Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Haredi World this Week

American Neturei Karta versus Gur and Belz


The two chassidic groups Gur and Belz are members of the Knesset party "Yahadut HaTorah" and this is why the Neturei Karta is protesting. Gur and Belz would work together with Israel's Zionist government. 

The problem is that those Neturei Karta guys have no idea about what is going on in Israel !

Haredi Press jumping on "Taliban" Women


Israel's haredi press has been jumping onto the Jewish "Taliban" ladies these days. Even Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Jonah Metzger condemned them but I don't think that all kinds of protest will make those women change their minds. Even if their supporter Rabbi Rumpler chose a different opinion, I suppose the "Taliban" women would still stick to their modesty ideology. 

Breslov has quite a few directions but if you are interested in the original Breslover Chassidim, go to Mea Shearim's Great Synagogue, to Rabbi Yaakov Me’ir Schechter .

Toldot Aharon, GEVALT - Israeli TV Documentaries

I assume that Shmuel Pappenheim was born in Jerusalem but his grandparents originally came from Munich / Germany. Once I met one of his female family members and was told that the family comes from Germany. I started asking myself why German Jews got involved with the Toldot Aharon after the Second World War. Hopefully I will meet Shmuel Pappenheim's relative again and will find time to ask her. 

For those of you who would like to watch more on the Toldot Aharon 

Annual Chabad - Shluchim Meeting in Crown Heights

Israel's Nature in November

Seen 28 November 2011 in Ra'anana

Photos: Miriam Woelke

29 November 2011: Pay a Blogger Day


Great idea but not very efficient.:-) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The xmas business in Israel


The month of Kislev has just begun and maybe I should write something more positive. Publishing the following story doesn't mean that I am negative. I am definitely not but I think that Jews should know what is going on in our country. We have to become more aware of our Jewish identity but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many secular Israelis love pretending to be just like the other nations. They are sick of Judaism and Rabbis telling them about a Jewish soul and all this religious stuff. "Let us be like all the others and thus kill anti - Semitism !"
The only thing is that anti - Semitism will always exist. Until Meshiach comes and there is nothing what Jews can do. Even if they think celebrating xmas and having a tree would bring them closer to the nations. 

xmas is coming up and, while passing Tel Aviv's Central Bus Station yesterday, I noticed all those annual stands selling xmas items. Santas, trees and all kinds of other Kitsch. These stands are mainly run by Russians and it is Russians buying the products as well as Philippinas working in Israel. On the other hand, many Israeli Jews come and buy. Hundreds of Israelis like celebrating xmas claiming not to celebrate the actual xtian event but enjoying a cozy atmosphere and the decorated tree. No one wants to hear about idol - worship but people see it as a nice event with good food, without any religion involved. But have a look for yourself:

Tel Aviv Central Bus Station: The annual xmas market taking place.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Bedouin Human Organ Trafficking


It is well - known that various Bedouin clans demand thousands of Dollars from Africans who want to cross the Egyptian border to Israel. African women are being raped and sold into prostitution to other Bedouin clans and once the women become useless, they are being send to Israel. 

One of my German readers informed me that also human organ trafficking is playing an important role in the Sinai. The Bedouins are big in business. However, this doesn't mean that Israel must recognize thousands of illegal Africans crossing its borders as refugees. It is not our country having to solve the problem but international human aid organizations as well as the UN. Where are they ? Apparently no one is too interested in finding out what is really going on in the Sinai.

When the illegal Africans finally arrive in Israel, many of them, once again, become slaves. Slaves of the Israeli economy using them as cheap labour. Especially the hotel industry in Eilat and at the Dead Sea where Africans are scrubbing floors for hardly any many. They have become a booming industry for the Israeli economy exploiting them. And as our prime minister Netanyahu is very well acquainted with business leaders, he will do nothing in order to prevent more Africans to cross the border.

Links about human organ trafficking in the Sinai:

Report with graphic CNN Video

19th century: Jewish Majority in Jerusalem

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 2011: 2464 illegal Africans infiltrated into Israel

African Junkies at the old Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv

Africans waiting for odd job offers across the new Central Bus Station, at the Levinsky Park.


