient on the Israeli job market. That’s why. The newly married haredi couples didn’t have any chance on the job market and lived off their parents money for one or two years. Afterwards they decided to return to their home countries. Maybe because their parents were sick of supporting them. 

Making Aliyah with a family can be a hinderance, as you tend to stick together in a group and don’t open up to the outside world. On the other hand, you support and strengthen each other and this is extremely important. 

After making Aliyah you are going to face the real Israeli life and this is very frustrating at the beginning. When you come to a government or municipality office and the clerk starts yelling at you. Not only that but throwing your forms at you, telling you to go to a different department or simply to get out. This is the first time you feel lonely; no matter whether your are single or married with husband and kids. Then you just wish to grab your suitcase and return to the US. As fast as you can. 

Nefesh be’Nefesh or the Jewish Agency may promise you, I don’t know what, but one thing you must understand before making Aliyah: Israelis don’t wait for you to come. You are nothing special as a new Oleh (immigrant). You are only one of hundreds of thousands and once you get off the plane at Ben Gurion Airport, well, this is it. Welcome to Israel and get adjusted now. Have a great day and get used to people hanging the phone up on you, loud voices, red tape, new laws, a new mentality and so on. 

Despite all the difficulties never ever forget: All new immigrants went through this and it doesn’t happen only to you ! The first one or two years are hard and you will cry, curse Israelis and their mentality, curse everything and everyone, dream of going home but, at the same time, you start loving this country. I cannot describe it but one has to experience it. Once you understand how life works here, everything will be easier for you. The understanding won’t give you a job but you learn how to deal with people. How to react and when taking issues personally. Many Israelis scream and behave in a rude way but there is no need for you to take this personally. It is just the way it is and how society works. Someone is yelling, so either yell back or let it go but don’t sit and cry. 

To be continued tomorrow !!!!

Pictures from Hebron: "How Arabs celebrate their own State"


Before the world decides to agree to a Palestinian State, people the whole world should have a look at the following report from Hebron. How Palestinians celebrate their own state. 

Missionaries in Modi'in


The MUQATA Blog is reporting about Christian missionaries in the town of Modi'in.

Hi, There is a couple named Brig and Michelle Jones that live in the towers on Migdal HaLevanon st. (where I also live) who I believe may be Christian missionaries. To summarize, Brig is a Christian spiritual leader who has been involved with missionary churches in the U.S. They are here in Israel doing "guerrilla ministry" (according to one of their friends) and are trying to establish a church in Rishon Litzion (a Hebrew website already exists). Brig was involved in an interview titled, "Congregation in Israel-ministry to Jews." They seem eager to form children's groups and friends of theirs have posted pictures online of Brig playing soccer with neighborhood boys in the big park on Migdal HaLevanon (some of whom I know come from religious Jewish families).

More HERE 

Modi'in is a town located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Plenty of new immigrants from the US live there, as the place is quiet, clean, new housing available, and workers are able to commute either to Tel Aviv or to Jerusalem by train. However, the town is mainly secular and even anti - religious. 

Simcha Ambash is giving a Message


Simcha Ambash, one of the wives of Daniel Ambash, has published a video on Youtube where she speaks about her worries. Three months ago, the Jerusalem police together with social workers busted the Ambash house, took out all the wives of Daniel Ambash and the children as well. All of them were separated and Ambash himself together with a few other guys got arrested. They are accused of rape and all kinds of abuse. The strange thing was that the Israeli press avoided mentioning his name. 

Simcha Ambash says in the video that the only task of the family is spreading the message of Rabbi Israel Odesser and his Petek (the Na Nach Nachma Nachman me'Uman note). They were a happy family until the police came. She, Simcha, doesn't know where all the other family members ended up and her own child was taken away from her. 

I suppose that the court prohibited any publication about the case, as they intend to protect the other Ambash wives and the children. All of them were probably put into social institutions in order to receive help getting out of the cult. The same happened a while ago with a guy called Go'el Ratzon and his cult. Ratzon lived in South - Tel Aviv and had 21 wives. As a comparison: Daniel Ambash has six wives and fifteen children. 

