Monday, March 29, 2010

TERROR IN MOSCOW! Two Female Homocide Bombers Detonate on Morning Metro

B"H

Thank G-d that MORE people weren't killed, and Thank G-d it didn't happen in New York.

This is a horrible tragedy, and a clear warning to us. We are just as vulnerable as Moscow in our subways and trains--maybe even more vulnerable. Moscow is used to terror, they are constantly on alert, but they were still hit.

If someone is intent on attacking us, there is little we can do. Human-guided bombs are lethal, and Obama's genuflection toward terror will do us little good.

Arab League to Help Fight "Judiazation" of Jerusalem

B”H

How do you fight the "Judiazation" of a Jewish city?  Sorry you collection of little dictators, it was Jewish long before Islam was a religion.

Despite the screaming and yelling and gnashing to teeth, Jerusalem was ours, is ours, and will be ours, eternally.

M

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Carter's Apology to Jews a Hallow, Shallow, Forgotten Moment


B"H

Carter will never learn! He is such an anti-Semite.

We all knew the "apology" was a lie from the beginning.

In Jewish law, saying you are sorry means NOTHING. Without action, apologies are hollow.

If he REALLY wants to show us he means it

Surprise! (not) Egypt Bars Jews from Entering Newly Restored Maimonides Synagogue


B”H

As if we ever thought that Egypt would actually dedicate a JEWISH house of worship, Ha!

It was a publicity stunt from the start. What do you think they will do now?

I am sure that the final coupe de grace will come like a worn-out cliché: They will dedicate the Synagogue as a Mosque.


Yup. Just wait. I am waiting for that shoe to drop quickly, probably in the middle of

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Show Of Support for Bibi's Stance, Americans Send 2,400 Roses . . . So Far!


B”H

This is an amazing thing, really. These people are standing on their faith and taking the protection of Israel personally. Very nice!

I’m wondering if there can’t also be a comparative show of disappointment in Obama's rudeness.

Perhaps we should all send whoopie cushions to Obama to show our disgust for his rudeness?


M

In Victory for Free Speech Everywhere, Israeli Supreme Court Rules Talkbackers Can't Be Exposed For Libel Suits


B”H

This is a victory for anyone who uses the internet and makes comments, whether you are in Israel or not. This Supreme Court decision makes it possible to honestly share your opinions without fear of the government punishing you for doing so.

It also frees the media from the fear of losing their freedom to offer these services. If the Supreme Court had decided to restrict free speech, newspapers and magazines, even blogs, may have had to cancel, restrict, or carefully moderate each and every comment that came in.

If a comment was deemed to libelous, the commenter, as well as the newspaper or blog, could have been sued by any person who felt they were libeled.


"Hillary Owes NY an Apology!" says ZOA


B”H

I love the ZOA! I went on a joint trip of the ZOA and Betar to Judea/Samaria, and I have never forgotten a moment of that trip.

The ZOA keeps leading the way. This letter is a work of genius!

Hillary needs to be shown as what she is, what she has become, since agreeing to be a puppet to a president who treats his enemies like friends, and his friends like enemies.



Friday, March 26, 2010

In Height of Rudeness, Obama Leaves Bibi to Eat Alone

B"H

Obama would never treat his enemies this way! Why would he treat his friend this way?

This requires a strong diplomatic response from Israel. Stand strong, Bibi!

This was beyond rude!

M

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Obama 'dumped Netanyahu for private dinner'
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/obama_dumped_netanyahu_for_private_fyKoe5dGuDsgFgQexOrmBJ
By Giles Whittell and James Hider
TIMES OF LONDON/NEWSCORE


Coercion and Freedom: Thoughts for Passover By Rabbi Marc D. Angel



http://www.jewishideas.org/angel-shabbat/coercion-and-freedom-thoughts-passover


Some years ago, I served as scholar-in-residence on a trip to Spain and Israel sponsored by the American Friends of the Technion. The closing event was a dinner at the Technion in Haifa. It was a week or so before Passover. One of the Israeli participants in the program--I believe she was a teacher or administrator of the school--noticed that I was wearing a kippah, and she came to speak with me.


She said: "I see that you are a religious Jew. Next week is Passover. Do you know what I do in honor of Passover? I go to a nearby Bedouin village and buy pita bread! I do not eat matzah!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shots Fired at Congressman Eric Cantor's Virginia Office


B"H

Eric Cantor will be the first Jewish president, mark my words!

He is the Minority Whip in Congress, and he has directed the strong opposition against the Abominable Obamanation known as "Obamacare."

He has his priorities straight. He is a strong Conservative, he is outspoken, he is polished, he is Jewish, and he is proudly and unashamedly Pro-Israel.

Unfortunately, all of these great qualities also make him a target for any number of crazies.

A Pesach Poem by Richard Schiffman

B"H

The Forward article, from which I took this poem, also contained a really really un-Jewish poem by the same author. This one was beautiful, though.

M

Matzo More Than the Bread of Haste


B”H

I’m always looking for something interesting and new to bring to the seder table. This article makes clear that Matzo not only represented the haste from which we fled Egypt, but it also represents a return to Jewish traditional foods, values, and religion.

This article makes it plain that Egyptian bread was not the same as Hebrew bread. Hashm’s declaration that they should have only Matzo and not the bread of Egypt was a demand that they were returning to their roots, to their JEWISH ways.

I wonder, did they had to relearn how to make matzo that first seder or had they retained that knowledge while they remained in Egypt?

M

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Halachically Certified Scooters Make Shabbat and Yom Tovim Enjoyable for the Mobility Impaired


B"H

When Hashm blesses some people with the intellect and creativity to find halachic solutions to improve lives, it is a reason for celebration!

Apparently Amigo has been making the Shabbat Amigo Scooters for over five years, but I had never heard of them until I read this article. I'm sure it will be news to many of you as well. And it isn't just one scooter that has this option, they have a whole line of scooters that can be fitted with the "Shabbat Mode.
"

I know that these scooters will make it possible for many disabled, elderly, and frail individuals to live full lives, to be part of their communities, and to enjoy Shabbat as it should be enjoyed--with friends and family!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sephardic Eggs, Pesach Buneullos, Brownie Cookies, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Lasagna, Frittata, Fruit Sorbet, and, Of Course, Some Websites!


B"H

OK, we are a week away, and I am in complete denial. Seriously, I haven't done much, and between the guilt that keeps me up at night and the laundry and kid stuff and full time job I have, I think I will have to give myself just one day to get ready (next Sunday, presumably).

Meanwhile, I will share my favorite websites and recipes with you!

Now, I hope you understand that I am proudly and completely Sephardic--which means that my recipes might have to be adapted for my dear Ashkenazi friends (mostly substituting Pesach Powdered Sugar for Regular, etc.). Some, of course, can't be adapted at all, and some don't need any adaption (like my lasagna recipe).

Without further ado . . .

Websites:

Machon Shilo--This is the website where you will find the P'sk that Ashkenazim in Israel may eat Qitniyoth. (Just in case you want to use my recipes without adaptation!)

The Kashrut.org forum--This is the place where you can ask whether something is Kosher for Pesach. This is an essential site for Sephardim, who need to know what we can eat independent of the Kashrut organizations and their Ashkenazi Pesach Heschers. Rabbi Abadi used to be the Posek of Lakewood, so I think you can rely upon his rulings. The site also offers an essential list of Pesach items--with specifications for Ashkenazim, Sephardim, or Both--which is completely downloadable for the cost of a small donation to their Kollel. (Please don't cheat and share it with others. Rabbi Abadi and his Kollel do a lot of work on this list every year, and they really do need the money for the Kollel. If you are planning to download a list and share it with two other people, please pay the $5 fee X 3. It is worth the fee, it is a very minimal amount of money, and anything less is theft.)

Trader Joes--I love this store! There is a really big section of non-wheat goodies that taste too good to be true . . . WITHOUT the Pesach markup. Check Rabbi Abadi's list to make sure everything is OK, then indulge!!

Passover Guide: I am linking the Chabad Passover Guide rather than the OU passover guide because the Chabad Passover guide acknowledges that Sephardim and Ashkenazim have different customs--which I think is a lot more sensitive. The best thing is to make sure you check with your Local Orthodox Rabbi (LOR) for the specifics of your case. Please remember that Pessach cleaning is NOT Spring Cleaning (my husband constantly reminds me of this), and you shouldn't go overboard. For example, many rabbis say it is acceptable to spray areas you can't easily reach with windex or another form of cleaning product in order to nullify any chametz that would be there, etc. Also, you don't need to make your house look like a tin-foil temple--there are some ways around this if you just ask!! (Yes, that IS what our rabbis are for!!)

Finally, as promised, some Pesach Recipes (If you forward them, I would love some attribution. I worked hard on these!):

Crockpot Sephardic Eggs

If you want to add a little authentic Sephardic touch to your Seder, then make some traditional eggs. They are simple to make, but they take a while, so be patient! They come out brown all the way through with a nutty flavor.

(If you don't like them to be brown all the way through, just do simple boiled eggs on top of the stove with the onion skins. The outside will be brown, but the inside will stay white.)

12 eggs
As many dried onion skins as you can find (you know, the ones on the outside of the onions that always fall off in the bag. Yeah, those!)

Put all the onion skins in crockpot. Put eggs on top. Cover eggs completely with water, cover. Cook on low for 12-24 hours.


Michelle Nevada's Mom's Chocolate Mousse Cake (Dairy)

Meringue

In a large bowl beat 5 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks, beat in 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to beat the meringue until it holds very stiff peaks. Fold in 1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar sifted with 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa. Using an inverted 8 inch square cake pan as a guide trace 3 squares onto sheets of parchment paper set on baking sheets, divide the meringue among the squares, spreading it evenly to the edges, and bake the meringues in a preheated oven 300 degrees alternating the baking sheets if necessary for even baking for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Transfer the meringues to racks and let them cool.

Chocolate Mousse

In a double boiler set over hot water melt 13 ounces of semisweet chocolate and let it cool until lukewarm. In a large bowl beat 7 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks. In another bowl beat 3 cups heavy cream, well chilled, with 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. fold the chocolate carefully into the egg whites and fold in the cream.. Makes about 9 cups.

Assemble Cake

Put 1 meringue layer on a cake stand and spread it thickly with the chocolate mousse. Top the mousse with a second meringue layer, spread it thickly with chocolate mousse and top the mousse with the remaining layer. Transfer the remaining mousse to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip, decorate the top of the cake with rows of overlapping figure 8s. chill for 4 hours or up to 48 hours. (It is amazing frozen too!!) Cut it with a VERY SHARP knife.
---

Michelle Nevada's Matza Lasagna (Dairy)

6 pieces Matzo

Sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp hot ground chili pepper
1 tsp. Minced garlic
2 TBS. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. pepper

Filling
4 eggs
1 large carton ricotta cheese
2 TBS Italian seasoning
1 lb shredded mozzarella

Instructions
In a small bowl, stir tomato paste with 2 1/2 cans water, olive oil, chili pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt until smooth (a whisk works very well).

In a larger bowl, mix large carton ricotta cheese, 4 eggs, and Italian seasoning.

Oil a Lasagna pan. Cover the bottom of a lasagna pan with 1/3 of the sauce, place matzo over sauce. Sprinkle matzo lightly with water (just a little bit will do it). Cover with half of ricotta cheese, then about 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Put another layer of matzo, sprinkle with water, put layer of sauce, then the rest of the ricotta cheese. Now place the last layer of matzo, cover with the remaining sauce, and cover the top liberally with the rest of the cheese.

Cover tightly with a layer of oiled foil, and cook in a pre-heated 350F oven for 1 hour.
---

Michelle Nevada's Brownie Cookies for Pesach (Parve)

2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup melted and cooled chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Parchment paper

Whip together egg whites with cream of tartar until soft-peaks form. Slowly whip in sugar, one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla and cocoa. Fold in cooled melted chocolate and walnuts.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment, and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Drop cookies on parchment paper. Cook in a slow oven (325F) for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Peel parchment from cookies and set on tray. Makes about 1 dozen.
---


Michelle Nevada's Pesach Frittata (Parve)
Crust
3 matzos, crushed with rolling pin
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted

Filling
2 green onions washed well and sliced in 1/4 inch lengths
2 TBS Fresh finely chopped parsley

4 TBS Olive Oil
1 stalk celery
1 bell pepper
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 tomato
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tsp. Hot chili powder

1 tsp. Fresh ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
5 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions
Place crushed matzos in a pile in the bottom of deep-dish pie pan, mix in melted butter, and press into the bottom and up the sides of pan as best you can (if it doesn’t go up the sides, don’t worry). Place uncooked green onion and parsley on top of matzo. Refrigerate.

Cook vegetables in olive oil over medium heat until tender, stirring often.

Mix salt and pepper into eggs. Place cooked vegetables on top of matzo crust. Pour eggs over filling. Cook in 350F oven for 40-50 minutes, or until center is set when pan is shaken and top is slightly golden.
---


Fruit Sorbet (Parve)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 lemon juice (or other juice)
1 1/2 cup peeled and pureed fruit
2 egg whites

Use ice cream freezer or set refrigerator for fast freezing.

Dissolve sugar in water. Add corn syrup, juice, pureed fruit.

In Ice cream freezer: mix fruit mixture and stiffly beaten egg whites together and place in ice-cream freezer. Process until frozen.

In refrigerator freezer: Freeze fruit mixture until firm around edges. Beat egg whites until stiff. Turn partially frozen mixture into chilled bowl and whip until smooth but not melted. Quickly fold in egg whites and freeze until firm.

Makes one quart.


Nona's Pesach Bunuellos

6 Matzos
Warm Water
Gallon-Sized Zipper Bag

4 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
dash salt

Oil for deep frying

1 TBS cinnamon
2 TBS sugar

Heat the oil to 350F/175C.

Put matzos in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Add warm water into the bag until it is heavy and you think the whole thing won't close. Close it. Lay it on it's side for 15 minutes, then flip it. You want to make sure the matzos are completely saturated and very soft.

Now open the bag just a little bit and pour out as much of the water as you can. Take as much of the air out of the bag as you can, zip it, and squish the matzos up. Now open a corner of the bag again and, while squeezing the matzos, take as much water out of them as possible.

Now you should have a lumpy squishy mess in a zipper bag. Add the eggs and the teaspoon of cinnamon and zip it shut. Squish everything up very well.

Mix the tablespoon cinnamon with two tablespoons of sugar in a bowl or paper bag.

Using a teaspoon, drop the batter into the oil and cook, turning frequently, until they are golden. Remove from oil and drain. While they are warm, toss them in the cinnamon/sugar mix.

Serve warm.

WARNING: Nona bunuellos may make you forget it's Pesach!!

Widow of American Rabbi Murdered in Mumbai Harrassed by US Immigration, Told She Can't Visit Her Eight Children in US


B”H

Can you imagine how hard it is for this poor woman to make ends meet, adjust her life, and deal with the constant pain of the loss of her dear husband—without being harassed by immigration??

This is ridiculous! The immigration authorities allow Mexicans with American children to come into the country, get a green card, and live here to establish residency, why not an Israeli woman whose husband was killed by terrorists in Mumbai? For G-d’s sake! She is the widow of an American Citizen killed by terrorists!!! Obviously this was not a “green card” marriage!

Most people do NOT have eight children in a green-card marriage!!

Her trips were too frequent? Is that what they say to the people traveling across the border of Mexico two or three times a day, sometimes? Do they say that to Canadians who go back and forth to shopping, business, and other pursuits? I bet if they took at look at her passport they would see that she is here for JEWISH HOLIDAYS.

What do they think she is doing?

Yes, people, we have a lot of holidays, and we like to spend them with our families—especially our kids.

It sounds like a little meddling by the Obama administration to show their contempt of Israel, if you ask me. How dare they harass a widow like this!!

Shame on the immigration official who made this heartless decision. May that agent never know the pain that this woman knows!

Please, if you are completely exhausted from phoning your representatives about the healthcare hell we have been plunged into, take a moment to make a phone call on the behalf of this widow and her children.

If you are looking for a way to spend your Charity Money, perhaps someone will establish a legal fund for her that we can all donate to. Please let me know if you are aware of such a fund so that I can post it by leaving me a comment.

This is serious! We need to protect her!!

M

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Terror-widow 'deport' fear
Kid-visit woe after Mumbai

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/terror_widow_deport_fear_zYztixGu3OIx3UrK5pYuPL
By JOHN DOYLE

The widow of a Brooklyn-born rabbi, murdered two years ago by terrorists in Mumbai, is facing an immigration nightmare that threatens to keep her from seeing her eight children in New York.

Frumet Teitelbaum, 37, an Israeli citizen, was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection agents at Kennedy Airport after flying in from Israel on Feb. 5.

Since her husband's murder, Frumet, a religious-studies teacher, had been regularly traveling without problems from her home in Israel to the US to visit her children, ages 2 to 14, who are staying with her husband's family in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The kids, all American citizens, are being schooled in New York.

But Frumet's frequent travels finally raised a red flag with Customs officials, who cited her for overusing her visitor's visa, said her lawyer, Michael Wildes.

Frumet's valid travel visa was consequently stamped with restrictions limiting her time in the United States and making it difficult for her to extend her stay or secure residency here, Wildes said.

She must leave the country again early next month. Otherwise, she faces possible deportation, authorities said.

Immigration and Customs officials said they could not discuss specifics of Teitelbaum's case because of privacy laws.

Teitelbaum was living in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, 37, in 2008 when he traveled to Mumbai, India, for his work as a mashgiach, a supervisor and inspector of kosher foods.

The rabbi was studying in the Chabad Center, a Jewish religious retreat, when Muslim terrorists attacked the compound and slaughtered him and seven others. The attack was part of a coordinated onslaught throughout the city that lasted 60 hours and claimed the lives of 179 people.

One Customs official said agents have the authority to approve or deny entry into the country and impose restrictions on a case-by-case basis.

Wildes said he plans to bring a race-against-the-clock appeal to Immigration Court and fight for her under a post-9/11 law that gives the families of terrorist victims the right to a green card and permanent residency.

"Nobody in her situation should be worried about legal affairs or papers, and should not be treated in this fashion. I have faith that the immigration authorities will do the right thing," Wildes said.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hurva, What It Means, and Why Mrs. Clinton Can Scream and Stomp Her Feet All She Wants

B"H

This is such a beautiful article, I absolutely had to share it with you! In it, Sara Yoheved Rigler gives the history, both official and personal, of the Hurva Synagogue.

There are some serious historical inaccuracies in the article, common ones which omit Sephardim from the history of Jerusalem, but all in all, the spirit of Israel, of Jerusalem, and of the Jews is alive, well, and living comfortably in this article.

M
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Rebuilding Jerusalem
by Sara Yoheved Rigler
http://www.aish.com/jw/id/88363862.html


No matter how Mrs. Clinton may scold, the Jewish people are rebuilding Jerusalem.

In the middle of the most important Jewish neighborhood in the world’s most important Jewish city was a ruin. This ruin in the middle of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter of the walled Old City (the only Jerusalem that existed until the mid-19th century) was no ordinary ruin. It was the ruin of what had been the Hurva Synagogue, the largest and most magnificent synagogue in the Holy Land. And, unlike other ruins that dot the Old City, this ruin was not caused by the natural erosion of eras. The Hurva Synagogue was destroyed on one day, on May 27, 1948, in one malicious, devastating act. As soon as the Jewish residents were vanquished from that part of the Jewish Quarter, the Arab Legion exploded a bomb at the top of the massive dome.

Or so the official story goes. I was shocked, however, to see a photograph in a book called For the Sake of Jerusalem. It shows a uniformed Arab soldier wearing a keffiya
standing on a pile of debris in the Hurva. The dome and one wall are missing, but three walls of the monumental building remain. Obviously, the Hurva, which stood 24 meters high, was too massive to destroy easily. The Arab conquerors of the Old City had to work hard to decimate what had been the glory of the Jewish community of Palestine.

Puah Shteiner, who was a little girl living in the Jewish Quarter in 1948, described (in her gripping book, Forever My Jerusalem) the grandeur of the Hurva: its white marble floor, its high walls with their three stories of stained glass windows, its holy Ark (two stories high) on the Eastern wall overlaid with gold, its many shining chandeliers, and its massive dome, painted sky blue and strewn with stars.

The Hurva was the site for all important events for the Jewish community of Palestine. There the Chief Rabbis were inaugurated. There the representatives of the Ottoman and British governments honored the community on festive occasions. There Lord Herbert Samuel, the first Lord High Commissioner of the British Mandate for Palestine, himself a Jew and a Zionist, was called to the Torah upon his arrival in 1920.

After the Old City was liberated during the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli government set about rebuilding the Jewish Quarter. The Jordanians, who had controlled the Old City for 19 years, had destroyed or desecrated all of the dozens of synagogues in the Jewish Quarter. The beautiful Sephardi Yohannon ben Zakkai Synagogue had been used as a garbage dump. It took months just to empty out the garbage before the building could be restored. As for the Hurva, however, nothing remained except the eastern wall and the bima. The rubble was cleared out, and an arch was constructed commemorating the location and size of the original southern arch of the building. This arch, representing former glory and destruction, became the symbol of the Jewish quarter.

TWICE BUILT

The synagogue was first built in 1701 by the followers of Rabbi Yehuda HaHasid, who brought a large contingent of Ashkenazi Jews from Germany and Moravia. Rabbi Yehuda, however, died three days after arriving in Jerusalem. His struggling community could not pay the interest on the debts they owed their Arab creditors, nor the heavy taxes imposed on non-Muslim residents. After 20 years, the Arabs banished the Ashkenazi Jews and burned down the synagogue with its 40 Torah scrolls. For the next century and a half the synagogue lay in ruins, thus conferring on it the name “Hurva,” which means “ruin” in Hebrew.

In the early 19th century, followers of the Goan of Vilna arrived en masse in Jerusalem. In 1836, one of those followers obtained official permission to rebuild the Hurva. Funds were collected from Jews throughout the world, and the Ottoman Sultan’s own architect designed the Byzantine building. In 1864, the splendid synagogue was dedicated. It was officially named “Beit Yaakov,” after Baron Jacob Rothschild, but everyone called it the Hurva.

THE DEDICATION

I have lived in the Jewish Quarter for the last 25 years. I have seen friends married in the ruins of the Hurva. I have worshipped on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in services held in the ruins of the Hurva. And every time I passed the giant arch, I have felt galled and saddened at the loss of the splendor we once had that was so viciously destroyed.

But this week my sadness turned to euphoria as the rebuilt Hurva, after four years of construction, was dedicated. The three days of festivities culminated on Tuesday, March 16, the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Here in Israel, where everything is symbolic, this date was chosen because the Tabernacle built by Moses in the desert after the Exodus was dedicated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. From a religious standpoint, the timing was perfect.

From a geopolitical standpoint, however, the timing was terrible. During Vice President Biden’s visit the week before, the building of 1600 units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo had been announced. The Vice President was livid at what he perceived as an “insult” to American interests in advancing the fragile “peace process” with the Arabs. Then, with the impending dedication of the Hurva Synagogue in what the U.S. considers “contested” East Jerusalem, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Prime Minister Netanyahu for a full 43 minutes on the phone. The situation devolved into the worst crisis in U.S.-Israel relations in more than three decades. Instead of attending the Dedication ceremonies, Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a video of his greetings.

The most furious reaction to the Hurva dedication, however, came from the Arabs, who rioted in East Jerusalem and other areas of Israel. For the day of the dedication itself, the Hamas terrorists called for a “Day of Rage,” with the Imams whipping up their followers by proclaiming that the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount is under attack, that the reconstruction of the Hurva is the first step toward rebuilding the Temple.

I was privileged to attend the morning worship on the first day that regular services were resumed, after 62 years, in the Hurva. The prayer leader got to the blessing for Jerusalem, “And to Jerusalem Your city please return in mercy, and rest Your Presence amidst her as You prophesized, and build her soon in our days, an eternal building …” When he reached the conclusion of the blessing, he yelled out the words that reverberated from the massive dome: “Blessed are You God, WHO BUILDS JERUSALEM.”

Jews have uttered that prayer three times a day every day for the last 2,000 years. Jews have uttered that prayer in ancient Rome, in medieval Europe, in exile ships setting sail from Spain, in Czarist Russia’s Pale of Settlement, in Auschwitz, in modern America, and in Israeli tanks protecting the northern border. The rebuilding of the Hurva is an answer to that prayer, a fulfillment of God’s promise. And no amount of scolding by Secretary of State Clinton can mute the jubilation of that fulfillment.

THE JEWISH RESPONSE TO DESTRUCTION

A cloud of gloom has settled over Israel. Prospects for peace are nil, terrorist organizations hold sway at the borders of Lebanon and Gaza, Israel’s own Arab population has become radicalized and implacable, Iran is within a year of building a nuclear bomb that could destroy this tiny state, Israel’s “right to exist” is being challenged by public intellectuals and academics the world over, Europe treats Israel like a pariah, and now the Obama administration is deriding the democratically elected leader of Israel in a way it would never dare to treat any other head of state.
standing on a pile of debris in the Hurva. The dome and one wall are missing, but three walls of the monumental building remain. Obviously, the Hurva, which stood 24 meters high, was too massive to destroy easily. The Arab conquerors of the Old City had to work hard to decimate what had been the glory of the Jewish community of Palestine.
The spirit of the Jewish people can be temporarily routed, but never vanquished.
The rebuilding of the Hurva is the Jewish answer to the specter of destruction. Twice destroyed, the Hurva stands again in splendor. Its message is that the spirit of the Jewish people can be temporarily routed, but never vanquished. The eternity of the Jewish people was promised by God. The resiliency of the Jewish people issues from their faith in that so-unlikely-but-miraculously-fulfilled Divine promise.

At the entrance to the Hurva on the first day of the dedication, I found myself standing in line behind Puha Shteiner, whose book Forever My Jerusalem relates her personal account of the traumatic fall of the Jewish Quarter in 1948. Her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had been born in theOld City and had prayed in the Hurva Synagogue. As a child she had loved the magnificent synagogue. The day before she had been expelled from her home with the defeat of the Jewish defenders, she had heard the frightening explosion that signaled the destruction of her beloved Hurva. After the liberation of the Old City in 1967, Mrs. Shteiner was one of the first residents to move back into the Jewish Quarter. As we entered the rebuilt synagogue, I asked her if she had ever dreamed she would pray again in the Hurva. With tears in her eyes, she shook her head.

The resurrected Hurva proves that the Jewish return to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem is inexorable. Described by the Prophets over and over again, the Jewish People’s return and rebuilding is a Divine promise. It can be delayed. It can cost us thousands of lives in war and terrorism. It can be denounced and condemned by America, Europe, and the entire world. But it cannot be stopped. Because we are the Eternal People. We are back and we are building.



Sara Yoheved Rigler will be giving her new Marriage Workshop, “What Every Jewish Wife Should Know,” in America April 21-May 11. To invite her to your city, write to slewsi@aol.com.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Ma Nishtanah? How Did the First Pesah Holiday Differ From Today?


Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com [1]. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org [2].

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Closure order against school for Ashkenazi girls only


B"H

The problems aren't just in Israel, either. I can't tell you how many schools in America are just as bad.

These are not things that are understood outside the Jewish community, so they are not easily reportable to an outside authority.

How would one call the EEOC and complain their son is being humiliated by a rabbi or refused admission to a school because he doesn't speak Yiddish, eats kidniot, speaks Israeli Hebrew, sings a different tune when he reads Torah, wears his tzitzit inside his clothes, or because their mother will not to wear someone else's hair?

Seriously.

So, my kids and most of the other observant traditional Sephardi kids I know are in public school . . . while rich Sephardi Jews continue to give to these narrow-minded, discriminatory Askenazi schools.

But don't worry, the administrators of those schools will happily tell you how many Sephardi kids they have enrolled, and how much they "enjoy" the school.

Ashkenazi school administrators just LOVE Sephardi kids and their families who are willing to sell their souls and their minhag for a chance to get into the "right" school. Those families, most first generation Sephardim, are under the mistaken impression that a move like this will allow them to "integrate" into Ashkenazi society and get a great shidduch for their child.

Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but when it comes to shidduchim, in Israel or America, the best Sephardi girls rate just below an obese Ashkenazi girl with bad teeth, and any Ashkenazi girls who might think of marrying our best Sephardi men are scared away with the all-too-common "Sephardic men beat their wives!" mantra delivered with unending repetition by their friends and family.

These are all very severe violations of halacha, but they don't care. When it comes to Halacha, they pick and choose almost as often as the Reform do. They just choose to follow the halacha that make them LOOK more religious to the outside world.

It's sick. Really, really sick.

M
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Closure order against school for Ashkenazi girls only
74 Ashkenazi girls studying on separate 'temporary' premises in Emmanuel after parents refused to allow them to study with Sephardi girls

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3862520,00.html


Ministry of Education Director-General Shimshon Shoshani issued a closure order Sunday against a temporary institution used as a school for Ashkenazi girls who have refused to study together with Sephardi girls.

The Beit Yaacov school in the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel had separated Sephardi girls from 74 Ashkenazi girls, and the High Court ruled that the Sephardi girls should be incorporated in an equal fashion and without discrimination. However, parents of the Ashkenazi girls opposed the court's decision.

The parents announced they would refuse to allow their daughters to continue to study at the school. The Education Ministry then instructed the local authority to submit claims against the parents with the police, indicating that they had broken the mandatory education law.

However, the local authority chose to defend the parents and left the Ministry to submit the claim itself. It was also discovered that the 74 Ashkenazi girls were studying in a temporary "school". The police are responsible for enforcing the closure order.

The decision to act against the temporary "school" was welcomed by Yoav Laloum, chairman of Noar C'Halacha, an organization fighting discrimination against Mizrahim in haredi institutions. "I am happy that the Education Ministry is acting against those who do not respect the law," he said.

Stigma
Last week the state comptroller announced that a special committee would be established to investigate the issue of discrimination in state-recognized independent educational institutions, with particular emphasis on Ashkenazi institutions which refuse to take on Sephardi students. The move comes following a recent increase in the number of discrimination claims.

"It's hard to grasp that independent education is a separate autonomous body," said Rabbi Avraham Laiserson, chairman of the independent school system and representative of the institutions being accused of discrimination. "There is no basis for the things being claimed. I want to deny this false stigma that has stuck to independent education."

"I won't say there are no problems, but this system was established decades ago for the sole purpose of taking in olim from North Africa, Tunis and Iraq, and offering them an education," he continued. "I blame the press for the headlines. We even organized plastic rooms just for Sephardi girls in one school. I want you to see with your own eyes, and you'll understand that your facts are mistaken. See how happy the Mizrahi students are with us."

"There are problems here and there, but parent committees sort out such problems," he added. "There is discrimination in many places, but we're the last ones you can blame. Out of all the cases and claims, there isn't a single example of a court ruling that there is discrimination. After you've investigated, come and apologize, then celebrate."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Knesset Futiley Attempts "Accessibility Revolution" to Spur Voter Interest When What They Really Need Is Direct Representative Elections


B"H

They can call this an "accessibility revolution" all they want, but the truth is that Israel needs a REAL accessibility revolution that includes representational voting. The idea of voting for a party, and then having the party decide who sits in the Knesset is what is distancing the voters--not their inability to communicate.

Under the current system, the MKs are not held accountable for their actions because they don't represent any particular part of the country, and they aren't directly elected. In addition, even when the people show clear support for a particular person and vote overwhelmingly for a certain party to get that person in the Knesset, the party can play games--remember what happened to Feiglin? He was supposed to be in the Knesset, brought Likud a huge number of votes, and then was cheated out of his seat by BiBi's slick trick of providing seats for "women" and "minorities" so that they could move Feiglin and the rest of the wildly popular
Manhigut Yehudit out of the Knesset seats they had so clearly won.

In addition, the party system allows a huge amount of corruption to go on unabated. Buying a politician is a lot easier when that politician is not beholding to an electorate.

The system needs to change, and change quickly.

M
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Knesset prepares to go virtual
Skype, Facebook and Twitter part of planned "accessibility revolution."
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
11/03/2010
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=170798

Soon, voters will be able to Skype into Knesset committees, write talkbacks
on their favorite MKs' Facebook pages, and receive Tweets from the middle of
the most heated hearings.

As part of what Speaker Reuven Rivlin described earlier this week as the
"accessibility revolution," Knesset director-general Dan Landau revealed on
Thursday that the parliament is going virtual, and by the end of the year
will have initiated these and of other steps designed to bring members of
the public closer to their representatives.

"Every citizen will be able to participate in what is going on here, and to
judge us for themselves; a strong and relevant Knesset is insurance for a
stable democracy," Rivlin said during a hearing on Wednesday.

"The diminished image of the Knesset is eating away at the democracy and
critically harming it. In the past year, we have been focusing on procedures
and activities that are designed to directly reach the public, and to
provide a meeting place where the Knesset and the public could come
together, to reflect the activities and processes that happen in the halls,
the committees and the lecture rooms, through various means," he said.

Rivlin said the Knesset was going to launch a major upgrade of its Web site,
to make it more responsive, interactive and attractive to users. An outside
contractor will work on the site, and Knesset officials have spent hours
pouring over other legislatures' Web sites, taking particular interest in
Germany's federal and state legislatures' and the British Parliament.

One issue that arose in both Israel and Great Britain was the question of
talkbacks. Almost every self-respecting Web site, it seems, from shopping
sites to blogs and newspapers, has interactive features through which
Internet users can write their feelings for all the world to see. Landau
said that Knesset officials were uncertain about the feature, especially
regarding who would bear the responsibility for censoring the posts and
deciding what was appropriate.

The most likely solution, he said, would be the one adopted in Britain, in
which lawmakers' official Web sites would link to Facebook pages, enabling
each MK to manage the information and comments posted on the page. When
being transferred to the social media tool, users will likely see a
disclaimer warning that they were now leaving the official Knesset Web site.

Facebook is not the only social networking tool likely to be adopted by the
virtual Knesset. With new appointments soon to be made to greatly expand the
Knesset Spokesman's Office, newly hired spokespeople will be expected to
send tweets via Twitter to update those interested in breaking legislative
tidbits. Landau said it is possible that the public will be able to watch
committee sessions live online, and file "real-time" questions to the
committee chairpeople.

For those interested in the real-world parliament, the Knesset has extended
- and plans to further improve - the options for physical visitors.
Different tour routes within the building now include routes for young
children, art-lovers and archeology aficionados, as well as the standard
tour.

Landau also said that the "standard" tour will soon be improved and that he
hopes every visit will include a stop at one of the committee meetings or
the plenum, or a meeting with a current or former lawmaker.

The former MKs are among the most enthusiastic supporters of that plan,
Landau said.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rabbi Angel on Shabbat haHodesh


B"H

If Rabbi Angel was a rock band, I would sell T-Shirts!!

M

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The Virtue of Inclusivity: Thoughts on Shabbat haHodesh, March 13, 2010

Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh was one of the outstanding students of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zaccai, in the generation after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E. He was described as an overflowing fountain, filled with Torah knowledge and intellectual creativity. He was so brilliant that the Pirkei Avot suggests that if all the scholars were on one side of the scale and Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh was on the other side of the scale, he alone would outweigh all of them in greatness.

With so much talent, it must have been expected that he would become the leading rabbinic figure of his generation. Surprisingly, though, he seems to have faded out; his legal opinions are rarely cited in the Talmud. What happened to this promising sage? How did this genius sink into obscurity?

The Talmud (Shabbat 147b) relates that Rabbi Elazar moved away from his fellow scholars, and went to live in a place where people were overly concerned with their physical comforts and pleasures. He became a hedonist. While pampering himself, he let his Torah study lapse. Indeed, his spiritual condition declined so sharply that when he visited his colleagues at some later point, his profound ignorance of Torah shocked them. Rabbi Elazar was called to read from the Torah the passage we read on Shabbat haHodesh--and he couldn't even pronounce correctly the first three words.

How did the sages respond to their hedonistic colleague who no longer maintained his commitment to Torah study? Did they send him away? Did they scorn him? Did they malign him? No.

The Talmud tells us: when the sages realized how far Rabbi Elazar had sunk, they prayed for him! They asked God to have mercy on him. They must surely have been disappointed in Rabbi Elazar--but they loved him, they knew his true greatness, they wanted him back with them. The Talmud says that because of the prayers of the sages, Rabbi Elazar's Torah knowledge was returned to him and he once again assumed his role as a Torah scholar. His name was changed to Rabbi Nehorai, implying that he enlightened the eyes of the sages in Torah and halakha. Rabbi Elazar learned that one cannot be a Torah scholar if one isolates himself from fellow scholars; one cannot be a religiously vibrant person if one gives in to hedonism and materialism.

Rabbi Elazar's return to the fold was precipitated by the words he mis-read--the words we read on Shabbat haHodesh. These words announce that the month of Nisan represents a new time for the people of Israel. This is the month of redemption from Egypt; this is the month of beginning to live as a free, independent people. These words of Shabbat haHodesh challenge us to recognize that we are entering a new era, and that we need to rise to the awesome responsibilities. When Rabbi Elazar haltingly read these words, he must have been struck by how far he had fallen from the goals of Shabbat haHodesh; he must have profoundly sensed how he had failed miserably to live up to his own and his colleagues' expectations. He had sold himself out, for a few physical pleasures.

He may have thought his life was ruined, beyond salvation. But then he heard his colleagues pray for him--and his spirit was restored. He knew that they had not given up on him, and he was now determined not to give up on them. Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh, who had fallen into a life of physical comfort and pampering, now became Rabbi Nehorai--the light of his generation in Torah.