Photos: Miriam Woelke


The figures are frightening and I have been reporting for a long time about thousands of illegal Africans entering Israel. The illegals are infiltrating into Israel through the border to Egypt where Bedouins squeeze large sums out of them. Once they reach Israel, they disappear in cities like Eilat and Tel Aviv. The latter already has two huge African ghettos around the Central Bus Station. The crime rate has risen drastically, as the Africans steal and deal with drugs. 

Only in November 2011, 2464 further Africans have infiltrated into Israel. Most of them from Eritrea and Sudan. Since January this year, 13,410 illegal Africans have settled in our country. They live with twenty other people in one apartment, work as dishwashers or cleaners and, unfortunately, too many Israels keep on using them. Landlords ask for a 15,000 Shekel rent and this is the reason why the Africans share their apartments with so many people. 

The illegals have their own mobile phone and bicyle market. Stolen items which are being sold among each other. Today, you will hardly find any African not riding on an expensive bike or using a smartphone.

The article on Ma’ariv Online is written in Hebrew only !

Further Link:

Trip to Ra'anana


Half of the day today I spent in the town of Ra’anana, located north of Tel Aviv. Ra'anana has about 70,000 inhabitants, has become a hightech center and Israelis like to say that people living in Ra'anana have money. Or, at least, many of them. New immigrants like moving here and there is also an absorption center. Most immigrants come from the US, England, South America, France and Canada.

Several bus lines are going from Tel Aviv to Ra'anana and I made the mistake taking bus no. 501 instead of the express bus. The result was that I got a tour around Herzliya, as the bus stopped just everywhere. The towns Herzliya, Kfar Saba and Ra'anana are very close to each other and you can even walk in order to get to one of those towns. Just cross the street from Ra'anana and you are in Kfar Saba.

Just one request: Don't get too excited about Ra'anana when you look at the photos ! Keep in mind, it is not too cheap living there.

Cross the street and you are in Kfar Saba.

Ra'anana (English: Fresh, a fresh fragrance or aroma, for instance)

Entering Ra'anana

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Edah HaCharedit demonstrating at the house of Yoelish Kroisz


Everyone ready for a great laugh ? Then watch the video in this article. Last night, the Edah HaCharedit was demonstrating in front of the house of the local Mea Shearim Neturei Karta leader Yoelish Kroisz. Reason: Kroisz supports the Jewish "Taliban" women who the Israeli press calls "Women with the Shawls". 

I think it is very funny seeing Mrs Kroisz throwing water at the demonstrators. And, by the way, who is Yoelish calling on his cellphone ? The Zionist police ?

The entrance to his Beit Midrash shows some security guys without Kipot and some are hiding their faces. Police or a private security service ?

Where to eat at the Machane Yehudah Market ?


One of the best places to eat when you are walking around at Jerusalem's Machane Yehudah Market is the Fish & Chips place in one of the smaller alleyways, right across "Pasta Basta". The "Fish & Chips" is a small place run by a couple of young Sephardi guys. The place has a Hechsher from the "Rabbanut Yerushalaim" (Kasher Le'Mehadrin) and you can either order take - away or sit on one the chairs nearby. 

Personally I recommend ordering the 32 Shekel meal (approx. 9 Dollar) which is chips and fish sticks. Very fresh and great taste. All kinds of dips are included.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Getting dark in Tel Aviv

At the Tel Aviv beach. See Jaffa in the background (to the right).

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Photos from NEVE ZEDEK / Tel Aviv


Here are some further photos from Tel Aviv's famous romantic - looking neighbourhood NEVE ZEDEK. One cannot visit the city without seeing this cozy neighbourhood. You don't have to go into the rather expensive restaurants but just enjoy a nice walk. By the way, you will also see quite a few old Synagogues, as Neve Zedek used to be one of the oldest neighbourhoods. Only later, chassidic Rabbis moved to Bnei Brak. 

My advice: Don't come in a tour group and if you do, choose a guide who lives in Tel Aviv !!! Don't take a guide who, himself, is a tourist in our city, as he has no clue about all the stories going on around the subject. 

The best is to pick up a free - of - charge Neve Zedek map from the tourist office and go on your own little tour. This way, you discover much more and may have time to meet some of the residents. This is much more interesting and adventurous than an expensive tour guide dragging you all along within in hour or so.

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Haredi Demonstration prevented Christian Missionaries from baptizing Jews


It is more than disgusting and a total "Chilul Hashem - Desecration of G - d's Name" what Christian missionaries keep on trying in Israel.