Simcha Ambash doesn't know what to do and recorded the video with her cellphone. However, the present situation is very hard to judge, as we outsiders, don't know what the court says and what is really going on regarding social workers and the mental situation of the family members.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kiryat Vishnitz in Bnei Brak


Every time anew, I am having difficulties where to begin. Basically Bnei Brak has three Vishnitzer Rebben at the moment. There is the older Rebbe and father of the two other Rebbes, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager. He has been suffering from Alzheimer for quite a while and has two sons fighting with each other about the Rebbe position. Rebbe Israel Hager took over the position and most Vishnitzer Chassidim from Bnei Brak followed him. His brother and competitor, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Hager founded his own Vishnitzer group but still resides in Kiryat Vishnitz. 

The following photos show the Mosdot and area of Rebbe Israel Hager in Kiryat Vishnitz / Bnei Brak.

Here, outside the Beit Midrash, Rebbe Israel Hager has been holding his Tish many times. Once I have been to his Tish on Sukkot (and will do so this Sukkot) but we women were placed in a building across and not outside. It was very hard to see, as there wasn't enough space for all women behind some tiny windows. 

Photos 19 September 2011: Miriam Woelke

Rosh Hashana and Poverty


Rosh Hashana is starting next week and the holiday will cost us lots of money. Not everyone is being invited and most Jews are going to prepare their own food for the Chag (holiday, yom tov). 

Once a week I am doing my shopping. Most groceries at the Shuk (market) but also many things from "Shufersal", a known Israeli supermarket chain. Not very cheap but cheaper than the AM:PM (7 11) around the corner. However, last Thursday, I started askeing myself how families are able to afford the upcoming Chag. 

A while ago I made advertising and wrote about a Chesed institution in Mea Shearim called "Linat HaChesed". But not only half of Mea Shearim families depend on Chesed, you will find many more signs and posters in Bnei Brak. 

Bnei Brak is the poorest city in Israel and countless haredi families depend on religious organizations providing food for Shabbat. Supermarkets and vendors on the local markets just wait for a holiday to come up and thus raise the prices. The line - ups in front of Chesed organization branches are getting longer and longer. Not only religious Jews but thousands of seculars want to celebrate the holiday but cannot afford it. Who can pay for all that wine, the Simanim for the Seder and the honey. Even the simplest honey is expensive. 

Furthermore, in Israel, Rosh Hashana has become the day of presents. People don't want to show up anymore without bringing a present. I don't care about any presents but think that the holiday is about much much more than buying an expensive gift for no reason. 

The Biale Rebbe from Switzerland


In Europa und Israel, the Biale Rebbe from Lugano / Switzerland has become quite famous over the years. Despite the fact that Chassidut Biale has several Rebbes in different places, the Rebbe from Lugano has earned a very good reputation. Several times a year he used to come to Jerusalem. Mostly on the high holidays and people where streaming to his celebrations. I have never made it so far although someone once wanted to send me to the Rebbe in order to save my haredi lifestyle and not make me leaving society. 

Now I heard that the Rebbe has moved to Israel and more opportunities come up to participate in his services.

However, here is the website of the Swiss Biale Rebbe. Book recommendations as well as some articles from him:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trip to Bnei Brak, Part 2

Bnei Brak

Photo: Miriam Woelke


Walking around in Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak was great. Many years ago, I used to live in Ramat Gan and know the place quite well although it has changed and became more modern. Ramat Gan is located where Tel Aviv ends and when you pass Ramat Gan and cross the last junction, you walk right into Bnei Brak.

Despite all rumours, Bnei Brak is not entirely haredi and many secular as well as national religious Jews live there. However, Bnei Brak has quite a few haredi neighbourhoods making it look very haredi. 

I am starting a serious on the haredi part of Bnei Brak and will do so in stages. For me, this is also a better way getting to know the city. Mea Shearim is not everything and there are plenty of other chassidic directions located in Bnei Brak. It is important to know about the city near Tel Aviv although some people may add that further haredi towns such as Kiryat Sefer, Beitar or El'ad are important too.

