Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Laws of the Succah, According to Dr. Seuss


This is a favorite of mine, and since I am not in the mood to surf the web for interesting stories as I prepare for a brit, a major holiday, and am continuing to entertain my older boys all day and my little one all night--I am going to go ahead and call this my post.

I will get back to the news next week. (Maybe my eyes will focus better then! LOL)

Thanks for your patience!

Rabbi Arthur E. Gould, Sukkot 1999 - 2001
Rules of the Succah (with numbered footnotes)
(For more about the Laws of the Succah see

You can build it very small (1)
You can build it very tall (2)
You can build it very large (3)
You can build it on a barge

You can build it on a ship (4)
Or on a roof but please don't slip (5)
You can build it in an alley (6)
You shouldn't build it in a valley (7)

You can build it on a wagon (8)
You can build it on a dragon (9)
You can make the s'chach of wood (10)
Would you, could you, yes you should

Make the s'chach from leaves of tree
You shouldn't bend it at the knee (11)
Build your Succah tall or short
No Succah is built in the Temple Court

You can build it somewhat soon
You cannot build it in the month of June (12)
If your Succah is well made
You'll have the right amount of shade (13)

You can build it very wide
You can not build it on its side
Build if your name is Jim
Or Bob or Sam or even Tim

Build it if your name is Sue (14)
Do you build it, yes you do!
From the Succah you can roam
But you should treat it as your home (15)

You can invite some special guests
Don't stay in it if there are pests
You can sleep upon some rugs
Don't you build it where there's bugs

In the Succah you should sit
And eat and drink but never ...
If in the Succah it should rain
To stay there would be such a pain (16)

And if it should be very cold
Stay there only if you're bold
So build a Succah one and all
Make it large or make it small

Succah rules are short and snappy
Enjoy Succot, rejoice be happy.

1. Maimonides (RMBM) Mishne Torah, Hilchot Succah, Chapter 4, Section 1. The minimum height of a Succah is 10 tefachim. A tefach is a measure of the width of the four fingers of one's hand. My hand is 3 1/4 inches wide for a minimum Succah height of 32 1/2 inches. The minimum allowable width is 7 tefachim by 7 tefachim. This would result in a Succah of 22 3/4 inches by 22 3/4 inches.

2. The maximum height is 20 Amot. An Amah is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. My Amah is 15 1/2 inches for a maximum height of 25 feet. Others say that 30 feet is the maximum.

3. According to RMBM the Succah can be built to a width of several miles. Shulchan Aruch also says there is no limit on the size of the width.

4. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6.

5. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 11. RMBM states that one may construct a Succah by wedging poles in the four corners of the roof and suspending s'chach from the poles. The walls of the building underneath are considered to reach upward to the edge of the s'chach.

6. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 8-10 discusses the ins and outs of building your Succah in an alley or passageway.

7. There is a location referred to in the Talmud called Ashtarot Karnayim. According to the discussion there are two hills, with a valley in between where the Sun does not reach. Therefore it is impossible to sit in the shade of the roof of the Succah. I can't find the reference...hopefully next year.

8. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6. You can go into a Succah built on a wagon or a ship even on Yom Tov.

9. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6. OK, RMBM says a camel but dragon rhymes with wagon a lot better, don't you agree. Anyway, RMBM says you can build your Succah on a wagon or in the crown of a tree, but you can't go into it on Yom Tov. There is a general rule against riding a beast or ascending into the crown of a tree on Yom Tov.

10. Chapter 5 deals with the rules for the s'chach. Basically, you can use that which has grown from the ground, and is completely detached from the ground. So, for example, you cannot bend the branches of a tree over the Succah to form the s'chach. But you can cut the branches from a tree and use them as s'chach.

11. This would be a violation of the rule cited in the prior footnote.

12. Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Succah, Perek 636, Section 1. The Succah should not be built sooner than 30 days before the Chag. However, if the structure is built prior to 30 days, as long as something new is added within the 30 days, the Succah is kosher.

13. Of course it's a well known rule that you must sit in the shade from the roof of the Succah and not in the shade that may be cast by the walls. It seems that this might affect the height of the walls, depending on the longitude of the location where you are building your Succah.

14. Technically, women, servants and minors are exempt from the Mitzvah of Succah. In our day we hope we know better than to read out half the Jewish people from the observance of Mitzvot. Of course, that's just a personal opinion of the author.

15. RMBM ibid Chapter 6, Section 6 explains that you should eat, drink and live in the Succah for the 7 days as you live in your own home. One should not even take a nap outside of the Succah.

16. RMBM ibid, Section 10. If it rains one should go into the house. How does one know if it is raining hard enough? If sufficient raindrops fall through the s'chach (roof covering) and into the food so that the food is spoiled - go inside!
The Laws of the Succah
Pninei Halacha
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

Written by the rabbi
Dedicated to the speedy recovery of
Asher Ishaayahu Ben Rivka
1 - Guidelines to Kosher "S'chach"
2 - More Sun than Shade
3 - Some Laws concerning S'chach
4 - The Structure of a Kosher Succah
5 - A Succah under a House or a Tree
6 - Sitting under the Shade of the Succah

1 - Guidelines to Kosher "S'chach"
In order for the S'chach (roofing) of a Succah to be Halachically acceptable it must fulfill three basic conditions. The first condition is that the material from which the S'chach is made be earth-grown, from the plant-kingdom, like branches or bushes. Metal, lead, and plastic, although they originate from the earth, are unacceptable for S'chach because they are nonliving.

The second condition is that this earth-grown substance be detached from its source; so long as the branches are still attached to the ground, they are not acceptable for S'chach. Therefore, it is forbidden to build a Succah under a tree, using the tree's branches as S'chach.
The third condition is that the S'chach not be made from anything that can receive impurity; generally speaking, containers, clothing, chairs, and beds are the objects capable of receiving impurity. As a rule, any natural product that in its unaffected form cannot receive impurity, becomes capable of receiving impurity after it has been manipulated and made acceptable for the use of man; with its elevation to the status of a significant utensil it becomes suited for receiving impurity. From this point onward, should it come into contact with a corpse or any other object that causes impurity, the utensil becomes impure. From the moment that the wood becomes capable of receiving impurity, it becomes unacceptable for S'chach.

Therefore, it is permissible to roof a Succah with branches, bushes, or even simple boards like those used for construction, because they are not capable of receiving impurity. However, if the wood was at one time used as part of a chair, bed, or container, it is forbidden to roof a Succah with it. The Sages even forbade using the pieces of a broken container or bed for S'chach, despite the fact that they are no longer capable of receiving impurity, lest someone make the mistake of using them for S'chach while they are still whole. (Shulchan Arukh, Orekh Chaim 629:1,2).
The Sages also forbade building a Succah from foul-smelling materials, or roofing with S'chach from which leaves or worms fall, lest because of the foul smell or the falling leaves one leave the Succah and go into his house. Yet, if one already roofed with these sorts of branches one is not obligated to replace them. Still, if the stench in the Succah is so strong that people are unable to bear it, the Succah becomes invalidated in the eyes of the Torah, for it is not fitting for human habitation. (Ibid. 629,14; Mishna Berurah 38).

2 - More Sun than Shade
The S'chach must act as a shield against the sun. Therefore, so long as it keeps out most of the sunlight it is Kosher, for we follow the majority. Yet, if even half of the sun's rays manage to penetrate the S'chach, the Succah is rendered invalid. This is gauged by looking at the S'chach itself as opposed to the floor of the Succah. This is because the sun's rays widen as they pass through the holes in the S'chach and descend to the earth, and it sometimes appears that there is more sunlight in the Succah than there is shade. All the same, if an examination of the S'chach itself shows that the shade is greater than the sunlight, the Succah is Kosher.