Today, on Shabbat, a haredi demonstration together with the anti - missionary organization "Yad Le'Achim" prevented a mass baptizing of Jews at an international congress center in Tel Aviv.

These missionaries are not ashamed of destroying Jewish souls and the ones whose soul will be destroyed in the end by G - d himself are the ones of the idol - worshipers themselves.

Mea Shearim: Demonstrations against "Taliban" Women


After Shabbat was over, once again, garbage cans started burning in Mea Shearim. The inhabitants are fed up with the Jewish "Taliban" women and all those Rabbis supporting them. Demonstrations are taking place in front of the Beit Midrash of Rabbi Rumpler as well as in front of the house of Yoelish Kroisz from the local Neturei Karta.

Rosh Chodesh KISLEV - ראש חודש כסלו


Tonight and tomorrow, we are celebrating the new Jewish month of Kislev. A new month can also mean a new beginning in our lives. One of the reasons may be that something new always causes a higher motivation.

Almost at the end of Kislev, Chanukkah begins and in Jerusalem, people already feel a slight festive atmosphere. The traditional Sufganiot (donuts) business has started and  people try not to worry about too many calories. My personal favourite flavour are the Sufganiot with a date cream filling.

Kislev is the month of "security" and the "trust in G - d". The Chashmonaim (Hasmoneans) fought against the Greek occupation and idol - worship. Yehudah Maccabi and his followers never gave up and due to their trust in G - d, they finally succeeded. However, Kislev is also the month of "sleep". Kabbalist consider "sleep" as passive trust in G - d.

The "Book of Creation - Sefer Yetzirah" teaches us that every Jewish month has its particular letter, colour, tribe, organ or horoscope.

The colour of Kislev is blue – purple.
The horoscope is Sagittarus.
The tribe is Benjamin.
The sense is "sleep". It is said that when someone has an absolute trust in G - d, he is granted positive dreams about the future.
The organ of Kislev is the stomach due to its connection to sleep. The letter is SAMECH ס The shape of the Samech circle represent G - d's Shechinah (presence).

The chassidic book "Bnei Yissachar" provides us with a few great insights on Kislev:
According to Kabbalists and Chassidim, the Chanukkah light symbolizes the hidden light (Or HaGanuz) which G - d created on the first day of creation. Only on Wednesday, G - d created the sun and the moon. However, the hidden light from the first day, G - d is hiding from us until Meshiach comes. The only way we can gain a little taste of this light is through learning Torah. On Chanukkah, however, this spiritual light will become obvious.

Chanukkah is approaching and we are going to light the first candle on the evening of 20 December. 

Chodesh Tov – A great, healthy and successful month of Kislev to all readers !

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thoughts on Parashat TOLDOT


Parashat Toldot (Toldot = Generations) tells us about the war between Yaakov and Esav. The struggle between Judaism (Yaakov) and it's arch - enemy Esav (other nations hating Jews). Amalek, a descendant of Esav turned out to be one of the greatest anti - Semites. 

In Judaism we follow the concept that each of the forefathers represented a particular attribute. So was Avraham very much into Chesed (kindness). He used to invite any stranger into his tent and feed him. The first perfect case of Jewish hospitality. 

Avraham's son Yitzchak represented Din (Judgment). Yitzchak wasn't the endless kind type but was judging people according to his ways. He didn't just invite everyone but, more or less, kept to his own circle.

Yitzchak's son Yaakov stood for Tiferet; a mixture of Chesed and Din at the same time. Kabbalistic literature is calling those three attributes "Sefirot", and G - d created our universe where Chesed and Din have to go in accordance with each other. There cannot be a world where a person only acts with endless kindness and another only with Din. A human being has to combine the two attributes to Tiferet where he sometimes acts with kindness and sometimes with judgment. Depending on the situation. 

Our forefather were three different personalities with different goals and tasks in life. As soon as I hear this I have to think of what the chassidic Rabbi Zusha of Hanipol (1718 – 1800), the brother of the famous Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, told his followers: 

Once Rabbi Zusha said to his students: "When I die and stand before the Almighty, G - d won't ask me - Zusha, why were you not like Avraham, Moshe or King David ? Instead He will ask me “Zusha, why were you not Zusha ?” 