Today I walked a lot and have to admit to be quite finished. I enjoyed my time running around all the Batei Midrash, Synagogues and seeing so many Haredim after coming from Tel Aviv. I chose the right time; arriving in the morning hours, as there were many opportunities to take photos. But not only photos, as it was also a spiritual time before Rosh Hashana. The weather was a bit hot but never mind. 

I took plenty of photos and will put them into the blog. Today I just walked and didn't go into any dephts. Machnovke, Ashlag, Kiryat Nadvorna, Kiryat Vishnitz, Karlin - Stolin, Belz, Modidz and the Shomrei Emunim. I made a picture of the Spinka Synagogue but only from far away. Well, next time there will be more.

What I have left so far are Gur (but I took a photo of the Gerrer Girl's Seminary), Satmar and the Litvish. I would have done more but, in the end, I needed a break and Bnei Brak doesn't provide you with a coffee bar or any snacks besides Shnitzel or Falafel. I was a bit shocked to notice an larger amount of the Breslover Sephardi Taliban women. The extreme Baal Teshuva movement. 

Furthermore, the Satmarer Rebbe (I suppose Reb Aharon Teitelbaum), as the Satmarer in Bnei Brak belong to his branch, put out some new modesty issues. Tomorrow I will let you know more about it because now I am too finished.:-)

A prayer can enter through all Gates


From the Baal Shem Tov Exhibition at the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem (July 2010)

Photo: Miriam Woelke


"In a king's palace there are hundreds of rooms, and on the door of each room there is a different lock that requires a special key to open it. But there is a master key which can open all the locks. That is a broken heart. When a person sincerely breaks his heart before G - d his prayers can enter through all the gates and into all the rooms of the celestial palace of G - d." 


The Synagogue of the BIALE REBBE in Bnei Brak


Someone from Bnei Brak once told me that the local Biale Rebbe doesn't have too many of his own followers but hundreds of other people joining his Synagogue services. 

Twice I have been to his Synagogue in Bnei Brak but always missed the prayer service. 

Here are a few photos from the Biale Synagogue in town. 

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Chassidut (Belz) Machnovke in Bnei Brak

Chassidut Machnovke and its much larger "sister" Belz have been at war for quite some time. At the moment, the Belzer decided not to refer to Machnovke anymore and since, it has been quiet. 

Chassidut Machnovke is mainly located in Bnei Brak and the two photos show the shul. 

The stairs lead into the Machnovke Synagogue (men's entrance only !)

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Trip to Bnei Brak


Tomorrow I I am going to take a trip to Bnei Brak. Hopefully I will be able to make photos, as on one of my last pictures tours, I got yelled at by some kids in Rashi Street. So, I am trying another tactic and will go early in order to take photos from the Machnovke Synagogue. Chabad is in Rashi Street too as well as some others. What I am really interested in is the Synagogue of the AISH KODESH in Bnei Brak. Maybe anyone has some information about it.

I cannot promise to get deep into Kiryat Vishnitz but Chazon Ish Street is definitely a subject. 

The Synagogue of Chassidut Alexander in Bnei Brak.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, September 18, 2011

News from the Daniel Ambash Case


Last Thursday, Israel's Supreme Court was discussing the Daniel Ambash case. Whether he is allowed to return home and if the entire family (his six wives and all the children) will be together again. The Israeli press doesn't report anything but Natan Ambash, one of the sons of Daniel Ambash, has been posting updates. 
אי חברים אנא התייחסו להודעה זאת ברצינות היום התנהל דיון בעליון לגבי מעצר עד תום הליכים ההחלטה תינתן בעוד כיומיים ואני מבקש ומתחנן מכולם להרבות בתפילה שאבא שלי והמשפחה ישוחררו והתשובה תיהיה חיובית בבקשה תפתחו שערי שמיים והשם יגמול לכם את כל הטוב

I just sent him a message if there are any further news and hope he will answer me. However, it is an amazing how he and one of the wives (Simcha) stand behind Daniel Ambash despite all the accusations. It looks like they could not get used to the idea of starting something new in their own lives.


Daniel Ambash & Rabbi Israel Odesser

Daniel Ambash and his six wives

The Ambash group dancing in Ge'ulah (Jerusalem) on Purim 5771



GOODSEARCH is a YAHOO powered search engine donating a certain per centage to charity. Not a bad idea but hopefully, the money will really reach the needy. 

