Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PURIM is the time for anti - Semitism

 View from Gan Sacher (Sacher Park) onto the Nachlaot neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

Photo: Miriam Woelke


Every single year anew, around Purim, something is coming up. No doubt, the world hates us. Whether it is Achmadinejad, all the other Arabs, Christian missionaries, Neonazis, liberals or the European Union. Jews have a long list of people hating them since the time of Avraham being hated by Nimrod. 

This upcoming Shabbat we are going to read Parashat Tetzaveh where it is telling us about Amalek attacking the Jews in the desert. Interstingly enough, the chassidic commentator "Shem MiShmuel" speaks about an "Amalek HaGashmi - A real material Amalek" who attacked the Jews without a reason. The same with the nations today. However, the "Shem MiShmuel" also mentions an "Amalek HaRuchani - a spiritual Amalek" who is inside all of us. 

"Amalek" is the symbol for anti - Semites and lots of Jews considered the Germans and their Third Reich as the real Amalek. On the other hand, "Amalek" can also stand for the "Yetzer HaRah - Evil Side" in all of us. When, for example, "Amalek" is telling us not to eat kosher because a cheeseburger is so tasty. Why not having it and enjoying life ?

When Amalek is telling us not to do this or that using all kinds of excuses. This tiny little "Amalek" is in all of us and the perfect way would be fighting our own laziness and excuses. Usually it is not an easy task, as I know myself but do you know when it is really easy: When an anti - Semite or anyone hating Jews makes a bad remark. Suddenly you feel proud to be Jewish and get the strength do to anything. 

What we should always remember: Not to give up but taking the Jews who lived under Achashverosh as an example that everything will change to the good !

Be as you are


It doesn't matter what kind of way you choose. Whether you are joining Chabad, one of the Edah HaCharedi groups, Amshinov, Erloi or the national religious or Litvishe movement. The most important thing is that you are happy with your decision and will succeed in remaining religious. 

Maybe this is easy for me to say, as I am a character not fitting into any group. At least not into any chassidic group. Otherwise I would have joined and tried to become a member. However, it is not the rules bothering me but I don't fit into only one group with one Rebbe. Furthermore, I am not a person who is following. Once someone told me: 

"You are not sheep !"

It sounds funny but maybe the guy telling me this was right.:-)

Thanks to the Readership !!!


I have noticed that my counter shows more than 500,000 hits now. Therefore I would like to say THANK YOU to all readers of this blog !

To tell you the truth: I know I could do much more but, at the moment, I don't have that much time available as I would like to have. However, this is going to change in another couple of months. Until then, I do as much as time allows me to do.:-)

Winter is back


After a few warm and sunny days, winter has returned to Israel. At the moment, it is raining cats and dogs in Tel Aviv. Temperature dropped to 14 degrees Celsius and the bad weather is going to continue, at least, until Friday.

No wonder, as Purim is ahead. Every year anew, the famous question in Israel is "How the weather on Purim is going to be ?". Usually it is raining and especially Jerusalem has a long tradition of rain on Purim.:-)



Purim preparations in Jerusalem

Hamantaschen (Ozne'i Haman) at the Natural Choice Bakery in Nachlaot / Jerusalem

Hamantaschen at the Machane Yehudah Market

Hamantaschen filled with poppy seeds

Sweets for Purim presents / Machane Yehudah Market

Mishloach Manot - Purim presents, the great Mitzvah on Purim.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Grandson of the Belzer Rebbe is getting married


A grandson of the Belzer Rebbe is getting married. The bride is the daughter of an important Rabbi in Belz. 

Last night I passed the Belzer Beit Midrash in Nachlaot where huge celebrations were taking place. Here a photo from the building:

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Yahrzeit of the Fogel Family from Itamar


Tonight begins the first Yahrzeit of one of the worst terror attacks in the history of our country. Exactly one year ago, the Fogel family was murdered in their house in Itamar. A special event is going to take place in Jerusalem next Tuesday in order to commemorate the Fogels.

The two Palestinian killers were sent to jail for the rest of their lives. Many Israelis demanded the death penalty but, instead, we had to look at the murderers smiling face in the courtroom. They admitted having killed the entire family only because they were Jews.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Purim in Dushinsky (Jerusalem)

Passing a KOSHER bus


On my ride to Jerusalem this morning, our "unkosher" Egged bus passed a private KOSHER bus where men and women sat separately. My photos didn't come out that great but enjoy the scene.:-)

Women in the back.

Guys in the front.

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Anglos making Aliyah


You are from an English speaking country and thinking about making Aliyah ? I found this interesting site for you:

Photos: Bus ride and arrival in Jerusalem


I am off from work today and used the opportunity of going to Jerusalem for a day and collecting some material for the upcoming Purim festival. Besides taking Hamantaschen - Photos, I am quite busy going through all kinds of chassidic books. It is definitely plenty of work but I love it.  

Below are a few photos from my bus ride and my arrival in Jerusalem this morning. A regular bus ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem takes about an hour. Sometimes a little less and it all depends on the traffic jams.:-)

Going up to Judea.

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, February 26, 2012

PURIM ahead

Purim 2011 / 5771 in Jerusalem

All photos HERE !

After Purim comes Pessach


When I went shopping at a supermarkets a couple of hours ago, I spotted out a special offer: Noodles for a very good price. Usually I jump on such offers but today something came into my mind. Next week is Purim and exactly one month after Purim, Pessach is going to start. And don't I still have plenty of noodle packages laying around in my cupboard ? In fact, I have a rice and a noodle collection and thus enough to do (eat) until Pessach is showing up. 

This simply reminded me of all the goodies I cannot eat on Pessach. There isn't too much left what Ashkenazi Jews are allowed to eat anyway. Especially when the keep "Gebrochts", as I do.:-)

Tel Aviv: The City without G - d

 Photo: Miriam Woelke

Tel Aviv's Mayor Ron Chulda'i is making another attempt turning our city into a second New York. Last week, the city council decided to let the local buses run on Shabbat. A disgrace and totally unnecessary. However, Chulda'i claims that many inhabitants need a bus on Shabbat in order to travel and let alone all those tourists who are left out on the seventh day of the week. Now the Mayor has to wait and see whether the Ministry of Transportation is going to agree to his request. 

In the meantime, left - wingers have been demonstrating in front of the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, as they want the Jewish religion to be left out of the public life. 
To all those Israelis thinking the same way:

If Israelis cut G - d out of their lives they will loose their own country.

Ynet: "A City without G - d"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rioting Palestinians

Rioting Palestinians


Once again, Palestinians started rioting and it all reminds me of the riots about the Mugrabi Bridge a few years ago.  This time the reason for the riots is a dead Palestinian at one of the checkpoints.

The "Jerusalem Post" and YNET have all details !

Over the course of the weekend, more than 1200 violent Palestinian protesters took part in riots across Judea & Samaria. This video shows the violent riots in Al-Ram, a village northeast of Jerusalem, where protesters set fires, blocked streets and hurled rocks at IDF forces. 

Also see the blog of the Israeli army

Further background information: For many many years, Palestinians have been denying Jewish history. The two Jewish Tempels would be just an imagination and Israeli propaganda. In order to support the Arab history lie, Palestinians need to get rid of Jewish historical facts. The Waqf keeps on digging on the Temple Mount and destroying parts of the former Jewish Temple. The Palestinians don't even hide their illegal diggings but the Israeli government doesn't take any action. 

What will be next ? Are the Palestinians going to tare down the Kotel (Western Wall) in order to support their lie ? Let alone the permanent denial of the Holocaust !

The Mugrabi - Bridge at the Kotel in January 2012. The bridge leads from the Kotel Plaza up onto the Temple Mount.

 Total view over the the Kotel Plaza with the bridge on the right

Photos: Miriam Woelke 

Yedid Nefesh


YEDID NEFESH, a song for Shabbat but why not begin this new week with this great Nigun shown in the video:

Kabbalistic Meditation


Let your mind travel back a minute ago, an hour ago, a month ago ...
Until you reach a level where you are trying to imagine 
an infinity ago. 

Then do the same with the future.

I forgot who the author of this meditation was but it may have been from "Sefer Yetzirah - Book of Creation".

Why DEBORAH FELDMAN won't receive much attention in Israel


Deborah WHO ? 
Why Israelis aren't interested in another chassidic runaway ? Because we have plenty of them in our country and don't need any further reports from the United States. Who in Israel cares about Williamsburgh or Kiryat Yoel when we have Bnei Brak or Mea Shearim ? 

Israelis are definitely interested in such stories and TV series about "Off - the - Derech" cases are extremely popular. However, reports about Gitty Grunwald (Satmar) or now Deborah Feldman don't cause any interest although our left - wingers love to use such stories against haredi society as a whole. But lets be honest ? Who cares about New York ?

When I met the Gur runaway Sarah Einfeld and wrote about her, many people were interested. Maybe because Sarah was born into Gur and lots of Israeli Haredim hate the guts out of Gur. On the other hand, Sarah didn't really have any secret insights to announce but concentrates on "Why women should leave Gur or haredi society". The second thing is that Sarah comes from Ashdod and who cares about Gur in Ashdod ? Israeli Haredim asked me to find cases like Sarah in Bnei Brak or, at least, Jerusalem. This would be more interesting, but Ashdod ... 

Then another TV report made its round "Leaving the Fold" where, among others, a girl from Mea Shearim told about what happened to her in the neighbourhood and why she left haredi society. Wow, finally someone really interesting, as the girl was from Mea Shearim. Not only that but from BATEI UNGARIN, the famous Toldot Aharon, Chatam Sofer, Neturei Karta and Satmar backyard. Not a Sarah from Ashdod or a Gitty from the US but the REAL thing. This is how Israeli Haredim think and what arouses their curiosity. Let us hear some new gossip ...

Several Haredim asked me to get in touch with this formerly Mea Shearim girl because she has something to tell. I wrote to the production company of "Leaving the Fold" and was told that they don't provide addresses of the movie participants. However, I can send a request to the Israeli "Off - the - Derech" organization "Hillel". By the way, I know that "Hillel" wouldn't answer me because, as soon as they look at my blog, they may get the idea that I am a haredi spy.:-) No, seriously, "Hillel" never sent a response to some previous questions I had. 

I was curious finding out more about the Mea Shearim girl appearing in "Leaving the Fold" and asked a friend of mine living in Batei Ungarin. As expected, she didn't want to get involved and refused to give any information. It took a long time to persuade my friend but only after 1000 promises to never ever mention her name. To make a long story short, the girl from "Leaving the Fold" turned out to be a fake. If this girl had been born into the backyard, no matter into what group, and she had left in order to become secular, this may have been a story but not her being a Ba'alat Teshuva. Or, at least, her mother was and not necessarily the daughters. 

The market is flooded with different stories about leaving haredi society and how people were treated. I think that most people interested in reading such stories are those who hate Haredim. In particular, fanatic Christians, anti - Semites or even Reform Jews. Those taking a closer look and actually make a true and honest effort getting to know society will find a totally different world far beyond from Deborah's or Gitty stories. Of course, not every Haredi is perfect and there are plenty of society problems but no one should forget the thousands of people who are very happy with their lives.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Primitive Thoughts on PARASHAT TERUMAH


"Primitive Thoughts on Parashat Terumah ?"
Lets call it "Practical Thoughts !"
Or maybe YES "primitive" ?

G - d is giving all the instructions for the building the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Later on, certain families are appointed for the duty of carrying poles, walls, all kinds of parts while the Israelites travel through the desert. Those male family members of Moshe and Aharon seem to look at each other in a way of jealousy. At least some members.
Why is he allowed to carry this and I am only carrying that ?
It just looks like a typical male competition behaviour.