Meaning that every human being has his own task in life as well as his individual potential. So, a Jew should concentrate on his own potential when fulfilling the Mitzvot. If he constantly looks over to his neighbours and becomes jealous of other Jews succeeding in being more frum or achieving all kinds of religious goals, he may loose track and give up. Even if one doesn't succeed in studying the whole Parasha this week or missed to pray a few times, he should always go according to his own pace and potential.  Sometimes it looks as if others succeed more in their religious lives than I do in my own but when you see the whole picture, we all were created differently. What we have to strive for is accepting our own G - dgiven task and potential.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Visit at the House of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv in Jerusalem


The house of the great halachic Posek and spiritual leader of the haredi - litvishe movement, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv

Kosher Pork Taste


Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Jonah Metzger announced that a new kind of goose liver tastes like pork. Various secular Jews eating pork are now able to replace their non - kosher habit by a kosher choice. 

Jew are not allowed to eat pork, as the Torah commands us and I simply don't understand why there are Jews who are desperately looking for pork and its taste. There are so many other things to eat; why pork ? 

Most of my colleagues in Tel Aviv eat pork which they buy at the local non - kosher supermarket chain "Tiv Ta'am". When I asked them why they feel like eating pork they told me that the meat has more taste than other kinds of meat. I doubt whether they would replace their pork meal by a piece of goose liver. 

I guess that various Jews are attracted by the forbidden or just want to be like all the other nations. They don't understand the reason why Jews should be different from the nations.

The Haredi World this Week

One of the news: The Belzer Rebbe Issachar Dov Rokeach didn't travel to Tiberias for the Yahrzeit of his father, Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgoraj. Instead he commemorated the Yahrzeit in Telshe Stone / outside Jerusalem. Rumours say that the Rebbe is sick and is going to have surgery on his feet.

The Sikariki Yosef Me'ir Chazan got arrested yesterday

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Entering Jerusalem

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Purim 5769 in Chassidut Vien

Chassidut Vien located in Brooklyn. It would be great if anyone could contribute any information on the white Streimel appearing in the video.


Faltishan Vien Spinka Wedding Cheshvan 5772

I suppose the wedding took place in New York.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The eternal Oleh Chadash (New Immigrant)


About two weeks ago, I had a meeting with one of my German blog readers here in Tel Aviv. We went for a cup of coffee and the visitor started telling me about the old Yekkes (German immigrants in the 30ies and 40ies). Even the cafe where we were sitting used to be German in the old days. When I told him that I don't know any Germans in Israel, he couldn't believe it. He offered giving me addresses but I wan't interested at all.

I am quite sick of being identified as a "New Immigrant - Olah Chadasha)" after 15 years of living in Israel and told the following story to the visitor:

After my official Aliyah in June 2000 (I had lived in the country before for about four years), I joined an Ulpan (Hebrew language course). It wasn't really an Ulpan but rather a course where new immigrants learn how to look for a job in Israel. In other words, how an Israeli CV should look. 

One of my classmates was constantly starring into his dictionary because he didn't want to make any mistakes. Our teacher freaked and asked him whether he thinks that Israelis get up in the morning and start reading in their dictionary ? It is not easy learning a new language but it comes after a while. Don't worry !

You are a new immigrant for the first three weeks but then your are Israeli. Do you know why ? Because after a couple of weeks you will be struggeling as almost every citizen in this country. As soon as the struggle for survival begins - Welcome to Israel - You are Israeli and joined the club. While the newcomers are just getting off the plane, you already know what the country is like. What it means to get used to a new crazy mentality, listen to the clerks yelling, running from here to there finding a job and getting bureaucrcy done. 

I cannot understand people always defining themselves as new immigrants. For how long can you be "New" ? I am a person who wasn't born in Israel, doesn't speak Hebrew like a native and has different kinds of attitudes. Israelis see in me an Israeli who was born abroad but everything else is not such an issue. Neither at work nor with friends. When we talk, we talk about life, private matters, work and the daily life. We talk about the NOW. 

In order to go on in life and get something started you need to get away from this stigma "New Immigrant" and just live your life.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

At the Beach in Tel Aviv

Photos: Miriam Woelke

The EDAH HA'CHAREDIT versus "Taliban" Women Cult

The Edah HaCharedit warning against getting involved with the so - called Jewish "Taliban" women.

 Source: LaDa'at

Sometimes I wish I had studied psychology instead of business administration, as then I would definitely have an explanation why certain women tend to join cults (Hebrew: כתות - Katot). How can it be that a woman is ready to give up her own freedom in order to follow a cult leader or ideology ? 

This is just unbelievable and I don't succeed in understanding those women. Maybe because I love to be independent and follow my own decisions in life.

Please note that I am not talking about religion and Torah but simply about the freedom of a human being. 

How can a woman be that stupid and follow a guy like Daniel Ambash if not due to dire straits ? And how can a woman follow the crazy  made - up idea of dressing like our foremothers Sarah, Rivka, Lea and Rachel ? Besides, I don't believe that the foremothers ever dressed like the so - called Jewish "Taliban" women today. Moreover, I do not see the foremothers go nuts about every presence of a male. 

King David would have such a great laugh about the "Taliban" women and no one from the First or Second Temple period in Jerusalem would understand the women who totally cover themselves and live in their own world. Look at Bruriah, the wife of the talmudic Rabbi Me'ir. Bruriah was a learned woman who was counceling and giving advice to her environment. Event to her husband, as Talmud Berachot teaches us.

Look at Rashi's daughters or a women like Dona Gracia. An emancipated independent woman doesn't automatically mean that she is totally secular and immodest. I know many haredi business woman and female lawyers. I stick to my opinion: When G - d provided a human being with a special gift (singing, writing, drawing, dealing in business, law, science, etc.) he should definitely make use of it. Become a doctor when you love medical science. Become a photographer when you are into photos and cameras. Just use your abilities in positive ways. 

G - d didn't create women in order to stay at home, roll themselves into "Taliban" dresses and keep out of a shop as long as a male customer is inside. G - d wants us to have a life !

I do understand that there are weak women in this world. Women who haven't learnt using their abilities or a profession and to speak up. There are women as well as men who always need a strong person telling them what to do and how. However, when you belong to this particular category, you should look for a person inspiring you in a positive way and not in order to rule your life. And this is what the Jewish "Taliban" women leader do. They draw their own bit of self - esteem out of others and even put their followers down. The followers may escape one day but the person with a true mental problem is the cult leader him - or herself. 

And what do those women in question say ? What about their opinion ? Has anyone ever asked them ? 
I found a blog answering some of the questions. Apparently there are different groups within the "Taliban" women. Some keep it very strict up to the extreme and others only wear a shawl. The Breslover Ba'al Teshuva Rabbis Berland and Arush gave their okay as well as Rabbi Rumpler from Ge'ulah / Jerusalem. On the other hand, last night, Rabbi Rumpler was facing a demonstration of 200 Haredim in front of his Beit Midrash. 

I am not surprised that Rabbi Berland as well as Arush support the Ba'alat Teshuva covering themselves thinking that modesty "Zniut" is THE most important Mitzvah for a woman. Those of you following this blog on a regular basis know that I neither trust in what Berland has to say nor in the cashcow Arush. 

However, I learned that not every Jewish "Taliban" woman is a "Taliban" woman but there are differences. What I still don't understand is why those women don't develope their own personality instead of running after extreme ideas not even our foremothers or Zipporah kept.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aliyah 50 +

Downtown Tel Aviv

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Should a Jew make Aliyah to Israel when he is already older than 50 years old ? From a religious point of view I cannot tell a Jew not to move to Israel but reality works slightly different .

Unless you are from the US or Canada and thus get supported by Nefesh be’Nefesh, you should definitely bring some savings with you. Even when Nefesh be’Nefesh is supporting you, never forget that one day the money supply will finish and then you have to be the breadwinner.

The Israeli job situation for people who are older than 50 is not the best. Just as everywhere else in the world. Furthermore, if you fit into the 50 + age category think very carefully whether you are ready for Aliyah when your children and grandchildren remain in the US or any other country but Israel. I know “elderly” people with kids and grandchildren in their countries of origin who keep on talking about how much they miss their family. Thus, don't underestimate the lack of your close relatives. 


Aliyah to Zfat

Hanging Wigs

Seen in the Carmel Market / Tel Aviv.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Q & A: How Christian Missionaries may influence Jews ?