Is anyone able to provide more details ?

Picture of the Day

Seen in Florentin / Tel Aviv

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Yitzchak Me'ir Helfgot: SHIR HAMA'ALOT

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Nature in Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Why did Yoel Hazroni kill himself ?


Ex – Haredi Yoel Hazroni committing suicide about two or three weeks ago. The the former Haredi was from Modi’in Illit (Kiryat Sefer near Modi’in) and hung himself in his apartment in Tel Aviv. Yoel had just left society and become secular a few years ago. He shared an apartment with his flatmate Shai Gold and worked at a supermarket. Just recently Yoel also admitted that he is gay and thus was a member of the Tel Aviv gay community.

He had never lost contact with his parents, even when everyone knew that he is a homosexual. Yoel was visiting his family and some of them were seeing him in Tel Aviv. A day or two before he killed himself was the Yahrzeit of his father and he participated in the event. There, apparently a brother of his father, told him something very offensive. It is not know what exactly but Yoel was very upset after the talk. Then he hung himself at his Tel Aviv apartment where Shai Gold found him.

Many of Yoel’s friends and even some Hebrew speaking blogs are asking whether the relative is guilty of Yoel’s suicide. Maybe he made him feel so guilty that Yoel couldn’t take it anymore ? Yoel Hazroni was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.

The Halacha questions whether a Jew committing suicide may be buried at the main part of a Jewish cemetery. Generally, such Jews are being buried “near the fence”, meaning, in a special area of the cemetery. What is amazing is that the gay community mourning about Yoel was allowed to participate in the funeral. The Hazroni family even set up a date that the community could come to the Shiva to Kiryat Sefer. Loosing a son to secularism was nothing new to the Hazronis, as an older brother of Yoel had left way before him and today lives in Petach Tikvah (near Tel Aviv)

Halacha also says that a Jew can do Teshuva until the last second of his life. When someone commits suicide, we don’t know for sure whether this person didn’t regret his action at the very last second. How do we know for sure whether he regretted or not ? This is why a person taking his own life has the right receiving a halachic funeral. Yoel Hazroni'ss death is tragic, as it shows that many former Haredim don’t search for psychological help. Especially Tel Aviv is an Eldorado of support groups and help lines. Also for Haredim or those leaving society. We will never know for sure why Yoel decided to die but others should learn from him and search for help. 



Haredi (Runaway) Blogs


It doesn't always have to be Sarah Einfeld's blog and her stories about running away from Chassidut GUR in Ashdod. And, by the way, Sarah hasn't been updating her blog on a regular basis for quite a while. 

By reading an article in a local Tel Aviv paper, I got to the blog of YOSSELE GOLDBERG who didn't start writing too long ago. I haven't really understood his identity. Whether he is a gay Haredi or not. What Yossele does is mentioning another gay Haredi runaway from society who killed himself about two or three weeks ago. I am going to describe the tragic incident in my following article.

Another Yossele is writing about his financial problems on his blog called YOSSELE BEGGAR. Yossele's father is deeply in debts, as he took plenty of loans in order to find respected Shidduchim for his children. When he married them off, he also bought apartments as a wedding gift. A terrible custom and mistake in many parts of haredi society. In order to marry one of once children off, the family needs money. Especially the bride's family which, many times, is contributing much more to the wedding celebrations as well as to the home of the newly married couple. 

Yossele decided to ask for Zedakah (charity) by going from house to house. 

All three blogs are in HEBREW only but you can use Google Translator !!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis (Jerusalem) on Parashat KI TAVO

Photos from NEVE ZEDEK in Tel Aviv


Pictures from NEVE ZEDEK. You can find the neighbourhood in the middle of Tel Aviv (close to the Shalom Tower / Ahad Ha'Am Street). Lots of tourists and locals love walking around through the romantic alleyways. What you can also find is plenty of small old Synagogues from 70, 80 years ago.  Don't forget: When the first Chassidim and different Rebbes came to Israel before or after the war, they first settled in Tel Aviv before, later on, they moved to Bnei Brak.


Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke