Friday, October 30, 2009

Rabbi Angel on Parashat Lekh Lekha

Listening for Our Inner Song
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

(This Angel for Shabbat column is sponsored by Yossie and Linnie (Tovli) Simiryan, in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the passing of Reb Shlomo Carlebach.)

After going to battle to save his nephew Lot, Abraham meets with the king of Sodom. The king offers Abraham the booty from the war but Abraham declines to take anything for himself. Abraham introduced his response with the words: "I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth..." Most commentators take this to mean that Abraham took an oath.

The Midrash Talpiot, a compilation of rabbinic teachings by Rabbi Eliyahu haCohen of 18th century Izmir, cites a midrashic comment that Abraham's words were not related to an oath--but to a song! According to this comment, Abraham stood before the king of Sodom and sang a prayer! He prayed that he and his army had not killed any innocent people during the course of the battle.

I think this midrashic comment can be understood in another way. Each person has a unique contribution to make to this world; this contribution is embodied in the person's philosophy, talents, sensitivities, ways of helping others. Symbolically, a person's unique contribution can be described as a song--each person's special melody that imbues life with meaning and purpose.

When Abraham confronted the king of Sodom, Abraham sang his own song expressing that his life was lived in the context of the Lord God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth. Abraham's message to the king--and to all humanity--was the song of faith in one God, the song of ethical monotheism. Many people sing along with everyone else, and lose their own distinctiveness in the process. Abraham, though, sang a unique song that was to revolutionize humankind. His song was jarring to a pagan idolatrous world; but Abraham sang. His song was bold and deep and different from what others were used to; but Abraham sang. Abraham was on one side, and all the world on another side; but Abraham sang.

Each human being has his/her own song. Others may or may not appreciate it or even be able to hear it; but we each must be faithful to our inner music, the melody that gives expression to what is best and most important to us. This is what Abraham demonstrated when he sang to the king of Sodom.

The late Reb Shlomo Carlebach changed the Jewish world with his music. He sang his own song, developed his own style. During his lifetime, he was not always appreciated; he had his share of detractors--but he kept singing, kept composing music. During the 15 years since his passing, his music has become ever more popular. He had a unique God-given talent of creating music that touches the human spirit at its core. He brought biblical verses and ideas to life through his music. He helped many thousands of us come closer to God. He taught us to look for the inner music within each of our souls.

The psalmist calls on us: shiru laShem shir hadash--sing unto the Lord a new song. Each of us has a true and authentic song that can bring happiness, freshness, and faithfulness into our world. Each of our songs is as old as we are--but each of the songs becomes new and renewed as we grow spiritually from day to day.

***Please share the Angel for Shabbat column with your friends and associates, and please visit for many articles of interest on a wide range of Jewish topics. If you would like to sponsor an Angel for Shabbat column in memory or in honor of a loved one, please email

A Guy Lies in Wait in a Synagogue Parking Garage, Shoots Two, But It Isn't A Hate Crime??


Some updated information about the synagogue shooting from the LA Times. It started out with everyone saying it was a hate crime, but suddenly there is "no evidence" of a hate crime.

OK, lets look at it this way. Say we turn the whole situation around and say a guy hides out in a parking garage at the local black church and, when a couple of black men got out of their cars, he runs out and shoots them in the legs.

Would that be a "hate crime"?

I would bet that it would be considered so. Even if the police wanted to bury the crime, black organizations and politicians would cause such a fuss that, eventually, it would be known as a hate crime.

They know how to do it right. They know how to demand justice.

Where are our organizations? Where are our politicians?

It seems to me that some guy waiting for people to get out of their car in a synagogue parking garage then shooting them in the legs is, in the least, a terrorist act (i.e. he means to terrorize members of that congregation and, perhaps, the Jewish community as a whole). I would also ASSUME it would be a hate crime because Jews were specifically targeted.

Wouldn't you??

Synagogue shooting unnerves Los Angeles
Word that two men were wounded at a North Hollywood temple spread fast, stirring fears. But police say there is no evidence that the attack was a terrorist act or a hate crime.
By Andrew Blankstein, Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton,0,7901309,full.story

When the sound of gunfire shattered the peace of morning prayer Thursday at a North Hollywood synagogue, the shock waves traveled fast and far.

Was it a hate crime? An act of terrorism? An isolated incident or part of a wider plot? These were all real fears in a city where, 10 years ago, a white supremacist gunman terrorized a Jewish preschool and murdered a postal carrier, and where police have been on alert for acts of terror since Sept. 11, 2001.

By day's end, authorities had come to believe that the shooting, in which two men were wounded, was probably a far more mundane crime.

"There is absolutely no evidence to support any connection to terrorism or a hate crime," said Mike Downing, deputy chief of the LAPD's Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.

The gunman, whose image was captured by video cameras, remained at large, with the investigation being led by North Hollywood detectives, not Downing's elite anti-terror squad.

For a few hours, though, the shooting in the synagogue garage set nerves on edge throughout the city. Word traveled rapidly from temple-goers to police to city leaders to members of a joint regional terrorism task force.

The Los Angeles Police Department responded in force. Calls and e-mail alerts spun out to temples and Jewish organizations across the city. Reports were relayed by news agencies and television channels nationwide. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rushed to the scene, joining two of the three candidates to succeed outgoing Police Chief William J. Bratton.

Then, gradually, investigators began ramping down the tension.

According to police, the shooting occurred at 6:19 a.m., after the victims parked their cars in the underground garage of Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue, a small congregation on a quiet residential street. Morning services were underway.

A young gunman, dark-skinned and wearing a dark hooded sweat shirt, approached one man near a stairwell and tried to shoot, police said, but his gun jammed.

The second congregant noticed the commotion and approached the gunman, who then shot both men in the legs. The gunman did not speak, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore.

The shooter fled, and witnesses called 911.

The victims, Maor Ben-Nissan, 37, and Allen Lasry, believed to be in his 40s, were taken to hospitals, where they were listed in good condition.

Detectives were working with them to understand what happened, Moore said. They do not believe the motive was robbery, according to LAPD sources, who spoke to The Times on the condition they not be named because the investigation is continuing.

Rabbi Amran Gabay described both men as regulars at the temple. He said one works in home improvement and the other in tile sales. The rabbi said he knew of no reason why either would be targeted, adding: "They're regular people."

A 17-year-old who was detained for questioning shortly after the shooting was released hours later, and police backed away from initial claims that the attack was motivated by religious hate.

Although the shooter was first described as being black, a police source later said detectives were not certain of the suspect's race.

"This investigation is wide open," said Capt. Sharyn Buck, who oversees the LAPD's North Hollywood Division.

Several law enforcement sources told The Times that investigators were looking at whether the shooting was related to a business or personal dispute. The sources said detectives believe that one of the victims was the target and that the second victim may have been shot because he witnessed the attack.

Speaking to reporters outside the taped-off synagogue, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the incident "a senseless act of violence." But he was careful to temper concerns that the shooting was a hate crime.

"None of us should presume or speculate more about this other than it was a random act of violence," he said.

Adat Yeshurun, a congregation of mostly Moroccan and other North African Jews, is in the heart of the San Fernando Valley's Orthodox community and within walking distance of kosher markets and other synagogues.

Yehuda Oz, 53, has attended the temple for 15 years and arrived early Thursday to begin his regular morning prayers.

About an hour later, as he prayed with some 15 others in the sanctuary, four gunshots broke the silence, he said. He heard screams from the parking lot, then saw two men stumble into the temple.

Their blood spread over the floor as people rushed to stop the bleeding, Oz said, but no one inside saw the shooter.

"Maybe it was crazy person. Maybe he was drugged up. Maybe it was a Jew. We don't know," Oz said, nervously adjusting his yarmulke as he stood outside the taped-off scene with two friends.

The temple installed security cameras years ago to discourage attacks, he said.

The shooting prompted the closure of a school next to the synagogue. But about half a mile away at Or Hachaim Academy, also run under the guidance of Rabbi Gabay, classes were in session and the school was observing the anniversary of the death of the biblical matriarch Rachel.

A school official said sixth- and seventh-grade girls recited psalms for the two shooting victims.

"Rachel always prays for her children," Principal Deborah Raskin said. "We take comfort knowing that this could have been a much worse situation."

Alejandro Sisro, 13, will almost certainly never forget what happened Thursday. He came to the synagogue in the morning wearing a new suit, his hair combed, his Torah portion memorized, ready for his bar mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage. On the way in, he hit a snag -- a line of police tape stretching between him and manhood.

For the Sisro family . . . [MORE]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shooting at Adat Yeshurun Sephardic Congregation

**Latest Update**

Synagogue shooting victim recovering from surgery
October 29, 2009 | 10:56 am

At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one of the men shot at the North Hollywood synagogue, Maor Ben-Nissan, 37, is recovering from surgery.

His relatives and friends are gathered at the hospital, drinking coffee and hovering around the TV, watching live coverage from the synagogue.

Ben-Nissan lives in North Hollywood with his wife, Anat, and 2-year-old son. He owns a tile store and is very devout, going to Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue every morning, friends said. He is an Israeli immigrant who came to the United States as a child.

"I haven't seen my husband yet," said Anat, whose eyes were red.

His brother-in-law, who did not want to give his name, said he arrived at the synagogue a few minutes before Maor and was inside when the shooting occurred. He heard four shots. "We panicked and ran," the brother-in-law said.

As he went out, he saw Maor hobbling up the stairs and saw the blood on his leg and on the stairs.

"He called my name. I ran to him," the brother-in-law said.

He called 911. He also put a pillow under Ben-Nissan's head and wrapped a sweater around his leg to try to stop the bleeding. "I was just trying to calm him down," he said.

"Hate crimes are alive. People have to be careful," the brother-in-law said. "It was a miracle it was nothing worse."

-- Anna Gorman in Mission Hills



I have been to Adat Yeshurun Sephardic Congregation, and I have met, talked to, and my children had the opportunity to sit with Rabbi Amram Gabbai for a short while.

It is not a really obvious synagogue building, it is not easy to find if you don’t know where it is, and the parking garage is not that large or that obvious. I would have to say that someone specifically targeted the synagogue, or they were from the local neighborhood and knew that it was there.

I am on the side of “specifically targeted,” because most people would not know when people would be arriving for morning minyan unless they really went out of their way to find out. I think whomever did this, had been observing the synagogue for a while and knew when people came and went.


Here is the story from A7, JTA, and the LA Times:

Gunman Wounds Two in Los Angeles Synagogue
by Ernie Singer


Los Angeles police say two Jewish men in their 30s were shot in the legs as they were about to enter a synagogue in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles Thursday morning. A man described as an African-American with a handgun entered the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue at about 6:20 a.m. Thursday and opened fire. The victims were taken to a hospital in stable condition.

Police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. The Los Angeles Times says police arrested a man near the synagogue, but the sources say they don't believe he was the gunman.

The newspaper adds that police officials have alerted other synagogues around Los Angeles about the shooting, and police have stepped up patrols at Jewish religious institutions. Detectives are trying to determine if the gunman acted alone or as part of a larger group.

According to the Associated Press, the wounded people had just pulled into the synagogue parking structure for morning services. Investigators said no words were exchanged between the shooter and his victims.

"Grave and shocking"
Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein called the event “grave and shocking.”

The attack “reminds us that anti-Semitism is alive and kicking and has no hesitation in terrorizing the Jewish people's holy of holies. We and the nations of the world must continue to fight anti-Semitism as it has already been proven that what starts with the Jews ends with other nations as well.”

The attack occurred about 16 km. away from a Jewish community center where, ten years ago, white supremacist Buford Furrow shot and wounded five people and later killed a letter carrier. Three children were among the wounded in that attack.

Two shot at California synagogue

October 29, 2009

(JTA) -- Two people were shot in the legs in the parking lot of a synagogue in North Hollywood, Calif.

Los Angeles Police said the African-American suspect approached a man entering the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue for morning prayers at approximately 6:20 a.m. Thursday, according to media reports. The assailant shot that man in the leg with a handgun, then fired again and hit another man in the garage. The synagogue is located in the San Fernando Valley's Orthodox community.

The victims, both Jewish, were reported to be in stable condition after being transported to a local hospital.

A man was detained near the facility shortly after the shooting, but police now say they don't believe he was involved in the crime.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and the Los Angeles Police Department has stepped up patrols around city Jewish institutions. The Secure Community Network, the national network coordinating security for the Jewish community, said it was urging Jewish institutions to remain vigilant and revisit the security procedures they have in place until more information about the incident is known.

LA Times:
Police search for gunman in North Hollywood synagogue shooting [Updated]
October 29, 2009 | 10:03 am


A gunman entered the grounds of a North Hollywood synagogue this morning and shot and wounded two men who were going to a prayer service in an attack LAPD detectives are investigating as a hate crime.

The unidentified gunman wearing a black hoodie walked into the underground parking garage of Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue at 12405 Sylvan St. shortly before 6:20 a.m., said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore. He approached a man in his 40s who was parking his car to attend prayer service.

"Without any words," Moore said, the suspect shot the man in the leg. He then fired at a second man in his 40s who had also arrived for prayers. The second victim was also wounded in the leg. The gunman then fled from the garage. Witnesses called 911.

Moore said both victims were in good condition at local hospitals.

Detectives are "working with [the victims] to understand more information," Moore said. They do not believe the motive was robbery, according to LAPD sources, who spoke to The Times on the condition they not be named because the investigation is ongoing.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m.: Speaking to reporters outside the taped-off synagogue, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the incident "a senseless act of violence." The mayor was careful to temper worries that the shooting was a hate crime.

"None of us should presume or speculate more about this other than it was a random act of violence.

But Shawyn Yaghoubi, 18, of Encino, who was dropping off his younger brother at a nearby school when he heard about the shooting, said: “Of course it was a hate crime.”

“They [police] have to do something about it," he said.]

Los Angeles police arrested a man about an hour later near the synagogue, but sources said they do not believe he was the gunman. LAPD officials have alerted other synagogues around Los Angeles about the shooting, and police have stepped up patrols at Jewish religious institutions.

Adat Yeshurun is in the heart of the San Fernando Valley's Orthodox Jewish community and within walking distance of kosher markets and other synagogues. Many people move to the area so they could walk to temple.

The sources said detectives are trying to determine the motive, and whether the gunman acted alone or as part of a larger group. LAPD detectives were reviewing security videotapes from the temple in hopes of better understanding the chain of events.

They were also searching a nearby park to see if the suspect is hiding there.

Yehuda Oz, 53, a man of Tunisian descent, has attended the Sephardic Jewish temple for the last 15 years. He arrived early this morning to begin his regular morning prayers. [Updated at 10:10 a.m.: In a previous version of this post, Oz had declined to give his last name.]

About an hour later, as he prayed with some 15 others in the temple's quiet sanctuary, four gunshots broke the silence, he said.

He said he heard screams from the parking lot, then saw two men stumble into the temple.

Their blood spread over the floor as people rushed to stop the bleeding, Yehuda said, but no one inside saw the shooter.

"Maybe it was crazy person. Maybe he was drugged up. Maybe it was a Jew. We don't know," Yehuda said, nervously adjusting his yarmulke as he stood outside the taped-off scene with two friends.

Yehuda said the two men who were shot were latecomers who had just parked their cars.

The temple, which has a congregation of mostly Moroccan and other North African Jews, installed security cameras years ago to discourage attacks, Yehuda said.

"This is a good place," he said.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m.: A girls' school at the synagogue with 112 students canceled classes today. At least two rabbis from neighboring synagogues who were at the scene this morning said they were counseling their own congregants to stay calm.

“The feeling is that we’ve got to keep our eyes open for each other,” said Rabbi Nachman Nabend, from Chabad of North Hollywood. “It makes me angry when anyone gets targeted.”

Adat Ari El, the fourth largest conservative synagogue in L.A. with a 750-family congregation, is about two miles away from Adat Yeshurun. Joanne Klein, executive director at Adat Ari El, said there are more LAPD patrol cars in the area and her synagogue is ramping upt its own security by closing multiple entrances and adding additional security guards.

“We’re watchful,” said Klein. “We’re taking extra precautions and we’re paying attention to what’s going on in the community. We’re still open for business.”]

-- Duke Helfand, Anna Gorman, Andrew Blankstein and Robert Faturechi in North Hollywood; and Richard Winton

What Could Be More Swiss? Geneva Disinvites Israeli Bands Scheduled to Play at European Arts Festival


Am I the only one who is getting uncomfortable about the overt anti-Semitism that is pretending to be anti-Israel "political activity" that happening in the world today, or am I just having a particularly paranoid moment?

I guess it really hit me hard this morning when I read this little clip on Arutz7:

  • Israeli Bands Unwelcome in Geneva
  • ( Members of the Jerusalem-based Israeli band Terra Rossa have informed Arutz-7 that they were asked not to attend a European arts festival due to riots in Israel's capital city. Organizers in Geneva asked the band not to appear at a scheduled concert next week due to fears that the appearance would lead to hostile anti-Israel protests.The organizers expressed concern that recent clashes between police and Muslim rioters in Jerusalem would inflame anti-Israel sentiment, said band member Yoni Sharon. A number of other Israeli bands were asked not to appear at the festival as well, he added.

Geneva doesn't think about, perhaps, controlling the rioting people. No. Instead, it gives into the arab bullying and disinvites the Jews. Hmm.

Uh. Geneva? You didn't do this when the Nazi's were trying to destroy the Jews, and there was rising anti-Semitism in Switzerland, did you?

Remember what you did in the 30s and the 40s? You maintained your "neutral" face, and raked in the bucks from threatened Jews all over Europe who were trying to secure their money in the face of Nazi persecutions.

I guess now that there is no big payoff, you have decided to completely cave in to hate and bullying?

Wait. Are you ADMITTING that there was no moral cause behind your "neutrality," --it was just business?

Wow. I would have never guessed.

I guess now that you are forced to actually cough up a small percentage of the dough that you stole from the Jews, you have changed your tune? Or is it that your fake "neutrality" is falling out of favor now that there is plenty of money to be made shielding the millions of arab dollars being funneled into terrorist accounts through your banking system?

Still, I remember a different Switzerland, don't you? At least, in school, I was taught the fantasy that Switzerland remained "neutral" and was, for that reason, thought (by my textbook and by my teachers) as morally superior to all the countries who were fighting each other at the time.

You don't remember that story? You mean you remember THIS Switzerland?

  • During the Second World War, millions of people were deported by the Nazis from Germany and from the occupied territories in Europe to concentration camps in eastern Europe and murdered there (Holocaust).
  • Swiss diplomates were involved in the creation of the «J»-stamp to mark the passports of German Jews, a discriminating measure that made escaping more difficult.
  • Switzerland did accomodate some 55,000 civilian refugees, but approximately 20,000 - 25,000 refugees were rejected at the border, which meant sure death for most of them. The Swiss authorities even refused normal diplomatic protection for Swiss citizens of Jewish faith in Germany and occupied countries. --Switzerland's Role in WWII
Or, perhaps THIS is the Switzerland that you remember:

  • Nazi Gold and Loot
  • During the war, the Nazis stole gold, jewelry, and other valuables from the millions of Jews they murdered. The Germans needed a way to place these commodities in the international market so that they could use the money they received in exchange for their war effort. The Swiss helped facilitate the exchange in addition to holding Nazi accounts. Many speculate that some of the gold that the Swiss accepted were the dental gold and wedding rings taken from Jews at the camps. --"Nazi Gold, Jewish Accounts, and Swiss Banks."
Wow. Well, I guess those Swiss have always been opportunististic, immoral, and self-serving.

The "strength" they showed in World War II had nothing to do with loving their fellow man and everything to do with hating Germans. It is convenient that the Germans were hated by everyone at the time, convenient and financially advantageous for Switzerland.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by Switzerland's current behavior at all.

After all, Geneva, isn't it much better to be on the side of the arabs right now, than the side of truth and justice? It certainly is a lot easier, and that is what the Swiss prefer, isn't it?

Right now, the arabs have all the oil, they have all the good PR, and they have all the money (at least until you can get it into your banks and conveniently forget who deposited it, when, and where)--so who gives a damn about a couple of million Jews in Israel, right?

I know it is hard for Switzerland to really whip up hate for Jews now that they don't have a large Jewish population, but they have already banned the kosher slaughter of beef and lamb, so they are off to a good start. Why not cap it off with the banning of all Israeli bands at the music festival under the guise of "security concerns?"

After all, Israel kept Jews of their own Temple Mount for the same reason, and Dubai denied a visa to Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe’er for that reason, so no one should question this decision, right?

It's not much to ban a few Israeli bands, but it is just one more thing that will prove to Switzerland's new arab "friends" that they really really do hate the Jews as much as the arabs do.

A music festival completely devoid of Jews? Of course! What could be more Swiss?

So, let's hear it for Switzerland! They didn't care about a couple of million Jews then, and they don't care about a couple of million Jews now.

What's a few deaths between friends?

Let's all have a beer, and enjoy the profits of all the Jews who are still stupid enough to invest their money in our country!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Committee: Gender Separation is "Voluntary" on Mehadrin Buses. (Translation: Women can "choose" whether or not to be beaten up on the Mehadrin bus)


This is a “big” decision which means absolutely NOTHING.

The committee has come to the conclusion that gender segregation on mehadrin buses is “voluntary,” and that those who want such segregation can segregate themselves, but those who don’t want the segregation can’t be coerced to sit separately.

Oh, and people (women) can enter and pay from the rear doors now. Big whoop.

OK. Now, lets get out of “theoretical world” and deal with reality, shall we?

First, the buses have always had “voluntary” segregation of genders—which means, you either sat segregated or the Haredi thugs on the bus attacked you, as happened to more than one friend of mine.

My friends, the ones who were attacked, are religious women, and at least one of them has a health condition that required she sat in the first seat she came to.

One of my friends was verbally attacked, and one of my friends was viciously beaten by bus thugs who thought it was their role to “enforce” the separation of men and women on the bus (I guess you are still considered Shomer Negiah if the only contact you are making with a woman is hitting her, ripping her clothes, and tearing off her head covering?)

As I recall, a young woman in IDF uniform was also attacked on the bus line. Naomi Ragen, too, was attacked by bus thugs and wrote about it extensively.

So, now, this "special" transportation committee, in its wisdom, continues the mehadrin lines—but adds that the bus driver must enforce the voluntary nature of the seating.

In other words, in addition to watching for suicide bombers and crazy people thinking they are the messiah, the bus driver must come to the aid of these women, pull off the rabid male passengers, and then allow the woman to sit wherever she wants.

Yeah, right.

In addition, the committee adds, the bus line will not require women to be modestly dressed.

I am sitting here trying to imagine the scene:

It’s 5:30 a.m., and there are 15 Haredi men on their mehadrin bus on their way to the Western Wall to pray.
The doors open. A young woman on her way home after a night of crazy partying, steps onto the bus dressed in a micro-mini, high heals, and tank top -- her long, bleach blond hair flowing over her naked shoulders. She is wearing enough make-up to keep Estee Lauder in business for a month, and a cloud of perfume, cigarettes, and beer trails her as she walks up the aisle, a bit unsteady.

She decides to take the closest seat available, and with a flip of her skirt and a twirl of her hair, sits her half-naked self down on the seat next to a 20-something Haredi man who is shekeling furiously with his eyes trained on his siddur. She smiles, and wishes him "Boker Tov!"


I don’t think so.

If the committee seriously thinks that the bus driver would be able to contain this scene, I must assume the committee is arming these bus drivers with water canons or stun guns or mace because, as you have probably observed from the weekly Shabbat desecration they refer to as the “parking lot protests,” these men are not easily swayed.

A better scenario would be to allow the Haredi public to operate their own private bus line that is fully financed by them, for them; and where they can make the rules.

If the public buses are for the public at large (as they should be), and the Haredim have special religious needs (which they do), then allowing a privately run bus line to function in Jerusalem is really the only fair option.

Oct 28, 2009 2:51 | Updated Oct 28, 2009 5:26
'Bus segregation is legal if voluntary'

A special committee appointed by the Transportation Ministry recommended on Tuesday conducting a yearlong trial during which passengers on "mehadrin" public bus lines would be allowed to enter from either the front or the rear doors, so those who wished to maintain gender separation could do so.

However, the committee stressed that the separation of the genders must be solely on a voluntary basis, that the passengers riding on these buses may not impose it coercively and that bus drivers would be responsible for intervening to prevent coercion if it arose.

The 11-person committee, headed by Transportation Ministry deputy director-general Alex Langer, was charged with examining the urban and inter-urban public bus system arrangements for the haredi population.

It was established in the wake of a petition to the High Court of Justice filed by several women, including author Naomi Ragen, as well as the Israel Religious Action Center of the Progressive Movement (Reform), against the establishment of dozens of gender-separated bus lines over the past decade to serve the haredi community.

The petitioners called on the government to examine the issue and objectively determine how many such bus lines were necessary and how they should operate. They also called on the government to prohibit haredim from coercing passengers to abide by their customs.

In its report, the committee explained that the underlying principle determining its recommendation was that all passenger buses serving the general public belonged to the public sphere, and every member of the public had the right to use each bus in accordance with basic human rights such as equality and freedom of movement.

The corollary of the principle established by the committee was that buses serving the haredi population were an integral part of the public transportation system. The mehadrin buses were not a separate transportation system granted to the haredi population that could therefore impose on passengers whatever rules it wished, even if those rules violated basic human rights, the committee said.

"We got the impression that the haredi population that supports the arrangement and uses these bus lines treats them as lines 'belonging' to the haredi population; that is, that these lines are not part of the public transportation system, but were withdrawn from it for the benefit of a specific population," the committee members wrote. "This arrangement, which developed and expanded without direction, supervision, assessment or significant involvement on the part of the Transportation Ministry, created a feeling among groups within the haredi population that the ministry was obliged to provide them with bus lines that accommodated their way of life.

"This, in turn, led to attempts on their part to force these arrangements on passengers who did not agree to them. The voluntary dimension of the arrangement was not given expression and... is not even known to a substantial portion of the haredi population that uses these buses," the committee continued.

According to the recommendation, the buses that have been classified as mehadrin will not carry any special identification. The only difference between them and non-mehadrin buses will be that both the rear doors and the front doors will open to admit passengers, and bus fares will be taken at either door, so that if a woman agrees to set herself apart from the men and sit at the back of the bus (or vice versa), she may enter by the rear door.

However, no passenger is obliged to accept this arrangement, and anyone can sit wherever he or she wants. Furthermore, there will be no restrictions on the type of clothing women may wear on these buses.

Ragen said in response that Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz should bravely accept the conclusions of the committee, "so that we know that we are living in a democratic state and not in Iran and Afghanistan."

It was a happy day for women and a major victory for freedom and liberty, she continued. However, she said she was concerned that Katz, a Likud member, would cave in to haredi political pressure. Two haredi parties - Shas and United Torah Judaism - are members of the government coalition and might attempt to prevent implementation of the committee's recommendations.

"I believe that if the haredim have special needs, they should be allowed to run their own bus lines," said Ragen. "And Minister Katz should help them do this. But haredi busing should not enjoy government subsidies."

Ragen, whose bestselling novels often deal with haredi society and the tensions between strict social restrictions and the desire for freedom, said that speaking as a religious woman, there was no halachic problem with mixed seating of men and women on buses.

"That was the opinion of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, may his memory be a blessing, who is considered one of the most important rabbis in the US in recent decades," she said.

Feinstein's rulings are not always accepted in Israel, and many leading Israeli halachic authorities have supported separate seating.

Meanwhile, haredi activists attacked the committee's decision.

Menachem Kenig, chairman of the Mehadrin Lines Committee in the Holy Land, said that the committee's decision was based on inaccurate information.

"We never asked Egged to enforce segregation between men and women," said Kenig. "In the vast majority of situations, passengers sit in separate seats of their own free will, just like they do . . . [MORE]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mozel Tov! Ivonka Trump and Jared Kushner Wed


May you be blessed among the children of Israel. May your life be filled with Simcha! May you have many children, and may they grow in Torah!

I would love to see a picture of the chuppah! I'm sure it is soooo beautiful.

What is even more beautiful is that Ivanka did this right. She halachically converted, she changed the way she lives, and she took on all 613 Mitzvot in order to marry Jared.

She not only brought blessings to herself, her family, and to Jared's family, she has also brought blessings to all Jews.

May her very public transformation encourage others who have fallen in love with a Jew, to halachically convert, to raise their children Jewish, and to live as kosher Jews.

May her very public transformation encourage
the critics of Rabbi Lookstein to see conversion as a beautiful thing which brings glory to the Jewish nation and not as something sinister and suspicious.

May her very public wedding and her very public life give impetus to fashion designers to begin seeing beauty in modesty and designing clothes that flatter the female form without revealing too much. (I am so sick of dresses that are either missing the top or bottom, or look like I'm wearing a berka).

Have a beautiful life, Ivonka and Jared!

Ivanka Trump weds Jared Kushner
Last Updated: 10:12 AM, October 26, 2009

Here are the first photos of power newlyweds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The real-estate scions tied the knot yesterday at the father of the bride's golf course in Bedminster, NJ.

The 500 guests included dozens of New York luminaries and power brokers, including Andrew Cuomo , Barbara Walters, Anna Wintour , Rudy Giuliani, Joel Klein and Sheldon Silver, as well as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and ex-New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey.

Stars from the entertainment world also made the scene, including Food Network chef Sandra Lee, actress Emmy Rossum and her Counting Crows beau Adam Duritz, and country singer Jamey Johnson.

The gorgeous bride, 27, wore a Vera Wang gown inspired by Grace Kelly. Her bridesmaids were Vanessa Trump -- wife of brother Donald Jr. -- and half-sister Tiffany Trump.

"She looked stunning," one guest said.

Yesterday's beautiful weather was a good omen, the bride said.

"Just finished a gorgeous hike," she posted on Twitter hours before the nuptials, "The leaves are spectacular and the sun is shining. Everything is simply perfect! I'm getting married today!"

The daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump, Ivanka works for her dad and co-hosts "Celebrity Apprentice."

She recently started filming the show's new season, which will not interfere with her honeymoon in Africa.

As if her wedding were not exciting enough, Ivanka this week marveled that her new book, "Trump Card," has become a best seller.

She has been dating Kushner, 28, the publisher of the New York Observer and son of billionaire real-estate mogul Charles, for more than two years -- and converted to Judaism in order to join his family.

The ceremony was performed by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein.

Wednesday, the couple will hold a second reception for twice as many guests at the Puck Building.

Extensive security kept back onlookers at the Trump National Golf Course, but Ivanka has kept her 400,000 followers on Twitter abreast of every detail from her engagement to her rehearsal dinner.

"Truly the happiest day of my life," she posted of her July 16 engagement.

Though her family is known for its over-the-top spectacles, Ivanka said some events are best kept low-key.


UK Supreme Court Debates "Who Is a Jew" in School Admissions


This is an important case because it involves our very identity as defined by Torah: A Jew is the child of a Jewish mother, or a halachic convert.

The Halachic definition of a Jew has already be struck down by the lower courts in the UK as "racist." If the definition is struck down by the Supreme Court as "racist," then the UK courts will be, essentially, handing the evangelicals entré into our schools to evangelize as they wish.

It would be increasingly difficult to keep our traditions, our laws, and our ways--especially as we are bombarded by "Jews for Jesus" students and parents.

In other words--Orthodox Jewish Education may cease to exist in the UK.

The UK is already a hostile place to be for Jews, with an overabundance of anti-Semitic acts perpetrated upon the Jewish population.

Jewish education has always been an oasis for Jews in a teaming sea of assimilation. It is a place we can send our children so that they not only learn their heritage, but they learn it in an atmosphere of Jewishness. They can freely associate with one another, go to eachother's homes for Shabbat, play on sports teams on Sundays, and enjoy being "normal" within that Jewish construct.

Without the assumption that our child's friend is halachically Jewish, we must be ever-vigilant and suspicious of every contact. Can he go to his friend's house, where they may keep the appearance of Kosher, without being halachically Jewish? Can she spend the night when we don't know if the parents may be secretly evangelical?

The sense of safety is lost.

What happens when the non-Jews gain a majority in the school, and the parents start demanding that the sports teams play on Shabbat so they can attend church on Sunday? What happens when they start demanding inclusion of information about their false messiah? Is it a Jewish School any more?

If the decision of the lower courts stand, it won't be long before the EU follows and all Jewish schools are deemed "racist institutions."

Just wait until all the anti-Semites are finally able to "prove" that Judaism is "racist" by pointing at the UK decision. Do you think they will stop with the schools?

Judaism isn't racist (although, like any group, there are individual members who ARE racist--I'll be the first to admit that!!).

There are Jews from all over the world, every race, every nationality you could imagine. EVERYONE has the same criterion to be admitted to the Jewish Family: YOU MUST have either a Jewish mother or a kosher conversion. That is not racism--that CREEDISM. And yes, just like most religious groups, we prefer marriages between members of our own creed.

For example, if one of my children wants to marry an Asian girl, or a black girl, or a Latino, or an American Indian--it's kosher AS LONG AS THE GIRL IS JEWISH. If she isn't Jewish, either she will have to halachically convert, or the marriage is not valid. It is hard enough to make a marriage work. To add the additional stress of two competing faiths is a recipe for disaster--especially when raising children.


What defines your religion?

Is being a Jew a matter of bloodline or religious practice? The UK's new Supreme Court is debating the subject this week, in a case that could have a wider impact on faith schools, says Tim Whewell.

In a draughty school hall in Liverpool, they're holding an "admissions evening". Parents listen anxiously as the headteacher explains what "evidence" they'll require to ensure that their son or daughter can apply for a place.

Is Jewishness about nature or nurture?

The scene at King David primary is repeated up and down the country, particularly at this time of year as the deadline for applications approaches. And for those trying to get into a faith school like King David, there's a particular headache: do parents have to "prove" an adequate level of religious observance?

This week that question will be debated by some of The UK's top legal brains at the highest court in the land, the new UK Supreme Court. The outcome will directly affect only Jewish schools such as King David.

But the government is warning that it may have "wide ramifications" for other faith schools too. And at the heart of the case is the simple question: how do you define faith? Is religion a matter of who you are? What you believe? Or what you do?

The King David primary and secondary schools, both highly successful and oversubscribed, are the pride of Liverpool's diminishing but vibrant Jewish community.

In the religious studies class this month, children were making models - some thatched with sweets - of the flimsy huts that Jews traditionally build as part of the festival of Sukkot. It commemorates the years the Children of Israel spent wandering in the desert, without permanent homes, after the Exodus from Egypt. Some of the children come from observant homes, but some do not.

Until now, that didn't matter because, in common with other schools under the religious authority of the Chief Rabbi, they've taken Jewish children as defined by Orthodox Jewish law - the children of Jewish mothers. No test of observance or belief was set.

"Judaism differs fundamentally from all other faiths," says Yitzchak Schochet, rabbi of an Orthodox congregration in London. "Regardless of one's observance level, if one is born a Jew it doesn't matter if they keep absolutely nothing.

"Having a ham sandwich on the afternoon of Yom Kippur, the fast day, doesn't de facto make you non-Jewish. The Jewish definition is that as far as God is concerned, when you are born of a Jewish mother then you contain a unique Jewish soul, which de facto makes you a Jew. And the only other way of embracing the Jewish faith is by way of conversion."

But that definition can't now be used to gain a place at a Jewish school. The Court of Appeal ruled in July that because Jews are also defined as an ethnic group under the Race Relations Act, denying a child admission solely on the basis that their mother isn't Jewish would count as unlawful racial discrimination.

It was a victory for the parents who brought the case, whose child was originally denied admission to a Jewish comprehensive in London, the JFS or Jewish free school, because the Chief Rabbi's office questioned his mother's Jewish status.

'God is not racist'

And another parent in a similar position, David Lightman, also feels vindicated. He says: "My wife keeps a kosher Jewish home, we go to synagogue as a family, my daughter teaches in the Hebrew classes. How dare they question our beliefs and our Jewishness?"

But now JFS is appealing to the Supreme Court to have that judgment overturned. Rabbi Schochet says: "The law is essentially suggesting from a Jewish perspective that God is a racist, and that doesn't wash."


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Arabs Attack Jews on Temple Mount. What Did We Expect?


There are some things observant people just can't do right now while we don't have a restored Temple, we don't have a Sanhedrin, we don't have our Kohenim and our Levi'im in place--but, uh, isn't that the point?

After all, aren't we supposed to observe the WHOLE TORAH, not just parts of it?

Even when it is not politically expedient?

Even when it is scary?

Even when the whole world is against us?

Obviously, we have not visited this Mitzvah in a while:

The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying:

Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,

you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their temples, destroy their molten idols, and demolish their high places.

You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it.

You shall give the Land as an inheritance to your families by lot; to the large, you shall give a larger inheritance and to the small you shall give a smaller inheritance; wherever the lot falls shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers, you shall inherit.

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.

And it will be that what I had intended to do to them, I will do to you.

--Bemidbar 33

The time has come for us to assert our rights to our MOST HOLY PLACE. Israel must have control of the Temple Mount.

When Israel controls Holy Places, all are welcome--Jews, xtians, and moslems. When arabs control Holy Places, only arabs may visit.

It is a constant humiliation that arabs control our most sacred place. We cannot allow this to continue.

Jerusalem is sacred BECAUSE it is the place of the Temple. Without our Temple, without our heart, nothing matters and we will lose everything.

Hashm has strengthened their hand against us because we refuse to raise our hand and take what is rightfully ours. Hashm will continue to harden their hearts and make life impossible for us until we realize what must be done.

They will harass us and incite against us, they will grow in their boldness.

In this way, Hashm will force us to act, even though so many of us wish to continue this fake peace that insures nothing more than our slow destruction.

There is no such thing as peace without war, just as there is no such thing as life without death, love without loss, healing without pain.

Oct 25, 2009 10:45 | Updated Oct 25, 2009 12:31
Hamas, Islamic Movement blamed for Temple Mt. clashes

Three policemen were lightly wounded late Sunday morning as security forces stormed the Temple Mount for the second time in just a few hours after dozens of young Muslims began throwing rocks.

The security forces hurled stun grenades to quell the rioters.

Two of the policemen wounded by the rock-throwers were treated at the scene, while the third was evacuated to the capital's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

It came just as police officers were talking to the Waqf in order to get some 100 young Muslim protesters involved in earlier violence to come out of the Aksa Mosque where they had holed themselves up. Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that the officers had promised not to arrest them if they descended from the mount.

Police Chief Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen accused the Islamic Movement of inciting the rioters.

"Throughout the day, very large groups of Arab residents of east Jerusalem and other Israeli Arabs have come to the area at the encouragement of the Islamic Movement," he told reporters. "I urge them (the Islamic Movement) to show restraint and not to incite."

Cohen went on to say that police would deal with all rioters on the Temple Mount as well as the inciters "with a heavy hand."

The Israel Police issued a separate statement, also blaming Hamas for incitement in a bid to "disrupt order on the Temple Mount."

There were sporadic instances of rock-throwing elsewhere in east Jerusalem, including in Ras el-Amud, where some 15 Arabs pelted police and were dispersed.

In total, 15 Arab rioters were arrested in the Jerusalem violence on suspicion of throwing rocks and attacking police.

Police said that the earlier disturbances began when officers were accompanying a group of tourists up to the mount, and several Muslim youngsters were caught on video camera preparing to cause trouble, including gathering rocks to throw and pouring oil onto the ground to hinder the access of security forces and the visitors.

Following the discovery, police reinforcements stormed the mount and were pelted with stones and a fire bomb by the young rioters. The forces dispersed the riots using stun grenades, among other means at their disposal, and a tense calm was briefly restored to the area.

Though police on Saturday had said they were bracing for the possibility of renewed clashes, no restrictions had been placed on Muslims entering the Temple Mount for Sunday prayers, or on visitors who arrived in the morning to tour the compound.

Following the first outbreak of violence, worshipers who weren't already in the site's mosques were evacuated . . . [MORE]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rabbi Angel on Parashat Noach

In Search of Inner Calm
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

The Torah describes Noah in glowing terms, as "tsaddik tamim", righteous and pure. Of all the people in his generation, only Noah is singled out for being a good, upright person who walked in the ways of God. The rest of society had become horribly corrupt, evil beyond salvation.

How did Noah feel living in such a society? How did others relate to him?

I imagine that Noah was universally despised by the members of his society. They must have been irked by Noah's refusal to follow in the idolatrous and sinful behaviors that were the norms for everyone else. Noah must have been ostracized as a self-righteous, arrogant man who thought himself too good to mingle with others. People don't like a "goody goody" who shuns their way of life.

Did Noah have any real friends? Could Noah trust anyone? Perhaps his family members provided "safe space" for him; but everywhere else he was a pariah, a non-conformist, a righteous and pure person in a world of evil and impurity. Such isolation can surely be devastating. How did Noah find the inner strength to cope? How did he remain righteous and pure, when it would have been so much easier and so much more comfortable to go along with the corrupt and sinful patterns that prevailed in his world?

One answer is suggested in the opening verse of this week's Parasha: "Noah walked with God." Noah stayed focused on his relationship with God. This single-minded spiritual sense allowed him not to be shaken or troubled by what humans say or do. Noah was not seeking popularity or comradery with people; he was seeking to be righteous and pure in the eyes of God. By keeping focused on the eternal, he was able to transcend the ugliness and evil of everyday life in his society. As the Talmudic sage Akabia ben Mahalalel taught: it is better to be deemed a fool in the eyes of humans, rather than to be a fool in the eyes of God for even an instant. Ultimately, we are not answerable to our fellow human beings, especially not to the evil ones: we are answerable to God, and must live with that idea clearly in mind.

The last verse in Parashat Bereishith states that "Noah found favor in the eyes of God". The great 16th century sage, Rabbi Eliezer Azikri--drawing on a classic rabbinic interpretation--notes that the name Noah is also a Hebrew word meaning "calm", "serene". The verse can be understood as follows: one who is calm and serene finds favor in the eyes of God. The way to maintain inner strength, balance and righteousness is to maintain a spiritual equilibrium, a deep inner calm that is not shaken by external events or words.

This is very difficult to achieve. It is not easy to ignore insults, mean words, vicious behavior, sinfulness. It is not easy to feel isolated from fellow human beings in order "to walk with God". It is far from simple to maintain inner calm and serenity when the world around is so filled with corruption, lies and cruelty.

Now perhaps we can better understand the greatness of Noah. Now perhaps we can better understand the greatness that is demanded from each of us.

***Please share the Angel for Shabbat column with your friends and neighbors. Please visit for many informative articles relating to modern Orthodox Judaism.

SEX!!! (Now that I have your attention . . . Read this Research about Observant Married Jewish Women and Sexual Life)


This is an extremely important study with some extremely important findings that women, men, rabbis, and Mikvah professionals should study intently.

The findings are complex, but boiled down, the study makes it clear that women need more education about sex in marriage, they are afraid to ask their rabbis questions of a personal nature, most see the Mikvah as a positive experience, and that, unlike their peers in the general population, who have sex once or twice a week, married women who practice family purity usually engage in sex much more frequently.

Family purity does not increase one's sexual satisfaction, according to the survey, but it may increase one's emotional satisfaction with the marriage--however, women complained that their husbands not only physically distance themselves during Niddah, they also emotionally distance themselves.

Also, dispelling a GIANT myth, 75 percent of women reported that they engaged in touching, petting, kissing, etc. with their husbands before marriage.

Thank you, Rabbi Angel, for posting this extremely important study on your webpage, "Jewish Ideas."

Sex within marriage is a gift from Hashm, a sacred and beautiful act. There is no reason why we cannot discuss it openly, educate our Kallahs fully, and provide opportunities for them to ask questions without embarrassment.

Without meaningful sexual relationships, husbands and wives cannot fully appreciate the blessing of marriage. We all need to work together to insure this extremely important aspect of marriage is not ignored or spoken of as if it were not beautiful and meaningful (and fun!).

Observant Married Jewish Women and Sexual Life: An Empirical Study


By Ellen Labinsky <> and James Schmeidler and Rachel Yehuda <> and Michelle Friedman <> and Talli Y. Rosenbaum <>

Posted October 23, 2009 - 12:07pm

Dr. Michelle Friedman is Director of Pastoral Counseling, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Dr. Ellen Labinsky is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center; Talli Y. Rosenbaum is a Urogynecological Physiotherapist and AASECT Certified Sexual Counselor, Inner Stability, Bet Shemesh, Israel; Dr. James Schmeidler is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; Dr. Rachel Yehuda, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, is the Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Division includes the PTSD clinical research program and the Neurochemistry and Neuroendocrinology laboratory at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This article appears in issue 5 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.


Taharat haMishpahah, literally, “family purity,” refers to the series of Jewish laws and customs governing sexual behavior between husbands and wives. The laws of taharat haMishpahah need to be understood in the larger context of observant Jewish life, which seeks to elevate everyday behavior in light of a divine plan. According to this understanding of the religious Jewish mission, each and every action has the potential to be imbued with sanctity, or kedushah. Taharat haMishpahah is considered one of the pillars of observant Jewish life. Volumes are devoted to the laws of taharat haMishpahah, so a brief summary of this complex area will be incomplete.

In short, taharat haMishpahah requires that husbands and wives abstain from all physical and sexual contact for the duration of a woman’s niddah time, that is, the length of her menstrual period plus an additional seven “clean” days. During the niddah period, observant couples adhere to a series of restrictions that are designed to prevent physical intimacy. These include refraining from physical touch such as holding hands, sharing a bed, or passing objects directly to one another. At the end of this approximate twelve-day separation, a woman immerses herself in the ritual bath (mikvah). After this, the couple is permitted to resume physical and sexual contact.

Our exploration of the lived experience of taharat haMishpahah starts with recognizing that the system’s influence extends far wider than the domain of marital sexual life. Development of a sexual self is recognized as a normative process that begins in infancy and has physical, cultural, and emotional components. Thus, the centrality of taharat haMishpahah in observant Jewish life impacts on attitudes and behaviors regarding modesty; auto-eroticism; conduct between men and women outside of marriage; education of prospective brides and grooms; and the experience of intimate emotional and physical marital life given the rhythm of the menstrual cycle.

The incorporation of these laws and attitudes, including the fundamental concept of monthly sexual abstinence and renewal between husband and wife, has been cited as a key factor in promoting and maintaining Jewish marital and familial happiness.[1] <> Other theorists have stressed that the laws surrounding taharat haMishpahah act to harness and discipline physiological drives into a framework of kedushah (holiness)—not necessarily happiness—represented by marriage.[2] <>

We respect, yet do not attempt to resolve, these perspectives. We perceive the laws of taharat haMishpahah to be a given, not subject to negotiation. We understand that these regulations are embedded in a larger context of religious life. Women who observe taharat haMishpahah are almost certainly keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath and holidays, educating their children in Jewish schools, and otherwise maintaining a high degree of religious affiliation. Our efforts are directed to an empiric investigation of the sexual life of Jewish women committed to observant religious practice. The goal of our inquiry into the intimate lives of these women is to better understand this deeply personal experience from as scientifically rigorous a perspective as possible.


Read the Signs of Discontent, Bibi! Our IDF Soldiers Say: “Shimshon Battalion does not carry out evictions at Homesh.”


How long does the government think they can use our IDF as their own personal gestapo to carry out purely political operations which harm our own people?

The IDF is needed to fight terrorists, to train to protect Israel from FOREIGN THREATS, and to protect our borders. This is what these men and women are trained for. They are not police. They are soldiers.

The IDF is now complicit in the creation of terror, not the fighting of terror. We told the government that this would happen, that the Jews of Gaza, Samaria, Judea who live in the small towns and the outposts on the top of hills are not the enemy--they are one line of defense in the war against terror--but they didn't listen. They didn't listen then, and they aren't listening now.

We even tried to elect a leader who SAID that he would prevent such a disaster from ever happening again--but here we are again. Our leadership fails us once more.

The soldiers are letting the government and the public know that morale is low. They are letting us know that they are tired of playing enforcers for a government mob intent upon the destruction of their own people in order to please the US, the EU, and Russia. They are pleading to be freed from this immoral activity.

Why aren’t our leaders listening?

Unprecedented IDF Mutiny at Kotel
by Gil Ronen

( An unprecedented mutiny took place at the swearing-in ceremony of Shimshon Battalion soldiers at the Kotel Thursday evening. Immediately after being sworn in, some of the soldiers raised large signs which said “Shimshon Battalion does not carry out evictions at Homesh.”

Parents of soldiers also raised similar signs at the same moment.

The anger and frustration within the ranks of the Shimshon soldiers and their families reached a boiling point after the battalion carried out numerous evictions at Homesh – a Shomron (Samaria) community that was razed in the “Disengagement”.

Just as the Kfir Regiment Commander began his speech at the ceremony, soldiers from the battalion and raised two large signs against the evictions. Similar signs were raised by the soldiers' relatives in the audience. The “Disengagement” carried out in 2005 by the government of now-comatose Ariel Sharon included the destruction of all Jewish communities in Gaza. It was carried out in the hope of bringing about peace with the Arabs. However, no peace has materialized, and Jewish activists have been persistent in their attempts to return to Homesh. The military, on its side, has been . . . [MORE]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MK Ben-Ari: "Kahane Chai!" (Well, sort of . . . ) He Calls For Memorializing H'Rav Kahane, but Doesn't Demand What Is Really Important: Kach


Nice sentiment, Ben-Ari! Who could argue with wanting to memorialize a great Rabbi?

You are a courageous man to even suggest this, and it is now likely that your critics will bury you in a hail of "racist!" taunts because they have nothing to say that is logical, so they will resort to the hysterical: screaming every insult they can at you.

As you know, even mentioning Rabbi Kahane's name is a state offense, punishable by the sudden death of your political career. Mentioning his name in the streets of Jerusalem or in a private home in Yesha will get you remanded and banned from your home for months without due process. Mentioning him in a blog post, even in America, will get the attention of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, the Mosad, and Shabak.

After all, Kach is a terrorist organization, according to the US and Israeli governments (also the governments of Canada and the EU), even though they have never committed a terrorist act, and any organization that is affiliated with Kach is considered a terrorist organization, even though they have never committed a terrorist act.

This situation continues without comment because, if one were to fight against this designation, that person would be regarded as a "terrorist sympathizer" and become "suspicious." They might lose their right to fly on an airplane, travel on a train, have their assets seized, or even walk and talk freely in the streets . This, while great unwashed herds of rabid college students wear Arafat-inspired kaffiahs, wave Hamas and Hezbullah flags, and scream "Death to Israel" without so much as a wink from our security infrastructures. This, as the highest levels of the US government, the EU, and Canada involved themselves in high level negotiations with terrorist organizations on their own list.

So, MK Ben-Ari, being you have nothing to lose now, and while you have your courage up, please do without the trivialities of discussing the past by talking about how unfair it was to ban Kach, and just say what is really important: "We demand the RETURN of Kach."

FORCE the Israeli Government to admit that Kach should never have been banned, should not be banned now, and must be allowed to tender candidates in the next election.

Just like you, I find it very hard to see how the arab parties, who openly declare their hate for Israel, who incite against us, who travel to enemy countries to plot against us with our enemies during war time, and who bring real danger to Israeli people are allowed to freely tender their candidates for election, while Kach cannot.

If Kach were to bring a case in a real court (not the kangaroo court of liberalism that the Israeli High Court has become), we would see that the state is showing clear discrimination by allowing arab parties to flourish while banning Kach. They can't have it both ways--either they must eliminate the arab parties, or they must legalize Kach.

The elections law which banned Kach states:
  • A candidates list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

    1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
    2. negation of the democratic character of the State
    3. incitement to racism
Tell me, shouldn't this law completely outlaw ALL of the arab parties in the Knesset??

The only people who have reason to fear Kach are the politicians of the so-called "right-wing" Likud and the so-called "centrist party" of Kadima.

Likud, who has become nothing but a shadow of its former self in an effort to kiss the feet of any arab politician who comes along, is fearful of Kach because Kach would bring clarity to the people and expose Likud's clear left lean (after all, when all structures are leaning left, it is hard to see the lean--but when one structure is built straight and upright--the left will be clearly seen).

Kadima, G-d forbid, is a horrible amalgam of politicians bent upon their knees before the graven idol of two states, so intent upon this worship that they can't see that their two-state idol has splintered into a thousand sharp shards.

So, dear Ben-Ari, while your plan seems very respectful and kind toward the memory of Rabbi Kahane of blessed memory, and while you speeches are honest testimony to the significant harm that liberalism has done in banning Kach, it is not enough.

If we are to truly memorialize Rabbi Kahane, we must swiftly bring Kach back to the Knesset and santity back to Israel.

Anything less is a desecration of his memory.

Kahane Lives: MK Ben-Ari Urges Memorializing Kahane
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

( National Union Knesset Member Dr. Ben-Ari is urging Israeli mayors and regional council leaders memorialize Rabbi Meir Kahane on November 15, the Hebrew date when he was murdered in New York 19 years ago.

Rabbi Kahane, the New York-born founder of the now illegal Kach movement, was murdered by an Egyptian-born American in New York in 1990 after a speech in which he warned American Jews to move to Israel before it was “too late” to escape a second Holocaust.”

He founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in New York, which attracted Jews to fight anti-Semitic attacks, and he was the founder of the Kach movement. He was elected to the Knesset after making Aliyah [moving to Israel], but the legislature banned the party from the legislature in 1988 and outlawed it six years later.

MK Ben-Ari reminded Israel leaders that the JDL encouraged Jews to stand up for their rights and defeat anti-Semitism. Rabbi Kahane also was active in the struggle to open the gates for ‘Refuseniks,” Jews in the former Soviet Union, during the era of prohibitions to observe Jewish laws and leave the country for Israel.

“The State of Israel memorializes political leaders from a wide spectrum” and should include Rabbi Kahane, who “acted for the good of the people and the country,” MK Ben-Ari stated.

The Kach party fought for a Jewish presence in all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and promoted a clear and strong stand against Arab enemies.

MK Ben-Ari charged that the Knesset's move to outlaw Kach was unprecedented and anti-democratic. The government has taken no similar action against Arab parties, some of which publicly promote ties with . . . [MORE]