One of the Shearim readers sent me the following question:

Shalom Alaikh. I read often your very informative and interesting blog. And all your rage against the missionaries. In my few visits to Israel, I never came across any of them - or maybe I never noticed them. I always spent more time in Tel Aviv than in Jerusalem. But my question is: how exactly do they try to attract jews ? what can they possibly say that would make any person give them any credit ? I mean even if they in the beginning pretend to be Jewish (like the German woman you mentioned once), what would they say after that could remotely make any sense to a chiloni ? Because even a Liberal Jew is happy in being a Jew, correct ?

I myself am not too observant, but when in Jerusalem, I made a point of not even looking at the xtian sites for the sake of "tourism". I just found that uncomfortable. So, have you known for sure of any case where these missionaries succeeded, and under which kind of talks ? Do they eventually mention jc , etc, etc ... ? Of course the missionaries provide the "poison", but if any Jewish person decides to follow them, isn't it possible also that something was not too right whithin him/her ?

Thank you.

And here is my answer.  Anyone else is welcomed to add his answer except for Christian missionaries ! 

While living in Jerusalem, I have come across quite a few missionaries. They aren't even ashamed of going to Rabbi's houses and once they sat down at a chassidic Pessach celebration. Christian missionaries from Germany who were told by the host to leave his place immediately. Not only because they just walked in and sat down but because they were from Germany and the host was an Auschwitz survivor. 

How are they trying to influence Jews ? First of all they spot out Jews who don't know too much about their own religion. The next step is that missionaries pull out their own mistranslated New Testament and try shwoing the Jew all kinds of contradictions in the Prophets. Contradiction which don't exist but due to the Christian mistranslations were caused. 

Other missionaries hand out little gifts, food to the poor or pretend doing social work. There was a case in Jerusalem where an entire youth club was run by missionaries. They offered music and entertainment but, at the side, they gave New Testaments to the Jewish youth until parents complained to the Municipality.

Believe it or not but I can spend out people pretending to be Jewish very fast. Simply because there is something missing in them what Jews usually have and not because they don't know much about Judaism. 

There are cases where missionaries succeed but there are also cases where converted Jews return to Judaism.

May a potential customer taste food before purchase ?


According to the worldly law it may be a problem and seen as theft: A person is passing a market stand and grabs and olive, grape, or any fruit and eats it. He eats it because he is interested in purchasing the merchandise or he is simply hungry and needs a snack. If you go to an Israeli market you will see plenty of people stuffing fruit, olives or chips into their mouth and it is not always nice watching this. As soon as I see someone grabbing into a pile of buns, I am finished and don't buy there anymore. 

Olives at Jerusalem's Machane Yehudah Market. Many people passing by just grab an olive and stuff it into their mouth without even asking the salesperson.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

How does the Halacha consider a person taking some food from a market stand in order to taste it ? I don't remember the specific talmudic tractate but I think it may have been Bava Metziah. The Talmud teaches that a potential customer is allowed to take a grape, an olive or some cherries in order to taste whether he likes the products. But only if he comes with the honest intention to buy and not just grab something because he is hungry.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christian Activist supporting Palestinians in Hebron


Israel has learnt how to approach suspicious Palestinians. There are areas like Hebron where every Palestinian may be a potential terrorist and start shooting or blow himself up. 

This Shabbat we are reading the Parasha "Chaye Sarah" and thousands of Jews will be gathering in Hebron. If Sarah came back today, she wouldn't recognize the whole situation in Hebron anymore where Palestinians took over a major part of the territory. The Jewish Quarter of Hebron may be a quarter of the entire town. I visited Hebron two years ago and wasn't very comfortable walking around even in the Jewish Quarter. Army checkpoints everywhere and I had to be careful not to enter the Palestinian side by accident. No Israeli is allowed to do that unless you want to get killed by the Palestinians. The Palestinians themselves are passing the Jewish Quarter all the time and may cross the raods wherever they want. 

I couldn't live in Hebron because of all the fences, Arabs around and the constant danger. The mainly national religious kids growing up in the town are tough and much more courageous than I am. 

The following video shows some Christian peace activists coming to Hebron and telling the Israeli army what to do. Such activists from abroad have no idea whatsoever about the conflict taking place but are convinced to show us the perfect solution. The army shouldn't even talk to such people but just arrest and deport them.

Floods in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and Kfar Saba

Yesterday: Flooded Ramat Aviv in northern Tel Aviv. 