As we observe Shabbat haHodesh, we call to mind that amazing time just before the exodus from Egypt. We feel anticipation and excitement at the advent of Passover--just a few weeks away. This is a time of renewal, a time of re-assessment of where we've been, where we are, and where we are going. While this is a time for personal reflection and re-commitment to Torah and halakha, it is also a time to pray for and reach out to those who have drifted away and have become spiritually complacent. By showing concern and genuine love for others--even those who have lapsed from their ideal potential--we help them re-focus on their lives; we also help ourselves become better and more thoughtful people.

A dominant theme of this season is "inclusivity". Let all who are hungry--physically or spiritually--come and find sustenance. Let all who are distant come closer. Let us strive to welcome those who seek us, and let us not be afraid to take the first step in reaching out to them.

***Please share the Angel for Shabbat column with family and friends. Thank you for supporting the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, www.jewishideas.org

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In Poll, Israeli Youth Show Strong Nationalist Sentiment


B”H

The attitudes of the youth of Israel is definitely a reaction to the milk-toast leadership which has come out of Israel. The youth (and the rest of the population as well) are tired of how our leaders claim to stand for the rights of Jews in the land of Israel, and then those same leaders sell us out.

Those of us on the political right warned Sharon and his lackeys that destroying Gaza would just create another terror state threatening Israel, but they didn’t listen. Why? They were being bullied by the US Administration to do what the US and the EU wanted, not what was right for Israel.

Until our leaders can start putting Israel first in Israel’s politics, the population will lean further and further to the right as the politicians, unwilling to see that they are the cause, attempt to balance the country by leaning left—a very bad strategy. Soon, they will simply topple over and cease to be recognized as leaders.

There is a simple solution to the problem of the arabs who call themselves “Palestinians.” We must require any person who wants to be a citizen of Israel to sign a letter of loyalty to the state. In this letter, it will state that, as a citizen, they will agree to uphold the Sovereign State of Israel against all enemies, they agree to follow the laws and statutes of Israel, and they agree to fulfill their civic duties as Israeli citizens. Then the letter would be dated, signed, and affixed with a photo of them signing the agreement.

Then, when any of the arabs decide to deny they supported Israel, or when any of them attempt to state that they are not subject to the laws of Israel, we just need to produce the document showing their consent and their photo signing that consent document.

If this were the law, most arabs would never sign the document because they refuse to recognize Israel and its laws. They would also refuse to sign because it would make them a pariah in the arab world.

We would be requiring them to accept responsibility as an Israeli citizen. They would be, essentially, casting their lot with the Jewish nation. This has always been a dangerous thing to do, and most will not risk it.

In order to be a US citizen, you must take an oath and sign a document which states:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.


    • allegiance to the United States Constitution ,
    • renunciation of allegiance to any foreign country to which the immigrant has had previous allegiances to
    • defense of the Constitution against enemies "foreign and domestic"
    • promise to serve in the United States Armed Forces when required by law (either combat or non-combat)
    • promise to perform civilian duties of "national importance" when required by law


      The Canadian Oath is as follows:

      • I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II , Queen of Canada , Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.


        In most European countries, one does not get citizenship unless they are the child of a citizen or the grandchild of a citizen. After WWII, many of those laws were modified, but they still do not confer citizenship upon immigrant children until the second or third generation. See http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3424300117.html
        So, what does this have to do with a poll about Israeli youth? Well, if Israel had clear citizenship laws, which included an oath of fidelity to the country, I don’t think they would be put in the position of having to say they didn’t believe arabs should have a right to serve in the Knesset or have the same rights as Jews. Their attitude comes from the fear that those arabs serving in the Knesset and those arabs wanting to live next door are enemies, not loyal citizens. And, with very few exceptions, the youth are correct: they aren’t loyal citizens. They are enemies.

        This is not a "racial problem," it is a loyalty problem. If those who claim rights and benefits from Israel must also accept responsibility as a full citizen of Israel on the world stage, then trust can be established and we can see those who cast their lot with us as fellow Israelis, not the enemies of Israel.

        Right now, that is not the case.

        -----
        Poll Shows Youth Leans Rightward
        by Gil Ronen
        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136471

        (IsraelNN.com) Fifty-six percent of Jewish youths believe that Arabs should not be elected to the Knesset, a poll has found.

        The poll was conducted by Maagar Mochot among youths aged 15 to 18 and presented at a conference in Tel Aviv University.

        Eighty-two percent of the religious youths polled said Arabs should not enjoy rights that are identical to Jews', while among the secular youths, less than half that proportion – 39% – subscribed to this view. All together, 49.5% of the Jewish youths said that Arab citizens of Israel should not receive identical rights as Jews.

        The poll showed the youths going to opposite extremes on matters related to Judea and Samaria. While 48% said they would refuse orders to evict Jews from communities in Judea and Samaria – a position usually associated with nationalist views, 31% declared they would refuse to serve in Judea and Samaria at all – a position that usually corresponds to a leftist slant.

        Eighty one percent of religious youths said they would refuse orders to evict Jews, compared to 36% of the secular youths.

        Seventy-eight percent of the Jewish youths said that the slogan “death to the Arabs” was racist and not legitimate, but 50% of religious youths said it was legitimate.

        Arab members of Knesset from non-Zionist parties routinely vilify and demean the State of Israel and its government, travel abroad to enemy states without permission, incite Arabs to violence and participate in such violence themselves.