If under a small portion of the S'chach there is more sunlight than shade, the entire Succah as a whole remains Kosher. In such a situation, even those who sit under the weak S'chach where there is more sunlight than shade, fulfil the Mitzvah of dwelling in a Succah. One must make sure, though, that nowhere in the S'chach is there an area that occupies seven square handbreadths (56 cm x 56 cm) .in which the sunlight is greater than the shade. If this is the case then this area of the Succah is invalid.
Occasionally the S'chach is not arranged evenly, such that for part of the day there is more shade than sunlight, while during the rest of the day the amount of sunlight in the Succah exceeds that of the shade. In such a situation, Jewish law says that the Succah is judged according to the situation at noontime, when the sun is in the middle of the sky. If at that time the amount of shade in the Succah is greater than the amount of sun, it is Kosher; if not, it is not Kosher (Rema, 631:5).

3 - Some Laws concerning S'chach
If in the Kosher S'chach there is an opening that possesses a width is three handbreadths (24 cm.), it is seen as causing a break in the S'chach and may quite possibly invalidate the Succah. This is because such an opening causes the Succah to be seen as not having three walls. If the opening's width is less than three handbreadths, yet contains enough room for the head or most of a person's body it does not disqualify the Succah, yet the one who sits under it has not fulfilled the obligation to dwell in the Succah. If the space is even smaller than this, it is as if nonexistent; therefore, one who sits under it fulfills the Mitzvah of dwelling in the Succah (Shulchan Arukh 632:2).

It is best to roof a Succah such that there be abundant shade inside. All the same, there should not be too much S'chach; there should not be so much S'chach that it becomes impossible to see the larger stars through it at nighttime. Yet even if one placed so much S'chach on the Succah that one cannot see the rays of the sun, the Succah remains Kosher (Ibid. 631:3). If, though, the amount of S'chach is so great that even the rain cannot penetrate it, Rabbenu Tam (Rabbi Yaakov ben Meir Tam) holds that such a Succah is not acceptable. This is because the Succah is meant to be a temporary dwelling, and if the rain cannot penetrate its roof, it is more like an actual house. One must abide by this ruling where possible (Mishna Berurah 631:6).

4 - The Structure of a Kosher Succah
A Succah that is taller than twenty cubits (about 9.6 meters) is not acceptable. This is because the Succah is meant to serve as a temporary dwelling, and a S'chach roof at such a height cannot be considered the roof of a temporary dwelling. If a Succah is shorter than ten handbreadths (80 cm.), it is not Kosher. This is because it is not possible to sit in it, and a Succah must be suitable for sitting. Its width must be at least seven handbreadths (56 cm.), for if it is any less than this even one person cannot sit inside of it with his meal.
The height of the Succah's walls must be at least ten handbreadths (80 cm.). They must be built on the ground, and if there is a space of three handbreadths between the ground and the base of the wall, the wall is unacceptable, for it is so wide open that even goats can make their way under it. It is permissible, though, that there be space between the tops of the walls and the S'chach; if the walls themselves reach a height of ten handbreadths it is possible for the S'chach to be placed up to twenty cubits high, i.e., the maximum permissible height of a Succah. And even if a large space is left between the top of the wall and the S'chach it remains acceptable, for we view the wall as if it continues to rise up to the height of the S'chach (Shulchan Arukh 630:9).

The Succah must have two complete walls and a third whose length is at least one handbreadth. This law, though, gets somewhat more complex. From the words of the Torah, we learn that a Succah must have three walls, yet the Oral Tradition teaches that for the third wall one handbreadth is enough. This handbreadth has to be what the sages refer to as "a wide handbreadth," i.e., slightly more than a handbreadth. This third wall must stand at a distance of no more than three handbreadths from the Succah's second full wall. Any space that is less than three handbreadths is termed "Lavud," or attached. In this manner, the third wall becomes a wall of four complete handbreadths - the minimum necessary requirement for an acceptable Succah wall. The Sages also said that the remaining space of the wall must be made fit through what is known as "Tzurat HaPetach," or the form of an opening (Ibid. 639:2). The laws of such concepts as "Lavud," and "Tzurat HaPetuch" are many and detailed, so much so that Rabbi Moshe Isserles (Rema) writes that the accepted custom is to build three complete walls, for not everyone is versed in the laws of Succah walls (Ibid. 630:5). Ideally, one should build a quality Succah possessing four complete walls. The Succah should also have an doorway that can be closed in order that it be comfortable for living purposes, protecting the one who dwells in it from the wind, the sun, and animals.

5 - A Succah under a House or a Tree
The Succah must be situated under the open sky, so that the S'chach, and not something else, be that which covers the one dwelling in the Succah. Therefore, a Succah made indoors, under a roof, is invalid. Similarly, it is forbidden to make a Succah under the branches of a tree.

It is permissible, though, to make a Succah next to the walls of a high building. Even if the walls of the building are very high and prevent the sunlight from reaching the Succah, it is Kosher. This is because only a roof or branches which are directly above the S'chach can render a Succah invalid; anything that is outside of the straight line running from the S'chach to the sky cannot invalidate the Succah.
If the branches that are above the S'chach are very sparse and the Succah's S'chach is so dense that even if the S'chach under the branches was removed, the remaining S'chach would be so thick that it provide more shade than sunlight, the Succah remains Kosher (Ibid. Orech Chaim 621:1).
It is also permissible to build one's Succah under clotheslines, for because their shade is very little, and their purpose is not to provide shade, they do not invalidate the S'chach below.

6 - Sitting under the Shade of the Succah
Fulfilling the Mitzvah of the Succah means sitting in the shade of a Kosher Succah. Therefore, if one spreads sheets under the S'chach for additional shade he has in fact invalidated the Succah. It is permissible, though, for a person to sit in a Succah wearing a big hat on his head, because the hat is an appendage to his body and is not seen as causing a separation between he and the S'chach.
Similarly, it is permissible to hang different types of fruits and paper ornaments from the S'chach, for the ornaments are an appendage to the S'chach and are not viewed as a separation between the S'chach and those dwelling in the Succah. One must make sure, though, that the ornaments hang within a four handbreadths (32 cm.) of the S'chach. Furthermore, even if the ornaments cover the entire S'chach, so long as they hang within four handbreadths of the S'chach, they are considered an appendage to the S'chach and do not render the Succah invalid. If one accidentally hung an ornament that dangles down below the four-handbreadth mark, so long as the width of the ornament is less than four handbreadths, it does not invalidate the Succah. One must be careful, though, not to sit under it. If the width of the ornament is less than three handbreadths (24 cm.), though it is permissible to sit under it, it is preferable not to. Rather, one should take care to raise all such ornaments to within four handbreadths of the S'chach.

One who sleeps in a bed to which a canopy has been permanently attached does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Succah. If the canopy, though, is of a temporary nature, its status depends upon its height: If the canopy is lower than ten handbreadths, it lacks significance and is considered an appendage to the Succah. One who sleeps in such a bed therefore fulfills the Mitzvah of Succah. If, though, its height is greater than ten handbreadths, the canopy possesses significance and one who sleeps under it does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Succah.
The space under a bed or a table inside the Succah, because it is created unintentionally, is considered temporary. Its status therefore depends on its height. If the space underneath the table or bed is of a height less than ten handbreadths (80 cm.) one that sleeps under it fulfills the Mitzvah of Succah. If, though, the space is greater than ten handbreadths in height, one who sleeps there does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Succah.
The same rule holds true when it comes to a bunk bed. If the space between the two beds is more than ten handbreadths, the one who sleeps in the bottom bed does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Succah. If the space, though, is less than ten handbreadths, one who sleeps in the bottom bed fulfills the Mitzvah (see Piskei Teshuva, 627:3).

If a protective covering is placed on the Succah it is clearly rendered invalid, for the covering acts as a partition between the S'chach and the sky. Yet, after the covering has been removed, the Succah again becomes acceptable. One must be careful, though, that when building the Succah this covering be rolled up to the side in such a manner that it not constitute a partition between the S'chach and the sky. This is because there are Torah authorities who hold that if at the time of the construction of the Succah the S'chach is overlaid with a covering, even after removing the covering the Succah remains invalid. The reason for this is that the act of making a Succah acceptable must be through placing the S'chach upon it and not through removing a covering from it (Bach, Mishna Berurah 626:18; but Rema is lenient, 626:3).

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Start preparing for the Yom Kippur fast now

Sep 19, 2007 21:40 | Updated Sep 19, 2007 22:26

Those who plan to fast on Yom Kippur from Friday evening to Saturday night should prepare now by "filling up their tank" with water to reduce the problem of dehydration. Heavy consumers of coffee should gradually reduce their intake so the lack of caffeine during the 25-hour fast does not cause them headaches.

Dr. Joe Jamal, CEO of the Terem urgent medical care centers, recommends that on the two days prior to the fast, one should drink at least 10 to 12 cups of water per day. Trying to drink all of this water just before the fast doesn't work as well because it is difficult hard to drink a couple of liters of water just hours before the fast, especially if you just ate, and your body is better able to distributes the water if it is introduced slowly.

A number of small meals over the course of the day before the fast is better than one large meal, he suggests. These meals should be well balanced, including some protein (like eggs and tuna), sources of sugar (like breads and pasta) and some vegetables. Don't snack on junk food, Jamal says. The last meal of the day should include "slow-release" complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, pasta, potatoes, couscous,corn, rice and pulses. Salty and spicy foods should be avoided and these can make you very thirsty soon into the fast.

While fasting, try to avoid too much physical activity, especially in hot weather. Try to stay in a cool, preferably air conditioned environment and try to do as little activity as possible.

One of the most common causes of headaches during a fast is lack of caffeine in people who normally drink large amounts of coffee, cola and tea. Slowly reducing intake over a few days before the fast eliminates this problem.

While this advice is pertinent to healthy people, those who take medication, have had recent surgery, are pregnant or have any chronic medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer must consult their doctors to ensure that fasting will not harm their health. No one, says Jamal, should stop taking medications without first asking their doctor.

Most nursing women can fast without problem and should continue to nurse as usual. If they stop feeding or pumping milk, they could suffer inflammation and pain.

If during the fast your blood pressure or blood sugar falls significantly and you feel very weak and dizzy, you may need to drink and/or eat a small amount and then rest until you feel better. If you continue to feel very weak or generally ill, seek immediate medical attention.

The best way to end the fast is to drink a couple of glasses of water or sugared drink. The first meal of solid food should be a light one. If you are still hungry, wait an hour or two after the light meal. Eating too quickly or too much after a fast can cause abdominal pain and sometimes even vomiting.

Magen David Adom reminds the public that on Yom Kippur, an average of 200 children riding bicycles, roller blades, skates and skateboards in near-empty streets are injured. This is five times the usual accident rate for 24 hours. Children should be supervised and wear helmets, as well as knee and elbow protectors. If they go out at night, they must wear light clothing and have reflective tapes on their bikes.

Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, said that with the new law requiring all on wheels (bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, skates and the like) to wear a protective helmet coming into effect at the end of September, all children, teenagers and adults should observe it. A survey has shown that 92 percent of the public support the law. Today, half of all children on bicycles already wear a helmet; only a year ago, 75% of children rode without one. In addition, 87% of adults think the law would help them persuade their children to wear a helmet at all times while on wheels, as those who don't wear one will be in the minority.

The helmet, which lasts for three to five years from purchase, should be fitted for each wearer. Let children pick theirs out, as if they like the color and style, they are more likely to want to wear it.

Researchers to 'Post': Fetuses being unnecessarily aborted


The wholesale genetic testing of babies has gotten way out of hand.

During my last pregnancy, I went in for one routine sonogram. During that sonogram, the technician, without my consent, did a nucal fold test to determine whether my unborn child had Down’s syndrome.

I would never have approved of such a test, as I don’t believe in testing for things that cannot be changed. Anyway, the technician informed me that the baby had a “nucal fold” and suggested that I needed to go for further testing, as my baby probably had Down’s syndrome.

I was devastated. What had been a beautiful time in my life—waiting for my unborn child to join my family—had become a horror story.

I refused any additional testing, believing, as I do, that if a miracle will happen, it will happen quietly. I cried. I prayed. I said Tehillim constantly.

B”H, our son was born healthy and normal. In fact, two years later, he is showing himself to be an unusually bright child.

This could have ended much more tragically had we been of the disposition to abort a child.


Sep 19, 2007 21:44 | Updated Sep 19, 2007 22:20

Some Israeli couples who carry Gaucher disease but whose fetuses would either not have symptoms or would have mild, treatable forms are aborting them because non-definitive genetic testing is available. This was reported by a team of medical geneticists at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and will be published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The same situation could occur for other treatable or not serious conditions such as genetic deafness, albinism or familial Mediterranean fever.

Although genetic screening for Gaucher, which is only rarely a serious disease with severe neurological symptoms, is available at all Israeli genetic centers and subsidized by supplementary health insurance, the Israel Medical Genetics Association decided that Gaucher screening for couples is "not recommended." But it is still widely available.

Genetic counselor Shachar Zuckerman, Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Dr. Michal Sagi and others raised questions in their article about the appropriateness of certain types of genetic screenings. After contacting 10 genetic centers around the country, they identified 83 Ashkenazi couples over a period of eight years who were carriers and whose offspring would be at risk for Gaucher, 70 of them for asymptomatic or lightly symptomatic "type 1" Gaucher, 12 for moderate but treatable Gaucher and one for serious Gaucher.

Prenatal diagnosis was performed via amniocentesis or chorionic villae sampling in 76 percent of the pregnancies, and 25% of the fetuses with Gaucher were aborted. The researchers found that 15% of the asymptomatic- or mild-disease fetuses were aborted. But of 13 couples with affected fetuses who consulted with Shaare Zedek's Gaucher disease expert Prof. Ari Zimran for "directive" counseling (in which he gave recommendations of what to do), only one went for an abortion.

Their study was the first to follow up Gaucher disease carrier screening.

"We didn't know what we would find," Levy-Lahad told The Jerusalem Post on the eve of publication. "One of the big issues is that Israel's Supreme Court has ruled that physicians must tell patients about anything available in the world on their health issues. Thus if a baby were born with moderate Gaucher and a test was available and we didn't tell the couple, we could be liable for a lawsuit. But there are thousands of genetic tests, and physicians face the problem of whether they have to inform patients about all of them."

Carrier testing for fatal diseases such as Tay-Sachs were initiated here in the 1970s, and now few babies are born with it. Testing for Gaucher - which is carried by 6% of Ashkenazi Jews and is very rare in everyone else - has been available in Israel since 1995. The mutation causes the lack of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase, which causes accumulation of a substance in the organs and can lead to anemia, fatigue, bleeding, bone diseases, swollen liver and spleen, and infections. Only in the very rare, severe type does it affect the nervous system.

The development of the synthetic enzyme for replacement therapy meant that most patients with symptoms can live normal lives, although treatment costs $75,000 to $100,000 a year.

But the screening test does not fully predict how mild or severe the disease will be, and it can cause couples whose older, healthy children were born before screening to be anxious about their future.

"We believe that geneticists started doing Gaucher screening without thinking what would be the result," Levy-Lahad said. "As a result, fetuses that would have no symptoms or only mild ones are unnecessarily being aborted."

In countries without national health insurance, such as the US, it is another story. But in Israel, diagnostics and treatment are in the basket of health services, Levy-Lahad said, adding: "People want a perfect baby, and as a professional, where do you draw the line of what the patient has to know? Maybe the effect is worse than the condition we are treating."

In an accompanying editorial for the JAMA article, Dr. Ernest Beutler of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, wrote that the issue of carrier screening needs to be examined carefully.

"Attempting to analyze the costs and benefits of a screening program for Gaucher disease is much more complex than doing so for severe, high-penetrance disorders," he wrote. "What is the price for the anguish of parents of a fetus diagnosed to be homozygous for the [asymptomatic or mild] type? To what extent will the psychological development of a child carrying the stigma of this genotype be impaired? Will his parents protect him unnecessarily and not allow him to participate in contact sports when all his friends are on the team? How many millions of dollars will be spent on unnecessary enzyme replacement therapy for children who are fated never to develop clinical disease?"

Beutler concluded that until doctors and researchers better understand the factors that determine whether carriers of the Gaucher mutation will develop severe disease or none at all, screening for Gaucher disease "will likely do more harm than good."

UN Sec.-Gen. 'Very Concerned' by Gov't Decision on Gaza


What is unacceptable, Mr. United Nations, is that we are supposed to provide the enemy with basic components to keep their evil enterprise going while they attack us.

Without electricity and water, the general population will take it into their own hands to stop the terrorist actions against Israel. The responsibility for civilian deaths from any action Israel takes to cut off power and water is on the shoulders of the Hamas Terrorists, not on the shoulders of Israel.

Look, the UN hates Israel no matter what, so why don’t we just do what we want? If we try to please the UN, the UN hates us; if we ignore the UN, the UN hates us. What is the difference?? It’s not like you are going to do anything for Israel anyway.

We have given plenty of warning and we have been more than patient. It isn’t like the problem just happened. It is ongoing, and I didn’t see the UN taking any interest until now.

Dead Jews are OK for the UN. Dead terrorists is a tragedy.


( "I am very concerned at the decision taken today by the Israeli government to declare the Gaza Strip an 'enemy entity' and its announced intent to interrupt essential services such as electricity and fuel to the civilian population," United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Wednesday. "Such a step would be contrary to Israel's obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law," he said.

Ki-Moon went on to say that "the United Nations has broad humanitarian responsibilities and is mandated to provide assistance to and meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. There are 1.4 million people in Gaza, including the old, the young and the sick, who are already suffering from the impact of prolonged closure. They should not be punished for the unacceptable actions of militants and extremists. I call for Israel to reconsider this decision."

"The continued indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel is unacceptable and I deplore it," he added. "I call for it to stop immediately. I understand Israel's security concerns over this matter."

Hamas Terrorists Using US Ammunition


We knew this would happen.


( IDF officers reported Wednesday that Hamas terrorists in Gaza had used ammunition from the United States when attacking IAF helicopters. The Apache helicopters came under attack while targeting rocket-launching crews in northern Gaza.

Officers believe that the ammunition, along with other weapons, was given to Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas in order to strengthen Fatah in its struggle against rival terrorist group Hamas. However, the weapons were seized by Hamas terrorists after Fatah’s defeat in June of this year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ministers speak out against Ramon plan


How many times have the MK’s expressed “outrage” at an idea, only to go willingly as sheep to approve it after they are promised sweets and delights from the PM. More money! More power! More control over your little fifedom!

I will believe that these MKs care about Israel when I see them do the right thing— and nothing short of putting Olmert out of office will convince me that they are serious.


Several ministers express outrage at vice premier's letter proposing ceding parts of Jerusalem to Palestinian Authority. Kadima MK warns party could turn into Meretz; Olmert's office says plan does not obligate prime minister

Ronny Sofer
Published: 09.19.07, 01:00 / Israel News

"The government does not have a majority (to support) Haim Ramon's opinions on anything to do with Jerusalem," Pensioners Party Chairman Rafi Eitan said Tuesday following the exposure of the vice premier's letter calling for the division of Jerusalem and the establishment of joint sovereignty over the city's holy sites.

"He does not have a majority in Kadima, not in Labor, not in Shas, and not in Yisrael Beitenu, and certainly not with Rafi Eitan," the minister of pensioner affairs added.

Rice Visit
Rice may present US draft for deal / Yizthak Benhorin
US secretary of state will arrive in country Wednesday for meetings with Olmert, Abbas in preparation of November peace conference. Sources say Rice may present leaders with draft for possible agreement
Full Story

Deputy Prime Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai responded to Ramon's plan saying, "I strongly oppose Minister Ramon's initiative. Jerusalem is the city that has been bringing together the Jewish people for thousands of years, and is not a bargaining chip or piece of real estate. Jerusalem is the Jewish people's right of existence and there is no one who is able to give up that right."

Shas sources added following the Ynet report that "anyone willing to give up Jerusalem in order to preserve the government will end up discovering that Jerusalem is stronger than any government".

Two ministers speaking under condition of anonymity said there was no way that Ramon's initiative would be approved by the government or Knesset in the present situation with the Palestinians. Other ministers reported great unrest among Kadima members following Ramon's report.

"It seems to be another experimental balloon the prime minister is flying using Ramon. This will not pass quietly in the Kadima council's political meeting with Olmert on Thursday. He does not have the status to change Kadima's official platform," one source said.

'Kadima will turn into Meretz'

Ramon's fellow party members also found his ideas disturbing and MK Ze'ev Elkin said he rejected the vice premier's proposals.

"These kinds of ideas are as far as east and west from the basic original viewpoint that Kadima was built upon by Arik Sharon, and I will do everything in my power, along with many other Kadima members, to stand guard and take care of the city's future, according to Kadima's real political platform, the one that was presented to the voter."

MK Otniel Schneller, also of Kadima, said, "Anyone who dares to propose that Israel be unable to wave Israel's flag at the Western Wall – will never be able to say that he did not divide Jerusalem.

"His (Ramon's) plan is completely identical to Meretz's platform which is based on the Geneva plan. I did hear of any decision of Kadima to join Meretz," Schneller said, warning that if Ramon's plan was approved, the party would lose its identity and turn into Meretz.

Ramon's fellow coalition members, Labor ministers headed by Ehud Barak, preferred not to comment on his letter.

Senior sources from the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem said, "Ramon is a senior minister and vice premier. It is his right and even his duty to express his opinion. This does not obligate the prime minister in any way."

Amnon Meranda contributed to this report

Forum teaches religious singles how to find Mr. Right


OK, here's the problem AGAIN--separate sessions for men and women. HELLO!????

Anyone out there realize you can't find a Shidduch in a room full of your own gender???

When will this be clear??

Put them together. Then, let's see some matches!!

Sep 18, 2007 21:12 | Updated Sep 18, 2007 23:38

"Intimacy, Fantasies and Sexuality in the Religious Sector" is the racy name of a conference devoted to a decidedly respectable undertaking - encouraging modern religious Jewish singles to tie the knot.

On Tuesday, hundreds of young - and not so young - bachelors and bachelorettes descended on the Jerusalem International Convention Center to learn how to improve their marriageability.

Organized by Yashfeh, a non-profit matchmaker that deals exclusively with the modern religious crowd, separate workshops - one for men and one for women - taught singles how to hurdle the obstacles that might be preventing them from settling down with the love of their lives.

Participants learned everything from how to lower expectations for a prospective mate, to practical advice on how to strike up conversation on a blind date, to understanding how men and women view their sexuality. The conference organizers said they were answering a dire need among modern religious singles.

"Modern religious Israelis are getting married later than in the past," said Na'ama Vinograd, director of Yashfeh. "And the longer they delay, the harder it gets to find the right mate, because people get used to the freedom and individualism of being single."

According to Haim Falk, one of Yashfeh's founders, there are a total of 57,000 single modern religious men and women in Israel between the ages of 25 and 40 - and the majority of these singles, at 32,000, are men.

Falk claims that men have more excuses not to get married than women.

"They can always argue that an older woman is no longer capable of bearing children," said Falk. "Or that she is limited in how many fertile years she has."

According to Vinograd, it was almost unheard of a decade or two ago for a religious person to postpone marriage.

"It was the norm to live at home until the huppa. People did not develop careers until after they got married. They did not fit into a particular community," she said. "But today, religious singles are living alone, making large sums of money, enjoying their freedom. There are even entire communities of single religious people, places like [Jerusalem neighborhoods] Katamonim and Nahlaot, or Givat Shmuel [east of Tel Aviv]. And yes, there is even sex."

Vinograd said it was often difficult for religious singles to give up so much to start a family. At the same time, unlike their secular counterparts, religious singles cannot escape the family ethos that generates a nagging conscience to get married.

Vinograd said her organization did not try to convince religious singles to make the commitment to marriage.

"I'm no missionary," she said. "But if someone reaches the conclusion that he or she wants to have a family, Yashfeh is there to help."

Yisrael Beiteinu: Ramon Plan Will Cause End of Gov't


More like: Ramon Plan Will Cause End of Israel


( Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem, a member of the government coalition, said that Vice-Premier Chaim Ramon's plan to divide Jerusalem and relinquish sovreignty over the Old City will bring about the fall of the Olmert government.

"Minister Ramon's plan will enhance his prestige in the Left, but will dissolve the government," Rotem told Yediot Acharonot.


From Women in Green:

Dear Friends of Israel,

The time has come to wake up and shout!



WHEN: at 7:00pm



As you might have heard, Condoleezza Rice is coming to Israel tomorrow, Wednesday, to continue and push the secret agreement being concocted by PM Ehud Olmert and PLO Chief Abu Mazzen, in preparation for the November suicide summit in the USA.

According to media leaks the two have already signed a eight point document which basically calls for the creation of a PLO state in all of Judea and Samaria, the destruction of over 95% of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the division of Jerusalem and the handing over of the Temple Mount to the PLO. Details of the agreement can be found on the following Arab website (Sadly the Maan website has received the exclusive document and we therefore are forced to refer you to their viciously anti-Jewish website which has been the source for all other news agencies:

In addition to organizing a demonstration, Women in Green is putting the following front-page ad in tomorrow's Jerusalem Post:



In the words of Israel's first Prime Minister,David Ben Gurion:
“No Jew is at liberty to surrender the right of the Jewish Nation and the Land of Israel to exist. No Jewish body is sanctioned to do so. No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of land whatsoever. This right is preserved by the Jewish people throughout the generations and cannot be forfeited under any circumstance. Even if at some given time there will be those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come. The Jewish Nation is neither obligated by nor responsible for any waiver such as this. Our right to this land, in its entirety, is steadfast inalienable and eternal. And until the coming of the Great Redemption, we shall never yield this historic right.”
Speech to the 21st Zionist congress, Basel, 1937.

Could Ben Gurion possibly have foreseen that 70 years after the 21st Zionist Congress there would be an Israeli prime minister willing TO SURRENDER THE RIGHT OF THE JEWISH NATION AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL TO EXIST, all in order to hold on to his seat of power and to escape legal difficulties regarding his own questionable real estate dealings?

We, the Jewish People, will not allow OLMERT to barter away our G-d-given heritage.

Below is a MUST READ release
Please forward this urgent email to family, friends, Members of Knesset and Congressmen
"For Jerusalem's Sake I will not be silent"
With Love of Israel,
Ruth and Nadia Matar
Women in Green
In 1938, the quartet of European powers held a peace conference in Munich and came away congratulating themselves for having achieved “peace for our time.” The Munich Agreement sacrificed Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler, but they regarded the betrayal as a small price to pay to avoid war in the rest of Europe. Their Realpolitik led directly to World War II and the death of 70 million people.

Just as surely as the appeasement of Hitler precipitated WWII, so will the appeasement of the Arabs planned for this November lead to World War III. And once again, the Jews will be the primary victims.

Whereas the allied powers couldn't have guessed the extremity of Hitler’s designs, our leaders have no such excuse. The only honest conclusion twelve years after the Oslo Accords were signed is that the Arabs want war not peace. The Arabs’ sole and consistent purpose remains the destruction of Israel. Therefore, ongoing peace negotiations have nothing to do with peace.

After 9/11 publicized the exponential growth of a radicalized Islam whose goal is world domination, it should be abundantly clear that what’s true for Israel is true for the West. It should be clear that what Arafat started with the full support of the Arab world, is being continued by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab states -- whether covertly or overtly.

History sometimes arrives at climactic junctures that are followed by a point of no return. Once crossed, the momentum leading to disaster becomes unstoppable. We fear that the second Munich conference being planned for this November is such a juncture.

Israel’s leadership has lost all sense of national responsibility and accountability as it rushes heedlessly down this path. It doesn't represent the interests of the Jewish people or the Jewish State, but submits willingly to foreign interests and pressures. It has become the accomplice of Israel’s enemies in securing the enemy’s goals.

The public has no faith in the Olmert government, but also has no power to democratically influence the government’s actions. We therefore place the Olmert government on notice that neither the Jewish people nor the citizens of Israel are bound by the diplomatic acts of their leaders. In the words of David Ben Gurion:

“No Jew is at liberty to surrender the right of the Jewish Nation and the Land of Israel to exist. No Jewish body is sanctioned to do so. No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of land whatsoever. This right is preserved by the Jewish people throughout the generations and cannot be forfeited under any circumstance. Even if at some given time there will be those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come. The Jewish Nation is neither obligated by nor responsible for any waiver such as this. Our right to this land, in its entirety, is steadfast inalienable and eternal.”
(Speech to the 21st Zionist congress, Basel, 1937.)

In the same spirit we declare that we do not recognize or accept this government’s right to dismember the country, destroy cities and towns, exile and render homeless hundreds of thousands of Jews, steal their assets and livelihood, and pauperize them as they did to the loyal citizens of Gush Katif. We do not recognize or accept this government’s right to give away our Biblical heartland to a fictitious people for a fictitious state. We do not recognize its right to annul the prophecies of the Bible which were fulfilled by the Jews’ return to Zion, nor do we recognize its power to use the Zionist enterprise to dispossess the Jews of their homeland.

When governments become tyrants, the people have the right to resist; when a government becomes a cancer that turns against its citizens to destroy all that it is meant to protect, the people have the moral obligation to resist.

We therefore call upon all the citizens of Israel and Jews worldwide to denounce and renounce this government of fools and rogues and to take action necessary to save the land and people of Israel.

Staff Sgt. Ben-Zion Henman Killed in Shechem


My heart goes out to his family, his friends, his unit.

May his name never be forgotten.

by Gil Ronen

( The small moshav (agricultural community) of Nov in the Golan Heights mourns the loss of a son today: Staff Sgt. Ben-Zion Chaim Henman, 22, son of Yaakov and Tamar Henman, was killed during a firefight Monday night between IDF forces and terrorists in the biblical city of Shechem, now under Palestinian Authority administration. Ben-Zion had nine brothers and sisters.

His funeral will take place Tuesday at 11:30 PM in Hispin, near Nov.

Ben-Zion was to end his military service two weeks from now. "He planned to travel in the world immediately after his release from the IDF, and then study agriculture and winemaking and join the family business," his older brother Ro'i told journalists. Ro'i described his brother as a young man with piercing blue eyes, who did not speak much.

He was born in Sussia, near Hevron, and his family later moved to Nov, a small religious community with 115 families, including that of Knesset Member Effie Eitam. "He was a quiet, introverted, pleasant mannered boy and well liked by all," Nov's secretary Yaakov Nusboim said. "Unfortunately this is a heavy blow to the family and to the entire moshav," he added.

Henman served in the Paratroopers Reconnaissance Company (PALSAR Tzanchanim). He was k
"He was a quiet, introverted, pleasant mannered boy and well liked by all."
illed when a joint force composed of PALSAR Tzanchanim and the Haruv Brigade entered the Ein Beit Ilma neighborhood of Shechem, which was under curfew. Lately, IDF soldiers have been operating in Shechem on a nightly basis, in order to locate and arrest or kill terrorists, expose explosives laboratories and carry out additional counter-terror activities.

Monday night, Arab terrorists threw several explosive charges at the soldiers and a firefight broke out. Staff Sgt. Henman was gravely wounded and another soldier was lightly injured. A helicopter was called in order to evacuate Henman to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead before the helicopter arrived. The lightly wounded soldier received first aid before being taken to Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva.

Ben-Zion studied in the Yeshiva for Youths in Jerusalem, and after finishing high school he studied in the High Yeshiva at Mitzpe Ramon for a short time.

One terrorist was killed in tonight's operation. In addition, two wanted men were arrested and taken to interrogation: one from Hamas, the other from the PFLP. An arms cache with two M-16 guns, a few improvised hand grenades and additional ammunition was discovered.

The increasingly central role played by religious soldiers in the IDF's combat units has been the subject of much discussion in Israel lately, after the heroic stories of Maj. Ro'i Klein, Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno and others in the Second Lebanon War brought home to Israelis that the "knit kippah" boys are replacing the kibbutz and moshav boys of previous generations as the backbone of the fighting units.

"Their presence in the army is several times larger than it is in the general population," journalist Ben Caspit wrote recently. "It is clear," he wrote, that "the religious Zionist movement's educational institutions continue to disseminate values, Zionism, Judaism and mission orientation." Of the religious soldiers he wrote: "They do everything willingly, with their entire soul."

'Jenin, Jenin', now in court

Sep 17, 2007 23:51 | Updated Sep 18, 2007 9:44

Petah Tikva District Court is due on Tuesday to begin hearings on a NIS 2.5 million lawsuit filed more than four years ago by five soldiers who fought in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

Ofer Ben-Natan, Doron Keidar, Nir Oshri, Adam Arbiv and Yonatan Van-Kaspel sued Israeli Arab actor and director Muhammad Bakri for producing the film Jenin, Jenin, and the cinamatheques in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for screening them, even though the film had been banned at the time by the state censor.

The film became a cause celebre when Bakri petitioned the High Court of Justice against the censor for prohibiting the screening of the film on the grounds that it distorted the truth. After a long fight, the court rejected the censor's decision and allowed the film to be shown in Israel.

The movie touched a raw nerve among Israelis. It was released in the middle of the intifada, when Palestinian suicide bombers were murdering many Israelis. Furthermore, the army's incursion into the Jenin refugee camp came in response to a spate of suicide attacks in March 2002, culminating in the attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya on the night of the Pessah Seder on March 27, in which 29 Israelis were killed.

During the fighting in Jenin, Palestinian spokesmen, human rights organizations and foreign journalists accused Israel of conducting a civilian massacre. In the end, it emerged, according to Israeli figures, that 52 Palestinians were killed in the refugee camp, including 38 armed fighters and 14 civilians. Twenty-three IDF soldiers died in the fighting.

Basing itself mainly on interviews with Palestinians in the refugee camp after the fighting ended, but also on film clips, Bakri portrayed Israeli troops as committing a series of war crimes. Although he described the film as a documentary, he did not interview Israeli officials or give them an opportunity to refute the allegations contained in the film.

The lawsuit, which was filed of behalf of the plaintiffs by attorney Amir Tytunovich, provides a long list of alleged examples of these allegations, including:

• An old man claimed that soldiers shot him in the arm and leg in cold blood without cause.

• A film segment was edited to indicate that a bulldozer drove over a group of Palestinians lined up on the ground.

• Soldiers used children as human shields and ordered them to make holes in the walls of houses so they could progress from one to the next without exposing themselves. They warned they would shoot the children if they did not obey.

• Soldiers executed a disabled and retarded man by running him over with a bulldozer.

• A doctor at a Jenin hospital accused the IDF of removing the bodies of Palestinians killed in the fighting.

• Soldiers tied up a Palestinian and shot him.

The lawsuit includes 13 incidents it describes as libel. "All of the terrible things listed above did not happen and are not true," Tytunovich wrote. He also wrote that in its advertisements for the film, the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cinamatheques displayed a photograph of two of the plaintiffs, Ben-Natan and Keidar.

Bakri is being represented by attorney Avigdor Feldman.

Feldman was unavailable to talk to The Jerusalem Post.

But in an interview he gave during the High Court battle over the censorship of the film, he said the allegations in the film might have been true.

"I say that I can't say they're not true," he told Haaretz. "Had someone asked me two years ago whether it was conceivable that the IDF would drop a one-ton bomb in the heart of Gaza city, I would have said no. Today, I believe anything is possible. Bakri doesn't say anything in this film. The people who talk are those he filmed. So the residents of the refugee camp say things which sometimes are true and sometimes not. It's a movie. It reflects the subjective understanding of the speakers. Sometimes they say things that are harsher [than they actually were] because that is how he experienced it. Sometimes the talk is based on rumors. It is known that in situations of tension, things are exaggerated. So sometimes it is not the truth."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Combat service for women


What is glaringly absent from this report is the issue of women soldiers in Haredi and Hesder religious units.

I think it is clear, from the omission of this issue in the press release, that it is probably the reason they are suggesting this change—to force the religious soldiers out. They have already tried to integrate the Haredi units into “regular” units. They have tried to get rid of the Hesder Yeshivot. Now they will try, in the name of “equal rights” to integrate women into those units in order to force the men out.

They will do anything to try to prevent the religious sector from having control over military operations—either as officers or soldiers. They are desperate and frightened of our numbers and our power.

Committee mulls equal military service for men and women throughout its units,7340,L-3450272,00.html
Yossi Yehoshua
Published: 09.17.07, 16:17 / Israel Culture

A special committee active over the past year has recommended revolutionizing women's service in the Israel Defense Forces.

The committee, headed by former head of the military resources department, Major-General (reserve) Yehuda Segev, examined the role of
women throughout the various IDF units.

The committee was appointed by the head of the human resources department Major-General Elazar Stern, and is set to give its recommendations in the next few days. Members of the committee ascertained that men and women will be assigned identical positions during their military service based on set criteria and the recruits' personal attributes, rather then gender. Namely, men and women will have equal opportunities throughout the military establishment.

Nontheless, assigning women to combat units will be based on professional and medical criteria. The duration of military service for men and women will be identical and in accordance with decisions pertaining to the period of service.

"There will be no units barred to women in the IDF because they are women," notes the report. Members of the committee have determined that only the defense minister will be able to decide whether a specific unit will be closed to women, and this includes all the combat units, battalions and elite units which are currently barred to women.

At present female soldiers are assigned to specific combat positions in anti-tank units, the armored corps, the Karkal or `Lynx, infantry battalion, which combines the service of both men and women, and to NBC companies.

The committee has also recommended that the risk of falling into captivity will not be part of the criteria considered in the decision making process.

Right person for the right post
Sources at the committee have said that the aim is to integrate women in all combat positions in all units. The future model, it was noted in the report, focuses on assigning the right person to the right post.

Members of the committee are concerned about the drop in the number of female recruits which reaches just 55%. "If our recommendations are not accepted, we should warn that the number of female recruits into the IDF will soon reach 50%, and we shall be forced to switch to the voluntary system."

The committee recommends looking into an alternative possibility of shortening men's service to that of women's service. This alternative includes extending women's service to 32 months; shortening the service of male and female administration personnel to 30 months; utilizing the excess of women by establishing an additional combat force; and remunerating those serving for a duration of 36 months (between the 32nd and 36th month).

The main problem in the committee's recommendations is that there is currently no solution for increasing the numbers of women in combat units. To date the army has been unable to break the 2.5% barrier of women serving in combat units. Hence, despite the optimism that gripped members of the committee, it is not clear how the military will fill its posts with female combatants.

Research on the subject has shown that women refrain from serving in combat units for two key reasons: The first is due to the 36 month service (similar to men) instead of 24 months, and the second is the reserve duty that follows the service, of which female soldiers are exempt.

A senior source at the IDF said that it is highly doubtful that Israeli society is ready to accept the possibility of female soldiers falling into captivity. "The defense and political echelons will find it very difficult to approve such a decision," said a senior IDF officer.

Going once, going twice: JNF to auction off trip to Hefner's Playboy mansion


I’m sure the girls will all be Tsniut, right?

The winner of JNF's Oct. 11 charity auction will get an all-expenses-paid trip to a VIP party at the Playboy mansion.
By Jacob Berkman Published: 09/11/2007

NEW YORK (JTA) -- One of the Jewish community's most storied charities is turning to the Playboy brand name to help raise funds.

The Jewish National Fund sent out a mass e-mail this month announcing that it would be auctioning off a one-year subscription to Playboy and an all-expenses-paid trip to a VIP party at the legendary mansion of the magazine's founder, Hugh Hefner, in Holmby Hills, Calif.

The bidding will take place Oct. 11 in Manhattan at what is being billed as the first "JNF Sports Bonanza."

JNF's decision to include a Playboy prize package comes just months after Israel's tourism ministry launched an ad campaign featuring bikini-clad women and the Israeli Consulate in New York placed a sexy spread of female soldiers in the men's magazine Maxim.

Some Israeli officials and Jewish feminists criticized the two initiatives, arguing that they were demeaning to women.

Deborah Meyer, the executive director of Moving Tradition, an organization that helps young women become bat mitzvah, questioned the JNF's decision to embrace Playboy.

"It seems like a bit of a lapse of judgment to offer as a prize a trip to the Playboy mansion," she said. "You have to wonder what they are thinking about who are the members of the Jewish community and what message they think they are sending not just to young women, but to men, about Jewish values and what is appropriate in the year 5767."

JNF officials dismissed such criticism, noting that other charities have offered similar prizes in recent years.

"If people don't want to bid on it, they won't," said Anita Jacobs, the director of the JNF's Greater New York branch, which is organizing the auction. "This is America."

Asked if she thought Playboy objectifies women, Jacobs replied: "No, not at all."

The Playboy package received top billing in the promotional e-mail, but Jacobs said it is one of dozens of items to be auctioned and would not be the focus of the event.

JNF's director of marketing, Linda Wegner, said the package would not include a subscription to the magazine. As of Monday, however, it was still included in an online advertisement for the event.

Wegner said the prize was an "anonymously donated gift." She noted that attendees at the Oct. 11 event had to be at least 21.

Meyer said the organization should have passed on the gift.

"Sometimes," Meyer said, "you just have to say thank you for your good intentions, but no thanks."

El Al prices continue to climb


I want to know why it costs so much for me to travel to Israel, when Europe is just as far and far cheaper.

Israeli airline to raise prices next week, other airlines expected to follow suit,7340,L-3450147,00.html
Arie Egozi
Published: 09.17.07, 09:28 / Israel Money

Israeli’s national airline, El Al, will raise prices by $5-$16 per flight starting September 23 due to the steady climb of jet fuel costs.

The constant increase in jet fuel prices hit an all time high last week, reaching $80.04 per barrel. Other airlines – Israeli and otherwise – are expected to follow suit and raise prices accordingly.

Come next week, a flight to a nearby destination, such as Turkey or Greece, will cost passengers $5 more. Flights to slightly farther off destinations, such as London or Paris, will be increased by $9. Passengers wishing to travel as far as the United States or the Far East will be expected to pay $16 more for their ticket.

El Al last raised prices in July, also due to the increase of jet fuel costs.

Rami Levi, VP of sales at El Al, said Sunday that the cost of jet fuel was expected to remain high. “Fuel is an airlines main production output, so we are obliged to raise prices accordingly,” Levi explained.

Son of Shas MK arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering


I feel so bad for the parents when something like this happens. They want to react as parents should, to protect their children, but then they are subject to political fallout and public embarrassment.

My heart goes out to this family.

Amnon Cohen's son suspected of belonging to gang that broke into dozens of north Tel Aviv homes,7340,L-3450179,00.html
Buki Naeh
Published: 09.17.07, 10:19 / Israel News

The son of Knesset Member Amnon Cohen of Shas was arrested over the Rosh Hashana holiday for suspicion of breaking into dozens of homes in Tel Aviv, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday.

Eli Cohen, 26, was suspected of similar offenses in the past but was never indicted.

Police intelligence reports claimed that Cohen, a resident of Ramla, belonged to a gang of four burglars that broke into dozens of apartments in north Tel Aviv.

Last week, Civil Guard volunteers in the neighborhood of Tzahala spotted a Mazda apparently used by the burglars as a getaway car; the volunteers called on the passengers to stop, but they sped away.

Police officers dispatched to the scene chased after the vehicle, which eventually crashed into one of the squad cars. The three suspects that were arrested were identified as: Eli Cohen, Roni Ziton and Moshe Alter. The fourth suspect escaped on foot. A search of the car found tools used to break into homes.

The three suspects have been put under house arrest.

Israel fears terror attack at sea


Why not? The terrorists never suffered from the last terror attack at sea, in fact, Abbas benefited from it, didn’t he? Sure, he was convicted "in absentia"--but has he served any time? Has he been arrested? No. Instead, the US continues to grant him money, power, prestige, and thousands of acres of OUR ISRAELI LAND.

So much for the laws about doing business with terrorists . . .

What happened during the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985?

Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, 1985

AP Photo

Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, 1985

On October 7, 1985 four heavily armed terrorists representing the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, with some 100 mostly elderly passengers on board, in Egyptian waters. The hijackers demanded that Israel free 50 Palestinian prisoners, and to prove their determination, they shot and killed a disabled American tourist, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, and threw his body overboard with his wheelchair. After a two-day drama, the Egyptian government, unaware that Klinghoffer had been murdered, provided the hijackers with safe passage in exchange for freeing the ship and its passengers.

Once the murder had been discovered, US Navy F-14 fighters intercepted an Egypt Air 737 airliner flying the hijackers to freedom in Tunisia and forced it to land in Sicily. The terrorists were taken into custody by Italian authorities, were tried and convicted to long prison terms.

But Bassam al-Asker, one of the Achille Lauro hijackers, was granted parole in 1991. Ahmad Marrouf al-Assadi, another accomplice, disappeared in 1991 while on parole. Four others, including the mastermind, Abu Abbas, were convicted in absentia and remain at large.

Israeli officials say global jihad terrorists planning attack on Israeli ship sailing in Mediterranean,7340,L-3450186,00.html
Eitan Glickman
Published: 09.17.07, 10:28 / Israel News

Israeli officials fear that terror groups are planning attacks against Israeli holidaymakers abroad, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday.

An Israeli official told the newspaper that security officials believe terror groups plan to use a boat laden with explosives to sink an Israeli cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

"We have warning about terror plans to carry out attacks abroad," the official said. "One scenario is an attack using a ship or a boat carrying explosives."

'Ships attractive target'
The official said that security would be boosted onboard Israeli cruise ships whose sailing lines would be altered.

"There are various scenarios: booby-trapped boats, using boats to fire explosives at passenger ships and more. Over Sukkot many Israelis are leaving for cruises from Haifa and Ashdod and we have to ensure that these ships are well protected," the official added.

But officials at the counter-terrorism bureau said that global jihad terrorists were always planning attacks against Israelis abroad.

"The intentions of members of the global jihad to attacks Israeli ships are well known. Over the last two years there were two attempts to target Israeli ships in Turkey. Al-Qaeda there has them in sights because they are packed with hundreds of Israeli tourists and are therefore an attractive target to attack," the officials said.

Shas leader calls for caution with kapparot ritual


The last paragraph says it all:

Yosef said that Rabbi Joseph Caro "is against this thing," citing the author of the Shulhan Arukh, or Code of Jewish Law, who considered kapparot a pagan ritual. However, Yosef refrained from banning the custom.”

Why would he not support the law as it is stated in the Shulhan Arukh???

Last update - 02:02 17/09/2007
By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondent

Shas movement spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is worried about unsupervised slaughter of chickens as part of the kapparot ritual ahead of Yom Kippur.

The ancient ceremony involves swinging a live chicken overhead in a ritual transferance of the person's sins in preparation for the day of atonement. It may be performed anytime between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Speaking Saturday at his Jerusalem synagogue, Hayazdim, Yosef warned that overworked ritual slaughterers wind up using flawed blades that are not deemed "perfectly sharp."

"If it is not perfectly sharp, it is not only non-kosher but nevela," he said, using the term for the carcass of a kosher animal not killed in accordance with Jewish law and therefore forbidden for consumption.

Despite the modern custom of using money in place of chicken and then giving it to charity, many ultra-Orthodox Jews continue to use chickens and slaughter them before giving the kosher meat to charity.

American rabbis also have expressed reservations about the proper slaughter of these animals, prompted by a complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A report by PETA about cruelty toward chickens before Yom Kippur led a group of Hasidic rabbis to discuss reducing the animals' suffering. The U.S. edition of the Orthodox publication Hamodia ran an editorial calling for greater supervision of the slaughter.

Yosef said that Rabbi Joseph Caro "is against this thing," citing the author of the Shulhan Arukh, or Code of Jewish Law, who considered kapparot a pagan ritual. However, Yosef refrained from banning the custom. He made do with calling on those who wish to perform the ceremony to do so early to prevent overloading the ritual slaughterers, and "also to go to God-fearing slaughterers who are kosher."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Punk Rocker’s Holy Debut


Punk is one of the most Jewish of all music forms--always has been, always will be. From its infancy with 'Television' and 'The Ramones' playing at the CBGB, right up until today.

I laugh at those skinheads who think Punk is anti-Jewish. Even 'The Dictators'--one of the most controversial of Punk bands--was Jewish! Those who don't know this are the butt of the joke.

Punks are social commentators, comics, if you will, of the music world. They put to music what activist Jewish comedians from Lenny Bruce and Borat put in prose--they bring to the forefront the reality of Jewish experience, identity, and the hatred of Jews--and expose it for all to see.

A Punk Rock choir master--why not? He has experience expressing the angst and complexity of Jewish identity probably better than most Jews out there--and he knows the music.

In a time when Jewish identity is being narrowed into a thin black-and-white line of uniformed Hassidim, it is nice to see that Jewish Tradition can be expressed publicly under the florescent dreds of a punker Jew.

Who said the praise of Hashm can't be cool?

Dan Goldberg | Wed. Sep 12, 2007

His face is peppered with multiple piercings, his neck is normally padlocked with a thick metal chain, and his dreadlocks are dyed bright orange and blood red. Bram Presser cuts an archetypal punk rock figure — but he does not blend into your average Sabbath-morning crowd.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped an Orthodox synagogue in Australia from recently appointing the 31-year-old punk prankster as its choirmaster.

The frontman of the Jewish punk rock band Yidcore, which he founded in 2001 with three mates from a Jewish school, Presser has managed to straddle the seemingly incongruous worlds of traditional Judaism and punk rock.
The band toured Israel and the United States last year, and now Presser is gearing up for his next big gig: High Holy Day services.

Presser is no stranger to the spotlight in the Jewish world, having served as president of the community center adjacent to his suburban synagogue in Melbourne.
On Yidcore’s Web site, the band members are described as “wacky Aussie punk rockers who perform punked up versions of Jewish classics,” but Presser is less charitable with his description of them. “Jews generally disown us,” he said, deadpan. “But punks are into us.”

Now, however, the largely conservative, middle-class congregants of the North Eastern Jewish Centre will be forced to face a Jewish choirmaster whose latest album — titled “They Tried To Kill Us. They Failed. Let’s Eat” — pokes Mel Brooks-style fun at every antisemite who has tried to wage genocide against Jews in the past 2,000 years.
“I look funny, but a lot of [the congregants] have known me since I was a little kid,” Presser said.

“I think it’s hilarious. To me it’s challenging, interesting and colorful, and inviting for congregants.”
While Yidcore has done curious cover versions of several Jewish and Israeli songs, including “Hava Nagila,” “Mah Nishtana,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Dayenu,” Presser doubts that any of those interpretations will make its way into the festival services.

“Choirs are about getting the congregation to sing along, so I can’t stray too far,” he said.
But he concedes that his promotion — he has been a choir member at the synagogue for years — is as far as he can go: “I’m sure if I tried to be the hazan or rabbi, there would be issues.”

Dan Goldberg is the head of development at North One TV in Sydney, Australia.

German talk show host canned for praising Nazis


Yeah. Gotta love those Nazi "family values"! You know, like genocide, infanticide, human medical experiments, wholesale destruction of communities . . .


By Scott Roxborough Tue Sep 11, 10:06 PM ET

COLOGNE, Germany (Hollywood Reporter) - Germany's public broadcaster has fired a conservative talk show host who praised the Nazis' "family values," a decision that drew praise from the media and high-ranking politicians.

NDR, part of the national ARD network, ousted Eva Herman from the right wing/left wing talk show "Herman and Tietjen" on Sunday. The move came after Herman, promoting her latest book on family values, said that Hitler's family policies -- which included cash bonuses for extra children and the death penalty for abortions -- were good for the country.

"It was a horrible time with a manic and dangerous leader who led the Germans into ruin. ... But values like family, children and motherhood were promoted in the Third Reich and were destroyed in the 1960s. Much that was of value from that time was destroyed," Herman said.

Herman is considered the German equivalent of Ann Coulter, a blond, blue-eyed commentator known for her conservative views on the family and motherhood. She is an unusual figure in the German talk show circuit, where aggressive, U.S.-style confrontation and polemic is rare.

Herman rose to fame as the anchor of "Tagesschau," Germany's top-rated TV news program. She took a leave of absence from her show last year amid controversy surrounding the publication of her first book, the anti-feminist "The Eva Principle," which called for woman to focus on their families and child-rearing instead of their careers.

In her new book: "The Noah's Ark Principle -- Why We Must Save the Family," Herman blames the 1960s generation for destroying the Nazis' "pro-family" policies.

"NDR did the right thing in firing Herman," Renate Kunast, the co-head of Germany's Green Party told online site on Monday. "With Eva Herman, even feminists like myself would like to see her stay in the kitchen."

Columnist Lars von der Gonna, writing for national daily newspaper WAZ, echoed that sentiment.

"The supposed 'virtues' (of the Nazis' family policies) weren't ones at all," von der Gonna wrote. "For the Nazis, family policy meant supporting their racial policy (of breeding 'Aryans'). ... In the Herman case, NDR reacted quickly and correctly."

"NDR and ARD can breath easily now, they have one less problem to deal with," Michael Hanfeld wrote in his commentary Monday for the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.

Even conservative tabloid the Bild Zeitung, long a Herman supporter, abandoned the TV celebrity following her pro-Nazi comments. Under the headline "Why Did She Praise Hitler's Family Policies?" Bild quoted Holocaust survivor Ralph Giordano condemning Herman.

"Her comments are the worst thing I have heard in a long while," Giordano said. "The singular characteristic of the Third Reich was not how it treated its mothers -- they were only there to produce cannon fodder. The singular characteristic was the gas chambers."

For her part, Herman said her comments were taken out of context and that she rejects all forms of extreme politics "both from the left or the right."