Photo: YNET


Yesterday and today, many parts in Israel were completely flooded. In particular the northern and southern part of Tel Aviv, parts of Kfar Saba and Bat Yam. The coastal line is "down under" due to heavy rain showers.

Of course, we need water, as it hasn't rained sufficiently in the past years. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is drying out but now the big waters are coming. 

Tonight until Shabbat, we are facing a drop in temperatur and further heavy rain showers. Most of the day has been dry but now the rain is coming back accompanied by thunder.

Bereshit (Genesis)

Who are the Jewish Taliban Women ?


An Israeli TV report about the Taliban women in Ge'ulah and Mea Shearim / Jerusalem. 

Another cult and cults seem to attract people's curiosity. However what I saw in the report is not only the regular Breslov Taliban women but also women from Chassidut Toldot Aharon. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011



This Shabbat is Parashat CHAYE SARAH and thousands will be going to Hebron in order to visit the grave of our foremother Sarah. 

One reader was asking about the bus connections. I have no details but you can check the EGGED website. These kind of mass events are not for me and I always avoid going to Hebron during Pessach or Sukkot when everything is just packed. 

Here are a few information on Hebron:

Aliyah to Zfat (Safed)


Exactly a year ago, I stayed in Zfat (Safed) and Tiberias for a couple of months and was even considering settling in the area. It seems to be the perfect place when you are looking for a quiet lifestyle. The more spiritual ones rather move to Zfat and not necessarily to Tiberias. The distance between both places is about an hour bus ride. Nevertheless, the small town of Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) looks like New York when you start comparing in to Zfat. Although Tiberias has not too much action to offer, it seems to be a real city compared to Zfat. 

Zfat keeps on attracting more and more American Jews who are planning their Aliyah to Israel. The town has a large English speaking community and most members are very welcoming. You may feel at home immediately if you are the Zfat type. Breslov, Chabad (especially Chabad Meshichist) or Carlebach style. People invite you for Shabbat and the town has its own English library. Let alone the famous Zfat cemetery where lots of Kabbalists are buried. 

I think that most Americans making Aliyah to Zfat mainly concentrate on the spiritual side. Kabbalah, chassidic teachings and the great landscape. But when you make Aliyah, you have to be realistic and reality is that there are hardly any jobs in Zfat. Lots of locals are on the dole or social benefit. If you come to Zfat, use up all your Nefesh be’Nefesh money, you need to think about your future existence in town. How are you going to earn a living in a place where there is no industry, no nothing ?

Zfat used to be cheap. Reasonable rents and supermarket prices but look at it now. The American housing demand has ruined estate prices let alone the increasing rent. Some Americans may come with a bit of money and are able to satisfy the greed of the Zfati landlords but what about the local Israeli population ? For them it turns out to be a disaster competing with a bunch of wealthy Americans claiming the houses for themselves. 

Because there are no jobs in Zfat, English speakers who have already made Aliyah discovered a new market: Giving spiritual classes although many of them have no clue about deep kabbalistic studies. However, they need to pay rent and thus teach all kinds of made up theories in order to get the money rolling in. 

Furthermore, some Anglos have also started renting out one or two rooms to guests. When you go to such a guest house, watch your money, as those places can be real rip – offs. 

Another branch new immigrants have discovered is creating art and selling it to tourists. Mostly overprized. 

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

The latest clue is that some Americans are planning to open an international real estate agency. This is a great way to make money, as more and more Anglo Olim want to move to Zfat and nowhere else. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have been facing the problem for quite a while. Wealthy Jews from abroad buying property and hardly using it. Jerusalem has developed its own ghost towns such as the apartment building complexes in front of Jaffa Gate where rich Americans bought apartments for more than 2 million Dollar and only come for Pessach and Rosh Hashana. Those people keep on destroying rent and real estate prices and the result is that no ordinary Israeli can compete with such price demands. Jerusalem’s municipality now wants to start charging higher taxes from foreign investor not using their property. 

Nevertheless, it is not Jerusalem anymore but Zfat and as soon as this new real estate agency is opening, YOU are going to be ripped – off. What people don’t consider is that they change the character of Zfat and the real Zfatim who are born Israelis don’t want that. They have been there for generations and fought all the wars and now wealthy Americans are taking over with all their money. Not even speaking Hebrew but running after every Shekel. 

How does it feel making Aliyah into the middle of nowhere and earning a living by cheating others coming from your country of origin ? 


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