Who can imagine today what it meant to have a Mishkan ? We barely imagine having a Temple but who speaks or thinks about the original Mishkan except when it comes to some Torah readings throughout the year ? Okay, there was this Mishkan consisting of many parts but then the First Temple came into existence. The Mishkan was gone and some sources say that most of it was destroyed or burnt down.

Why is G - d giving every little single detail about how to build the Mishkan. Our Sages say in order to make us used to go into detail. The Mishkan was to be built in detail and so we have to keep the Mitzvot. Not going away from the law and making it easier but strictly follow the written and oral law.

Rabbeinu Bachya has several spiritual commentaries on Sefer Shemot (the Book of Exodus). The Mishkan was the exact counterpart of the Temple (Beit HaMikdash) in the upper spiritual worlds. As we know, everything in this material world has a counterpart in the upper spiritual world. Even human beings.

So, what does that mean ?
That there is another Miriam walking around in the upper worlds ? That there is another Tempel standing up there ? Another Jerusalem but just somewhere above us ?
What do those people there think when they look down on us ? What do we think ?

Basically it means that the Mishkan was perfect. The way it should be because G - d's Shechinah (Presence) was residing in there. So is the upper Miriam. She doesn't walk around and hopefully I won't meet my perfect "I". The other Miriam is the perfect person I should be.
The upper Jerusalem is the perfect Jerusalem; how it should be.

The concept with the counterparts is not to be taken literally but to be understood on a spiritual level. We can turn the Jerusalem in this world into a perfect Jerusalem. By doing Mitzvot, for instance. By changing the city and us into existences completely following G - d's will. And, in this respect, the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was perfect.

Today, each of us has to work on that in order to get a taste of the upper worlds.

The haredi world this Week

The most important event: A "historical" meeting between the Satmarer and the Belzer Rebbe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mormon Church is targeting ANNE FRANK


How sick can a religion be ? Mormon ideology is definitely sick and ignoring G - d's people. The Jews !

After Simon Wiesenthal's parents and ElieWiesel's relatives, the Mormons are targeting ANNE FRANK.

Rescue FELDHEIM Israel !


One of the greatest publishers of religious Jewish books, FELDHEIM (Israel), may go bancrupt. The haredi site "Be'Chadre'i HaCharedim" reported about it first and commentators on the article claimed that FELDHEIM (Israel) has debts around 15 Mio Shekels (approx. 4 Mio US $). Others claim even more debts.

However, there are many Rabbi and authors supporting FELDHEIM

Without FELDHEIM, many thousands of books would have never been published.

If I may add a reason: For me, FELDHEIM books were always a little expensive and, as soon as I was became fluent in Hebrew, I was glad buying Hebrew books from Israeli publishers. FELDHEIM is brilliant but does have its price. Sometimes a very high price of hundreds of Shekels and not every Yeshiva student is able to afford such books.

Israel's Supreme Court against the "Tal Law"

Just recently, I wrote the below article on the Israeli "Tal Law" and yesterday, the Supreme Court took an interesting step: The "Tal Law" is cancelled, as it doesn't show any equality ! It cannot be that a certain society group is exempt from the army service while others have to serve. 

Now the Israeli government has got six months offering another law proposal. This shouldn't be that easy, as the haredi parties are part of the coalition. On the other hand, it is not impossible, as also haredi ministers like to keep their positions.

My former article from a few weeks ago:

Again, the Israeli government has to decide about the extention of the controversial “Chok Tal – Tal Law”: Young male Haredim who are enrolled in Yeshivot are, according to the "Tal Law", exempt from the army service. 

Every time, the law is being discussed anew, all kinds of new / old criticism is coming up. At the moment, the time making a decision is not the best: For the past weeks, Israeli left - wing organizations as well as the secular press have been spreading the worst propaganda against haredi society as a whole. Without pointing out various differences between various haredi groups and ideologies. 

I can understand those Israelis who are joining the army service without any complaint. They see it as their duty to protect and fight for our country. I can also understand that regular Israeli soldiers are upset about an entire (haredi) society not joining the armed forces. On the other hand, I do understand many Haredim who do not join the Israeli army. One of the main reasons why they don't are society reasons. Young Haredim are reluctant to go to the army, as they fear being rejected from their own society. Especially regarding Shidduchim or that family members won't be accepted at great Yeshivot. 

More than a decade ago, the army unit “Nahal HaCharedi” was founded. The first soldiers joining this haredi unit were Haredim. However, a little later, the "Nahal" made the mistake of accepting more and more national religious soldiers. The difference is that national religious soldiers do agree to certain "light" standards such as eating kosher food with a "Chief Rabbinate - Rabbanut" Hechsher. Most Haredim do not. Haredim don't really want to serve in this unit anymore, as they don't consider the "Nahal" as entirely haredi but as something "modern Orthodox". Nevertheless, there is quite a high amount of Haredim who would like to serve in the army if the religious standards were higher. The more Rabbis were favouring the army service, the more Haredim would actually join. 

Haredim as well as national religious men claim that the army itself doesn't want too many frum soldiers. Despite all criticism, does the army really need so many haredi soldiers ? The generals say YES but reality appears to be different. The Ministry of Defense has been spreading quite shocking reports: In another 10 years or so, the Israeli army is going to face a lack of soldiers. How then will we be able to defend our country ? As expected, the press found the guilty side: The Haredim. On the other hand, the media also pointed out that the amount of secular Israelis looking for exemption from the army, has been constantly growing. The number 1 refusals are coming from secular Israelis living in Tel Aviv. 

I don't have any solution to offer. On the one hand, I do understand the haredi public and its refusal of going to the army. On the other hand, I have lots of sympathy for Israeli soldiers complaining about the "Tal Law". Why do they have to serve while others sit in Yeshivot or simply do nothing besides enrolling ? As a matter of fact, there is a high amount of young Haredim who are enrolled in Yeshivot but hardly participate in any studies. 

I know a national religious Rabbi whose son has become haredi. The son was anxious becoming a soldier but the father didn't let him go because he was too afraid that his son may die on the battlefield. The result was that the son didn't join the army but the service could have changed his life into more positive directions. Bored and not knowing what to do in life, the son went a little astray due to money matters. 

By the way, a couple of years ago (when I was still younger), I asked the army whether I can still join. Due to my advanced age, I couldn't but was offered to volunteer at a checkpoint. The problem was that I need to earn a living and thus didn't sign up.  

Anyone interested in reading a good book on the issue:

The Chabadnik (I don't know if he still is one), David Zoldan, wrote a book about his army service and the first "Nachal HaHaredi" where he was serving. I haven't finished reading the whole book but sometimes the content is too military. Which general said what and how the Nachal was founded. 

However, the book is interesting to read and also describes the reaction of David Zoldan's Rabbi and Mashpiah who didn't agree with the step the former Yeshiva student took. 

The book was published in Hebrew and the English title:

"The Yarmulke and the Helmet" 

The story of the First Ultra - Orthodox Army Unit"

by David Zoldan

The right photo shows David Zoldan at the beginning of his army service. The left picture was taken later. 

SHTUREM has an article about Zoldan. Hebrew only !

Rosh Chodesh ADAR


Tonight, tomorrow and on Friday, we are celebrating the of the new Jewish month of Adar (Rosh Chodesh Adar).

Adar is the 12th and happiest month of the Jewish calendar. Simcha, joy, is the symbol of Adar. Joy to serve G - d and that G - d caused so many miracles to happen for the Jewish people (Purim and Pessach) (see the book "Shaarei HaMoadim" from Chabad).

According to Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation), each Jewish month represents a certain letter, horoscope, organ, sense and tribe:

- The letter of Adar is the KUF ק

- The horoscope is the fish

- The tribe is Naftali

- The sense is laughter

- The organ is the spleen

Adar 7th 1 March) is the birthday and the day of death of Moshe.
In another two weeks we are going to celebrate Purim and here is already the exact holiday schedule:
Taanit Esther - Fast of Esther is taking place on 13 Adar (7 March).

Purim is taking place on 14 Adar (14 March) and Shushan Purim will be on Friday, 15 Adar (9 March).

Chodesh Tov - חודש טוב - Have a great new month Adar !

Evening atmosphere in Tel Aviv


The sun going down in Tel Aviv

The sun is back after all a couple of rainy and freezing days. The birds are singing outside and the entire atmosphere is screaming: "Spring is ahead !" Despite the warm temperatures, people in Tel Aviv are coughing and sneezing. So am I. 

There have been quite a few news and I am going to write about a few topics towards this evening. Just to give you a brief idea: 
  • "Feldheim", the publishing Israeli branch is facing bancruptcy. 
  • Israel's Supreme Court cancelled the "Tal Law - Chok Tal    AND
  • Why Deborah Feldman won't have her fame in Israel.

But, first of all, something very positive: Enjoy yesterday's the sunset photos from Tel Aviv !

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sifra d'Zniuta: Revealing Thoughts

My "Sifra d'Zniuta" edition with commentaries from the VILNA GAON and the YEDID NEFESH.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

"Sifra d'Zniuta" is part of the ZOHAR and commentating Parashat Terumah. And, as we know, Terumah is this week's Torah Parasha. 

It says that the book reveals thought. A human thought is only being revealed by speech or writing. The same with G - d who revealed His will through creation. For example: By "saying" - Let there be light - G - d revealed His will. 

 "Saying" - G - d speaking is nothing but a metapher, as He didn't need to speak in a literal sense. 

Vishnitz Takanot

The Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe in Boro Park and Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim attacked in Beit Shemesh


The Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn visiting Boro Park / New York:

All photos HERE !

One commentator noticed that the location where the Tish is taking place is a wedding hall of Chassidut Bobov.

Whereas Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn is visiting New York, his younger brother, the Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn, is being confronted with serious problems. The celebrity of Toldot Aharon, Rabbi Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim, got attacked by his own people last Erev Shabbat. Pappenheim entered the Toldot Aharon Synagogue of Beit Shemesh and was asked to leave by a group of "extremists". However, he refused and it all ended up in beating Shmuel Pappenheim. 

Last night, the Toldot Aharon Rebbe wanted to make a decision and obviously punish those Chassidim who beat Pappenheim. They are apparently not allowed to join community activities for a couple of months.

The reason for Pappenheim being attacked was an interview he gave to the left - wing paper "HAARETZ":

Yet winds of change are blowing even among the most fanatic camp. Once, former Eda Haredit spokesman Shmuel Pappenheim was frequently dispatched to represent the official, extreme anti-Zionist line and to defend his sect, Toldot Aharon. But Pappenheim, a Beit Shemesh resident, recently came out of the closet as a sworn reformist: He is studying for a degree at Bar-Ilan University and heads an office encouraging ultra-Orthodox employment in Beit Shemesh, on top of his other public activities. 

Pappenheim thinks that in the ultra-Orthodox's clash with outsiders, the extremists on both sides are failing to see the powerful processes underway in the ultra-Orthodox mainstream: The ultra-Orthodox are irreversibly opening up, he believes. 

 "This week I spoke before a Scout troop in Jerusalem, alongside a representative of Yisrael Hofshit [Be Free Israel, an organization that works to advance religious freedom and other democratic values], who denounced ultra-Orthodox extremism," says Pappenheim. "I told her she was missing the entire point. Israel's ultra-Orthodox public has begun to understand that it needs to take its fate into its hands. There are thousands of ultra-Orthodox in the army, in academia, in the free professions. Are they telling us we're in a religious war? On the contrary. The religious public is heading toward something great, and the rabbis' attempts to stop this are like the rooster running in circles after being beheaded.

"The Sicarii are acting out of frustration, not ideology, he says. "They see society around them progressing and are frustrated. They do not really think; they just act violently for the sake of causing action and chaos.

"Pappenheim believes the rabbis' attempts to turn back time are destined to fail. "I'm not seeing any students dropping out of ultra-Orthdox colleges" due to Rabbi Elyashiv's letter, he says. "That isn't going to help anymore. Maybe this is the rabbis' job, to try to stop the flow so that 16-year-old boys know their only aim in life is to study Torah, but this process is reality."

Pappenheim himself is being smeared by wall posters declaring, "Greeks have ganged up on us!" and draws condemnations from his extremist neighbors, but as the son of an aristocratic Toldot Aharon family, he retains access to the top. 

"A married yeshiva student from Toldot Avraham Hasidut is serving in Shahar [a prestigious Israel Defense Forces technology program for married yeshiva students]. Things are happening. I told my rebbe and he asked: 'What? Do you think our married yeshiva students will also be there?' I said it could happen. He said, 'Such a thing should not come to us,' and I told him that while his role may be to prevent it, this is the process. We need to understand this and not shut our eyes. He knows this well. A month ago President [Shimon] Peres visited [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's daughter] Adina Bar-Shalom's ultra-Orthodox college in Jerusalem. In the first row were three married yeshiva students from Toldot Aharon.

"Conflicting changes Pappenheim's remarks show that the discussion about "growing ultra-Orthdox extremism" ignores the fact that this sector, like the national religious sector, is going through conflicting processes. The public at large is now noticing the modesty revolution, which includes the segregated buses, the "Taliban" women in black cloaks, the gender segregation at the health clinics in Beit Shemesh and the advertising companies' reluctance to post outdoor ads with pictures of women in Jerusalem, but it has been going on for years.

Please find the entire HAARETZ article HERE !

Nature in Tel Aviv


We are facing the last days of Shevat and heading towards the month of Adar. After a couple of freezing cold and rainy days, Israel is enjoying some sunny winter days. 

Here are a few nature photos from Tel Aviv. I took them this morning.

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow in Kiryat Arba & Hebron


 Friday afternoon, the strom started and Tel Aviv's beach area as well as the surroundings looked like a hurricane is taking apart the city. No people in the streets of Tel Aviv on a Friday afternoon ? Stormy weather and rain were taking over for the next two days. Broken windows, uprooted trees and huge waves at the beach. 

Temperature dropped and it was supposed to snow in Jerusalem. Where is was snowing was in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. Here are photos from Kiryat Arba and Hebron next door: 

The Ma'arat HaMachpela in Hebron

All Photos HERE !

Starting tomorrow: The sun will be out again !

Purim advertising cuts out girl's faces


No doubt. Purim is definitely right ahead. How do I know this ? Not only by looking at the Jewish calendar but by paying attention to my environment. Just a few days ago, I noticed the first Hamantaschen at a bakery in Tel Aviv. Moreover, the local Carmel Market is full of Purim merchandise. Purim costumes for children everywhere. 

If you don't live in Israel, you probably won't know the local toy and stationary chain "Kfar HaShashu'im". This chain is extremely popular among all kinds of Israelis. Especially because of its low prices. 

"Kfar Shashashu'im" also has a Facebook page and for its frum customers, the chain published special Purim advertising where the girl's faces are cut out. Secular customers keep on protesting about the advertising poster and "Kfar Hashashu'im" obviously didn't expect such resistance.

However, I remember seeing the same advertising with the girl's faces cut out last year. In haredi newspapers and it may have been in a national religious weekly paper as well. Meaning, the poster is nothing new at all but I am surprised that the company published it on its Facebook page.

In case anyone is asking: I am very much against such kind of advertising where even girl's faces are considered a modesty threat. 

The Seven Wonders of the World


Found on the Internet:

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes: 

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids 
2. Taj Mahal 
3. Grand Canyon 
4. Panama Canal 
5. Empire State Building 
6. St. Peter's Basilica 
7. China's Great Wall 

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many " The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." 

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are: 
1. to see 
2. to hear 
3. to touch 
4. to taste 
5. to feel 
6. to laugh 
7. and to love." 

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous! A gentle reminder -- that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.